LUMINA director Gino McKoy discusses UFO abductions and his new film with Tony Tellado. Click here to listen to the full interview on
 McKoy is a writer, musician and filmmaker. A bit of an auteur, you might say. He’s working on his new sci-fi film LUMINA, shot in Morocco.
Well, you know, I’ve always been into sci fi. Because I grew up – actually, my first – I was three years old when I first started reading the Star Wars books.


And my mom has me on cassette reading all the Star Wars books at that time, you know, three and a half you know, stuff. So like, you know, people are amazed at that, that I was actually reading Star Wars books at that time.
I think my inspiration started there, but for the movie LUMINA, I wanted to do a movie where you could see how someone is affected psychologically by a member of their family or someone that they love being abducted by aliens.
Ah, wow. Wow. That’s interesting. So you went for the psychological aspect of it.
Yeah, yeah. So you see that their friends, what the person they’re in love with, is affected by it. And its seeing how the – they own – the entire ensemble of cast – would react to something like that, and what they would do, and how it would affect their journey, and stuff like that. Just seeing the whole entire character arc.
I think I wanted to something like that because X-Files explored like, you know, abduction and stuff like that as well, but it was only really like one person really being affected by it in their entire journey, so I wanted to see how like, a whole group of people, like an ensemble, like how they would be affected psychologically by an abduction and how they would deal with it and their journey.
As I understand, this was shot in Morocco?
Yes, the entire film was shot in Morocco.

You get to Morocco and I mean, we’re both Caribbean guys, we like the warm weather. That’s the way it is. And, what was it about Morocco that said, hey, this is where I wanna make my movie?

You know, it’s interesting. Um, at first I was going to shoot in um, Malta, actually.

Oh, wow.

Yeah, because our good friend, who is a producer on the movie with us, he’s Maltese. And um, he’s very close to us. He works with Lynda McKoy, my mother, who’s a producer on the film, with the financing and all that stuff. And we wanted to shoot in Malta, but as you know, Malta doesn’t have any desert. And Tunisia came up in the picture, because you know, George Lucas shot there, you know, and Tatooine is there and everything else, and like I’m a huge Star Wars fan. For me, I thought it was that was great, but they didn’t have the studio space.


We had to build all the interior sets and everything else, you know, the sound stages, so Morocco came into the picture. And Morocco has such a rich history of filmmaking, you know, they’ve done so many great films with Ridley Scott and everything else, you know, and all the sword and sandal stuff. So I said, okay, they have the stages, they have the breadth of locations, a wide range of locations, and they’ve got great crews that are equivalent to the crews I work with in Los Angeles. We went, and that’s ultimately why I decided to shoot in Morocco.
The interesting fact about that is, it’s actually the first science fiction movie to be shot in its entirety in Moroccan cinematic history.

Wow. It’s about time then! (Laughs)

Because they’ve got all the exteriors, and sword and sand and stuff, from Gladiator and everything else and Kingdom of Heaven. Because the studio we were at was Cloud Studios in Ouarzazate. And, um, behind the studio is the big Kingdom of Heaven set. They’re known for doing those type of big historical movies. But it was their first science fiction movie, and the biggest, ever done in Moroccan cinema history. You know, the biggest stages ever built – and sci-fi stages – and the only sci-fi stages ever built – sci fi sets, actually, ever built on the sound stages in Moroccan cinema history.
So we created history with this. I didn’t even know that until about three weeks into pre-production and the art director comes to me, because he’s worked on some very big movies. You know, he worked on Old Guard, with Charlize Theron, and a number of other films there, and he was like, yeah. These are the biggest sets I’ve ever built in my life, and the only ones for science fiction. So we created history in Morocco and I didn’t even know I was doing that. (Laughs) So I guess it was divine, that we got led there basically to do that, you know?
I thank God for that opportunity and stuff, and I thought it was really great to see see um, us bringing something new to the country that is known for doing sword and sandal and historical pieces, and not sci-fi.

Yeah, yeah….

