TV series adaptations of popular films are emerging in Hollywood. Experts in the World of Content hall at APEX EXPO this year weigh-in on what this means for in-flight entertainment.
Ever wish a movie could go on forever? Or at the very least for another season or two on TV? If so, then you’re in luck because the golden age of movie-to-TV adaptations is potentially upon us. What started a few seasons back with a few small-screen reboots of films like Fargo, Animal Kingdom and Westworld has taken off of late with literally dozens of movie-to-TV adaptations either released or in the pipeline.
Reimagined versions of films like Hanna, The Dark Crystal, Four Weddings and a Funeral and HBO’s hotly anticipated Snowpiercer and Watchmen series are breathing new life into existing content and turning conventional Hollywood wisdom – which has traditionally veered the opposite direction with movie adaptations of TV shows – on its head.
“Whether the TV show is an adaptation or an original that has preexisting appeal, the highest performing content is often linked to how recognizable the title is.” – Terri Davies, Global Eagle
“I think this is a clever move and one driven by the way we consume content now,” says Encore Inflight CEO Jovita Toh. “This appeals to different age groups because it reaches out to the old audience who have watched the movies and loved the characters, and to new audiences who love to binge-watch TV series,” adds Toh.
Terri Davies, Global Eagle’s SVP Content, seems to agree. “Whether the TV show is an adaptation of a movie, a reboot or an original that has preexisting worldwide appeal, the highest performing content is often linked to how recognizable the title is.”
The movie-to-TV trend is making waves on the international front, too. Particularly in Bollywood, where producers have been offering audiences reboots of popular Hindi-language films for the small screen – and in some cases even condensed “quickie” versions of longer feature films – for years.
Citing the familiarity factor as a huge selling point for much of this content, Prashant Gaonkar, Eros International VP Inflight Entertainment, says “Our TV shows have always been inspired by Bollywood films.” He adds that shorter, snack-size versions of Bollywood films just make more sense for many viewers, especially when traveling. “People on-the-go are always looking for shorter content,” he says.
Noting that the trend is still very much toward movie adaptations of TV series in most of the Asian market, Gigi Lee, acquisition and distribution manager at Emphasis Video Entertainment, says, “In the context of IFE, it still very much depends on the passengers’ preference and amount of flying time they have got … As a distributor, we would consider [offering both the original] TV/movie content alongside reimagined versions to offer passengers both viewing experiences.”
Encore Inflight’s Toh seems to agree. Carrying the original film alongside the new series revamp for passengers enables them to see where it all began. “While passengers want immediate gratification with shorter programs, they also want to be engaged for a longer period of time and this definitely provides more options for programming,” she says.
“Just as great books make great films, being able to immerse yourself further into that story in the form of a TV series is a great alternative,” says Zina Neophytou, vice-president, Out of Home, BBC Studios. She says the new format is welcome because passengers are always hungry for more content.
But can too many choices be overwhelming? Neilson’s recent “Total Audience Report” found that the average adult in the United States takes a little over seven minutes to decide what to watch before often settling on something familiar.
“Audiences today have almost overwhelming choices, and the content boom doesn’t seem likely to slow down,” says Global Eagle’s Davies. “A proven title, whether it’s an adaptation, prequel or sequel from books, movies, TV, games, comics, etc., that has a sense of familiarity and nostalgia in addition to an already successful storyline and cast of characters, is often a safer bet for producers and audiences than taking a gamble on something new and unproven.”