Spotify quietly removed over 40 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, report says

Joe Rogan
  • Over 40 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast have been removed from Spotify.
  • Episodes removed included far-right activists Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Gavin Mcinnes.
  • “There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform,” Rogan said of Spotify in February.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Spotify appears to be removing controversial episodes of its wildly popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast from its service.

According to a report from The Wrap, 42 episodes of the podcast from the MMA commentator and comedian have been removed from the platform since it purchased the podcast for $100 million in May 2020, though some of the original uploads remain on YouTube.

Four episodes with comedian Chris D’Elia, who has been accused of pursuing underage girls on social media, are among the removed episodes, The Wrap reported. Another six episodes featuring conspiracy theorist David Seaman have also been removed.

Rogan has frequently made offensive statements, shared misinformation, and hosted problematic guests on his podcast. In 2020, he made the false claims that Caitlyn Jenner could have been transgender as a result of living with the Kardashian women, that the Portland forest fires were started by “left-wing” activists, and described transgender identity as a “social contagion.”

The most recent removal of content occurred on April 6, according to The Wrap, with two old podcasts being taken off the platform. One of those episodes, first released in 2013, featured Bulletproof Coffee founder David Asprey, who has shared controversial scientific misinformation, like that with stem cell injections you can live to be 180-years-old. Rogan himself did call out Asprey’s misinformation on his podcast, saying in episode #459 with Dr. Rhonda Patrick that “he gets s— wrong and I don’t know if he’s always so good at recognizing when he has done that and correcting himself.”

There are currently 1,632 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience created since 2009, with less than 3% having been removed.

Some episodes recorded before the Spotify acquisition never made the move over to the streaming service from YouTube, as Variety reported, including those with conservative YouTuber Sargon of Akkad, Proud Boys extremist-group founder Gavin McInnes, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.

During a February episode with guest Fahim Anwar, Rogan alluded to the fact that some of these episodes were taken down. “They haven’t given me a hard time at all,” Rogan said. “There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform, I was like ‘okay, I don’t care.'”

Spotify did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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The PlayStation 5 is getting its first major system update this week, but one much-requested feature is still missing

PlayStation 5
Sony’s PlayStation 5.

  • Just about six months after launch, the PlayStation 5 is getting its first major update.
  • The software update adds a variety of quality of life features.
  • Unfortunately, a highly-requested feature – adding additional storage space – is still in the works.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Just over six months after the launch of the PlayStation 5, Sony is giving the console its first major software update – but it still doesn’t address the core issue PS5 users have been complaining about.

On Wednesday, April 14, the first major update is scheduled to roll out with a slew of additions and changes to the wildly popular game console.

Prime among those changes is support for USB game storage – a solution intended for users running into the PS5’s limited storage space. The PlayStation 5, like Microsoft’s Xbox Series S and X consoles, uses a new type of solid-state storage which enables much faster game loads. But games like the latest “Call of Duty” can gobble up huge portions of precious storage space, and PS5 users have been forced to decide which games to keep on their consoles.

Since PlayStation 5 games cannot be played from external storage, the addition of USB storage is intended as a temporary solution to a longer term problem. Rather than having to delete games to make space for new ones, PS5 users will be able to move a game temporarily to a USB storage device.

Sony has said that support for additional solid-state storage is in the works for the PlayStation 5, but no date has been given.

PlayStation 5 update, April 2021
Another such addition in the update is the ability to share a gameplay stream with a friend on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5.

“It is faster to reinstall PS5 games from USB extended storage than to re-download or copy them from a disc,” Sony platform planning and management senior VP Hideaki Nishino said on the PlayStation blog. “It’s a great way to extend the storage capabilities of your PS5 console, and you can seamlessly copy your PS5 games back to the console’s internal storage when you’re ready to play.”

Beyond the storage changes, a variety of smaller “quality of life” features are being added in the update: The ability to share your screen with friends over the internet, pre-downloads of game updates while the console is resting, and the ability to change which games show up in your game library are just a few.

Check out the full list of changes right here.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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A ‘Simpsons’ episode comically predicts bitcoin’s price will surge to infinity – and GameStop’s stock will fluctuate ridiculously in the future

Screenshot 2021 04 13 at 09.47.46
  • A ‘Simpsons’ episode fictitiously shows bitcoin priced at infinity and huge fluctuations in GameStop shares.
  • A financial market channel amusingly states for Tesla stock: “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”
  • The highly bullish bitcoin prediction on an animated TV sitcom shows the magnitude of crypto frenzy.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

“The Simpsons” is one of the longest-running American TV shows that has managed to produce several accurate predictions.

