Posts Tagged ‘Danny DeVito’

Successful Movie Franchises Part 2

July 28, 2011

In last week’s entry the reader was treated to tales of spies, villains and redemption. That’s right, the blog entry dealt with successful movie franchises. This week’s installment continues the story. Will good prevail? Will the hero get the girl? Read on and find out.

I combined them because they both started as comic books, then went to movie serials, then television and finally back to movies. They are also complex characters. They both lost their parents. They both are compelled to fight the good fight. Superman does it because his foster parents, the Kents instilled in him that his gifts must be used for the betterment of humanity. Batman does it because of survivor’s guilt. He saw his parents killed in a botched robbery and that spurred him to fight for justice.

While a lot could be said about the differences and similarities between the two, for now I’ll just focus on the films. As for Superman, there have been five movies about the Man of Steel, four starring the late Christopher Reeve in the title role (Superman films from 1978 to 1987) and one with actor Brandon Routh (Superman Returns). The films are:

Superman: The Movie 
Superman II

Superman III
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Superman Returns

Since Superman Returns was such a disappointment critically and commercially, I hope there will not be another Superman movie. It had a good run, give it a rest and think of something new.

Moving along to Batman, there have been six films. Where did I get that number from? Simple I included the very campy Batman film from 1966 starring Adam West and Burt Ward (yes, the television show did spawn a movie) As for the role call of actors, Adam West, Val Kilmer and George Clooney each portrayed the Dark Knight in one film, Michael Keaton portrayed the Caped Crusader twice and with the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises Christian Bale will have portrayed Batman in three films. If you want to know  the filmography, here it is:

Batman 1966 Adam West in the title role and Burt Ward as Robin
1989 Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as The Joker
Batman Returns
1992 Michael Keaton in the title role, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the Penguin
Batman Forever
1995 Val Kilmer in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman + Robin
1997 George Clooney in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman Begins
2005 Christian Bale in the title role
The Dark Knight
2008 Christian Bale in the title role and Heath Ledger as The Joker
The Dark Knight Rises
2012 expected release Christian Bale in the title role and Anne Hathaway as the Catwoman.

I hope The Dark Knight Rises is the last Batman movie—ever!  Director Christopher Nolan did a great job rebooting Batman and Christian Bale, like Michael Keaton, got the darkness of Batman/Bruce Wayne just right. After all, he’s not some rich guy with nothing better to do than fight bad guys. For all his wealth and for all the good that he does as Batman, Bruce Wayne cannot bring his parents back and therein lies his darkness. Still, like Superman, it had a good run. End it. Please!

The thumb nosing tale to every Disneyesque motif out there spawned four films. Each of the films featured the voices of Mike Myers as the title character, as well as Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy. The films collectively have made over $1 billion in the U.S. Not bad for an orge, his wife and his donkey pal. In case you want to put these films in your Netflix queue, they are:

Shrek 2001
Shrek 2
Shrek the Third
Shrek Forever After

This franchise looks like it is done. Yet, the careers of the three principal stars have stalled recently, so there just might be another one coming down the pike. Still, let’s hope the folks at Dreamworks decide not to greenlight Shrek 5: Insert Clever Subhead Here.

This franchise took a while to get off the ground. The motion picture rights were first purchased in 1985 but a combination of the story not being right to limits of technology delayed the movie from being made until 2000. It was finally released in 2002 with Sam Raimi as the director and Tobey Maguire as the title character. Three films where made with Raimi as the director and Maguire as Spidey and these three films made $1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. Yet Spider-man 3 got mixed reviews. So, there were plans to make a Spider-man 4, yet Sam Rami couldn’t meet the deadline of 2011. So, Sony Pictures cancelled Spider-man 4 and announced that the franchise would be rebootted with a new director and new cast. The rebootted Spider-man is expected to be released in 2012. Personally, I think it would have been better just to end the franchise with Spider-man 3. Spidey/Peter Parker battled his demons, got the bad guys and married Mary Jane Watson. There are loads of superheros in the Marvel universe, so there would be no lack of material for filmmakers to draw from. Again the list:

