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New Escapist Column! On the Pre-Packaged Cult Appeal of “Cocaine Bear”…

We’re launching a new column at The Escapist, called Out of Focus. It will publish every Wednesday, and the plan is to use it to look at some film and television that would maybe fall outside the remit of In the Frame, more marginal titles or objects of cult interest. This week, we took a look at the release of Cocaine Bear, which is an obvious attempt to manufacture a cult hit.

On one level, it seems like a fool’s errand to try to build a movie with the express purpose of making a cult hit. After all, cult hits only grow organically, often over years and through home media or television. However, changes to the industry – including the collapse of home media and the decline of linear television – make it very difficult for movies to find that sort of niche. Cocaine Bear feels like a movie designed with that understanding in mind, a film very consciously pitched towards streaming virality as much as theatrical box office.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “M3GAN”, “Renfield”, “Cocaine Bear”, “Knock at the Cabin” and the Enduring Appeal of Universal Horror…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. This week, with the release of M3GAN, Renfield, Cocaine Bear and Knock at the Cabin all in the first four months of the year, it seemed like as good a time as any to consider Universal’s embrace of the horror movie and creature feature.

For the next couple of months, Avatar: The Way of Water is just going to dominate the box office. It will be unchallenged until the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in mid-February. However, what’s interesting is that other studios aren’t necessarily hiding from this. In fact, they’re releasing smaller and lower-budget movies in the space, in the hopes that they can quietly earn back relatively impresive box office on a low investment. In particular, Universal is returning to one of the studio’s most reliable models: the low-budget horror movie and creature feature.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.