Tag Archives: Disney

Indiana Jones sequel coming…but when?

6 May

I consider Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to be the greatest action/adventure film. I have been hooked to the series since seeing that first entry. Unlike many Indy fans, I was not offended by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. To clarify, I would not say that it was a good movie, but it also was not among the worst films all-time. Hell, it wasn’t even the worst movie of 2008. That title belongs to the Lindsay Lohan’s I Know Who Killed Me. But still, Kingdom was not good and it seemed like Indy’s future was in doubt. Fear not!

In a Vanity Fair interview, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said that Disney purchase may have given new life to the daredevil archaeologist.  She said Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm was for the Star Wars brand, but they got several other properties in the deal, including Indiana Jones. Although she did not supply specifics on a timeline for a new Jones movie, she said there were plans for a new film.

Shia - Jones hat

Not so fast Shia!

Still, it is difficult to deny that Kingdom may have turned off some hardcore and casual fans. As Jones himself put it, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.” And after the 2008 entry, Jones is looking more like a used Volvo than the 1937 Mercedes 300c.

Jones - Car

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Hi-Ho Budgets, Away!: Plug gets pulled on the Johnny Depp backed “Lone Ranger” project

16 Aug

Inflated budget cited as main reason, despite star-studded cast and crew

Inflated budget shuts down production of Johnny Depp backed Lone Ranger movie
As a sort of omen, or sign of the times, the critic website Pajiba.com just posted a list of the 25 Biggest Box Office Bombs, and reading over the list of movies (Gigli, $81 Million loss, The Alamo, $141 Million loss),  one of two things occur to you – a) how did this movie ever get greenlit in the first place?, and b) how did they convince the studio to give them so much money to make it?! And while it’s reasonable to see how a big budget can run away from you, like in the case of adventure movies like Speed Racer ($110 Million loss) or Cutthroat Island (#1 with $142 Million in losses), with their special effects costs ballooning out of control, it’s almost mind-boggling when you hear how a CGI-free romantic-comedy like 2001’s Town & Country ($120 Million loss) could cost so much, or why anyone would sink $100 Million dollars into The Adventures of Pluto Nash, when it was so clear no one would go see this movie (total U.S. gross – $4.41 Million).

Am I really the only one who saw this coming???.....

Maybe it was the freewheeling 90’s, or the spend-happy 2000’s that’s to blame for this, but clearly Hollywood, much like the rest of America, is realizing it’s time they stop wasting so much money. Hence news this week that the new Johnny Depp-backed Lone Ranger movie was getting the axe, not for artistic differences, not because of scheduling conflicts, but because the movie was just going to cost too much to make, and frankly, there wasn’t enough faith in getting it all back. According to Deadline.com, the film, which was actively in the casting stage, and already had Depp (as Tonto), Armie Hammer (Lone Ranger), and director Gore Verbinski already attached, was asking for a reported $250 Million budget, had conceded to start shooting for $232 Million, but in the end, just couldn’t meet Disney’s $200 Million limit, and was tentatively shut down until further notice.

Now, whether the production will grow legs from here is yet to be seen, with the option of shelving it until another studio comes along to cover the costs, or they strip it down to meet a more reasonable budget, but the one clear question from all of this is, how in the world could this film possibly cost this much money to make? With the source material being a TV show with a shoe-string budget, a Western where little (or no) costly CGI would be in play, and sparse settings in empty brushland totalling a whopping $275 Million by some estimates, one has to wonder where does all the money go when making a Hollywood movie? Unless the plans were to use CGI horses, a CGI background, while pasting a CGI mask full-time over the eyes of Armie Hammer, it’s just ridiculous and bombastic to to say you cannot film this movie for under $200 Million dollars. When you consider Titanic would only cost $247 Million by today’s inflated rates, it’s hard to feel sorry for a production who can’t seem to rangle in their inflated costs, when you can’t visibly see where that money would possibly go.

Even as a precocious teen in 1997, I could see the inflated costs of Titanic setting a Hollywood precedent of bloated budgets, so it’s nice to see a studio pushing back, saying, “Make it work and under budget, or we just won’t do it.” Now, if only the Federal goevernment would take a page out of Disney’s book…