Episode 18 of Season 32, titled “Burger Kings,” shows Marge Simpson is seemingly hooked on stock trading, specifically with a fictional stock of plant-based burger chain “Ex-cellent Burger” run by town billionaire Monty Burns.

While Marge checks the stock’s performance on an episode of “Crazy Cash,” perhaps a parody of Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money,” real-time data on the fictitious market channel shows bitcoin accompanied by a green infinity symbol.

Bitcoin priced at infinity seems to indicate the show creators are either very bullish on digital assets, or believe the system will crumble.

Marge

The screen ticker also showed GameStop’s stock rising by 1 trillion, and instantly falling by 2 trillion in the Simpsons’ world. Meanwhile, the TV host quips enthusiastically: “Buy, buy, buy! Then, when you hear a rumor of trouble, sell before anyone else!,” with no specific reference to a stock.

Crrazcyash

Tesla was another amusing stock prediction in the show, for which the ticker feed directly stated “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

Tesla

Cryptocurrency has previously featured on the show in Season 31, Episode 13 called “Frinkcoin.” Actor Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory, referred to it at the time as the “cash of the future.”

Past predictions on the show that surprisingly came true include Kamala Harris’ purple inauguration outfit, the election of former President Donald Trump, the discovery of the Higgs Boson equation, and a big plot twist in “Game of Thrones.”

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The top 9 shows on Netflix this week, from ‘Who Killed Sara?’ to ‘Big Time Rush’

who killed sara netflix
“Who Killed Sara?”

  • Every week, the streaming search engine Reelgood compiles for Insider a list of the TV shows that have been most prominent on Netflix‘s daily top-10 lists.

  • Netflix’s new thriller “Who Killed Sara?” topped this week’s list for the second straight week.
  • Netflix counts a view if an account watches a movie or TV show for at least two minutes.
  • Visit the business section of Insider for more stories.
9. “This is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist” (Netflix original, 2021)

this is robbery netflix

Description: “In 1990, two men dressed as cops con their way into a Boston museum and steal a fortune in art. Take a deep dive into this daring and notorious crime.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%

What critics said: “In all, this makes for a fascinating portrait of an incident that lives on in the memory of a city that has both high culture and organized crime encoded in its DNA.” — Variety

8. “Worn Stories” (Netflix original, 2021)

worn stories netflix

Description: “In this funny, heartfelt and moving docuseries, real people unpack the fascinating and quirky stories around their most meaningful pieces of clothing.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 100%

What critics said: “Worn Stories, which is adapted from Lauren Spivacek’s best-selling clothing vignettes novel of the same name, is wonderfully-threaded nostalgia.” — Paste Magazine

7. “Big Time Rush” (Nickelodeon, 2009-2013)

logan big time rush

Description: “After a talent agent discovers four talented pals and turns them into a boy band called Big Time Rush, they must adjust to their exciting new lives.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A

What critics said: N/A

6. “Family Reunion” (Netflix original, 2019-present)

family reunion

Description: “When the McKellan family moves from Seattle to small-town Georgia, life down South — and traditional grandparents — challenge their big-city ways.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A

What critics said: N/A

5. “Ginny and Georgia” (Netflix original, 2021-present)

ginny and georgia

Description: “Free-spirited Georgia and her two kids, Ginny and Austin, move north in search of a fresh start but find that the road to new beginnings can be bumpy.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 68%

What critics said: “Ginny & Georgia is perfect background TV: familiar enough to be comforting, but with enough of its own weird energy to let Netflix’s autoplay jump into the next episode.” — Thrillist (season one)

4. “The Irregulars” (Netflix original, 2021-present)

the irregulars netflix
“The Irregulars”

Description: “A crew of misfits investigates a series of supernatural crimes in Victorian London for Dr. Watson and his shadowy associate, Sherlock Holmes.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 77%

What critics said: “There are a sprinkling of more casual sequences that cut through the darkness. An encroaching threat does a lot to crowd those out by season’s end.” — Indiewire (season one)

3. “Cocomelon” (YouTube, 2019-present)

"Cocomelon" is the most subscribed-to YouTube channel in the United States, and the third most subscribed-to in the world.
“Cocomelon” is the most subscribed-to YouTube channel in the United States, and the third most subscribed-to in the world.

