As libraries shift from the printed word to digital content, the Wichita Public Library has launched a free streaming service with access to more than 30,000 videos, library officials said Wednesday. The service, Kanopy, offers a broad menu of movies, shows and classes for all age levels, said Sarah Kittrell, the library’s collection development manager. “They actually have some different options than you might find on Amazon or Netflix,” Kittrell said. While the service is not the place to go for the latest Spiderman blockbuster, there are a lot of quality movies from the past and present, she said. “It does focus on mainly the independent films, the foreign films, the classics,” she said. “There’s not going to be a huge number of things that are just out of theaters, but definitely things that have been popular.”
For example, shortly after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the library got many requests for RBG, a documentary about her life and career. They had the DVD, but at the time, the only streaming services carrying it without a rental charge were Hulu and Kanopy. “When they tried to use the (Kanopy) service, it said ‘offered through your public library,’ so then they would ask us and it was not something we subscribed to at that time,” Kittrell said. One newer offering popular on the service now is the 2020 Mark Wahlberg film “Joe Bell,” about a father who walks across the country to draw attention to the issue of bullying after his son is subjected to it in school, Kittrell said.
Kanopy has a wide range of children’s movies, storytime videos, “Sesame Street,” in English and Spanish, and videos by Highlights, which many will remember as the children’s magazine that was once ubiquitous in doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms.
The streaming service also includes access to The Great Courses, which offers online classes ranging from casual cooking and music lessons to college-level instruction in subjects including math, science, history and philosophy. Other libraries have been streaming Kanopy and Wichita considered subscribing for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it over the top, said Library Director Jaime Prothro. “We definitely have a lot of great DVDs and BlueRay discs in our collection,” Prothro said. “But as COVID has impacted so much about library services . . . we were looking at ways we could strengthen our digital offerings so that people aren’t necessarily required to come in. “We’ve had a lot of customer requests over the last couple of years, just to be able to have easy access.” The library pays for the service on a per-view basis. The library has set aside about $15,000 saved from last year’s budget to pay the bill this year, Prothro said.
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When Will Nightmare Alley And The King’s Man Hit Hulu?
Per the recent release of Hulu’s February 2022 schedule of debuts, both of these films that released into theaters during the crowded month of December 2021 will be heading home real soon. In fact, Nightmare Alley is the first of the pair to be available, as it will be available on both Hulu and HBO starting February 1st. This Bradley Cooper-headed ensemble is currently still in theaters, though the availability may be a bit restricted, as it lost a lot of cinematic real estate to diabolik.
Meanwhile The King’s Man, another unfortunate combatant from roughly the same timeframe, will be RSVPing to Hulu’s digital library a little later in the month. To be more specific, the Kingsman franchise prequel starring Ralph Fiennes will be arriving on February 18th, dressed to impress and ready for battle. With both films respectively arriving roughly 46 and 58 days after they debuted in theaters, it’s definitely a coup that fits with the recent strategy of Searchlight Pictures and 20th Century Studios movies becoming Hulu exclusives. As the overall success of Vacation Friends is still fresh in the minds of executive and subscriber alike, it’s not a bad idea.
Why I’m So Pumped Hulu Is Debuting These Two Big Movie Theater Releases
It’s no secret that I loved both Nightmare Alley and The King’s Man, as I reviewed both films and continue to rave about them to whoever will listen. Being able to send potential viewers straight to their streaming device of choice to see them this soon makes it easier to cash in on the word of mouth that has been buzzing around. It’s also a good way to ensure a bright future for two films that have been labeled box office bombs.
For Guillermo del Toro and Bradley Cooper’s lush retro team-up, the assist is important because Nightmare Alley is currently courting awards voters. While the 2022 Golden Globes nominations proved to be a total bust in the case of this hopeful, boutique screenings of a black and white version, sometimes accompanied with Q&As, have continued to keep hope alive. Though this Nightmare’s streaming debut is literally the last day for Academy members to cast their votes for the nominees, every little bit helps.
The case for why I think The King’s Man’s streaming debut is such a joyous announcement is because of the fact that it could help the Kingsman franchise overall. When I spoke with Matthew Vaughn about both his World War I-set prequel, and the future of the modern series starring Taron Egerton, the co-writer/director was bullish on both fronts. As further installments are planned to continue exploring the early eras of the Kingsman Agency, as well as where Eggsy and Harry’s relationship is going to progress to in its final chapter, there’s a lot riding on this chapter’s success. This streaming debut might be the key to helping determine whether or not the series is still on Disney’s radar before that intended September start date for Kingsman 3 arrives.
Which brings me back to the unifying factor for both titles: they were pretty much slaughtered at the box office. Nightmare Alley was basically labeled as an almost instant cult classic we’d all come to appreciate in the course of a decade, while some said The King’s Man was a franchise expansion no one asked for. Sending both of these movies to theaters in direct proximity of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s monstrous opening weekend did no favors for either, and that was only compounded by the fact that the world is still working its way through a pandemic. But a quickly-as-possible home release, especially on a platform that’s easy to subscribe to, is quite a bold statement to make.
Having quick streaming releases for films such as these isn’t ideal, to be sure. The King’s Man is especially showing some distance in theaters, as its continued top 10 showings since opening have kept it in Box Office Mojo’s line of sight. Sending this and Nightmare Alley straight to Hulu is a sign that Disney wants to claw back as much business as it can on both projects, and the strategy is to see if streaming success could redeem them in the eyes of the marketplace. It’s not a sure thing, but since this is the next phase for two movies I highly recommend people go and see, I’m glad to promote this hopeful twist of fate.
Nightmare Alley is currently in theaters, both in its original theatrical release, as well as a “Vision in Darkness and Light” roadshow that could be headed to a theater near you. The King’s Man is also still showing in theaters, with no special versions planned as of yet. Again, you can respectively catch these films on Hulu starting February 1st and 18th if you’re waiting for home streaming to enjoy; but don’t forget to check out the 2022 release schedule in the meantime. Who knows what future releases will need the same push that these scrappy contenders are about to receive?
CinemaBlend’s James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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