Additionally, Amazon and Britain's Premier League announced that live and exclusive matches will be available to Prime members in the U.K. In April, the National Football League announced a two-year renewal of its pact with Amazon for "Thursday Night Football," which will be available to the ecommerce giant’s more than 100 million Prime video members worldwide. starting in 2019.” />
“There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year," Bezos said. In prepared remarks about the quarter, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos focused on Alexa, the company's voice-powered service.
Revenue in Amazon's "other" category — which primarily includes sales of advertising services — more than doubled to $2.19 billion, up 132% versus $945 million in the year-earlier period.
Amazon sales came in shy of analyst expectations at $52.89 billion for the second quarter of 2018, but the ecommerce giant delivered a whopping beat on earnings per share.
Analysts were expecting revenue of $53.41 billion. Amazon reported earnings of $5.07 per diluted share, massively beating consensus Wall Street estimates of EPS of $2.50. The company posted net income of $2.53 billion in the second quarter — a quarterly record for the company, and a nearly 13-fold increase from net income of $197 million in the year-earlier period.
Among the highlights Amazon called out for Q2, the company in late June began shipping the Fire TV Cube, a 4K Ultra HD streaming-media player with Alexa that allows customers to control their TVs using voice commands.
The company also touted its 22 Emmy Awards nominations for Amazon Prime Video original programming, including 14 nominations for comedy series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
The results come after Amazon dramatically beat earnings expectations for the first quarter of 2018. It's the company's third straight quarter of posting more than $1 billion in net profit.
The Amazon Web Services division continued its blazing growth trajectory, with $6.1 billion in sales (up 49%) and operating income of $1.64 billion (up 79%) for the second quarter.

The company had been delivering solid double-digit growth every single quarter, but in Q2, its year-over-year growth slowed down to 11%. What’s more, quarter-over-quarter, growth in the U.S. One of the key take-aways from Wednesday’s earnings report is that Facebook’s growth is slowing. and Canada was flat, and user numbers in Europe even declined.
Stories and Watch have fewer ads
However, the resulting stock sell-off, which resulted in the evaporation of $110 billion of the company’s market capitalization, can’t just be explained with Facebook missing Wall Street’s revenue estimates. Instead, investors are waking up to a key realization that Facebook executives have been frank about for some time: The ways consumers interact with social media are changing, and as Facebook is adapting, its profit margins are bound to get smaller.
Back then, Zuckerberg warned investors that the company’s embrace of video could lead to some significant changes. Investors seemed unnerved by these revelations, but executives had been warning about the issue for some time. In fact, Zuckerberg had talked in frank terms about a need to evolve Facebook’s business almost exactly a year ago, when the company was reporting its Q2 2017 earnings. “The economics are quite different from the current feed-based businesses that we have today,” he said.
To be clear: Facebook is still poised to make billions every quarter for the foreseeable future. But as the company embraces a changing online media landscape, investors may have to cope with the fact that the days of the newsfeed cash machine may not last forever.” />
But what really sent them over the edge Wednesday was Facebook CFO David Wehner’s forecast that the company’s revenue growth would decelerate over the coming quarters, and his warning that Facebook's operating margin would sink from its current level of 44% to the mid-thirties over the coming quarters. Facebook’s growth slow-down alarmed investors. Wehner attributed part of this with a bigger investment in security and content moderation, which executives have flagged for some time as something that could negatively impact profitability.
Facebook’s growth problem
Zuckerberg and Wehner made those remarks just before Facebook launched Facebook Watch, a dedicated, YouTube-like video destination seeded with original content from partners like BuzzFeed, Tastemade, and Cheddar. But the same is true for similar media-centric initiatives, including Stories and Instagram’s newly-launched IGTV.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise: Facebook is now being used by 2.23 billion users around the world every month. That’s already close a third of the world’s total population, and an estimated 62% of the world’s internet users. Facebook has been investing into helping to expand internet usage around the world to grow its potential audience, but ultimately, the company is set to hit a ceiling.
