|So, I guess there's no sequel coming, huh? (courtesy killerweasel
||[Oct. 29th, 2006|01:12 am]
The Event Horizon of Awful Things
Remember how Universal really encouraged the fans of "Serenity" to get out there and help them promote the film? Remember how Universal colossally fucked up what should have been a home run (look, it's no classic but it's one of the best sci-fi action flicks in a good long while) by putting the release date in mid-September instead of against weak competition in August and counting almost ENTIRELY on viral marketing, to the degree where they didn't even cite reviews but rather fan enthusiasm in the print ads?
Well, the honeymoon is decidedly over; Universal is suing all those shops marketing T-shirts saying "Blue Sun" and the like, in some cases nailing them for $9000 in "retroactive licensing."
This isn't unprecedented; Paramount is noted for suing fans making homemade Star Trek props and selling them at conventions, and even contacting the police and sending them into cons to arrest anyone selling these as "pirate" merchandise, as if Paramount was going to license a Captain Pike wheelchair or a TOS computer console prop. That doesn't make it any less obnoxious. In a humorous note, the fans are responding by billing Universal for the time they put in promoting the movie, which is so far up to about $1.5 million and should get the point across quite nicely.
Hopefully Joss Whedon will have something to say about all this; I doubt he's happy about it, either way.
I feel bad for the accused, but unfortunately studios are tres assholey about this sort of thing... and not 100% in the wrong. Fact is, selling something that has even a remote tie to a studio is going to irk them, and they'll call down the thunder, understandable to a degree as they want to control and protect their trademarked properties.
It's hard for my heart to break when a studio with millions of dollars at its command gets upset over some unlicensed knickknacks, especially when it would be child's play to come up with a special licensing agreement. If Paramount would allow the "Star Trek: New Voyages" people to charge even $2 per download, then it would have made a couple of million off the site by now.
Paramount gave Star Trek and a disgustingly large budget to some hack who helped them lose millions of dollars this summer. I officially gave up the tiny sliver of hope someone there actually cared the minute J.J. Abrams got his greasy paws on the franchise.
Especially if the rumours are true, and Cruise is starring.
Oh hell no. Paramount dumped Cruise like he had herpes after the MI3 debacle.
HAH. Ah man, Cruise as Kirk... that's some scary shit.
So, the fact that 'MI:3' was a good movie is utterly irrelevent? Don't confuse quality of work with the box office. Abrams had his star running around acting like a loon. For someone who's career is based less on acting in movies than being a persona, that can be killer. The guy from 'Saw' has made tons of dough, would you happy if they gave him 'Star Trek?' See, it could be worse.
I'm not basing it on box office and you know it. I haven't seen MI3; it certainly looks competent enough, although "Die Hard" it obviously isn't. I have read the reviews, most of which boil down to "Not bad for what it is, and probably the best of the series." Not exactly enthusiasm-stirring.
What it boils down to I haven't been impressed with what Abrams does when left to his own devices and here, he's being micromanaged by Paramount executives, which doesn't seem to bother him. I'm not saying we need to hand the next Star Trek movie to Lars Von Trier but how about somebody with some creativity or focus? Enthusiasm just isn't enough.
You do throw down the populist card more often than you might think, and you make frequent comments about the box office. You just wrote about 'Flags Of Our Fathers' under performing and what that means for Paul Haggis. The irony is, 'Flags' is actually the best thing he's written. It is genuinely poignant and not nearly as preachy as 'Million Dollar Baby' or 'Crash.' You also emphasized that the hack "lost them millions of dollars" when I think Cruise deserves some of the blame. Think Jimmy Stewart: if you found out he was picking up whores and shooting dope, would you really be able to watch 'Mr Smith Goes To Washington' the same way? If you knew Ethan Hunt was a wacko who compares psychology to the Nazis, do you really want to see him save the world?
With 'MI:3,' remember that it was his first feature as a director. And having seen it, I can offer that his action sequences as exciting and terse without the excessiveness of John Woo or Michael Bay. He manages to give his characters some depth and handles a large cast well. Now, I'm not a big fan of 'Star Trek' and I've never seen 'Lost,' but I do like what he did with 'MI:3' (and, here's a point worth considering, his movie was by far the most loyal to the tradition of the source material) and as someone who hasn't liked a 'Trek' project since 'First Contact,' I must confess I am looking forward to what someone new can do with it. As a result, drastic changes don't bother me, and I think people who learn Klingon are a bit, no, VERY odd. But take heart, even if he !@#$%s up the movie, it wouldn't necessarily mean the death of the franchise. Realistic expectations are one thing, but you seem almost eager for it the fail.