Description: “Learn letters, numbers, animal sounds and more with J.J. in this musical series that brings fun times with nursery rhymes for the whole family!”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A

What critics said: N/A

2. “The Serpent” (Netflix original, 2021)

the serpent netflix

Description: “In the 1970s, merciless killer Charles Sobhraj preys on travelers exploring the “hippie trail” of South Asia. Based on shocking true events.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 69%

What critics said: “The people behind this eight-episode miniseries about a serial killer never really figured out how to tell this story, and that sense is amplified by an incessant crosscutting chronologically that only muddles the piece’s tone and momentum.” — RogerEbert.com

1. “Who Killed Sara?” (Netflix original, 2021-present)

who killed sara netflix

Description: “Hell-bent on exacting revenge and proving he was framed for his sister’s murder, Álex sets out to unearth much more than the crime’s real culprit.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A

What critics said: “Has a few logic problems, but its overall vibe is energetic enough, with good performances, to keep viewers’ attention.” — Decider (season one)

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Musicians deserve a raise too, and they’re right to organize against Spotify’s exploitative practices

musician busking covid
A person wears a protective face mask while playing a Baroque guitar in Central Park as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 29, 2020 in New York City.

  • When the pandemic struck, the floor was pulled out from working musicians who make their livings on the road.
  • Streaming has come to dominate the music industry, and further impoverishing the artists who create the value these companies sell.
  • But musicians have started organizing not only for a raise from Spotify and other streaming companies, but for a more equitable industry.
  • Will Meyer is a freelance writer and co-editor of The Shoestring in western Massachusetts.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When the pandemic struck, the floor was promptly ripped out from under working musicians. With the closure of venues and touring off the table, the bleak reality of declining recording revenue – which has nose-dived in the streaming era – began to sink in as artists faced an uncertain future.

Although the recording industry has always been a predatory and exploitative force (especially to non white people and women), the inequalities within music have become more acute since the onset of COVID-19. According to The American Prospect, “Spotify has outperformed Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google between January 2020 and January 2021,” boosting CEO Daniel Ek’s net worth to $5.3 billion, and leaving musicians – who earn a paltry $0.00348 per stream – without a foothold.

As musician Damon Krukowski told the Prospect’s David Dayen, “Last year, the COVID year, [my band] Galaxie 500 had 8.5 million streams on Spotify. We also released a 2,000-copy, limited-edition LP. They raised the same amount of money. Neither is enough to live on.” Krukowski told Dayen that he added up the amount of monthly streams that would amount to each band member earning $15 an hour from Spotify. The number was 650,000. According to MIT, the living wage in Boston, where Krukowski’s band is based, is $19.17 an hour.

Rip-off

Streaming companies’ rapid devaluation of recorded music has been a long-term project. As music piracy took off in the late 90s and early 2000s, the music industry created a narrative that such platforms were stealing from artists, despite the fact that many indie musicians owed their careers to piracy. One North Carolina State University study even suggested the piracy boosted album sales. Krukowski told Dayen that his band was able to reach people through piracy and sell out shows in countries that they could never reach through traditional channels.

The Recording Industry Association of America worked tooth and nail to sue pirate sites like Napster and Kazaa out of business and mounted a counterrevolution to piracy that would eventually evolve into streaming. Of course the modus operandi of the tech industry is to “innovate” via consolidation, new technology and legal justifications that works to funnel wealth upwards to investors while devaluing labor. According to Rolling Stone, “65% of Spotify was owned by just six parties,” including the company’s founders and Wall St. firms like Morgan Stanley. Other owners include the major record companies, who, according to music writer Liz Pelly, use their leverage to promote their artists on the site at the expense of those with fewer resources.

As Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, a musician and organizer from Providence, Rhode Island, told me in a phone interview, “Streaming has simply seen an exaggeration of the trend of more and more resources being directed to an ever smaller number of people in the music industry.” Pelly noted in The Baffler magazine that “a study released by Citigroup showed that in 2017, only approximately 12% of the music industry’s revenue went to artists, which speaks to the financial precariousness faced by many musicians.”