Because everyone really goes to Australia, New Zeland, you know they shoot…Europe, Canada, the US like you know, I come originally from Toronto. That’s where most of the sci-fi sets are built. You never hear of people building sci-fi sets in like, Morocco and stuff, so you know, I thought that was really, really unique. But yeah, that’s why we chose Morocco, and I realized that, you know, we created history while we were there.

Watch or listen to this space for more about LUMINA. For Byte, this is Tony Tellado.

This article originally appeared on
Written by Randy Radic

HOLLYWOOD: Gino McKoy is a rarity, a multi-talented visionary with the innate gifts to make an impact on not only music but also on Hollywood. He’s a singer-songwriter, screenwriter, film director, and producer.

McKoy’s latest music video, “Sensy Girl,” featuring Diamond, was produced by David Kershenbaum and McKoy, and mixed by 15-time Grammy-winner Mick Guzauski. According to McKoy, the song is a “celebration of women and music everyone can listen and dance to.”

His forthcoming sci-fi horror film Lumina, distributed by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures/Freestyle Releasing, will be appearing on 2,500 theaters across North America, followed by Little Mizz Innocent, both films written, directed, and produced by McKoy.

If that’s not enough, McKoy is funneling 20% of the merchandising revenue from “Sensy Girl” into his crisis charity for women and children, Kinder Krisis, a reflection of McKoy’s motto: “God put you here, not only to help yourself but to help others.”

CelebMix sat down with Gino McKoy to find out how someone from Trinidad and Tobago forges a path to success in music and feature films.

How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?

Been surrounded by it for my entire life. My first musical memory was the world steel band competition aka Panorama in Trinidad and Tobago at the age of three. My father is a musician/composer and a big music and steelband enthusiast and my mom was a singer and sang in school and church, she also has a great ear for music. But back to what I was saying, we parked up at night outside of Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain during the Trinidad and Tobago carnival season and listened to the competition. The notes echoed with that slight island breeze. One of my earliest memories of music.

Of course listening to my South American Jewish grandfather (dad’s dad) play classical or listening to Michael Jackson at the age of four, turned me onto music. Not to mention my mom was a singer and also came from a musical family, my father also had a band in Halifax, Nova Scotia when we first moved to Canada from the age of four and up. So I constantly heard music. Started mimicking opera singers around 7, while still listening to classical (favorite was Bach, on harpsichord) Michael, Madonna, GNR, U2, Rakim and local artists from the Caribbean.

But my real start came when I was in my late teens when I sang covers and hooks for local artists looking for R&B artists to sing on their hip-hop tracks or dancehall tracks. In between those years I couldn’t really find a vocal coach I liked or trusted, so it was just my raw talent tbh. Until around 12th grade I enrolled in music class at high school and the teacher said I was talented and should pursue singing professionally. After that I went on to sing at work events, weddings, talent shows at University of Toronto where I graduated from, etc. Eventually I found a vocal trainer, Marat Maxutov, a very talented Russian vocal coach out of Mississauga school of music. He trained me for the next 7-8 years and I refined my raw talent. That really prepared me for the next step into mainstream music.

When I met Nick Blagona at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga (some of the biggest artists in music history have recorded out of there), I was mastering an album with covers to present to labels. He heard my voice and said he wanted to work with me as he was also a mastering engineer out of that studio. He was excited when he heard we had original material my father had composed going back to the 80s. So the strong melodies were there in the original compositions, but it needed a Producer to arrange and really bring out the best of it. We recorded the album at Ocean Studios in Burbank but Nick fell ill shortly after. He said I needed to be in LA and once I was in LA, I knew God led me there – that was my path. David Kershenbaum eventually took over the music and re-produced it after I wasn’t satisfied with the mixes done by Grammy-award winning Mixing Engineer Dexter Simmons. I met David through his friend Rick Stone, a well-known radio promoter in LA, because his former assistant who I met crashing a red carpet event in Beverly Hills’s heard my songs and referred me to Rick. After Rick heard the songs, he put me on to David. David eventually incorporated legendary talents like Greg Phillinganes (Michael Jackson’s former Arranger and musical director, whose mother happens to be from Tobago, surprisingly), Bernie Grundman, Mick Guzauski and Bob Clearmountain involved along the way. That took the music to the next level and set me up for this EP release. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a great attorney that also believes in my talent be there as well, in Lee Phillips, who some may know as the attorney who repped Michael Jackson, the Eagles and Irving Azoff to name a few. Lee heard my talent and saw my ideas to amalgamate film and music and chose to represent me going forward. Lee helped us secure worldwide publishing with BMG from the Global Head of BMG in Berlin. We hope to have a great partnership going forward in the future. However, there’s a story between all of this which you will see below.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

