Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

The More Things Change…

January 19, 2012

The more blog ideas I get.  Two items on the Internet inspired this entry.  They are:

The Historical Fact
On December 28, 1895, the first commercially screened movie was shown in the Grand Café in Paris. The film, called Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory, is 46 seconds long and shows people leaving the Lumiere factory in Lyon, France. The film was screened by Auguste and Louis Lumiere (their father owned the factory) and people actually paid to see this, along with other short films, created by the Lumiere brothers.

The Recent Development
The December 27, 2011 entry of Entertainment Weekly’s Popwatch blog was a part lament/part rant about the demise of the video rental store. What lead to this article was that the author wanted to rent Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and she couldn’t find it anywhere. So, she was stuck with downloading it from iTunes. (The horror!)

My Two Cents
Regarding the first movie shown to a paying audience, everything has a beginning and movies are no exception. Yes, the act of going to see a motion picture began in a humble Parisian cafe. I saw the film (Thank you, You Tube) and while it doesn’t compare Hollywood’s current output, it is worth a lot as a historical document. Imagine being a patron of the Grand Café. A poster advertising a new attraction piques your interest. You go in, pay admission and see something you have never seen before, namely, moving images on a wall. We in the early 21st century take it for granted that there are motion pictures. In late 19th century Paris, motion pictures, even if all they do is show people leaving factory, were an amazing new sight to behold. Attached is the film, let me know what you think of it.

Now for the endings part of this blog entry. Thanks to Netflix, DVD vending machines and the Internet, the end of the video rental store is coming.  Yes, for whatever reason there will be some holdouts that survive because they serve a niche in their community. Still, trend is to get videos from a source other than a bricks and mortar store. On the one hand that is good, because the choice is in consumer’s hands and in the case of Netflix and the Internet, they have more items than can ever be found in a bricks and mortar store.

On the other hand, searching for something on the Internet or just viewing the selections from a DVD vending machine, seems so sterile. I can remember going to a Tower Records & Video (RIP) near my house to rent a movie and not having any idea what to rent until I actually found something after browsing the aisles for at least 15 minutes. While that happens with the Internet, there’s no sense of adventure when what you want is right at your fingertips. As for vending machines, they are limited to 20 to 40 titles of the most recent releases or straight to video duds. While it is great to rent the latest Harry Potter film from one of these machines, noticing that Piranha 3DD is listed below right below it doesn’t enhance the experience—at least it doesn’t for me.

Still, who would have thought in 1895 that there would be computer-animated films, films made with motion capture technology and even just films made in color and having spoken dialogue and other sounds. In addition, who would have thought in 1995 that video stores would be replaced by Netflix, vending machines and the Internet. Of course, time marches on and things evolve and change. So, who knows what entertainment or other wonders that tech heads will dream up and create. Whatever comes next, it is good to have a sense of appreciation for what is and a sense of wonder for is to come. Believe it or not, there was a time when even cable television didn’t exist. Now there are over a hundred channels available to those who subscribe to service and people actually complain about “…nothing good being on TV.”

Sources:

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/the-birthday-of-the-movies.html

http://www.earlycinema.com/pioneers/lumiere_bio.html

http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/12/27/contrarian-corner-ive-had-it-with-video-stores/

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2011 Summer Movie Review

September 8, 2011

The first Monday in September is Labor Day in the U.S. and that day is considered the unofficial end of summer. It also marks the end of the summer movie season. This year’s summer movie season saw its share of blockbusters and bombs. Box office totals for this summer movie season have not been released in time for me to include in this blog entry.  Still, early indications are that the 2011 summer movie season was good, though not great, for the studios. Anyway, without further ado, here are some highlights of the 2011 summer movie season.

Blockbusters
This just in! Nine out of the 10 biggest money making films were either sequels or superhero films. Okay, so that isn’t such a big surprise. Then again, that’s what I like about summer movies. They are exercises in escapist entertainment. There’s a good guy and a bad guy, good guy gets the bad guy and the good guy gets the girl in the end. Not to mention, there loads of cool special effects to liven things up. Yes, I go on and on about the lack of originality in the current moviemaking environment, still if a blockbuster is original, I’ll go and see it. Of course, millions of other people went to see blockbusters this summer (original or not), as well, and here is the breakdown for you. Box office numbers are for the U.S. only.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
$366,007,900
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
$348,540,006
3. The Hangover Part II
$254,174,506
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
$240,141,369
5. Fast Five           
$209,837,675
6. Cars 2           
$186,951,457
7. Thor
$181,015,141
8. Bridesmaids           
$167,661,310
9. Captain America: The First Avenger                   
$164,747,643
10. Kung Fu Panda 2                                                    
$163,942,842

Bombs
Of course, not every film was a hit. Some movies were just plain bad and the audiences responded accordingly by staying away. Some movies just didn’t find or attract their audience. Then there were some that just had people scratching their heads. So, in case you were wondering, here is a breakdown of the summer movies of 2011 that bombed at the box office (as opposed to being the bomb). Again, box office numbers are for the U.S. only.

1. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
$    1,300,000
2. Glee The 3D Concert Movie                                 

$  11,700,000
3. Fright Night                                                            

$  14,300,000
4. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
$  15,000,000
5. Conan The Barbarian                                           

$  16,600,000
6.
Priest
$  29,100,000
7. The Change Up                                                        

$  34,500,000
8.
Larry Crowne                                                         
$  35,600,000
9.
Cowboys & Aliens                                                   
$  93,500,000
10.Green Lantern                                                        

$116,000,000

What Do I Think
I’m not surprised that the movies in the Blockbuster list did well. After all, Pixar films  have done well. The last Harry Potter film was scheduled for this summer and if it wasn’t going to do well, loads of people would have lost their jobs and we would have heard all about it and then some.

I’m also not surprised that Conan The Barbarian, The Change Up and Priest bombed. In particular, Conan The Barbarian is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature roles. He knew how to play an action figure better than anyone else. So, the expectation was pretty high for Conan. When it didn’t meet expectations—bombs away! As for the Green Lantern, I thought it would be this summer’s Iron Man. Unfortunately, for DC Comics and Warner Brothers, it wasn’t. Still, there are loads of superheroes in the DC universe. So, there are other comics books they can greenlight for movies.

As for Larry Crowne and Cowboys & Aliens, I am surprised and disappointed that these films didn’t do as well as expected. They each had a lot going for them, namely A-list stars and good concepts. Yet, for Larry Crowne, I think the problem was that it came out in July, as opposed to August. July is when the blockbusters are blasting away at the multiplex. August is when the studios release films that aren’t exactly shoot’em ups.  As big as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are, if the movie they are in is going to be released in July, there better be a car chase and shooting at bad guys or else no one will see it. After all, The Help was released in August and it is doing very well without having explosions or car chases. Now Cowboys & Aliens, talk about an original idea that didn’t go very far. Having cowboys fight aliens—why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t it do better and why did the The Hangover Part II make over $348 million at the box office?  The world will never know.

On that happy note, I say farewell and invite you to come back next week for another exciting read about the world of movies, movie posters and collecting.

Sources:
http://movies.yahoo.com/photos/collections/gallery/3572/2011-summer-box-office#photo0

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/summer-box-office-s-10-biggest-flops-of-2011.html

ROI From Hollywood Collectibles

September 29, 2010

Recently, I read on Moviematics.com that movie posters, particularly classic movie posters, can be good investments. I also read on Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com that said if a certain item is mentioned in or associated with a successful movie, the value of said item goes up.

Those articles got me thinking. After all, I’ve stated many times on this blog that I don’t recommend people buy movie posters or movie collectibles as investment vehicles, because no one knows which movies will become classics and which ones will be duds. So, I read the articles and found that the authors made good points about collecting with an eye towards return on investment.  Regarding movie posters, Moviematics.com mentions:

Rarity
Take the 1931 classic horror film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. There are only three original movie posters from that film in existence.  One of those posters recently sold on an online auction for over $300,000.  If there more than three Dracula posters, they wouldn’t command those kinds of prices.

The Movie Itself
Classic movies, like Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz have seen movie posters, props and costumes sell very well at auction.  Flops, like Krull* wouldn’t do very well in an auction.

Who Starred in the Movie
Movie posters featuring the likes Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, do well for two reasons. One, they are all dead, which is related to rarity. Two, they starred in classic films, which is related to the movie itself.

What about items associated with a movie?  What’s so great about them? Well according to Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com:

Valuable Before More Valuable After
Items associated with the H.M.S. Titanic were valuable before the film Titanic was released in 1997.  Subsequently, they went up in value after the film’s theatrical release.

Possible To Plan Ahead
A film about Margaret Thatcher is going to be made and reports state that none other than Meryl Streep (Need an accent? Call…) is on board as the Iron Lady. That should renew interest in Thatcher’s political career and England in the 1980’s. Also, there will be two more Harry Potter movies scheduled for release and that should increase the value of things related to Harry Potter movies and series author J.K. Rowling.

My advice remains not to buy a movie poster or other collectible for investment value. Still, it never hurts to research what you plan to buy. After all, knowledge is power.

When it comes to investing, there are other investments vehicles out there and if you are interested in one of them, don’t ask me. Instead, consult a financial advisor as to which one is right for you.
Sources:

http://www.moviematics.com/2010/08/17/classic-movie-posters-a-great-investment/4004/

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/section.asp?catid=73&docid=3826

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085811/


* Krull, released in 1983, is a movie about a world that is about to be invaded by aliens, and a prince and princess marry in order to unite their world and fight the enemy. The princess is kidnapped and prince goes on quest to find her. The film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and Liam Neeson (yes that Liam Neeson)