DeFrancesco spoke to the similarities between Spotify and other tech companies. “What’s happening at Spotify is very similar to what we’ve seen happen in other industries, like with rideshare companies. …The companies themselves say, ‘Oh, we can’t pay people more, we’re actually operating at a loss,’ but it’s this confusing array of venture capitalist firms who are investing in these companies and artificially propping them up to create monopolies to drive down prices and to drive up competition, making it increasingly difficult for workers to mount in opposition.”

But with COVID, everything changed.

Organizing against Spotify

“Things were growing more and more unequal in our industry, and the pandemic pushed everything over the edge and allowed music workers the time to start talking to one another,” DeFrancesco said. Once off the road and grounded at home, DeFrancesco and other musicians began sharing their stories over Zoom about industry practices, streaming rates, and other issues facing artists.

From there, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) was born. Today, the group has 25 steering committee members and 80 subcommittee members that work on a myriad of issues facing artists such as labels, venues, immigration and police abolition. The group’s mission statement states: “UMAW has mobilized thousands of music workers to take part in our first actions around the COVID crisis, and we will continue to organize around issues such as demanding fairer deals from streaming services, ensuring musicians receive the royalties they are owed, establishing more just relationships with labels, and creating safer guidelines for venues.”

On March 15, masked-up musicians and their allies took to Spotify offices all over the world to hand deliver their demands to the streaming giant as part of the group’s Justice at Spotify campaign. They called for a raise to a penny-per-stream (approximately three times the current rate), the adaptation of a user-centric payment model that pays musicians proportionally to the amount of streams they receive, transparency about contracts and the removal of payola, proper attribution credits for work on recordings, and an end to “legal battles intended to further impoverish artists.” Nearly 28,000 signed onto the demands that were delivered in 15 cities around the world including in New York, Berlin, São Paulo, London, and Nashville, highlighting the Swedish company’s role in global music distribution and labor exploitation.

As soon as the campaign took off, Spotify quickly launched a website called Loud & Clear, which was designed to offer transparency about the company, or act as a PR smokescreen, depending on who you ask. As UMAW retorted, “This website answers none of our demands and even further obfuscates transparency. The company simply deflects blame onto others for systems it has itself built and provided no further information on their per-stream rate.”

DeFrancesco told me that although the company didn’t mention UMAW’s campaign directly, “the fact that they felt the need to [create the website] and move to the steps that we see a lot of companies do when confronted is telling. They moved from just ignoring protest to beginning to lash out back at the activists and workers. That means we are making inroads.”

UMAW plans to keep building their union. “The only way to counter the power of these major companies and venture capitalists is to build an opposing worker power,” DeFrancesco said.

“With new tech solutions, we’re just going to replicate the same power inequities, unless we actually organize power. So you know, we need to get musicians together and organized so we can, like the rest of the labor movement, demand power and resources from the people who own the means of production, which is these monopoly tech companies. This way we can build a political force so that we can lobby for regulation and get public resources to arts workers like they have in other industrialized countries.”

Will Meyer is a freelance writer and co-editor of The Shoestring in western Massachusetts. His writing has appeared in The Baffler, The New Republic, CJR, and many other publications. Find him on Twitter @willinabucket.

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How to watch UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland this Saturday on ESPN+

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Marvin Vettori Kevin Holland UFC Fight Night
Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland face off at the weigh-in for their UFC Fight Night main event.

  • UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and ABC on April 10.
  • The early prelims start at 11:30 a.m. ET, and the main card is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Every UFC Fight Night is included with ESPN+, which costs $6 a month or $60 per year.

Monthly Subscription Service (small)

This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night will feature middleweight fighters Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland in the main event, just three weeks after Holland’s loss at the last UFC Fight Night event.

Vettori was originally scheduled to fight Darren Till, who withdrew from the fight with a broken collarbone. Replacing Till gives Holland an opportunity for redemption after he suffered a decision loss to Derek Brunson in March. The 21-day gap between that loss and this weekend’s UFC Fight Night will tie a record for the shortest turnaround time between main event matches, according to ESPN.

The fight will be broadcast from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on April 10, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. All of UFC Fight Night will stream on ESPN+ as part of a subscription for $6 a month or $60 a year. You can also watch the prelims live on ESPN and the main event on ABC.

