Disney Outbids Comcast (Or Mice Aren’t Typically Known For The Size of Their Genitalia)

Apparently Disney has upped their offer for the studio and theatrical divisions of 21st Century Fox to somewhere in the ballpark of $71 billion, topping Comcast’s prior bid of $65 billion.

As I understand it, Comcast would normally have five days to raise their bid, but apparently Fox has accepted Disney’s diabetes-inducing offer so it’s likely ‘Game’s Over!’ for Comcast.

And while I am glad the X-Men and Fantastic Four will be part of the MCU or Marvel Cinematic Universe (let’s be honest: Fox’s management of the X-Men franchise has been, at best, mediocre–which is a high complement compared to their mismanagement of the Fantastic Four) I am not entirely sure we need another massive company which seemingly exist only to enrich the rich and screw the workers (I.e., the people who do the damn work).

And something tells me that soon–not today, not tomorrow, but soon–the worm will turn on these mega-monster mergers and trustbusting will be back in vogue.

Mark my words.

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Beware (Or Not) The Dreaded Reshoot

Supposedly, reshoots are a normal part of moviemaking.  Oftentimes they’re done to make the story flow better, or to add something that focus groups shown the movie in pre-release screenings thought would somehow sharpen its focus or to address a weakness.

Though reshoots can also happen when a movie is believed to be in danger and the studio is doing their best to salvage something from their investment of both time and money.

The most blatant example I recall is from Exorcist: The Beginning (2014).

Originally the movie was directed by Paul Schrader, though when the studio saw what he was doing–his cut emphasized tension and atmosphere, more so than the visceral that the studio wanted–so he was fired and replaced with Renny Harlin, a director known primarily for action movies like Die Hard 2 and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Which is exactly what the studio wanted (which begs the question:  Why they hired Schrader in the first place, seeing that he was never known for movies of that type).

More recently, while Fox did not replace Josh Trank at the helm of Fantastic Four (2015)–perhaps they should have–producer Simon Kinberg did go in and reshoot certain scenes when it was clear that Trask was not working out.

So the news that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Suicide Squad are both undergoing reshoots might either affirm the studios’ faith in their movies, or is a sign that they’ve lost it entirely.

Take your pick.

Deadpool Red Band Trailer – Trailer 2

I’m not particularly fond of how Fox has treated the Marvel properties (X-Men, Fantastic Four) that they have under their control.

Though my feelings–and the clusterfuck that was the recent Fantastic Four movie notwithstanding–if box office receipts are any indication, most people approve of what they’re doing with the X-Men.

Which brings me to the latest Deadpool trailer.  It’s early days yet, but this looks like perhaps the most accurate interpretation of a Marvel superhero by Fox yet.  Ryan Reynolds and the other people behind the movie seem to have captured the irrelevance–and to be honest, douchy–nature of the character perfectly.

In fact, I look more forward to Deadpool than X-Men: Apocalypse because Bryan Singer has taken too long to realize that, while the types of stories comics can tell is near-infinite, they’re more than on-the-nose analogies for religious persecution or that based upon sexual preference.

Are We Getting The Real Story As Far As The Fantastic Four Returning To Marvel Studios Goes?

Fantastic FourIn the past few days the rumor that the rights to the Fantastic Four had been returned to Marvel has been denied by both Fox and Marvel Studios.

Though the denials are interesting not only for what they say, but for what they don’t.

Marvel has granted Fox the rights to expand the Fox/X-Men universe into television, which they didn’t have prior.

Before I go any further, I think it’s worth acknowledging that Marvel Studios isn’t a charity and they aren’t going to give Fox anything for free though Marvel has given Fox the rights to make not only one television series, but two.

That’s also interesting because both of those shows, whenever they appear, will be competing against series on ABC, which like Marvel Studios is owned by Disney.

Charity is one thing, stupidity is another so I think we can disregard that Marvel gave them the rights to make two series for nothing in return.

Assuming that to be nonsense, what does Fox have–excluding the X-Men, which Marvel would love to have back but considering how much money they’re making for Fox  the likelihood that that will happen anytime soon is extremely unlikely–that Marvel Studios wants?