If I tell you, I will have to kill you, LOL. Just kidding. But let’s just say this, had I not had strong parents who were there for me and my grandmother (mom’s mom, I released my EP with the “Sensy Girl” music video on her bday, June 14th) who was like a mother to me was also there for me, I probably would not be where I am right now; thank God I am and I’m happy I chose the right path.

What are the three things you can’t live without?

God. My parents. Music and film.

What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

Tough one, “Human Nature” – Michael Jackson and “Mysterious Ways” – U2.

What musicians/vocalists influenced you the most?

Michael Jackson, I had the doll, lol. Whitney and Madonna – the songwriters, melodies everything really, just like Michael. U2- one of my first music DVDs was “Rattle and Hum.” U218 is always on repeat for me. GNR – Appetite For Destruction, Use Your Illusion, both volumes, Slash on guitar, Axl’s unique vocals. Phil Collins and Elton John – between the two of them, it’s hard not to love ballads. Rakim – changed the rap game, his style was so unique and his message. Billy Ocean – Suddenly to “Caribbean Queen.” Super Blue – Trinidadian artist (calypso and soca) the rhythm and vibe. Super Cat – dancehall. Pearl Jam – Ten and Vs. “Alive” spoke to me. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

How did you go from singer-songwriter to screenwriter/film producer?

Before we met David, we met a number of people in the music and film industry, when we moved to LA. Sadly most were not honest and didn’t appreciate my vision of doing live music. Some label executives said it was too alternative, some said you need to sing R&B or Euro-pop and go all synth music. I personally loved the old school strong melodies my father and I wrote and as Michael Jackson has said, “Melody is king …” I wasn’t going to drop our great songs. It was a real struggle after that as many tried to push me into a corner despite seeing my talent. I didn’t give up, we as a family didn’t give up. We gave up everything in Canada to move to LA to pursue my dream and our dream to do music. We put all of our money into it and lost a lot of it, at a time we hit rock bottom, with a lot of our family turning their backs saying we should leave the entertainment industry. Despite the fact we supported them unconditionally in what they pursued. Our backs were against the wall, so I came up with an idea. And we built ourselves back up in the process to get to this point.

Growing up, I always wrote poetry and short stories, despite never really loving English class. Yeah it’s quite the contradiction. But I came up with an idea: I will write my own movie and put my songs in the movie soundtrack, so I won’t have to be subjected to others trying to get me to sing something else and I’m in control of my music career and the music I choose to put out. Plus I won’t have to worry about labels not signing me because they didn’t believe in the music, despite some notable producers saying it takes time and money to release that quality of music that we made.

So I wrote, Little Mizz Innocent, based on our song by the same name that will be released at a future date. Wrote it in 2 weeks, I never wrote a script before but I read a lot of James Cameron, Michael Mann and George Lucas’s scripts before I wrote LMI. Sadly, a lot of what I wrote was stolen and used by other films in the industry because the movie went into development hell, as they refer to it in the film industry. A few examples of that were when I was the first writer in Hollywood to write about the deep web and bit coin. That circulated throughout Hollywood for many years, so contrary to popular belief, I was the first to write about it in a feature film script, which of course I have proof of because it was registered with the Writers Guild of America. But you live and learn and get stronger and avoid trying to get blacklisted, despite the discrimination and the other fun stuff that comes with it. And once your film doesn’t release right away, ideas get taken. However, that did not stop me, delayed but not discouraged, it was a baptism of fire I had to pass through and learn about to get to this point. The sacrifices artists make to get their music heard and appreciated. It turned out that I was the only music artist to do this and play so many roles. You see artists like Donald Glover now, but I was ahead of the curve by many years, as I’ve been told. Because I created the film as a vehicle for my music and wanted that autonomy. The idea was born out of wanting the music to have a fair chance to be heard by the world.