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland will be held without fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic. UFC has consistently implemented safety precautions for fighters and staff during the pandemic, including advanced medical screenings, regular testing, temperature checks, and social distancing guidelines. UFC President Dana White announced that UFC 261 will be held with a full crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 24.

Here’s the match schedule for UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland

espn+

Early prelims – 11:30 a.m. ET, 8:30 a.m. PT on ESPN+

  • Impa Kasanganay versus Sasha Palatnikov [Welterweight]

Prelims – 12 p.m. ET, 9 a.m. PT on ESPN and ESPN+

  • Jim Miller versus Joe Solecki [Lightweight]
  • Scott Holtzman versus Mateusz Gamrot [Lightweight]
  • John Makdessi versus Ignacio Bahamondes [Lightweight]
  • Da-un Jung versus William Knight [Light Heavyweight]
  • Luis Saldana versus Jordan Griffin [Featherweight]
  • Hunter Azure versus Jack Shore [Bantamweight]
  • Yorgan De Castro versus Jarjis Danho [Heavyweight]

Main card – 3 p.m. ET, 12 p.m. PT on ABC and ESPN+

  • Mike Perry versus Daniel Rodriguez [Welterweight]
  • Nina Nunes versus Mackenzie Dern [Women’s Strawweight]
  • Sam Alvey versus Julian Marquez [Middleweight]
  • Arnold Allen versus Sodiq Yusuff [Featherweight]
  • Marvin Vettori versus Kevin Holland [Middleweight]

How to watch UFC Fight Night matches

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland is separated into three parts: the early prelims, prelims, and the main card. The entire event will be streamed live on ESPN+ starting with the early prelims at 11:30 a.m. ET. The prelims will then air at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and ESPN, while the main card will be broadcast on ABC and ESPN+ starting at 3 p.m. ET.

ESPN+ subscribers can watch every UFC Fight Night event live and also gain access to a huge catalog of classic UFC matches and recent highlights. ESPN+ costs $6 a month or $60 for a full year, and it’s available as an app on most mobile and streaming devices. You can also bundle ESPN+ with Disney Plus and Hulu for $14 a month.

Here’s a full breakdown of additional features and details for ESPN+.

Portions of some UFC Fight Night events, like Vettori vs. Holland, are also broadcast on cable networks like ABC and ESPN. These channels are available through several live TV streaming services, including Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV, and Youtube TV. If you have cable, you can stream ABC live online too.

Monthly Subscription Service (small)

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How to watch every ‘Harry Potter’ movie

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Harry Potter and Hedwig
Owls are a key part of “Harry Potter.”

  • The “Harry Potter” movies are now available to stream through the SyFy channel’s on-demand library.
  • To access SyFy on-demand you can use a live streaming service like Sling or Hulu + Live TV.
  • You can also rent “Harry Potter” movies without a subscription through VOD retailers like Amazon.

TV (small)+ Live TV (small)

For fans of the “Harry Potter” movie franchise, subscription streaming options are surprisingly hard to track down.

As recently as August 2020, the series was streaming on HBO Max. The franchise then made an appearance on NBC’s Peacock in October 2020, but has since left the service. For the time being, you can watch the movies on-demand via the SyFy channel on live streaming platforms like Sling or Hulu + Live TV. That said, it’s not clear how long the movies will remain on the network.

The popular fantasy films take place in the Harry Potter Universe, where wizards and people without magical abilities (muggles) coexist. Throughout the series, viewers follow the protagonist, Harry, and his two friends, Hermione and Ron, as they progress through their formative years at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along the way, Harry meets allies and enemies, hones his magic, and unlocks his destiny.

If you’re an existing fan or just someone who wants to watch the movies for the first time, we’ve detailed all the “Harry Potter” streaming options below.

How to watch every ‘Harry Potter’ movie

The “Harry Potter” movies are now available to stream through any service with access to the SyFy channel’s on-demand catalog. That said, the films tend to jump from networks like SyFy to platforms like Peacock and HBO Max on a regular basis. As such, it’s not clear how long you’ll be able watch the movies on SyFy.

Live TV streaming services with access to SyFy include Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV.

The cheapest of the bunch is Sling TV’s Sling Blue plan at $35 a month. The live TV streaming service offers a total of 44 channels. On-demand titles from select networks are available as well, including the “Harry Potter” movies via SyFy’s on-demand selection.