“This business will likely be — not likely I think, almost certainly will be — a lower margin source of revenue than the current thing that we do.” At the time, Wehner also warned that Facebook’s embrace of video would likely mean that people would spend less time in the company’s highly-profitable newsfeed. “The margin structure will be different,” Zuckerberg explained. “There is, in that sense, a cannibalistic effect of sort happening there,” Wehner said.
But Wehner also singled out Stories, which have been extremely popular on WhatsApp and Instagram. This successfully stopped Snapchat’s growth, to the point where now twice as many people use Stories on Instagram as Snapchat. Facebook started to add Stories to many of its apps two years ago after the format proved popular on Snapchat.
Say good-bye to the cash machine
Ultimately, Facebook has to evolve to stay relevant to its user base and not lose out to competitors like Snapchat. Those changes can impact the company’s profitability in the short run, but it’s also likely that some of these new media formats will never be as profitable as Facebook’s newsfeed.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg already set off a trial balloon for this approach during Wednesday’s earnings call, revealing that 2.5 billion people used one of Facebook’s apps every month. Facebook is addressing this with a bigger focus on some of its other apps that still have more of a growth potential, including Instagram, and the company is likely going to put a bigger emphasis on those numbers going forward. That kind of saturation can already be seen in the U.S., where the social network has been hovering at around 185 million daily active users for a year now.
These days, everything seems to be going wrong for Facebook. The social networking giant is still reeling from the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. And on Wednesday, investors reacted with shock after Facebook delivered lower-than-expected earnings, growth metrics, and financial forecasts. Its content moderation guidelines are under scrutiny over decisions to keep Infowars content, as well as Holocaust denial, on its platform.
However, Stories have a lighter ad load, and as such, don’t make Facebook as much money as its traditional newsfeed. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wasn’t able to promise investors Wednesday that they ever would, telling investors: “We honestly don’t know.”

In order to pull it off, McQuarrie's team even had to train their camera operator to break free of his instincts (i.e., capturing freefall action in a wide frame) and to think with visual storytelling in mind, to say nothing of the focus-pulling acrobatics on display. A huge chunk of the conversation is dominated by a detailed dissection of the highlight stunt of this film: a HALO jump sequence achieved in five shots stitched together to look like one dazzling descent from 25,000 feet.
New episodes air every Thursday. Listen to this week's episode of "Playback" below.
I am less so. My visual sense did not really kick in until midway through that movie because I was so busy working on the screenplay. "On 'Rogue [Nation]' what I decided to do was something of a greatest hits. I did not think in terms of locations as much as I thought in terms of environments that invited action. "Tom and I watched a lot of 'North by Northwest' and 'Notorious,' we talked about Hitchcock, and of course, De Palma is a huge disciple of Hitchcock. I spent a lot of time analyzing what had gone right and what had gone wrong. I wanted to tip my hat to the four previous movies," McQuarrie says. I applied all of that to 'Fallout.'" I really didn't have the confidence to push back on my cinematographer or to trust my instincts about lighting until I started editing the movie over Christmas break. The opera sequence, which a lot of people look at as an homage to 'The Man Who Knew Too Much,' was more inspired by 'The Key to Reserva,' which was sort of a send-up of Hitchcock that Martin Scorsese did.
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Despite his recent franchise success, McQuarrie says he still struggles to realize a number of dream projects he's developed over the last two decades. Following the Oscar-winning success of "The Usual Suspects" in 1995, he wrote a number of scripts that he couldn't get off the ground as director (including a draft of 2000's "X-Men," which was ultimately helmed by Bryan Singer). And that's nothing new for him, either. He long dreamed to bring Alexander the Great's story to the screen as well, but the harsh realities of the business held those dreams at bay.
