Do You Remember When The Movie, Not The Trailer, Was The Event?

The halcyon days when trailers simply existed to inform viewers about a particularly movie, as opposed to being events in and of themselves, is pretty much a thing of the past.  If I had any doubts, then the email I received from The Hollywood Reporter removed them.

It explains that the trailer for the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens (I still can’t stand that subtitle) will be shown in 30 theaters from one end of the country to the next.

And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to hear that there are instances where people attend showings just to see it, and leave as soon as it’s finished.  I am not sure what such a hunger for movie-related information means, though I have a feeling that it’s not a good thing because it reflects a preoccupation that is perhaps better reserved for more tangible, more real things.

Then again, keep in mind this is coming from someone who had has a huge nerdgasm whenever a new Marvel Studios movie (or Guillermo del Toro directs a new feature) turns up, so perhaps I am not the best person to make such points.

‘Prometheus:’ Neither Fish, Fowl Or ‘Alien’

What I referring to is in interviews how Ridley Scott often says that he feels as if he’s taken the Aliens as far as he’s able–keeping in mind that Prometheus as originally written was firmly entrenched in the Alien universe, till Damon Lindelof joined the project and excised most of those elements from Jon Spaiths’ screenplay–yet he keeps throwing in ideas peripherally related to Alien, though not nearly enough to satisfy fans of those movies.

And while I hate to sound to sound cynical, it feels to me that he knows damn well that fans of the Alien franchise–hungry for new material–will see just about anything that has xenomorphs in it.

And I get that “Alien fatigue” may have set in and that Scott feels as if he’s taken the property as far as he possibly could.  That being the case, why not leave it alone and let someone else handle it; though admittedly the Alien sequels done by other directors have been uneven at best, with Aliens being the most watchable and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem the least.

And while I wouldn’t call myself a fan of either Requiem or to a lesser extent, Alien: Resurrection, I’d rather see the movies embrace the material wholeheartedly and unashamedly, as opposed to the tentative way that Scott seemed to approach Prometheus, and how I am reasonably sure he’ll approach Paradise, its sequel, as well.

Though what’s really odd is that Ridley Scott intends to include Aliens in Paradise at all, which bothers me because, while Prometheus is a gorgeous to look at–it winds up being neither fish nor fowl.

Or maybe I am irritated over Vickers running in a straight line when the Juggernaut happened to roll in her direction.  Or how the pseudo-Facehugger not only survived decontamination in the Med-Pod, but somehow thrived.  Or…since showing is always preferred to telling, why don’t I just let CinemaSins give you a guided tour.

Reasons For And Where A Potential Tron: Legacy Sequel Could Begin

Tron: Legacy movie poster

 

  • Demand

I am still reasonably sure that there will be a sequel to the 2010 Joseph Kosinski film, Tron: Legacy.  The original earned over $400 million worldwide, on a budget of $170 million.  When you take into account promotional costs–which I don’t have access to, but I’ll add on another $100 million, which sounds fair–then Tron: Legacy actually wasn’t that profitable, if at all.

But you have to also keep in mind that it earned over $400 million, which shows is that there’s definitely interest in the property, and demand for a potential sequel, with the caveat being if Disney can build on that demand.

  • Disney Has Few Homegrown Options of Its Own

Disney, as a movie studio, is in a pretty unique position.  There’s their Marvel Studios arm, which produced the recent box office hit, Guardians Of The Galaxy, as well as the upcoming The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Ant-Man, and many others.

Then there’s Pixar, which creates cutting edge CGI features that manage to be extremely profitable, which isn’t easy to do (if you think so, take a look at DreamWorks SKG’s releases sometime, which if it weren’t for the success of How To Train Your Dragon 2, would be bleak).

And there’s also Disney Animation, which ever since John Lassiter, the head of Pixar, began running things, has become a hit-making machine with movies like  Wreck-It-RalphFrozen and most recently Big Hero 6 which has managed, domestically, to outgross Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

And I haven’t even gotten into Lucasfilm, which has the potential to be massive with the new Star Wars films they have in the pipeline.

So what becomes of Disney?  Are they a holding company for their more successful branches, or can they produce unique content of their own (Maleficent‘s success to this day is something of a mystery to me, as in I don’t see, considering how relatively niche the movie is in some ways, how it did as well as it did)?

I think that they can, and a sequel to Tron: Legacy would be a great way to show it.

Now on to where the story of Tron can go.

There’s a moment during Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy that could have defined the entire series, though it’s a relatively small (and unfortunately wasn’t built upon) and easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention.  When Quorra (Olivia Wilde) takes Sam (Garrett Hedlund) to see his father, Kevin (Jeff Bridges).  Kevin exlains that he brought in Tron, and created Clu to keep an eye on things when he couldn’t be on the Grid.

Flynn eventually uttered this line:  “It was a coup.  Clu had been corrupted.”

This is an important line because it leads to the most seminal event in the entire movie, which is Clu overthrowing Kevin and taking control, and if there’s a sequel it’s the perfect point for it to begin.

Because it leads to the question:  How did Clu become corrupted?  If you recall earlier in the movie, you meet Edward Dillinger (Cillian Murphy) who’s a star programmer at Encom.

