VOD Views – July 6, 2015

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Big news in VOD players this edition. First up is influential blog Huffington Post, not only launching TV and film divisions but a 24 hour video channel which will stream live programming, short-form video, original series, documentaries and more.

Grand dame of the site Ariana Huffington told The Hollywood Reporter that ‘As we see the world moving to mobile and global video, these are pretty big priorities. Being able to produce video that can be consumed both by over-the-top and mobile is a huge priority for us.’

So it’s yet another big name hoping to get in on the Amazon/Netflix/Hulu action. Might we think of these companies one day soon the way we think about movie studios now, even as the studios themselves decline in stature to be mere product license packagers making big commercials for toy lines (some would argue they already are)?

Speaking of Amazon, they pulled off another eye-opening coup in film acquisitions by paying $4m for Elvis & Nixon (about the 1970 meeting between the rock star and the President). The ecommerce giant is opting for a traditional release by teaming with boutique label Bleecker Street in advance of a VOD release, but you can bet they’ll be pushing the film hard through their considerable reach.

That comes hot on the heels of two deals made by Netflix at this year’s Cannes film festival. The first was the acquisition of Kevin James’ comedy The True Memoirs of an International Assassin, and the company will also finance and release Brad Pitt-starrer War Machine.

Spending so much money (reportedly $30m) on a vehicle with a major star like Pitt seemed to be the company’s arrival into the same big leagues as the traditional studios when it comes to creating content, all of which is more proof that VOD is snapping at Big Hollywood’s heels.

Coming up and out now, Nick Sparks romantic drama The Longest Ride on Digital HD.

Also out, The Duff, billed as the Mean Girls of the current generation, where a teenager is horrified to learn she’s been saddled with the acronym Designated Ugly Fat Friend and sets about turning the role around.

Out in documentaries, Nina Simone fans will love Netflix’s What Happened Miss Simone?, and veteran filmmaker Michael Apted (the ”7 Up” series, ”Gorillas in the Mist”) brings us Bending the Light, a celebration of the cinema arts.

And don’t forget the cracker indie British zombie flick Infected, which we reviewed right here (http://moviehole.net/201592136infected).