What was the inspiration for your forthcoming Sci-fi horror movie Lumina?

I grew up a Star Wars fan, huge Stars Wars fan, still am a Star Wars fan and George Lucas fan, so much so, my grandfather (moms dad) called me The Jedi. Simply because I watched all the episodes every day since I can remember myself. I was also reading the Star Wars books at around the age of 3 and a half, my mom made sure to record me on cassette. She still has that cassette.

I wanted to experiment with alien abductions, and chase sequences.

Well after the delays on LMI, I was in Florida visiting my uncle who is a vet out in Bradenton, I decided to write Lumina and see if I could keep the storyline really contained, the polar opposite of LMI. I managed to do that. I’ve always had inspiration for sci-fi, it’s my niche genre which I love, I wrote a trilogy many years prior to Lumina, I hope to produce in the near future. It’s a topic that sci-fi movies haven’t explored yet and I hope to explore it and get it on the big screen. Lumina will also be my first feature film that I will be directing, so I will be making my directorial debut. As I did on both “Sensy Girl” and “The Everything To Me” music video which will be released later this year. No to mention we have secured a wide release in North America with Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures/Freestyle. Releasing with Byron Allen’s company to 2500 plus screens to all major theaters in 2020. Something that was termed a watershed moment in their history and maybe less than 1% of producers secure this type of theatrical distribution. So our hard work and struggles did pay off after all.

Your new music video – “Sensy Girl” – is hella-cool. How did you hook up with Diamond?

Thank you, that means a lot. Diamond and I have been friends since my first year of university, we actually did another collab together which is equally as great but needs to be re-produced, it got traction in Toronto and the Caribbean but never broke through. I think we want to change that after “Sensy Girl,” God willing it blows up internationally. Diamond is originally from Tobago, so we have an understanding and have been friends for quite some time.

What’s the story behind the title, “Sensy Girl?”

Diamond and I were hanging out or as we say in Trinidad (limin) one day in Toronto and we talked about that no songs had women and ganja, Diamond said why not “Ganja Girl.” I said that’s too on the nose, not catchy enough, “Sensy Girl” sounds better and is catchier, he loved it. We wanted to highlight the ladies because too many songs were focused on men. Sensimilla as you know is the female strain of the ganja plant, but has no seeds and is the feminine strain. So it worked perfectly and Sensy is a slang word used in Trinidad and Tobago to identify marijuana.

What is your songwriting process? Does the music come first and then the lyrics?

Depends, my dad and I like to joke that we are a Bernie Taupin and Elton John combo because Elton is one of his all-time favs. We compose together and I do a lot of the lyrics, unless dad already has lyrics, I make changes and also work with him and the producer and musicians. We don’t have a set way as such but a lot of the songs originate from the piano. “With Sensy Girl,” I was playing with guitar riffs with my uncle who’s a drummer and that gave me the melody for the hook. I produced a rough track in Toronto and then went to David Kershenbaum and we produced it together in two studios in LA. Dad also had input and worked on that track but it was mainly myself. We like experimenting in the studio and with different mixes and also prefer the minimalist approach but sometimes you need those layers for that full sound. I also never use auto-tune on my voice. We prefer going live and some mixtures or synth, but with “Sensy” it’s a different vibe.

I write poetry, so at times once I hear the harmonies and melodies words come to my mind, or vice versa. I hope to be recognized for my versatility because we write everything, as you can see the singles on the EP are three distinct genres.

You founded Kinder Krisis, a crisis charity for women and children. What is the charity’s primary objective?