"Any of the stuff you see in 'Mission: Impossible' we could very easily do on a stage somewhere," McQuarrie says. That's really what we're after." You're just that much more invested. So Tom and I work together to create that sort of immersive experience so that you're with Ethan and you feel what's happening. You're right over Henry Cavill's shoulder, over Tom's shoulder. There's no doubt that there's a large element of him having a great time doing it, but for Tom, it's not about, 'Hey, look at me!' It's about, 'Look at Ethan!' I shoot everything in a somewhat voyeuristic point of view, but not a voyeur peering in from the doorway. "It will not give you the same visceral energy that you're experiencing when you watch your star doing it, and I'm able to shoot things in a way that I couldn't do otherwise.
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So that was the moment I decided to quit the film business [for a time]," McQuarrie says. I'm not making the movies I want to make.' And this is said with all gratitude: I still haven't. "No one wanted to give me the opportunity as a director on the things I wanted to direct. I mean, you make a movie with Tom Cruise, the only person you have to answer to is Tom. I've made movies that other people have wanted me to make. But at the same time, all of those dream projects I spent all of that time developing, I've never made one of them." I've had the great fortune to be able to make them my way with an enormous amount of freedom. "I said, 'I'm in the business of making other people's dreams.' More importantly, 'I'm in the business of trying to get movies made.
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.
Director Christopher McQuarrie stops by the show today to discuss his latest high-octane thrill-ride, "Mission: Impossible – Fallout." McQuarrie had a long road to this place, taking off quickly in the industry with an Academy Award but soon settling into a groove where he could not get the projects he wanted to direct through the system with him at the helm. His recent additions to the "Mission: Impossible" franchise have revealed a filmmaker, just four movies in, at the very top of his game. Coming into superstar Tom Cruise's orbit, first with 2008's "Valkyrie" (which he developed) and then as director of 2012's "Jack Reacher" (at the time, his first directorial effort in a dozen years), changed everything.
For more, including thoughts on whether he has another "Mission: Impossible" film in him (and where he sees Cruise with the series in another 20 years), listen to the latest episode of “Playback” via the streaming link above.
Dan Doperalski for Variety” />
Christopher McQuarrie photographed exclusively for the Variety Playback podcast.
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Composer Lorne Balfe's task, like any in the 52-year history of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, was simple but not easy: Use Lalo Schifrin's classic, iconic television theme, but find a fresh approach to effectively score Tom Cruise's sixth outing as Ethan Hunt in "Fallout."
Schifrin's "Plot" theme recurs too, but Balfe calls that "the gang theme," referring to Hunt's team of Impossible Missions Force agents. The familiar descending three-note phrases and the rhythmic pulse beneath it are everywhere. Balfe essentially deconstructed Schifrin's original theme and utilized it, a bit at a time, throughout the film.
"It allowed for constant experimentation and there wasn't the usual fear of having to deliver immediately," Balfe says. Cruise also stopped by and offered "a lot of feedback and suggestions." Balfe worked closely with McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton throughout shooting and during post-production – in fact, he was writing "next door," enabling him to supply music demos while they edited the film.
It was the longest he has ever worked on any film, and at four hours, the most music he's written (most of which was recorded but some of which didn't make it into the final cut).
"Eleven of them usually don't get gigs," quips Balfe, who added the percussion as another reference to the sound of Schifrin's original TV scores – except multiplied. The concept started with one bongo, and then we thought we'd see how many we could add until it stopped being an interesting color. "As well as a great theme, you've got a very unique time signature with a well-known pattern. So we did 12 bongos at all different pitches." Oh, and 12 bongo players.
Balfe incorporates it from time to time and even had the phrase "Mission: Impossible" translated into Latin ("missio impossibile") for the choir to sing during the film's finale. The giant choir was, at first, inspired by the film's London funeral scene (underscored with a John Tavener choral piece).
He wanted to email the composer but kept "chickening out," he says. Balfe says he has never met composer Lalo Schifrin, who is now 86, semi-retired and lives in Beverly Hills. "It's very nerve-wracking," he confesses, but this week — as the film was about to be released — he finally sent Schifrin his version of the "Mission" theme. He's on pins and needles waiting for a response.” />
It took nine months of writing music, 30 full days of recording at two major London stages, and nearly 300 musicians and choristers to realize Balfe's sonic vision. And nearly every moment in Balfe's two-and-a-half-hour score derives in one way or another from either Schifrin's famous main theme or his secondary theme ("The Plot") from the original 1960s TV show.