TV (small)

Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV also offer the “Harry Potter” movies via SyFy’s on-demand library, but they’re more expensive than Sling TV. Plans for each service start at $65 a month, though they all offer more live channels than Sling.

+ Live TV (small)TV (small)TV (small)

Are the ‘Harry Potter’ movies on Peacock or HBO Max?

The “Harry Potter” films have previously been available on services like HBO Max and Peacock, but the movies are not currently streaming on either of those platforms.

Due to existing streaming deals, Vulture suggests that the “Harry Potter” movies may alternate between Peacock and HBO Max regularly through 2025. As of April 2021, it’s unclear when the movies will be back on either service.

How to rent ‘Harry Potter’ movies

In addition to live TV streaming services, fans can also rent or buy every “Harry Potter” film on a per-movie-basis through digital rental services. Some of these services include Amazon, RedBox, FandangoNow, Vudu, Google Play, and iTunes.

Pricing for the series varies by service, but most of the movies start at $4 to rent or $15 to buy.

For those unfamiliar with digital rental services, check out our guide on how to rent movies online.

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China’s box-office dominance was accelerated by the pandemic and it has big implications for Hollywood’s future

godzilla vs kong warner bros
“Godzilla vs. Kong” opened strong in China.

  • China is projected to be the box-office champion of the future in the wake of the pandemic.
  • The Chinese theatrical industry will continue to grow as the US box office slowly recovers.
  • Local movies have put China over the top, but experts say there’s hope for Hollywood releases.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

China had for several years been projected to dethrone the US as the world’s largest theatrical market. But the coronavirus pandemic accelerated its ascent, and pushed it over the top, as it surpassed North America last year with $2 billion.

Before the pandemic, the research firm Ampere Analysis had projected China to overtake the US by 2022. Now, it expects China to remain the No. 1 market in the world indefinitely, as the US theatrical market slowly recovers from the pandemic.

The company projects the Chinese box office to earn $6.9 billion this year compared to $4.5 billion in the US. By 2025, it sees China being well ahead of its pre-pandemic numbers with $13.7 billion while the US falls short of $8 billion.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for the Chinese theatrical industry. In early 2020, as the coronavirus began to spread throughout the world, China’s 70,000 theaters shut down for months. But the region has been able to recover faster than the US. And while the recent release of “Godzilla vs. Kong” showed hope for the US box office, no movie is reaching the hundreds of millions of dollars in one weekend that some locally produced Chinese movies have.

Hollywood is hoping that its blockbusters can roar back to life this summer with the help of China, but they will face stiff local competition.

Local productions have accounted for more and more of the box office in China in recent years, and that trend came to a head during the pandemic when few Hollywood movies were being released in the region. The top 10 movies at the Chinese box office in the last year were local films. While that’s a product of the pandemic’s impact, it also presents potential long-term changes for the dynamic between Hollywood and China.

Insider talked with industry experts about China’s dominance during and after the pandemic, the success of locally produced films, and what it all means for Hollywood’s reliance on the Chinese market, which was seen as a reliable box-office stronghold for many Hollywood tentpoles (from Marvel movies to the “Fast and Furious” saga).

China’s theater business will keep growing

“The previously stable US market will reduce in size following the pandemic,” said Richard Cooper, the Ampere Analysis research director. “This is largely due to a forecast downturn in film financing and the fact that some US cinemas will shutter permanently.”

Cooper said China’s theater business, on the other hand, will keep growing.

That growth is exemplified by Imax Corporation, the film technology company that specializes in high-quality cameras and projection systems. Richard Gelfond, the company’s CEO, told Insider that China is its biggest market with 750 Imax theaters in the country (there are 400 in the US). It expects that number to grow to more than 1,000 in the next few years.

“As China’s cinema buildings programmes swing back into action post-pandemic, the availability of cinema in the country and the volume of ticket sales will rise as will the Chinese revenues of US films,” Cooper said. “Whilst this doesn’t mean Hollywood’s returns will increase in-line, it will still have a positive impact on revenues generated in China by US films.”

That’s at least some much-needed good news for Hollywood.

There’s still hope for Hollywood blockbusters

As China’s theatrical industry started to rebound from the devastation brought by the pandemic, Hollywood blockbusters were underperforming.

Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman 1984” and Disney’s “Mulan” and “Soul” all flopped in the region as locally produced movies thrived.

The outlook was bleak. Then “Godzilla vs. Kong” happened.

