Summer Box Office: Can Terminator: Genisys Take The Heat?

I fully admit that the success of Jurassic World caught me by surprise.  I didn’t necessarily think that it would fail, though if anyone had told me that it would be breaking records made by 2014’s The Avengers I would have laughed at such a ridiculous notion.

That being said, what’s in its way even more interesting is that Inside Out is performing strongly, despite the presence of Universal’s cinematic dinosaur feature.

Though this trend of everyone doing awesome despite the competition isn’t one that can continue, by which I mean that one of these tentpoles is going to flatline–big time.

Which leads to the question:  Which of the upcoming summer movies is going to bite it (and I don’t mean in a Jurassic World kind of way)?

And if I had to guess, I’d say Terminator: Genisys.  Reason being, the last movie in the series, Terminator: Salvation wasn’t well received by movie-goers.  And by “wasn’t well-received” I mean ‘box office failure,’ having earned just over $371 million on a $200 million budget.

Then there’s the trailer that gives away a MAJOR plot-point, which is never a good idea.

Now neither of those things is a deal breaker by any means, but the thing is, when you’re talking about a crowded field filled with potential blockbusters they can make all the difference in the world.

And I think the producers know it, which probably has a lot to do with them enlisting the services of the consiglieri of the Terminator franchise, James Cameron, to give the movie his seal of approval.

Now keep in mind that Cameron has nothing to do with Genisys, though he did direct Terminator and Terminator 2, the two best received movies in the series so you can look at it as either genius (if the movie succeeds, or desperation if it fails).

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The (Un)necessary Remake Dept: DeepStar Six

No, DeepStar Six, isn’t the latest Ultramarionation feature from Jamie Anderson, but a undersea horror movie from Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th) that was followed in quick succession by George P. Cosmatos’ Leviathan, and culminated five months later in James Cameron’s far superior The Abyss.

DeepStar Six revolves around a US Navy mission to place an undersea missile sled on the ocean floor; an action that only makes sense when you take into account that the United States was approaching the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Dr. Van Gelder (Marius Weyers) is there to ensure that the missile platform is built before they leave the base, the time for which is rapidly approaching.

Unfortunately, the project is behind schedule, so he’s doesn’t have time to putter about.

The area where he choose to place the sled is suspected of having caverns underneath it, which Scarpelli (Nia Peoples) wants to take time to explore, though Dr. Gelder isn’t interested.  Sure, properly surveying the area could have saved them quite a bit of trouble, but what specialist worth their salt let’s safety concerns trump completing a project on time.

Which shouldn’t be a surprise considering one of their own crew, Snyder (Miguel Ferrer, who if James Spader was unavailable to play Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron, should have been on speed dial) is fraying at the seams and should have been evacuated to the surface weeks ago.

And speaking of Ferrer, he’s easily the most convincing character in the entire movie which is why it’s such a pity that he so explosively loses it toward the end.

Another awesome addition to the movie is someone whom you never see, but who’s presence is felt throughout the entire movie, and that’s the awesome score by Harry Manfredini (who’s theme for War Of The Worlds: The Second Invasion has to be one of the best television themes EVER.

Seriously.  It’s that good.

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‘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.

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Submarine Love

Every since the television series based on Irwin Allen‘s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea I’ve had a love affair with submarines in movies, though the more realistic they appear, the less I am interested.

For instance, the cramped and claustrophobic submarines–which is more in line with actual submersibles–from movies like The Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide, I don’t care too much for,  but give me something like the SeaQuest from SeaQuest DSV (despite being being CGI as opposed to practical) and I’m all over it.

Which is why I am posting this clip from StudioADI of a submarine they built as a test model for James Cameron for a very real dive he did to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, knowledge that I feel comfortable in saying would in some way contributed (and who knows, may have helped to inspire) to their upcoming Harbinger Down.

And in case you’ve forgotten about Harbinger Down, which sounds like an awesome mix of a nautical thriller, H.P. Lovecraft, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, here’s the official trailer.

3 Hurdles Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Overcame To Be One Of The Biggest Movies Of The Summer

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy opened in the United States last week, and looks to have a very bright future, seeing that based on advanced buzz along, Marvel has already locked in a sequel for 2017 while Thursday it earned $11.2 million, besting established franchises like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a Thursday debut.

Worldwide, its earned over $160 million; pretty impressive for a movie that’s based on a bunch of characters literally no one was familiar with before the movie.

Though what’s most interesting is how risky a venture it actually is, for I think three reasons:

  • First, there’s nothing like Guardians of the Galaxy.  Marvel Studios features, from Iron Man to The Avengers, have always featured a balance of action as well as humor.  That’s has always been a part of the Marvel formula, but Guardians is different.  Some have described it as a comedy, and while there’s plenty that funny, it’s more a case of viewers caring and being invested in the characters–particularly Groot and Rocket–that they come off as fully-realized characters that just happen to be a raccoon and an alien tree, as opposed to just a bunch of pixels.
  • Second, as many have stated prior, there are no recognizable characters in Guardians of the Galaxy (other than Thanos, and I think it’s reasonably same to assume that no one is seeing it for him–which is something that Sony should keep in mind before doing a movie based on The Sinister Six, most of whom are unknown to most viewers and whom are also villains) which goes without saying is a huge risk, made even more so when you take into account that it was directed by James Gunn, who prior directed two smaller films, Slither and Super, which cost 17.5 million to produce.