"Every time you think the next stunt can't get any bigger, it happens," Balfe says. "You don't necessarily need fast music; it can be slow but proud. Filmgoers will sense a massive, often dark sound accompanying Cruise and crew while they try to locate and disarm nuclear devices before they detonate and kill millions. The visuals were asking for it."
Add to that 100 string players, an 80-voice choir, 14 drummers and a smattering of woodwinds. Balfe ("Terminator Genisys," "The Lego Batman Movie") felt that the score needed to be "as epic as the movie." The brass section alone was an unheard-of combination of 42 players.
"One of the most famous in the world. But how do you modernize it without simply doing dance remixes? It's an honor. "What a tune to be able to work with," Balfe says. The audience knows that melody, and you've got to be loyal to it, because if not, you don't have Ethan Hunt."
Paramount president of motion picture music Randy Spendlove notes "it quite possibly could be" the largest gathering of musicians ever for a Paramount movie. Things changed along the way, and Lorne was skilled enough to be able to keep up with Tom Cruise and [director] Chris McQuarrie." "While there were many days of recording, much of it was because Lorne started early and we recorded through the entire post period.

“League of Legends” is a massively popular game worldwide, with huge followings in some countries, including South Korea. The MOBA is currently the second most watched and third most streamed title on the video game streaming platform Twitch, according to TwitchStats.
"He was being playful around the release of this world map (https://map.leagueoflegends.com/en_US) – and wants to encourage our players to think of what Riot's long-term goals could look like," Justin Kranzl, Riot Games' North America communications director, told Variety.
Earlier this week Riot co-founder Marc Merrill sparked discussion around the possibility of the developer creating a "League of Legends" massively multiplayer online game when he tweeted a question about the idea.
The tweeted question came after the developer released an interactive map based on the game's growing lore.
The single tweet kicked off discussion in the official “League of Legends” subreddit where players there discussed the possibilities of a "LoL" MMO and whether they thought it could be successful.
While the company hasn't created any spin-offs for the popular game, it has put a lot of work recently into breathing more life into the lore behind the game through video shorts and comics. Some of that new material has reinvented characters or given them a more robust backstory.” />
But the tweet, which read simply "Should we build a MMO? Yay or nay?" wasn't meant to be taken seriously.

A new “New Media Residual” is included, but it is not what the other Guilds (DGA, WGA, or SAG) received, and it is impossible to put a value on it. You will likely hear overestimated numbers as to what this proposal is worth, but anyone who tells you for the next contract cycle what it’s worth is guessing. The funding of the MPI Plans was addressed to some extent, but in a way that is short-sighted and will undoubtedly leave us fighting again in the next round of negotiations and has the studios putting in very little money over the next cycle. There was no additional hourly pension contribution negotiated.
I’ll be sending out several emails. Early this morning a totally, unnecessarily unacceptable agreement was reached concluding the current Basic Agreement negotiations. A brief note now touching on the main points of the agreement:
$.75 Increase in Hourly Contribution to the Health Plans
The change to turnaround is 9 hours for Local 700, and 10 hours for all other locals. For features and long-form TV, the provision will only apply if you work two consecutive 14-hour days. An additional hour of straight time pay is the only penalty if the 9th hour is invaded.This does not impact the existing 10-hour turnaround for our New York-based members. None of this will apply to any On Call employees. However, this will not apply to pilots or 1st season episodics.
 
If ratified, the tentative deal would be a successor agreement to the current three-year master contract covering 13 Hollywood locals, including Cinematographers Guild Local 600, Editors Guild Local 700, and Art Directors Guild Local 800. In total, the contract covers more than 43,000 employees.