Getting kids and women out of dangerous and impoverished situations. Lynda, who’s my mom and President of Goldove, volunteered a lot throughout her life, orphanages etc. I got a good example from her growing up. My motto is “God put you here, not only to help yourself but to help others.” So we started KK, and we are hoping to do an official launch with money raised by the end of this year to start helping kids, women and give back. For us it’s not about image or anything else superficial, we just want to know we can make a positive difference and we know the money is going to the people we need to help. The legendary Christopher Plummer also said he supports our charity, which was great as well.

What’s next for you? More music? Another movie?

Where do I begin. Securing radio play for “Sensy,” and “ETM” and “Runaway.” Releasing those music videos, “ETM” is shot and looks amazing as well. “Runaway” I’m still planning. Securing TV performances and also heading into shooting Lumina in Greece. Once that’s complete we will be finishing the album for release, with all music videos to follow. Tour etc., and then comes my slate of films. After Lumina is Spidersweb, a sci-fi film I wrote with Michael Sloan, who is the EP, producer and creator of Equalizer and Equalizer 2 with Denzel Washington. I will be directing his next feature and doing title tracks and the score, etc. for that. Then LMI and a number of other secret projects I can’t reveal as yet. Some will definitely catch the eye of the top media sources. All in all, I am excited to tour eventually and we have 40 more songs ready to be produced and released, plus I have a lot of writers pitching to me. So we want to unleash the music catalogue because streaming as everyone knows has changed the way music fans consume music.

Sensy Girl Music Video


June 12th, 2019 – Hollywood CA
By Claire Shaner
This article originally appeared on BestCompany

6 Trends We’ll See in Streaming TV

The streaming TV industry has grown dramatically in the last decade. “Cord cutting” (opting for no cable or satellite at all) has become the norm, especially among young adults and millenials. We’ve seen what streaming’s done, but where’s it going now? Hint: it won’t just be more Netflix. New streaming services like Disney+, AppleTV+, and WarnerMedia will each launch later this year. Here are six trends experts predict we’ll see as streaming continues to expand:

1. Overchoice

How many streaming services is too much? Trying to pick the best streaming service can be challenging.

Sam Cook, a writer at Flixed, adds his opinion about what this will mean for the market: “In psychology, the concept we’re dealing with in the streaming TV market right now is called overchoice. It creates cognitive dissonance for consumers as they struggle to figure out which services to sign up to and which to get rid of. Some may choose the easier fall-backs as a result, which at present includes the big names like Netflix, but will likely soon include Disney+ and its potential bundling of Disney+ with Hulu and Hulu + Live TV (a bundle which, if it comes to pass, would completely upend both the live TV streaming and video-on-demand sides of the market.) Quite frankly, overchoice is why the big names are likely going to win out and the smaller, niche services are probably going to peter out.”

2. Piracy and free streaming

Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy, says that this oversaturation of the market could “force consumers to turn to piracy in order to consume content from platforms that they can’t directly afford.”

Free streaming options might start to look more appealing compared to a collection of monthly fees. Bill Frost, a writer at says, “With paid streaming apps piling up, ad-supported, free services will start looking more attractive. When viewers reach their budget limit for monthly subscriptions, they’ll become more tolerant of ads. Streaming services like Pluto TV, which offers hundreds of niche channels and thousands of hours of programming for free with ads could become the ‘rabbit-ears’ TV of the future.”

3. Lowered costs

As streaming services compete for market share, monthly subscription price will be a huge factor. Walsh says, “For streaming providers, the exploding availability of services may force them to reduce the price of subscription fees.” Frost adds, “The only thing that will make a stack of streaming subscriptions palatable is knowing that they collectively add up to less than a cable or satellite bill.”

Up-and-coming services will need to keep their prices low to develop a subscriber base. Frost writes, “Disney+ is launching at a reasonable $6.99 a month, and WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming platform will probably be in the same ballpark. When it debuts in the fall, AppleTV+ will probably cost more than both — because everything Apple makes is usually more expensive, and the loyalists don’t care. If it’s Apple, they’ll buy it. But if the quality isn’t there, they’ll bail just as quickly.”