For both movies.  While Guardians cost $170 million.

And when you combine this fact with the fact that Gunn doesn’t particularly like making movies (around the 12: 58 mark) then the odds were more than even that Guardians could have potentially been Marvel’s weakest performer, if not a box office failure.

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Four Reasons Why ‘Green Lantern’ Is DC Comics Most Successful Superhero Movie

Wha!?  “You have no idea what you’re talking about,” you’re probably saying to yourself.  The Dark Knight Rises earned over a billion dollars!  Man of Steel took in almost $669 million!  What do you mean Green Lantern, which earned almost $220 million on a $200 million budget”

Ok, if you’re thinking short-term, then The Dark Knight and Man of Steel were significantly more successful that Green Lantern, but long term…

  • The Christopher Nolan Batman Films Were Never Intended To Be A Template For An Entire Cinematic Universe

How do I know that?  Have I been hanging out with Nolan, discussing what he would or wouldn’t have done with Batman?  No, but what I do know is that the universe that Nolan created with his Batman was a self-contained one, with virtually no connections between it to the greater DC Comics universe.  I believe that that’s the case because Nolan treated the character in a semi-realistic fashion, which the polar opposite to any other DC movie characters (and I include Arrow, who’s depiction was very much based upon that Batman’s).

In other words, Batman, as defined by Nolan began with Batman Begins, and ended with The Dark Knight Rises.

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Five Reasons That Will Contribute To Guillermo Del Toro Directing Doctor Strange

This post is entirely speculation, though it is based upon logic as well as current news.

Notice that in the title of this article I sad “could” as opposed to “would” because the last I heard was that Del Toro was busy working on Legendary Pictures’ upcoming fright-feature “Crimson Peak,” as well as executive producing the FX series based upon the trilogy he wrote with Chuck Hogan, “The Strain,” “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal.”

But I have been reading the tea leaves and checking the entrails regularly, and here’s what I have seen:

1.  Despite Rumors To The Contrary, Guillermo Del Toro Will Not Be Doing “Justice League Dark” Anytime Soon

Why?  Because NBC is working on “Constantine,” a series not based on the Francis Lawrence movie of the same name, but the DC (formerly under their Vertigo imprint) series, also of the same name.  While it’s possible that the character could appear in both places at the same time (this is, of course assuming that the television series has a long life), it’s probably not going to happen.  The character of John Constantine is the lynchpin that the team revolves around, and without him the concept is pretty much dead in the water, besides being somewhat esoteric.

Matt Ryan/John Constantine

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

And that’s even considering how much Warner Bros would have to invest from the budget end of things, which would probably be huge (though they could do it with a partner, as long as it’s not Legendary Pictures, since they and Warner Bros. somewhat acrimoniously parted ways.  That being said, they still work with Village Roadshow Pictures).

2.  DC/Warner Bros. Doesn’t Seem To Have Much Of A Plan Toward Developing Their Characters

Whether or not someone likes what Marvel is doing with their characters, you have to admit that they not only have a plan, but they are executing it really, really well.  This is primarily because the head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has apparently developed a plan to develop their characters, and is following it.  Marvel’s roadmap is divided into Phases:  Phase One consisted of “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” ” Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “Thor” and culminated in “The Avengers.”

Notice the pattern:  First there’s an introduction of the characters–which may or may not have more than one film in the future–and a film that brings them all together.

Phase Two consists of “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Phase Three will consist of “Ant-Man,” “Captain America 3,” “Thor 3” and “The Avengers 3.”

As I said, you don’t necessarily have to like what Marvel is doing, but what you can’t deny is that there is a plan at work.

Warner Bros/DC?  Not so much.  What seems to be driving them is profit above all, which I understand, but that’s not a plan.  Though it didn’t exactly start that way because for awhile it appeared that DC was building toward a Justice League feature–and probably still are–which began with “Green Lantern.”

Oh, but wait!  Green Lantern?  Don’t I mean Batman?  No, I don’t because Christopher Nolan’s Batman films aren’t necessarily part of DC’s greater cinematic plans because Nolan quite deliberately kept them separate from the rest of the DC Universe, which was probably not a great decision in retrospect.

Though that’s why “Green Lantern” was so important:  It was the beginning of DC/Warner Bros. establishing a larger canvas on which to display their properties.  If Green Lantern had worked they could have brought Ryan Reynolds back as the character in other DC films, such as the Justice League, or even the upcoming “Batman Vs. Superman” feature.

But it was not to be because Green Lantern was unable to recharge either his lantern or the box office, where it earned almost $220 million on a $200 million dollar budget; not enough to make a profit.

So DC rebooted Superman, in “Man of Steel,” without a doubt the most violent Superman film ever made.

Which could perhaps explain why that film made “only” $668 million dollars.  It’s a lot of money, but for a character as iconic and as firmly established in the public consciousness as Superman, it actually wasn’t that great a performance.

For the sequel, “Superman Vs. Batman,” DC will not only feature Superman and Batman, but Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor as the villain.  It seems apparent that they are trying to follow a strategy similar to Marvel, except more compressed.

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