Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

From the Tube to the Silver Screen

December 29, 2011

Would you believe that a movie version of the 1990’s FOX television show 21 Jump Street will be released on March 16, 2012? Yes, it’s true. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, 21 Jump Street was a police drama about a special unit of police officers who investigate youth crime. These police officers were chosen to be a part of this unit because they could pass for high school and college age students.  It’s headquarters is located at 21 Jump Street (hence the title). The show launched the careers of Johnny Depp and Holly Robinson Peete.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, let me be the first to tell you that I’m not exactly going to be camping out for tickets to this film. Still, the idea of television shows that are turned into movies makes for a good blog subject. So, I will be spotlighting television shows that got the big screen treatment. Of course, the most famous example of a television show that made the transition to the big screen is Star Trek. Still, there have been others that have made the transition, some successfully, some not so successfully. Such as:

The A-Team (2010)
I pity the fool who thought I wouldn’t include this film. Actually no, I don’t, I just wrote that for the heck of it.  This film is based on the NBC television show that ran from 1983 to 1987 about four Army veterans framed for a crime they didn’t commit. (In the television series they were Vietnam veterans, in the movie they were Iraq War veterans.) So, they make their living as soldiers of fortune who help ordinary folks in trouble, such as rescuing people from cults. The film version features the team tracking down counterfeiters. Like the television show, the film featured its fair share of car chases, explosions and pithy banter between the actors.

The Addams Family (1991) /Addams Family Values (1993)
These films started out as a comic in the New Yorker that was drawn by Charles Addams, which then led to a television series that ran on ABC from 1964 to 1966, which then led to two films staring Raul Julia as Gomez Addams, the eccentric patriarch of the gothic Addams family and Anjelica Huston as his macabre, yet loving wife Morticia. Since the powers that be were smart enough to get actors like Julia and Huston, who played their roles well without going overboard both the films were commercially successful and got good reviews.

Bean, the Movie (1997)
This show was a hit on the BBC and soon became a hit worldwide. Actor Rowan Atkinson (who is also is famous for his Black Adder and Johnny English roles) plays Mr. Bean, a museum security guard who doesn’t talk but gets into all sorts of trouble and his attempts to rectify the situation makes it worse (and funny). In the film version, museum officials send Mr. Bean to the U.S. to accompany Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black, No. 1: The Artist’s Mother, also known as Whistler’s Mother, as a way to get rid of him for a few weeks. After the painting is delivered to a Los Angeles museum, Bean subsequently ruins it. His attempts to fix the painting initially makes it worse (and funny). Yet in the end, Mr. Bean saves the day, as well as the painting and to top it off, he actually speaks a few well chosen words.

The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
This started out as a sitcom that aired on CBS from 1962 to 1971 about the Clampett family who fell into a fortune when oil was discovered on their land. Father Jed moves daughter Ellie May, nephew Jethro and mother-in-law Granny from their humble home in the hill country of Arkansas to Beverly Hills. It is there that the salt of earth Clampetts meet the phony social climbers of Beverly Hills and the end results are very funny. Yet, this was one movie treatment of a sitcom that should not have been greenlighted. The characters in the film were all one-dimensional and the story of someone wanting to marry Jed for his money didn’t hit the jackpot, so to speak.

Of course, this is just a short list of the many television shows that were made into movies. Still, it would be nice if the suits in Hollywood would stop with the TV shows into movies trend. While there have been some television shows that were turned into great movies, such as The Addams Family and Bean. There were others that were real duds, such as The Beverly Hillbillies. So, listen up suits. How about you folks leave the television shows alone and actually seek out some original projects. Yes, I’ve said that in other blog entries and if you want me to stop saying it, then greenlight something that didn’t start out as a television show!

Sources:
http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/12/19/21-jump-street-poster-jonah-hill-channing-tatum/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092312/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084967/

http://www.amazon.com/Bean-Rowan-Atkinson/dp/B00007AJF7/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1324578809&sr=1-1

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/whis/hd_whis.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Addams-Family-Values/dp/B000FIHN52/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1324578847&sr=1-1

http://www.tv.com/shows/the-addams-family/

http://www.amazon.com/Beverly-Hillbillies-Diedrich-Bader/dp/B0002XL2ZW/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1324575748&sr=1-2

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055662/

 

 

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A DeLorean and Loads of 3.75 Inch Action Figures, Just To Name A Few

October 6, 2011

Paul Fraser of Paul Fraser Collectibles recently wrote on his website about two auctions of movie memorabilia. One auction is for one of Deloreans used in the Back to the Future films. (Seven cars were used in the films and of those only three are still around.) While an auction estimate for the car has been set for $400,000-600,000, it will most likely to hit the low end of the estimate. In November 2010 a DeLorean replica sold for only $112,920. A portion of the proceeds from this auction will go to Parkinson’s Disease charities.