The point being that Edward Dillinger is the son of Ed Dillinger (David Warner), who in the original movie was Sark though more importantly he’s the creator of the MCP (Master Control Program).

So, going to back to Tron: Legacy, the question of the day is:  How was Clu corrupted?  Let’s, for argument’s sake, say that it wasn’t a random event, but the work of Edward Dillinger!  This means that he’s not only aware of the Grid, but intends to take it over in his father’s name.

And how would he do so?

After corrupting Clu, he would then go about trying to create a new MCP which serves two goals:  It gives him control of the computer world, as well as, potentially, control of Encom.

But most importantly such a direction by Disney completes the journey began in Tron, continued in Tron: Legacy and brings it full circle, and toward what could be a very sastifying conclusion that pleases fans of the original film, its sequel, and others the world over.

And if Disney charts the course I have so carefully mapped, I hope that they also bring back Wendy Carlos, who’s talent, genius and ability defined the original film, and was sorely missed in the sequel.

What’s In A Name?

Gallows HillWhat’s going on with #Netflix and movie titles?

I’ve just finished watching one of the most recent horror movies to turn up on the streaming service, Víctor García‘s The Damned (a decent horror film, though the story treats some pretty outlandish material in a very reverential fashion, when perhaps a more “comedic” approach, in the vein of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, would have suited the material better).

Though the premise of the movie is an interesting one, which revolves around a witch who can’t be killed because doing so would enable her to possess whomever did so, while she kills for pretty much the same reason.  The Damned is also much more entertaining– and with much better cinematography–than another film García helmed, Return To House On Haunted Hill).

While The Damned is a more immediately recognizable, as well as dramatic, title, the house were the story takes place is called Gallows Hill, which also works when you take into account what a ‘gallows‘ actually is.

What’s a bit odd is that if you type inGallows Hillinto the Search box on the Netflix site, The Damned comes upThough if you type The Damned, or just ‘damned,’ it doesn’t, which is a bit confusing.

The Evil WithinThe only other time that I can recall this happening was when watching the movie Mine Games, which was originally titled The Evil Within.

Though what’s a bit weird is that, unlike in the case of The Damned, if you type ‘The Evil Within’ into search on Netflix, nothing comes up, though it works fine if you use Mine Games.

This weirdness around their titles doesn’t distract from enjoying either movie, though it is a bit strange.

‘Ouija’ Or (The Terror Of Diminished Expectations)

I caught Ouija last weekend, and it was okay; by which I mean that it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve seen (which barely qualifies as praise).  It had moments of interest, though thematically as well as visually it played out eerily similar to movies like The Conjuring, Annabelle and Insidious (which were also produced by Blumhouse Pictures, which I hope is just a coincidence).

What happened to the days when horror movies weren’t afraid to take a risk or two?

When a movie might actually do something that might offend someone’s sensibilities, but as a result end up at the very least an interesting exercise, if nothing else.  And the thing is, it’s not about money because movies like Ouija, The Conjuring and Insidious–which I use purely as examples–aren’t particularly expensive, which in the past often meant that filmmakers could do something a bit out of the ordinary because no one was going bankrupt if the movie tanked.

Continue reading

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron Had Over 50 Million Views, But What Does That Really Mean?

According to the Hollywood Reporter and technology firm Zefr (they track trailer viewing numbers) the trailer for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron had over 50 million views in its first week. Prior to Age Of Ultron the title was held by Fifty Shades Of Grey (and speaking of Fifty Shades Of Grey, is anyone else getting a Showgirls-like vibe from what we know–which is admittedly little–so far?).

It’s an interesting number but what does it mean beyond the obvious?  I mean, it’s certainly not individual viewers, because if I haven’t watched it at least ten times since its premiere, I haven’t seen it at all.

Now, if you multiply by all the comic book geeks out there, then it seems to me that you have numbers that can rather easily be manipulated by any group with the goal of promoting a movie that they like.

Which isn’t to say that I watched it as many times as I did with any agenda in mind–I thought it was awesome and only wished that the movie were being released sooner than May of next year–but if bunch of like-minded people were to watch a particular video often enough, they could skew those numbers pretty much any way they wanted.

And it doesn’t take any sort of conspiracy, just a bunch of people who like the same things.

Benedict Cumberbatch Is Doctor Strange!

Doctor Strange  Sorceror SupremeBy the way, is Benedict Cumberbatch’s last name pronounced ‘Cum-ber-batch’ or ‘Cum-ber-boch?’  I have been leery of such things every since what I like to call the “Bruce Cockburn Incident,” which by the way, isn’t pronounced at all how it’s spelled.

Kind of like ‘St. John,’ which if James Bond movies have taught me anything, is in some instances is pronounced Sin-Jinn (unless you’re talking about the actual saint).

Anyway, according to sources like Variety he’s going to play Doctor Strange, though what bothers me about Cumberbach in the role is that he has always appeared too tall, though that may have more to do with him in many instances playing against relatively short actors.  That being said, his voice is perfect, though I am still not too crazy about his overall look.

Then again, maybe seeing him in costume will change things.

Though he is a sought-after actor, and I think that Marvel Studios may have wanted him also because it keeps him out of Warner Bros/DC’s hands for the foreseeable future.

Then again, Marvel Studios elevated the game of Tom Hiddleston, so maybe they’re on to something.