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What’s Marvel Get 4 Giving Fox The Right To Produce Two New X-Men Television Series?

Recently it was announced that Fox is preparing not one, but two new television series based on Marvel Comics’ X-Men stable of characters.

One is Hellfire, based on the villains that appeared in X-Men: First Class known as the Hellfire Club.  The leader is Sebastian Shaw (played by Kevin Bacon in the movie, which makes me wonder if he’s willing to reprise the role since his last television series, The Following, was cancelled a year or two ago).

The second is Legion, which revolves around the son of Charles Xavier, who was an extremely powerful–and more than a little bit unhinged in the comics–mutant known as Legion.

Though my question is, what is Marvel Studios getting?  While Fox has the license to the X-Men characters in movies, they don’t in reference to television, so what did Fox do Marvel that enticed them to change their mind (especially since it’s entirely possible that one of the new series will be up against competing Marvel shows on ABC like Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s Agent Carter or upcoming series like Damage Control).

The Silver SurferI haven’t seen anything that definitely proves this (yet) though I get the feeling that we might be hearing an announcement from Marvel Studios some time in the near future about the fate of the Fantastic Four (and the stable of characters connected to them).

The last time I mentioned this it was in reference to Marvel producing a comic based on the Silver Surfer–they have a tendency to cancel books that revolve around characters that they don’t have the rights to–so producing a new book based on a character that’s part of the Fantastic Four universe to me indicates a sea change of sorts.

And now two new television shows based on X-Men characters–which I am reasonably certain Marvel isn’t allowing them to do out of the goodness of their hearts–makes me even more confident that the next time we hear about the Fantastic Four, it will be to celebrate their return to Marvel.

Why Superhero Fatigue Is Nonsense (With Zombies!)

Superhero fatigue” seems all the rage among some, but it’s a dubious concept at best, and easily disproven.  Reason being, if superhero fatigue were a thing, it would have been proceeded by ‘zombie fatigue.’

Look at the 2013’s World War Z, the Brad Pitt-starrer that was for awhile looking like the Fantastic Four of its time.

Except that it wasn’t, and despite a $190 million budget it went on to earn over $500 million and spawn a sequel.  And zombies haven’t only been successful in movies.

And speaking of zombies, whether or not they shamble (as God and Romero intended) or run despite the fact that their muscles should have atrophied as much as their bodies have, they clearly aren’t going anywhere.

AMC’s The Walking Dead has not only spawned a spinoff, Fear The WalkIng Dead, but the show continues to be a ratings behemoth for the cable network.

And for the life of me, I don’t quite understand it.  Where I used to work I was the first person to sing its praises (I didn’t have cable, so I purchased the first season via iTunes) and introduced it to anyone that would listen.  The fifth season has recently turned up on Netflix, and I have been watching that too, and its pretty good.

Though what it’s also, is relatively one-note in that while the cast may change, very little about the series itself does.  Not really,

Screenshot 2015-09-28 08.42.08

The scene above, from season 5, episode 10, Them possessed a bit of gallows humor the series sorely misses on a regular basis.

Though there are relatively rare instances when it rises above its humble origins, like in the picture above, though that’s the exception because, except in relatively rare situations, the series refuses to embrace the absurdity of the situation.  It’s as if the writers and directors have a mandate (like the one DC Entertainment supposedly has toward humor), and that mandate is that things will be as grim, as relentlessly bleak, as possible.

And I understand that.  After all, the series exists in a world were dying isn’t quite what it used to be.  The thing is, what the series misses–a lot–is that there’s humor to be found in the bleakest situations.

So, The Walking Dead has lasted over six seasons and shows no sign of slowing down and consistently remains one of the highest rated shows on television, while also being, sometimes literally, a pretty grim slog.

So if a series as repetitive–though admittedly enjoyable (in a end-of-the-world hopeless kind of way) as The Walking Dead–can not only grow, but thrive, then I expect that superheroes, be they in movies or on television, will as well.

Is Marvel On The Verge Of Regaining The Fantastic Four?

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