Posts Tagged ‘David Niven’

Successful Movie Franchises Part 1

July 21, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, the last film in the Harry Potter series opened on July 15, 2011 and made $168.5 million in the U.S. its opening weekend.  This film means the end of the Harry Potter movie franchise. The series made over $6 billion worldwide, made stars of Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and it made book series author,  J.K. Rowling a very happy (and rich) camper. Not bad for an idea Rowling thought of while riding the train.

Of course, Harry Potter isn’t the only movie franchise. There are others, so let’s explore the world of movie franchises and let’s see what we will find.

James Bond
“Bond. James Bond.” The smoothness. The gadgets. The women. The double entondres. There only one Bond, M6 spy and lady (and bad guy) killer extraordinaire. Actually no, there have been nine actors, Barry Nelson, David Niven, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Bronson and Daniel Craig, who played James Bond and 22 official Bond films made by Eon Productions. In case you are wondering, they are:

Dr. No (1962-Sean Connery)
From Russia With Love
(1963-Sean Connery)
Goldfinger
(1964-Sean Connery)
Thunderball
(1965-Sean Connery)
You Only Live Twice
(1967-Sean Connery)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
(1969-George Lazenby)
Diamonds Are Forever
(1971-Sean Connery)
Live and Let Die
(1973-Roger Moore)
The Man with the Golden Gun
(1974-Roger Moore)
The Spy Who Loved Me
(1977-Roger Moore)
Moonraker
(1979-Roger Moore)
For Your Eyes Only
(1981-Roger Moore)
Octopussy
(1983-Roger Moore)
A View to a Kill
(1985-Roger Moore)
The Living Daylights
(1987-Timothy Dalton)
Licence to Kill
(1989-Timothy Dalton)
GoldenEye
(1995-Pierce Brosnan)
Tomorrow Never Dies
(1997-Pierce Brosnan)
The World is Not Enough
(1999-Pierce Brosnan)
Die Another Day
(2002-Pierce Brosnan)
Casino Royale
(2006-Daniel Craig)
Quantum of Solace
(2008-Daniel Craig)

Three films were not made by Eon Productions and they not considered part of the Bond canon. These unofficial films are:

Casino Royale (1954-Barry Nelson)
Casino Royale
(1967-David Niven & Peter Sellers)
Never Say Never Again
(1983-Sean Connery)

What is it about the Bond movies that keep people coming back for more? Is it the smoothness, the gadgets, the women and the double entondres? I’m sure that’s part of it. I say it is the fact that there will always be bad guys, whether communist spies, billionaires obsessed with world domination or other malcontents run amok that need disciplining. So, who’s going to take out the garbage?

Bond. James Bond.

Star Wars
Love him or hate him, you have to hand it to director and creator George Lucas. He took the ancient story of the vision quest/reluctant hero/redemption of the villain and milked it for all it was worth. How much did the Star Wars films make? How does $4 billion worldwide sound to you? Sounds very good to me and that’s just the money made at the box office. That total does not include the books, toys and other items in the Star Wars product universe. So, if you would like to put Star Wars films in your Netflix queue here are the titles:

Star Wars (aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) (1977)
Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars Episode VI Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002)
Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Trek
Another space opera that did very well for its creator, Gene Roddenbury. Whereas Star Wars is steeped in myth, Star Trek is steeped in science. What started out as a failed television series gained new life in syndication, then in the movies, as resurrected television series, with three spinoffs, and more movies. How many movies? Would you believe 11? Yes, and again, if you want to know what they are:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
(1982)
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
(1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
(1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
(1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
(1991)
Star Trek: Generations
(1994)
Star Trek: First Contact
(1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection
(1998)
Star Trek: Nemesis
(2002)
Star Trek
(2009) This is the reboot/prequel directed by J.J. Abrams.

(As Star Wars goes, so does Star Trek.)

What keeps people coming back for Star Trek? For all its science, Star Trek is a message of hope. In the Star Trek universe, the people of Earth got their act together, made peace with each other and endeavor to help others to do the same. Yeah, the Enterprise is armed, but you have to remember that the Federation has its enemies and a starship has to have the ability to defend itself.