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s monster mashup grossed $69 million in China in its debut weekend from March 26 to March 28. It fell just 37% in its second weekend with $43.5 million. The movie has so far earned more than $285 million worldwide, $136.5 million of which is from China.

“When there are global releases that open up in a traditional way you’ll see similar box office in China to what you saw before,” said Gelfond, the Imax CEO.

Experts said “Godzilla vs. Kong’s” performance shows that there is still strong interest in China for Hollywood blockbusters. Gitesh Pandya, the editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com, noted that many of Hollywood’s most anticipated blockbusters that might do serious business in China, like “Fast and Furious 9,” have been postponed to later this year.

“There’s certainly plenty of hope in Hollywood that China will still be a crucial market,” Pandya told Insider. “The right movie is still going to sell.”

Still, though “Godzilla vs. Kong” is performing well in the coveted Chinese market, there has been a shift in consumer behavior in the region that can’t be ignored.

my people, my homeland
“My People, My Homeland”

Local movies are boosting the Chinese box office

The low-budget local drama “Sister” dethroned “Godzilla vs. Kong” at the Chinese box office over the weekend. It cost just $4.6 million to produce and earned nearly $53 million in its debut.

It’s the latest Chinese movie to excel domestically during the pandemic. No Hollywood movie entered the Chinese box office’s top 10 grossing films from April 1, 2020 to March 29, 2021, according to data provided to Insider by the analytics company Comscore.

The top two Chinese movies in that time period, “Hi, Mom” and “Detective Chinatown 3,” have earned $823 million and $691 million there, respectively, since debuting this February.

That doesn’t mean that Chinese films didn’t perform well in China before the pandemic. They absolutely did (in 2019, the Chinese films “Ne Zha” and “The Wandering Earth” were the two highest-grossing movies there). But locally produced movies have accounted for more and more of China’s box office over the last five years.

Local films accounted for nearly 85% of China’s box office in 2020, according to the research firm Ampere Analysis, propelled by a diverse array of releases like the war movie “The Eight Hundred” ($439 million in China) and the anthology film “My People, My Homeland” ($419 million).

Local movies accounted for just under 60% in 2018 and 50% in 2016.

As Pandya pointed out, many major Hollywood releases were benched during the pandemic. But China’s ability to release its own films in that time, and audiences’ interest in them, could set the stage for a more competitive market in the future between Hollywood and Chinese productions.

“There was a strong demand for locally produced Chinese films [out of lockdown],” Pandya said. “But before the pandemic, Chinese films in China were doing gangbusters. As Hollywood players start coming in, you might see more of a mix.”

Here were the top 10 highest-grossing movies at the Chinese box office from April 1, 2020 to March 29, 2021, according to Comscore:

  1. “Hi, Mom” – $823.6 million
  2. “Detective Chinatown 3” – $691.2 million
  3. “The Eight Hundred” – $439.3 million
  4. “My People, My Homeland” – $419.1 million
  5. “Jiang Zi Ya” – $232.1 million
  6. “A Little Red Flower” – $217.9 million
  7. “Shock Wave 2” – $200.2 million
  8. “Sacrifice” – $166.6 million
  9. “A Writer’s Odyssey” – $158.3 million
  10. “Warm Hug” – $131.5 million
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‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is now available on Disney Plus, Amazon, and other VOD services – here’s how to watch at home while it’s still in theaters

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Dragons, warriors, and the mystical land of Kumandra are ready to take the Disney universe by storm in “Raya and the Last Dragon.”

The action-adventure film starring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina debuted on Disney Plus as a Premier Access title on March 5, and it will be available to all subscribers on June 4. You can also buy the movie through VOD services like Vudu, Prime Video, and FandangoNow for $30.

Raya and the Last Dragon” focuses on Raya (Tran), a warrior who embarks on a quest to defeat an evil force plaguing her land. In order to restore peace, Raya must find the last dragon. The film comes from director Don Hall, known for his work on “Moana,” and director Carlos López Estrada, whose previous work includes “Blindspotting,” a dramedy starring Daveed Diggs.

If you want to watch “Raya and the Last Dragon” before it makes its way to all Disney Plus subscribers in June, here’s how you can purchase early streaming access to the movie at home.

How to watch ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ on Disney Plus

Raya and the Last Dragon” debuted on Disney Plus on March 5 as a Premier Access title. If you have a Disney Plus subscription, you’ll need to pay a one-time $30 fee to unlock the film.

