This post is based on (admittedly) thin evidence, though there is a logic.
This year Fox released their latest version of Fantastic Four, which was–to put it bluntly–a box-office disaster, earning almost $167 million against at budget of at least $120 million.
At this point, to break even (typically double the production budget), which is the most that Fantastic Four can hope for at this point. There are a lot of people who hope that Marvel Studios regain the license to the characters, though this was before one of the producers, Simon Kinberg, announced that there were plans for a sequel.
Which is utter nonsense, and little more than the producer of a failed movie saving face. The proof is easy enough to see because you’ll find few companies willing to take a franchise that has already failed–and blatantly so–and pump more money into it. By way of example, Disney’s Tron: Legacy earned over $400 million on a $170 million budget while Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim earned $411 million on a $190 million budget. Most of that money was earned internationally, which was probably why Universal was so reticent about going in on a sequel with Legendary.
Both films were moderate successes, yet neither are getting sequels (though hope springs eternal for the latter). Continue reading
Tron: Legacy trailer
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest from the House of Mouse, you probably know that Tron 3 is dead, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we haven’t heard the last word on this matter.
Why? Because supposedly the reason for Disney’s change of mind is the weak performance of Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland.
When you know that, perhaps you thought the same thing that I did, which was, Huh?
In other words, apparently Disney executives are nervous because a movie that deals with futuristic subject matter is flatlining at the box office somehow means that another movie–an entirely different movie, one that actually has a track record and a loyal (albeit cult) following–is going to fail as well.
In other words, it just doesn’t quite add up.
I’ve been saying that there would be a sequel to Tron: Legacy for the longest time–despite the fact that the Joseph Kosinski-directed sequel to 1979’s Tron was pretty uneven and didn’t actually make all that much money, relatively speaking.
It earned $400 million on a $170 million budget, which isn’t by any means a failure, but hardly Transformers money. Then again, it must have been enough, because we’re getting a sequel!
Supposedly, the title is going to be Tron: Ascension, and while at the moment it remains hidden who’s going to be doing the ascending, I think it works much, much better than the title of the prior filming the series.
Though what I hope it brings back–besides Wendy Carlos–is the sense of innovation that the original film possessed.
And speaking of the original, it was a remarkable film in many ways, though like its sequel it had a storyline that was not nearly as interesting as its special effects.
Here’s to hoping that the third time around is the charm.
A lot of critics attack Disney’s 1979 sci-fi blockbuster The Black Hole on the basis of science. And while one level that’s understandable, it’s not terribly fair. For instance one critic called foul on the black hole being visible.
And while it’s true that according to science they cannot be seen–you don’t see the black hole itself, but the reaction of objects in the range of its influence–can you imagine how viewers would have responded to an empty void?
These days? It wouldn’t probably be such a big deal, but in 1979? Competing against Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which for my money had way too many plot elements in common with the Space: 1999 episode Voyager’s Return, but that’s another post) that had to couch it in terms that viewers could understand (and not openly mock, it goes without saying).
Besides, when we’re talking about science, why is it movies based on Star Trek or the X-Men get a pass? For instance, the transporter from Star Trek (which breaks a person down into what I assume is data, and rebuilds them on the other end is pretty silly (scientists are working on such things right now though I’d have to ask if that’s because they were inspired by Star Trek, as opposed to vice versa) and let’s not even get started on the X-Men, characters that exist in a universe where a person can have the power to project beams of force from their eyes, or shape shift (which I could easier accept if it were as painful as altering your skeletal structure and flesh should be).
I have to admit that I was getting a very cool Tron vibe (with a plot that’s curiously similar to what I have read about the–supposedly–upcoming sequel to Tron: Legacy), watching the trailer for Pixels. It actually looks pretty clever, a impression that I suspect that I am going to have to abandon seeing that Adam Sandler, the prince of low-brow comedy, is part of the cast.
Luckily, he seems to be one part of an ensemble, and the last scene almost makes up for it.
The official trailer for ITV’s The Thunderbirds Are Go! has dropped, and I like the way that they tried to integrate practical sets with CGI people and vehicles. (I also liked what appears to be a shoutout to Gerry Anderson’s Space: 1999, shown below).
Unfortunately, despite efforts to make the CGI characters look like puppets they still look like computer graphics, which has never been that great in portraying people (unless dead eyes and oddly spastic movements are your thing).
If the above trailer doesn’t prove my point, then take a look at 2010’s–was it really that long ago!?–Tron: Legacy. The CGI representation of Flynn (Jeff Bridges) attracted a huge amount of attention, but despite being state of the art at the time, it wasn’t actually that good a representation because–as far as humans go–our faces are composed of all sorts of muscles that interact with each other.
Let’s say you smile, your cheekbones move, which in turn shifts the position of your eyes, which slightly changes your forehead, perhaps wrinkling it.
Generally speaking, when humans, as well as animals, though it may not be quite as evident because their bodies may be covered with fur–move one aspect of our bodies, be it our faces or whatever–there’s an entire cascade of smaller movements that accompany it. Which was why the computer animated Flynn was so odd looking: his mouth would move, then literally nothing else on his face would, which looks like he’s received a botox injection in his forehead and cheeks.
So I guess what I am saying that I would have preferred it if they went with puppets, with CGI used when characters have to run or walk (because puppets have never done those two tasks particularly realistically) as well as spaceships and things like that.
I’ll believe it when I see it.
Take this with a huge grain of salt, for two reasons. First, the last I heard Joseph Kosinski was aiming to shoot Gran Turismo (a racing video game), which means that that if the sequel to Tron: Legacy is indeed shooting this fall, the likelihood that he would be helming the sequel is a bit unlikely (though the article does say he’s in “early negotiations,” in reference to Gran Turismo, whatever that means).
Then there’s the fact that there’s been no news on the Tron: Legacy sequel front for years now, and if production were gearing up, why has it taken so long for anyone to hear about it? I understand that there are some massive movies coming out, such as The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and so on but that doesn’t explain how this has managed to sneak under the radar.
And I don’t mean to sound like a hater because I am a HUGE fan of Steven Lisberger’s Tron, and enjoyed the sequel, but I don’t want to get my hopes up till I hear something more concrete.
Though what I am slightly more concerned about is if Wendy Carlos will return to score the sequel. Daft Punk’s music for Tron: Legacy was okay, but it lacked the gravitas, the impact, the joyousness, of Carlos’s music.
Ending Titles – Tron (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)