Toy Story
The movie that put Pixar on the map and changed the face of animation. The story of the secret life of Andy’s toys won the hearts of moviegoers made Steve Jobs, John Lasseter and others at Pixar lots of money. It also lead to other Pixar films such as Finding Nemo, Cars, Monsters—just to name a few. There were three Toy Story films that featured the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Don Rickles. Each film was a critical and commercial success and collectively they made over $883 million in the U.S., alone. Not bad for toys that keep getting misplaced and lost. Thankfully, the folks at Pixar have giving the toys a rest and it looks like there won’t be anymore Toy Story films made. Yippee. Someone at a studio knows when to stop. Anyway, the movies are:

Toy Story 1995
Toy Story 2
1999
Toy Story 3
2010

Wait a minute! You must be saying now. There are more successful movie franchisees that just the ones mentioned here. Well, of course there are. What do you think?  That I’m stupid or something? (Don’t answer that.) Anyway, a successful movie franchise keeps the audience wanting more. So, in that spirit, I’ll ask you to stay tuned for another of my thrilling blog entries where I will dazzle you, the reader, with tales of successful movie franchisees.

Okay, so my blog entries aren’t thrilling, but they are good reads.

Sources:

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/world/

http://www.klast.net/bond/filmlist.html

http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/50418

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=toystory.htm

http://blastr.com/2009/05/the-10-star-trek-movies-s.php

http://www.movieweb.com/news/box-office-beat-down-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-earns-168-5-million

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My Musings on the 2011 Oscar Nominations

February 4, 2011

The 2011 Oscar Nominations were announced on January 25, 2011 and here are the nominees for Best Picture:

Best Picture

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Again, the Academy has 10 pictures up for Best Picture, it seemed to work well last year, so the powers that be decided to repeat it. If you want to see the entire list, go to: http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees.

Now for my musings on topics related to the Academy Awards

Those Who Weren’t Nominated

Hereafter
I saw this film and I thought it would score some nominations, such as Best Director, Best Actor or Best Screenplay. After all, Clint Eastwood was the director and unlike a lot of people in Hollywood, he is not a one trick pony. He’s gone from Spaghetti Westerns to Action films to directing and sometimes starring in films as varied as The Bridges of Madison County, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino and others. While he won Best Director for Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven, it wouldn’t hurt to honor him again.  Also, let’s not forget the multi-talented Matt Damon. His performance was good enough to merit a nomination. Don’t you think Damon’s Best Screenplay Award is a little lonely?

Conviction
I saw this film and I thought it would score some nominations, as well. It dealt with the important topics of wrongful conviction, loyalty, fighting for the truth and the Academy often rewards films like Conviction with a nomination or two. Shoot me, but I thought Hillary Swank’s performance was good enough to get a nomination, as well.

Michael Douglas
Here’s someone else who did not get nominated. Not to sound morbid, but considering that he had cancer, I thought he would be nominated for Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps, not so much as a pity award but more as a lifetime achievement award. Here is someone who didn’t just cash in on the fact that he is the son of Kirk Douglas. He worked his way up from doing episodic television (he got his start in The Streets of San Francisco) to starring and sometimes producing films (he got the rights for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and produced that film). Not that he didn’t have his demons to deal with, but considering how he could have ended up (i.e. Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan), Douglas ended up more than okay.

Bravo Natalie
Congratulations to Natalie Portman for her Best Actress Nomination for Black Swan. Here is someone who could have be forever known as Luke and Leia’s mom, instead she went to college (university for those living outside of the U.S.), picked roles that weren’t “Girl Next Door” or “The Love Interest” (check her out in V and you’ll know what I mean) and now it is paying off for her.

The Co-Host Might Get An Award
James Franco, who will be the co-host with Anne Hathaway of this year’s Academy Award’s ceremony, is up for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in 127 Hours. The last time a host or co-host was nominated was in 1958 when David Niven was nominated and won for the film Separate Tables. It would be interesting to see if this happens again. As for the film 127 Hours, I must admit that I didn’t see it. The story of a mountain climber who has to cut his own arm off in order to free himself from a boulder, didn’t appeal to me.

The 83rd Annual Academy Award ceremony will take place on February 27, 2011.

Sources:

http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000140/#Director

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000142/awards
http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2010/11/29/entertainment/doc4cf3fa0a0753e470574252.txt