There will be plenty more details to come soon…
President Alan Heim has called for a Special Board of Directors meeting where I will recommend non ratification of this deal to the Board.
The IATSE usually reaches an agreement with AMPTP long before expiration so the fact that negotiations remain open has been interpreted as a sign of the difficulty of reaching a compromise amid profound changes in how the entertainment business operates. In 2015, IATSE reached a tentative agreement more than three months prior to expiration. The negotiations have been taking place under a news blackout.
National Executive Director Cathy Repola sent out a message to members Thursday calling the agreement "unacceptable." Members of Local 700 have been the center of opposition to a new agreement in recent weeks as the outlines of a deal began appearing.
The current deal expires on July 31. Key issues that emerged in the talks included continued funding for the union's pension plan and safety issues, including excessive hours, and revamping the residuals formulas from shows aired on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
Cathy Repola
 
 ” />
Dear members,
 
Turnaround
Negotiators for the West Coast members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — Hollywood's key below-the-line union — have reached a three-year tentative agreement with studios and networks.
Our side agreed, with strong opposition from me, that all signatories of the agreement (excepting the major studios and any other companies they designate) will be subject to a $.75 per hour contribution increase to the health plan each year of the agreement and resulting in a $2.25 per contribution hour increase by the third year. This will have a detrimental impact on our members who work at and own independent post facilities – sound houses, trailer editing, music editing, digital companies, and employee shareholders – because escalating their overhead costs will likely result in decreased employment. This will also make organizing non-union companies more difficult.This allows the studios to put a burden on smaller companies while avoiding any substantial contributions to the plans themselves.
The deal was announced Thursday afternoon after three days of negotiations. IASTE had held three rounds of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — one in early April, one between June 26 to June 29 and the final meetings this week.
National Executive Director
New Media Residual

Lightbox is currently in production on “Diagnosis," an eight-part documentary series for Netflix produced in partnership with Scott Rudin Productions, and “Weinstein,” a theatrical documentary on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which will also air on BBC 2. Lightbox’s most recent release is Kevin Macdonald’s “Whitney,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.” />
The company co-financed “Man on Wire” (2008). This marks Simon Chinn’s second collaboration with Discovery. “The team at Lightbox is fascinated by pivotal moments in American history like Hurricane Katrina and look for projects that are unique and timely stories,” said Simon and Jonathan Chinn.
“This feature documentary will be a snapshot into a fascinating and little understood group of people in the deep South who are driven to risk life and limb to help their neighbors, regardless of religion, race or creed.” “The Cajun Navy was born, spontaneously, out of one of the most devastating natural disasters in living memory in America — and the fact that it has endured and continues to rescue people every hurricane season is a testament to the need it fills in American life,” said Simon and Jonathan Chinn.
The multi-platform media company was founded in 2014 by two-time Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire,” “Searching for Sugar Man”) and his cousin, Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (“LA 92”). Lightbox is producing the docu, which is currently in production and will air on Discovery in 2019. Both will serve as executive producers on “Cajun Navy.”
“We are really excited to shine a light on the Cajun Navy’s inspiring work for our audience.” “These are stories of neighbors helping neighbors, of people relying on each other, of communities overcoming devastating obstacles together,” says Nancy Daniels, chief brand officer for Discovery.
Formed in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina, the Cajun Navy is a group of men and women who, when everyone else flees deadly storms and floodwaters, run towards it to try and save people left behind. Members include fishermen, lawyers, pastors, and housewives.
Newton, who has access to various groups operating in Louisiana and surrounding areas under the Cajun Navy banner, will chronicle the group’s grass-roots rescue efforts from a movement that started during Hurricane Katrina and lives on today. Jon Bardin and Andrew O’Connell will serve as executive producers for Discovery, along with Lightbox’s Suzanne Lavery. James Newton (“The Detectives”) will direct the doc.
Discovery has greenlit “Cajun Navy,” a feature-length documentary that will focus on civilians who risk their lives to help people survive devastating storms, Variety has learned exclusively.