So take heart, I got over Andersen for Bagwell, you'll get over 'Star Trek: Lost.'
There's a difference between throwing down the populist card and keeping track of what Hollywood watches. Were I a populist, I'd think Paul Haggis is great since he made a lot of money, won all those Oscars, and put out a movie that had undeniable mass appeal, instead of griping about how the whole thing comes off as his feeling bad about hiring a Latina to take out his trash. Let's not forget that no matter how good a director is, as far as Hollywood is concerned it's the gross of their last project that matters. I wish it weren't that way, but, well, it is.
To be honest, my view is colored by the fact that I could, in the end, well and truly not care less about Tom Cruise's antics. If anything, it's nice to see the mask slip. I didn't go to see "MI3" because honestly it takes more than a few stunts to get me to go see an action movie, these days.
As for Abrams' use of action sequences...the credited "action unit" director is Vic Armstrong, who's a highly respected stuntman. I'm not saying Abrams wasn't in control of that aspect of the production, but I would be very surprised if he didn't have help. I'm not holding it against Abrams at all; I'd do it in his position. Filming a gun battle or a fist-fight is a LOT more complicated than you'd think.
Anyway, his directing abilities aren't what I'm worried about; it's the fact that he's WRITING it. He's an enthusiastic writer, but not a very clever or creative one, and if he's doing what the studio tells him to do, he needs to be BOTH.
I don't want "Kirk Begins" to fail, in fact I'll probably wind up seeing it (as I've admitted elsewhere.) On the other hand, I'm not sure how exactly it can avoid failure. Going into the "past" yielded a show, "Enterprise", universally reviled for the first two seasons (and for excellent reason; the writing was truly vile) by even the most uncritical of Trekkies and resulted in the first Trek series to be summarily cancelled due to poor ratings, even after a decided upturn in quality (to be honest, in its own earnest way it was starting to get up there with the original show.) And that was on UPN.
Put it to you another way: I'll go see it. You probably won't. Can you think of another person, who ISN'T already a fan, who IS going to go see it?
I didn't say you were a populist, rather that you play the populist card, which you have done before and might do again. I know how Hollywood runs itself, most of the time anyway. But, c'mon, your assessment of 'Crash' is rather glib. I can appreciate that you don't want to see it, but Haggis is at least as intrusive and in-you-face with his politics as Parkerstone can be. He's certainly not the only person in Hollywood who tries to cram his ideas down your throat. Hell, 'Crash' wasn't even the only movie to be nominated for best picture that would have to plead guilty of that :::BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN::: But that's neither here nor there.
I don't care about Tom Cruise's antics either. But my aunt, who has followed Cruise since 'Risky Business,' flat out refused to see 'MI:3' because she found its star "really creepy." They are out there, that's how Julia Roberts' movies make money. It sure ain't the quality.
I don't mean to be a smart ass, but according to IMDB, he's only directing the movie.
Actually, if the cast is good, I probably will check it out. But right now, I can't find any info on cast/story/etc. I'm only offering you seem to have scuttled the ship before it's left the harbor.
No, I don't. But, then again, most people I know who don't watch 'Star Trek' wouldn't go if the screenings were free. They don't like the show, period. There are few writer/directors who can get asses in the seats on name alone. To dismiss Abrams as a "hack" is methinks a bit harsh. Stephen Sommers can't be accused of being clever or creative but he gets people in the theaters. I know plenty who are addicted to 'Lost' and wouldn't be the slightest surprised if they went to see 'Trek' because of who was involved. Time will tell.
True, I understand their perspective, but they actually encouraged the fans to go out and do this to help promote the movie, and it should be noted these shops DO cost money and time to run, and most fans weren't exactly pulling in the bucks. One of the posts slashdot links notes they only use the term "serenity" to translate chinese characters on the shirts.
It does suck that they encouraged the fans and are now kicking their ass with legalities, but at the same time selling products based on an existing property that the seller has no legal copyright over is asking for trouble. In an ideal world, no-one would get uptight about fans selling fan merchandise, but in the world with which we live copyright is key, no matter how much the fans care the studio has the bottom line.
Course, Fox and Universal can burn in Hell for the way they messed up a golden franchise, but that is a much longer rant.
(PS - Did a brief pimp for your work via my blog. I'll go over your blog later and pick out specific parts with which I can step up cross-blog promotion.)
No prob. I'm impressed by creative folk.