Cook agrees that the AppleTV+ launch won’t be successful: “Don’t expect much from it. Unless Apple is able to find a way to create a new angle to the streaming TV market that nobody else has figured out, and that consumers feel they absolutely need, Apple won’t be able to hedge its loyal fanbase to get a win here when most people who’d use it are already tied to Netflix, or likely Disney+ when that launches. For Apple, it’s probably going to be a case of too little, too late.”

4. Higher quality content

Dennis Restauro, founder of Grounded Reason, says that in addition to lower prices, competition in the streaming space will raise the quality of streaming content. This will especially be the case with original shows. Steve Kurniawan, a writer at Nine Peaks Media, agrees: “Original shows and programs will be the major driving forces behind the changes in streaming trend. This has obviously been around for quite some time, especially thanks to the popularity of Netflix originals. With Disney+ bringing major franchises (Marvel, Star Wars, their own Disney shows, among others) to the game, this will mean that competition in streaming apps will revolve around who has the better original shows, much like game console wars with who has the better exclusive games.”

An entertainment industry expert, Gino McKoy, says this might be a setback to smaller studios and that “only the major studios will be able to finance theatrical releases.”


From a consumer’s perspective, this is great. Lon Molnar, co-president of MARZ, says, “Quality will be the gauge, which means the consumers win.”

5. Bundling

With so many competing services, experts expect that services will team up and offer bundles. Frost says, “Spotify’s deal with Hulu in which you can add basic Hulu to your Spotify Premium account for free has been successful so far. I jumped on it myself — I used Spotify all the time, but rarely Hulu. Now, I’m finding more I like about Hulu, so they’ll have a hook in me if or when they end the deal. It’s evil genius-level marketing.” 

Derek Szeto at JustButterIt agrees, “As the individual services try to grow their subscriber base, they’re going to test and see benefits from bundling. What Spotify, Hulu, and Showtime have done for students is a good indicator of things to come.”

McKoy predicts that streaming services will team up with internet service providers (ISPs) or even become their own ISPs in order to maintain a profitable business due to the high bandwidth that streaming uses.

6. Technological advances

Kurniawan says that, “In the future, we can expect new, radical technologies to enter the game — for example, VR and AR for more immersive experiences, or A.I. based technologies for better personalization and user experience.”

Further expansion

Though streaming has grown dramatically in the last decade, it hasn’t completely taken over. Frost writes, “Streaming TV adoption can only grow as fast as internet infrastructure — there are still parts of the United States that can only access the internet through minimal DSL, satellite service, or even dial-up. It takes a decent amount of bandwidth to deliver a watchable picture, and most streaming TV services’ minimal requirements lowball the figure. Cord-cutting isn’t really the universal option it’s advertised to be… yet.”

June 2nd, 2019 – Hollywood CA
By Daniel Bukszpan
This article originally appeared on CNBC

‘Rocketman’ is winning rave reviews, but don’t expect Elton John to make a huge comeback

“Rocketman,” the biographical movie about rock star Elton John, opened this weekend to rave reviews. 

And it would seem to follow that this will translate into revived interest in Elton’s vast back catalog, but that remains to be seen.


If “Bohemian Rhapsody” is anything to go by, Elton John’s catalog is about to enjoy a new lease on life. The 2018 movie about the rock band Queen grossed $51 million in its opening weekend and went on to earn $687 million at the worldwide box office, sending the band’s music back to the top of the charts for the first time in decade. 

The two movies share other associations that make comparison unavoidable. Both share similar subject matter – classic rock and gay central characters – and Dexter Fletcher, the man who took over when “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer was fired from the production, is the director of “Rocketman.” And if that’s not enough, The Washington Post, the New York Daily News, and Newsweek are among dozens of publications running articles comparing the two films. 

Despite the parallels, there are differences between the two movies and these variances are significant enough to make some wonder whether Elton John’s music will really experience the same renaissance that Queen’s did.

For one thing, Rocketman’s opening weekend take was $25 million, less than half  of what “Bohemian Rhapsody” grossed in its first weekend.  