After you buy the movie, you can watch it as long as you have a Disney Plus plan. If you don’t want to pay $30, you’ll have to wait until June 4 when the movie will be available to all Disney Plus subscribers without an extra fee.

Disney Plus costs $8 a month or $80 for an annual plan. You can also pair Disney Plus with ESPN+ and Hulu to watch sports and tons of additional shows and movies. The bundle costs $14 a month, which saves you about $6 a month compared to buying all three services on their own.

The Disney Plus app is available on popular devices such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and most smart TV brands.

How to watch ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ without Disney Plus

Though “Raya and the Last Dragon” was initially exclusive to Disney Plus, the movie is now available to buy through other streaming retailers, including Vudu, Prime Video, FandangoNow, Google Play, Microsoft and Apple TV.

“Raya and The Last Dragon” (button)

The digital purchase costs $30 and does not require any additional subscription. If you’re thinking about signing up for Disney Plus just to buy “Raya and the Last Dragon,” choosing one of these digital retails is a cheaper option since you won’t have to pay any kind of recurring membership fee.

Once you buy the movie, you’ll be able to watch it as much as you like through the platform you choose. The film is available in 4K with HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos through select apps.

What other brand-new movies can I watch at home?

Disney isn’t the only studio streaming new movies that were originally planned for theaters. Warner Bros. announced that it will release its entire 2021 movie lineup in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time. You can watch “Godzilla vs. Kong” right now on HBO Max.

Other studios, like Sony, Universal, Lionsgate, and Paramount have also been offering streaming rental or purchase options for select titles that were originally planned for theaters. “In-theater” digital rentals or purchases can be made through a variety of services, including Apple TV, Vudu, FandangoNow, and Google Play.

For more information about digital rentals, check out our guide to streaming rental services.

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How to watch ‘Made for Love,’ the new HBO Max sci-fi series

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  • The first six episodes of “Made for Love” are now streaming exclusively on HBO Max.
  • The sci-fi dramedy stars Cristin Milioti as a woman on the run from her controlling husband.
  • An HBO Max subscription costs $15 a month.

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HBO Max’s newest original series, “Made for Love,” debuted on April 1. The series’ first six episodes are now available, and two more will premiere on April 15. To watch the show, you’ll need an HBO Max subscription for $15 a month.

The sci-fi dramedy is based on the novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting. “Made for Love” follows Hazel Green (Cristin Milioti) as she attempts to escape her controlling husband, tech giant Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen). Her plan is complicated when she discovers that Gogol has put a high-tech monitoring chip inside her.

“Made for Love” received positive reviews from critics, and the show currently holds a “95% Fresh” rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s how to watch the first six episodes on HBO Max right now.

How to watch ‘Made for Love’

The first six episodes of “Made for Love” are now available to watch on HBO Max. The show’s first season will wrap up with two more episodes on April 15.

“Made for Love” is exclusive to HBO Max so you’ll need an HBO Max subscription to tune in. HBO Max costs $15 a month. The service doesn’t offer a free trial through its website, but new members can get a one-week trial if they sign up for HBO Max as an add-on to Hulu.

The HBO Max app is available on most media players, mobile devices, and smart TV brands, with the exception of LG TV models. You can see a full list of supported devices here.

For more information on HBO Max, check out our HBO Max guide.

Max (small)Monthly Subscription (small)

What else can I watch on HBO Max?

In addition to “Made for Love,” HBO Max features a huge catalog of movies and shows.

The service is streaming brand-new Warner Bros. movies on the same day they debut in theaters. “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the latest film to premiere and it’s available to stream through April 30. Other upcoming titles include “Mortal Kombat,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” and more.

HBO Max is also home to a number of original shows, including “Raised by Wolves,” as well as HBO classics such as “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” and “Game of Thrones.”

Is HBO Max worth it?

At $15 a month, HBO Max is a bit expensive compared to some other streaming services, but it offers a lot of value if you like to watch HBO originals and brand-new movies at home. The option to stream upcoming Warner releases, like “The Suicide Squad” and “The Matrix 4,” while they’re still playing in theaters could be worth the subscription price alone.

For detailed impressions, check out our full HBO Max review. And be sure to read our guide to the best streaming services for more recommendations.

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