Kevin Hart’s Action-Comedy ‘Die Hart’ Rises From The Ashes Of A Failed Streaming Service
Quibi might be dead, but Kevin Hart’s meta masterpiece lives on.
Releasing on Prime Video is Die Hart: The Movie, an action comedy that stars Kevin Hart as a fictionalised version of himself who tries to move away from comedic roles and become an action star by enrolling into “action hero school” under the tutelage of Ron Wilcox (John Travolta).
While Die Hart: The Movie may seem like the latest film from the ever-prolific Hart, it is actually a refashioning of a 10-episode series created by John Wick writer Derek Kolstad and Stuber writer Tripper Clancy, that was originally available on the short-lived streaming platform Quibi founded by media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg.
WATCH the trailer for Die Hart: The Movie below.
Launched in 2020, Quibi was a streaming service dedicated to delivering premium, episodic content to phones. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Walt Disney Studios in the late ‘80s and co-founder of Dreamworks Animation in the ‘90s, stated in a 2019 Vanity Fair interview that “Quibi is not a substitute or a competitor for television. Our [service] is exclusively about what you do from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on your phone. And what you’re doing today, if you’re in our core demographic of 25- to 35-year-olds, is you’re actually watching 60-70 min of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. That growth is now a well-established consumer habit that Quibi is sailing into.”
Katzenberg, along with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, raised $1 billion in funding from the likes of The Walt Disney Company, Viacom, and BBC Studios. A slew of original programming followed, with A-list names such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Guillermo del Toro, and Steven Soderberg all attached to various 10-minute “quick bite” projects that became Quibi’s calling card. After another $470 million spent on marketing and promotion, Quibi launched on April 2, 2020, in North America.
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While 910,000 users signed up for the three-month free trial of Quibi in its first few days, only 72,000 stuck around for the paid version. It was a trend that did not improve, and in October 2020, less than seven months after its debut, Quibi announced that it would shut down, resulting in a loss of work for its 200 employees and leaving numerous projects in limbo.
Turns out that launching a new streaming service in the middle of a pandemic is not the world’s best idea. The new streaming startup clearly could not contend against a competitive subscription-streaming landscape, nor against apps like TikTok and YouTube that provided free bite-sized video content to the very same 25-to-35-year-old demographic that Katzenberg and his team were targeting.
In 2021 it was announced that Roku, the California-based digital media company, would buy the Quibi library consisting of 75 programs for a cool $100 million to air on its free streaming service, The Roku Channel. One of the shows that was brought over was Die Hart, which not only starred Hart but was produced by his multi-platform entertainment brand Hartbeat.
The response to Die Hart – which also stars Nathalie Emmanuel, Josh Harnett, and Jean Reno – was so strong that Roku has placed in production a second season titled Die Hart: Die Harter. Joining Hart this time will be John Cena, Ben Schwartz, and Paula Pell. Roku is currently not available to Australian viewers.
Before the second season of Die Hart is released, fans of the series, along with those who have yet to watch satirical action-comedy, will have to be content with Die Hart: The Movie, a version that condenses the 10-episode Quibi series into a feature-length movie, which will stream on Prime Video of February 24.
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