The other auction Paul Fraser wrote about will take place on eBay and the items being auctioned off are Star Wars memorabilia from all six films. These items range from screen used items like Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter from the 1977 Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope to loads of Star Wars 3.75 inch action figures, and other pieces of Star Wars memorabilia. All the proceeds from this auction will go to Stand Up To Cancer for its work in cutting edge cancer research.

Still, the question remains what is it about movie memorabilia that causes people to flock to auctions, flea markets and eBay? While I could wax poetic about childhood and teen memories that many of these items helped to create and I did in my entry of November 5, 2009 titled Flea Market Finds and Miscellaneous Discoveries. There’s more to this phenomena, such as the “Looky at the new toy that I got.” factor that hasn’t been explored. There are loads of people out there who would love nothing more than to own something that is related to their favorite movie and brag about it. The most famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) of memorabilia collectors are Star Wars and Star Trek fans.  I entered the words “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”  in  eBay’s search box and it came up with 300,929 results for Star Wars and 120,920 results for Star Trek. Yes, there a lot of action figures, models and other do-dads out there just waiting to be bought by fanboys and girls. Which of course, leads to the Bill Gates factor as in “Be nice to the nerd, because that person could be your boss one day.” Many movie memorabilia items sell for four figures and up. Nerds, while they aren’t known for their winsome personalities, are known to have a singular focus on something. It is this singular focus that leads to them starting their own businesses and they end up doing very well financially.  So, when they get large amounts of discretionary income, what do you think they will spend it on? If you answered movie memorabilia, you are right.

So, the next time you scoff at someone spending thousands of dollars for a car or model used in a movie, consider this:  For all you know, it could have been that kid you knew growing up who wore the pocket protector and thick glasses and is now a multi-billionare who just happens to be your boss.

Sources:
http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/Video-of-the-Week-Marty-McFly’s-DeLorean-could-arrive-at-auction-in-the-near-future/8185.page?catid=78

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/’A-Force-for-good’…-eBay-prepares-massive-charity-Star-Wars-auction/8157.page?catid=78

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

Famous Films Foreign Origins

September 1, 2010

I once stated that Hollywood is the ultimate recycler because the powers that be have minded the comic book/old television show vault extensively. Well, sometimes Hollywood goes beyond the borders of the U.S. to find inspiration or steal ideas, depending on your point of view.

Below are some films that were made in one country and remade in the U.S.

Shichinin no samurai, Japan 1954
A Japanese village is terrorized by bandits. The villagers are fed up and look for a way to stop the bandit raids. So, with only handfuls of rice as payment, they get seven unemployed ronins (masterless samerai) to take care of the bandits once and for all, which they do.

Now for the translation of the title which is Seven Samurai. In 1960, the U.S. remake of this movie was done and it is called The Magnificent Seven. The setting is the Old West and the movie stars Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Colburn. The director is Preston Struges and the film features an unforgettable score by Elmer Bernstein. (Once you hear it, you’ll know what movie it is from and you just might get the desire to hop on a horse and ride off into the sunset.)

Trois Hommes et un Couffin, France 1985
Three bachelors share an apartment in Paris. They woo women, have parties and love every minute of it. They are living the high life and nothing domestic (i.e. marriage and children) will come in the way of these bon vivants. Until one day, a package is left on their door. It is no ordinary package. It is bassinet with a baby inside. Make that a crying baby who’s hungry and needs her diaper changed and life will never be the same for these men ever again.

Now for the translation of the title which is Three Men and a Cradle. If the plot sounds familiar it is because in 1987 it was remade in the U.S. as Three Men & a Baby. The movie had Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg as the bachelors and the director was none other than Leonard Nimoy. (Yes, Spock from Star Trek.)

Como agua para chocolate, Mexico 1993
Boy meets girl in the early 1900’s in Mexico. Girl likes Boy and Boy goes to Girl’s mother to request daughter’s hand in marriage. Mother says no, Girl is the youngest and tradition states that she is not to marry, so as to take care of mother. So, Boy marries Girl’s Older Sister and Girl prepares wedding feast where she channels her passion for Boy into the food.