Spider-man 2002
Spider-man 2
Spider-man 3

Pirates of the Carribean
This movie franchise wasn’t based on a comic book or book or came from anyone’s imagination. This successful movie franchise is based on a ride of the same name at both Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The series stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush. The idea of a pirate movie based on the ride was in development at Disney since the early 1990’s. When director Gore Verbinski came on board in 2002, he wanted to marry the fun of the ride with its supernatural aspects.  Well, it came as a great surprise that the film did well, because a pirate movie had not been successful for a very long time. To date the films have made over $1.2 billion in the U.S. That’s a lot of yo, ho, ho-ing and it won’t end because Johnny Depp has signed on for a fifth Pirates movie.

You know what is below:

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2007 (Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were filmed simultantiously.)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011

Thus ends the tale of the movie franchise. Tune in next time for another exciting tale from the world of movies, collecting and pop culture, brought to you by a Generation X’er with many writing credits and not to mention many movie posters for sale.



Unexpected Pairings in Movies Or That’s Odd

September 15, 2010

Recently, I learned that Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton will be in a movie together. Titled Joyful Noise, Latifah plays the mother of two kids who are in a church choir. The choir director dies and Latifah takes over as choir director. Parton plays the widow of choir director and she wanted to be the choir director, which sets up a rivalry between the two. The film is set to start production in 2011.

In case you didn’t know, Queen Latifah is a rapper and Dolly Parton is a county singer, so it will be interesting to see how well they work together in a movie. Why did the studios do it? There is the novelty factor and seeing what it looks like when opposites star in the same film that attract moviegoers. Of course, this is not the first time seemingly mismatched co-stars have been put together in a film. There have been others, such as:

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
It’s Los Angeles 1947 and private eye Eddie Valiant is hired by Roger Rabbit to prove that his wife Jessica is cheating on him with Marvin Acme, gag factory mogul and the owner of Toontown. Soon Acme is found dead and signs point to Rabbit.  So, Rabbit urges Valiant to help clear his name. What’s so odd about that? You ask? Just another private eye story or is it?

What makes Who Framed Roger Rabbit? unique is that this movie combines live action with animation. In fact, the title character is an animated character. Other animated characters are part of the film, such as, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Droopy Dog and more. There is one memorable scene where Donald and Daffy are dueling pianists and Daffy says, “That’s the last time I share the stage with someone with a speech impediment.”  So, the oddness comes from the genre/animated character mash up and it worked. Critics loved it and it did well at the box office.

Stop or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
What happens when you bring together Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty? No, that is not a dream that is the byproduct of falling asleep during a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime after you ran up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. The answer is a movie about a cop (Stallone) and his mom (Getty). Stallone is a bigmouth Los Angeles cop whose methods of crimefighting don’t endear him to his fellow police officers. Then his overbearing mother (the kind that shows baby pictures to his colleagues at LAPD) and comes to visit and she happens to witness a crime. So, it is up to the two of them to catch the bad guys. Critics weren’t kind to this film and many said that Stallone should stick to action films, and not follow Arnold into comedy genre.  Stallone agreed and didn’t make another comedy after this film.

Twins 1988
Speak of the devil, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his first foray into comedy and his co-star is none other than Danny DeVito. They play fraternal twins who were separated at birth and find each other after 35 years. While this could have bombed like Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, it didn’t. It could be due to Schwarzenegger actually being better at comedy than Stallone (check out the one-liners Schwarzenegger delivers in Pumping Iron to see what I mean).  Also having a co-star like DeVito, who has good comedic timing, helps.

Well, that’s all folks. What will the next unexpected pairing from Hollywood look like? Hey if I knew, then it wouldn’t be so unexpected.