A major sticking point is the release date. “Bohemian Rhapsody” opened in November,with no real competition, but “Rocketman” opened the same day as “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” which is heavily favored to dominate the weekend box office. After that, it has to survive the onslaught of blockbusters scheduled throughout June, including “Dark Phoenix” and “Toy Story 4.”

Jazmine Valencia, President of the JV Agency, a music digital marketing company that has worked with such artists as the Killers and Fall Out Boy, said that the release date isn’t the only issue. The promotion for “Rocketman” simply hasn’t been comparable to the relentless advertising campaign that preceded “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“Half of my intern team didn’t know the movie was being released,” she said. ”[For] ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ they had all pre-purchased movie tickets, including those who were just really getting into Queen at the time of the release.”

Screenwriter and BMG Music artist Gino McKoy said that while he expects “Rocketman” to find an audience, he doesn’t expect it to give the Elton John catalog a similar boost, for a surprising reason – namely, because Elton John is still alive.


“The worldwide release of the film will reignite interest in his music and revive forgotten classics,” he said. “But it will not have the same impact as films about artists who have passed away prematurely tend to have, such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’” 

McKoy has a point when he says that death is great for an artist’s back catalog. When Chester Bennington of Linkin Park died in 2017, Variety reported that streams of the group’s music experienced a 7,000% spike the very next day. When Chuck Berry died that same year, streams of his music increased by 9,000%, even though he had last released a new album in 1979. Queen’s Freddie Mercury has been gone since 1991, but his death nevertheless added poignancy to “Bohemian Rhapsody” that may have made viewers want to re-connect with the music.

Absent that kind of emotional response, will a positive reception to “Rocketman” be enough to work miracles on Elton John’s catalog? Mara Kuge, president and founder of Superior Music Publishing, said that the effect is unlikely to be comparable unless the movie overperforms dramatically.

“If ‘Rocketman’ doesn’t gain that mainstream appeal, then it will be mostly seen by an audience already familiar with his music which, to be fair, is very large,” she said. “These fans may be inspired to go take a fresh listen, but it won’t add that much to his already sizable fanbase.”

If, however, “Rocketman” does better than predicted and succeeds in introducing Elton John to a new generation, she expects sales and streaming of his music to increase quite a bit. And given the enduring popularity of his catalog, that’s not out of the question.

“His music is so classic that there is a wide potential audience for it,” she said.

While some may be hesitant to predict a “Rocketman” effect on Elton John’s catalog, music producer, author and rock historian Denny Somach was very confident about it. He said that he expected the movie to be very good for his songs from the early 1970s in particular.

“Many of them have disappeared from radio playlists over the years, songs like ‘Border Song,’ ‘Amoreena’ and ‘Take Me To The Pilot,’” he said. “I do believe the movie will revive interest in his earlier songs.”

He added that Elton John’s fan base is so large that worries about the movie’s commercial viability are likely not even warranted in the first place.

“Elton John’s music has become cross-generational and has such wide appeal that I think the audience will be quite large,” he said.

Whether that audience will go home and download his albums and listen to him on Spotify, only time will tell.

May 19th, 2019 – Hollywood CA
By Daniel Bukszpan
This article originally appeared on CNBC

Game of Thrones Fans Are Angry About the Final Season – and the Franchise Could Suffer for It

On Sunday night, the final episode of the HBO’s “Game of Thrones” will air. This has been the highest-rated season in the show’s history, with last week’s episode watched by 18.4 million people, its most massive audience ever.

With numbers like that, it would seem that the series is going out on a high note, which is good news for the upcoming HBO prequel series, “Bloodmoon.” It would also seem to indicate robust sales of future home video editions and of the “A Song of Ice”and “Fire” book series upon which the series is based.

Unfortunately, many longtime fans have been unhappy with this season, and they haven’t been shy about saying so. The outrage isn’t limited to the fan community either – such mainstream publications as Forbes and The Washington Post have run pieces that are highly critical of the way the show is winding down.

The outrage has even inspired a petition called “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers,” with over half-a-million signatories and climbing.