In Theaters This Weekend: Harry Potter graduates Hogwarts

15 Jul

It’s been 10 long years, but we finally graduated college, got a job, and moved out of our parents’ attic. And just in time, too, because the final ‘Harry Potter’ movie is hitting theaters, and we’d feel pretty outgunned having to compete in today’s job market against a boy wizard. Nevertheless, the Potter saga, which began in 2001, is finally coming to an end after 8 films, and we couldn’t be happier. Not that we haven’t followed the movies or grown to love the loveable wizards and that cute little muggle girl, but because it’s time, and those kids aren’t getting any younger. However, Warner Bros. hasn’t taken this lying down, chopping the last film in two and stretching out the whole thing, squeezing every bit of money out of the rabid fans who have dutifully been shelling out their hard earned money on everything from tickets and tie-ins, to some of the weirdest merchandise ever seen outside of Japan. But not even Lord Voldemort is bold enough to try to take on that cash cow, as every other studio has bowed out this weekend, except for Disney and their very ambivalent attempt to tap into any trickle down ticket money for those too late to get into theaters this weekend. So , for all intents and purposes, this weekend it’s all about Harry.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opens up nationwide to cheers and tears as the last movie in the series storms into theaters primed to set records and sew up the franchise. Sure to be a cultural touchstone for fans and pop culture junkies alike, the kids have grown into young adults and so have their loyal followers, and viewers shant be disappointed. After Part 1 came out last November to middling reviews, we’ve been waiting patiently for the finale, even more so, since the first half was so slow. But now, with all the exposition out of the way, we are set for nothing but action upon action, and that’s what we’ll get. With all the characters and plot points set in motion, all the pieces have been positioned on the board, and it’s time to unleash them upon Hogwarts in a battle royale. Will Harry take on Voldemort and perish with him in the fires? Will Ron Weasley and Hermoine finally kiss? And will Professor Snape prove that under all that black lies a heart of gold? If you’ve been a fan of the books, you probably already know all the answers, but moviegoers will delight in this last installment that’s sure to tie up all the loose ends, and sneak in a couple surprises at that. For true fans, the franchise is poised to go out on a high note as one of the best in the series, and for even the most casual movie buff who’s willing to do some light background reading, the show will prove to be a movie milestone as a textbook way to provide onscreen summer movie magic. Either way, the 2+ hour runtime will fly by, keeping you on the edge of your seat. If you sat through Transformers 3 over the Fourth of July weekend thinking the big summer blockbuster hit its peak, be sure that the summer movie season will last a least a few days longer. Don’t miss.

And as a complete afterthought, Disney, who lost out on the biggest movie franchise of the new millennium, is practically puking out a movie in the hopes that some poor family, somewhere, missed out on tickets to the final Potter film. But, in a move that’s almost defiant to the big budget light and magic of Potter, an all new Winnie the Pooh movie comes out this weekend, without CGI, without Pixar’s computers, and without any pretention whatsoever. Modeled in the same vein as the classics that built the “House of Mouse,” Pooh comes along hoping to snatch up the littlest of kiddie viewers who were born five years after the Potter series started, and just aren’t old enough yet to enjoy a sophisticated wizard movie. A classy and shrewd move on Disney’s part, at half the runtime and a fraction of the cost to make, the studio recognizes that pitting something against the boy wizard is a suicide move, so they’re planning on sneaking under the radar, and hopefully, will stand to make a couple bucks issuing a cheap movie that’s actually fun to watch and is getting pretty good reviews. For nostalgic reasons alone, the movie should have parents moving to introduce their kids to the pudgy yellow bear they grew up on, and if not, hey – they’re not out any money on an overblown kids film that stands no chance at making a dent on the one BIG movie this weekend.

Julia Roberts to Play the Villain in New “Snow White” Film

9 Feb

Nineties darling set to star as the evil queen in one of three new films based on the fairy tale
Julia Roberts as Evil Queen

Julia Roberts, best known for being America’s sweetheart in the nineties, is taking on a new role in this decade that’s decidedly against type. Taking a page right out of the professional wrestling handbook, Roberts, who’s sugary sweet smile was everywhere after 1990’s Pretty Woman, but spent the 2000’s mired in relative mediocrity, is pushing back in the 2010’s, and will be playing the villain this time around as the “Evil Queen” in a modern day retelling of the “Snow White” fairy tale.

According to the Reuters release, the film, which will be directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell), follows the story of Snow White, who with the help of the Seven Dwarves, seeks out revenge after her stepmother kills her father. No word on who will be playing Snow White, but with news of Tarsem at the helm, we can expect a non-traditional take on the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and if you’ve ever seen a Tarsem film, you just know there’s going to be lots of visual eye candy.

Speaking of the Disney version, the same release reports that they too will be coming out with their own Snow White project, set in 19th century China, and on top of that, Universal Studios is planning their take, hoping for Kristen Stewart in the title role.

So what’s up with three new movies coming out about Snow White? And what’s with Disney transplanting the story to 19th century China?! Didn’t we already get that with Mulan? And did the rights to the story just hit the public domain? I get how multiple Napoleon movies could be in the works at the same time, or how we got two Steve Prefontaine biopics within the span of 18 months (okay, well that was pretty weird), but three movies about the same story?! That’s just downright suspect.

But whatever the reason, we like Julia Roberts playing the Evil Queen, and Tarsem’s last film, The Fall, was pretty much a fairy tale itself, so we can see this coming out well. As for the other two, we’d need a bit more information, but as of now, we’d rather eat a poison apple.

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