The translation is Like Water for Chocolate. This film was remade in 1999 as Simply Irresistible and it featured none other than Sarah Michele Gellar. (I guess she tired of slaying vampires.) If you are surprised that Like Water for Chocolate was remade, join the club. Not many know of this movie and it didn’t do too well in the box office.

Le Dîner de Cons, France 1999
Picture this: A group of friends in Paris get together for dinner every Wednesday and they have this game whereby they each have to bring an idiot to this dinner. One of the friends, Pierre thinks he has found the best idiot in Paris. This idiot, Pignon, makes models out of landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower, out of matchsticks. Things go awry when Pierre can’t make it to the dinner party due to a sport’s injury and Pignon offers his assistance.

Now the translation: The Dinner Game. Can you guess what the American version is called? How about Dinner for Schmucks? Yes, that movie with Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd, which came out recently. In the American version, once the idiot/schmuck is invited to the dinner, he invites himself to into the other person’s life.  Moral: Don’t invite idiots or schmucks to dinner. They’ll never go away.

Yes, the powers that be in Hollywood are always on the lookout for the next hit movie, whether it comes from a comic book, an old television show or a foreign film. That, too, will never go away.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Three-Men-Cradle-Roland-Giraud/dp/B0009WFFWC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Men-Baby-Tom-Selleck/dp/B00005T7I2/ref=sr_1_5?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662756&sr=1-5

http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Samurai-Criterion-Collection-Spine/dp/0780020685/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281660769&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Magnificent-Seven-Special-Yul-Brynner/dp/B000059TFW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662503&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Like-Water-Chocolate-Marco-Leonardi/dp/6305428476/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281661502&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Irresistible-Sarah-Michelle-Gellar/dp/B000067J1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662162&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Game-Thierry-Lhermitte/dp/B0000A1HQP/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281832673&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Schmucks-Zach-Galifianakis/dp/B002ZG97GU/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281837537&sr=1-1

Never Too Early To Promote A Movie Or Is It?

August 4, 2010

The character posters for upcoming Green Lantern movie were released recently at the San Diego Comic Con. You can see the images here: http://screenrant.com/green-lantern-character-posters-sandy-70401/

The movie is scheduled for release on June 17, 2011. Yes, that is almost a year from now.  That leads to this question: Why promote a film so early? One reason is the cost associated with making a movie. According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the average cost of making a movie in 2006 was $65.8 million. That figure takes into account movies ranging from blockbusters to little independent films. As for the blockbusters, the cost for Avatar has been reported to be anywhere from $230 million to $500 million, Iron Man 2 costs about $170 million and those are just two recent films.  Since the studios are spending this much money on a film, they obviously want a return on their investment.

Another reason, is that there is so much in the way of entertainment choices, namely cable, DVD’s and the Internet, that the powers that be at movie studios want their film to be top of mind when it comes to answering the question “What do you want to do tonight?” After all, one would hope that the more someone is reminded that a particular movie is coming out, the more likely he or she will go out to see it.

The trouble with promoting a film so early is people will ignore the hype and move on to something else. Some film franchises, like Star Wars, and Star Trek have huge fan bases, so just the mere mention of one of these films being in a pre-production phase will get the blogosphere and fanboys buzzing. Of course, not every film has such a fan base to draw on. When I first learned that a Green Lantern movie was going to be made, I had to look up who the Green Lantern is.[1] Since not all moviegoers write a blog, I wouldn’t be surprised if others didn’t bother to do research on the character.

Will this advanced publicity help or hurt the Green Lantern?  That question will be answered in the summer of 2011. Of course, if it were up to me, I would start promoting a film six months before it is to be released.  I feel that six months is just enough time to build up demand without people tuning out the publicity.  Then again, I don’t run a studio, so my ideas don’t count.


[1] The Green Lantern is a superhero in the DC Comics universe.  The origin story of the Green Lantern goes like this:  A construction engineer, named Alan Scott, was the only survivor of a train accident. The reason he survived was because he was holding a magical lantern. He makes a ring out of part of the lantern and uses the power of the lantern to fight crime.

Sources:

http://www.comic-con.org/cci/

http://screenrant.com/green-lantern-character-posters-sandy-70401/

http://www.cinematical.com/2007/03/08/mpaa-in-2006-an-average-movie-cost-65-8m-to-produce/

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2009/12/how-much-did-avatar-really-cost.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/movies/10box.html

451 “All American Comics” #16, The Green Lantern Origin and First Appearance, Very Rare 1940. Mastronet Americana Catalog, October 2001, pg. 153