Clearly, some have decided that it’s time to take to the streets with torches and pitchforks. So can the franchise withstand this level of ire?

Representatives for HBO could not be reached for comment, but Barna William Donovan at the Department of Communication and Media Culture at Saint Peter’s University said alienating fans could indeed put the franchise in danger as a commercial force.

“If audiences are left as angry once the final episode has aired as they are now, any future plans for spinoffs and DVD sales could very well be in jeopardy,” he said. “Fan communities do not like to be let down by long-running franchises, and they have often shown that they are willing to walk away from entertainment that disappoints them.”

The numbers show that fans will eventually tune out a franchise if it disappoints them enough. 1979’s “Alien” was a surprise hit that grossed $283 million at the domestic box office after adjusting for inflation, but the franchise bottomed out with 2007’s “Aliens Vs. Predator – Requiem” faring the worst at $53 million after inflation. This also holds true for the Terminator franchise, which dropped from the “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” franchise high of $438 million after inflation to $98 million for 2015’s “Terminator: Genisys.”

Donovan added that if the finale leaves a bad enough taste in viewers’ mouths, it could be detrimental to another beloved franchise. Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been tapped to create the next trilogy of “Star Wars” films, and Donovan believes a disgruntled response to “Game of Thrones” today could jeopardize “Star Wars” tomorrow.

“There is already a faction of ‘Star Wars’ fans who were unhappy with last two entries in that franchise — ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ — because they felt the films strayed too far from what they originally liked about the series,” he said. “So having Benioff and Weiss take over the franchise might further alienate many ‘Star Wars’ fans.”

Of course, all is not necessarily lost just because a series doesn’t end the way fans wanted it to. The HBO series “The Sopranos” had a famously unpopular final episode, yet the prequel movie “The Many Saints of Newark” is set to debut next year. “Seinfeld” ended on a notoriously dissatisfying note for many fans, but that didn’t stop Hulu from buying the streaming rights to the entire series in 2015 for a reported $180 million. It also didn’t stop series creator Larry David from having his own popular HBO show, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” just two years later.

Still, Andrew Selepak, director of the Master of Arts in Mass Communication Program at the University of Florida, said Benioff and Weiss have reason to be apprehensive about the future.

“While David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were once seen as geniuses for how they were able to adapt George R.R. Martin’s books to the screen, now they are seen by some as incapable of telling a story and only capable at repurposing someone else’s vision to the screen,” he said. Only time will tell if that impression will last among that subset of fans.

Not everyone has such a pessimistic take on the situation. Blake Masters, the creator of the Showtime series “Brotherhood,” said that he doesn’t expect today’s fan reaction to do any damage, in part because of the influence of “A Song of Ice”and “Fire” author George R.R. Martin.

“So as long as they see the prequel as bearing Martin’s authorial stamp, they will eagerly tune in,” he said.

Gino McKoy, director and screenwriter of the upcoming science fiction movie “Lumina,” said that the angry response to the final season is actually a testament to the franchise’s long-term viability.

“The outspokenness of ‘Game of Thrones’ fans speaks to the success of the franchise,” he said. “The buzz this final season creates will help cement its place in entertainment history because the controversy triggers curiosity.”

Daniel Barber, chief strategy officer at the Tangent Agency, agreed. Barber, formerly of Legendary Entertainment, worked with such franchises as “Pacific Rim” and “Godzilla,” and he said that controversy is simply an expression of how engrossed the fans are.

“The opposite of cheering isn’t booing – it’s silence,” he said. “Whether fans love ‘Game of Thrones,’ or love to hate it, they’re hyper-engaged. The same fans who voice their outrage are likely the very same who’ll be first in line for the new series, books, DVD collections, and whatever else comes next.”

With one episode left before the series becomes a part of television history, it remains to be seen how fans will respond when the final credits roll. For Barber’s part, he expects the ending to be as divisive as ever, something he said fans should have seen coming all along.

“‘Game of Thrones’ wrapping up with all fans smiling was never an option,” he said. “As Ramsay Bolton said, ‘If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.'”