Posts Tagged ‘Warner Brothers’

Disney Classics Goes 3D

November 3, 2011

After the success of the re-release The Lion King in 3D, Disney announced that it will re-release Beauty and The Beast, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid and  Monsters, Inc. in 3D.

I guess I blogged too soon about there being intelligent life in Hollywood. (See Kimosabe, Uncle Walt Says Stop) I must admit I thought re-release The Lion King in 3D was just a one time deal before it goes on to Blu-Ray DVD. Rather it was more like a test for the folks at Disney. Now instead of making original animated 3D films, Uncle Walt’s crew is retro fitting older animated films with 3D effects.

Of course, the 3D retro fitting idea can be traced back to George Lucas doing that to the Star Wars films. I suspect that the folks at Disney found out what he was doing and thought “Gee, if Lucas is doing that for the Star Wars films and there are only six of them, just think what we could with our back catalogue of animated films.” Then The Lion King in 3D did so well, the folks at the Mouse Factory were singing Hakuna Matata all the way to the bank.

Still, 3D isn’t as great as the studios would have us believe and it’s an effect that won’t work for every movie. What’s next? Will Dreamworks’ animation department jump on the bandwagon and start retro fitting all the Shrek and Madagascar films in 3D? What about Warner Brothers? Will we be treated to Bugs Bunny being hunted by Elmer Fudd in 3D? (Quick duck, Fudd has a gun!) Oh Don Bluth*, where are you when we need you the most?

Most of the time, the only thing 3D adds to a film is that it adds more money to the admission price. What makes Disney’s animated films so great is that while the stories they are based on are classics in and of themselves, Disney added the artistry and the storytelling elements that made them their own. When it comes to Snow White, people don’t think of The Brothers Grimm. No, they think of Snow White dancing with the Dwarves and singing Someday My Prince Will Come.

Disney has the resources at its disposal and then some to create another classic animated film, so it has no excuse when it comes this. So, come on Mickey, start whipping your minions into shape. They produced animated films that were grand artistic achievements in the past and they can do it again.

*Don Bluth, a former Disney animator who in 1979 left to establish Don Bluth Productions. His company was responsible for such animated films as The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, Titan AE and let’s not forget the video game Dragon’s Lair.

Sources:
http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/10/04/disney-3d-beauty-beast-mermaid/

http://www.slashfilm.com/disney-3d-rereleases-2012/

http://donbluthanimation.com/_Don_Bluth_Animation_About_Don.html

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

Interactive Movie Posters

June 23, 2011

Someone once said that the only constant in life is change. The same can be said about movie posters.

What am I talking about?

Since the beginning of motion pictures, movie posters have been made of paper. The dimensions and artistic styles have changed over the years, yet paper was the dominant medium. That is until recently. Technology has advanced to the point where movie posters are no longer just static images. I wrote about this development in my blog entry of December 16, 2009 called Living Movie Posters. Yet, what I wrote in 2009 isn’t the end word on the evolution of movie posters.

You mean there’s more?

Of course there’s more.

A recent issue of Pocket Lint, a gadget news and review website based in the UK, had an article about Warner Brothers releasing a smart phone app, which can be used to unlock audio samples, visual animations and other features locked in images from the upcoming Green Lantern film. App was created by a company called Zappar and it created “hot spots” in the poster that can be tapped to allow a smart phone owner with this app to access these goodies.

What if you don’t have a smart phone? Well, on one hand you’re going to miss out; on the other hand are other ways movie posters are evolving. One way is digital signage. Digitimes, an English language website that covers Taiwan’s IT industry, ran a short piece about how digital signage is being used in the Phillipines. One digital sign company called Cayin has 22 of its digital signs in select Filipino movie theaters. These signs are used to display movie posters, trailers, film synopses, rating, screening times, and even promotions. Before the digital signs came along, movie theater employees would use PowerPoint presentations and that limited them to a single layout without show times.

These two developments show how technology is playing a part in the evolution of movie posters. From static displays on paper to dynamic images rendered via a smart phone, movie posters are become more than just advertisements and more than just art; they are becoming experiences in and of themselves. What’s next? I have a feeling we’ll find out very soon and it will have a certain cache of coolness. After all, if it wasn’t cool, no one would want to be associated with it.

Sources:
http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/40253/greenlantern-augmented-reality-app-launches

http://www.digitimes.com/supply_chain_window/story.asp?datepublish=2011/06/07&pages=PR&seq=209

Has the Well Run Dry?

March 10, 2011

Doing a blog like this gives me the opportunity to share interesting personal discoveries. Case in point, not too long ago I took my nephew to see Yogi Bear (in 3D). I had railed against the film in an earlier blog entry (see December 2, 2010 entry, Can’t the Powers That Be Leave Well Enough Alone) because I thought it showed a lack of imagination among studio executives. After all, just because the technology exists to make a movie with a computer animated Yogi and Boo-Boo doesn’t mean that such a movie should be made.

Well, I watched the film with my nephew and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it. It was an entertaining story. Dan Ackroyd was great as Yogi. Justin Timberlake was a very good Boo-Boo and the human actors looked to me like they had fun with their roles. So, the powers that be aren’t so bad for greenlighting Yogi Bear.

Of course, not all is sweetness and light in the Land of Blog. I learned that two previously successful films, one from the 1980’s and one from the 1990’s have either been remade or greenlighted. The films are Arthur and The Bodyguard.

The remake of Arthur is scheduled to come out in April. For those of you not familiar with the movie, the original Arthur is a comedy released in 1981 and starred Dudley Moore as a spoiled and boozy man-child millionaire who must choose between marrying for money or love. Liza Minnelli starred as the woman he ultimately chooses and Sir John Gielgud was Arthur’s erstwhile butler. I saw it when it first came out in and while I didn’t get all the jokes and lines, I liked the movie. The remake follows the same story line except that the 2011 version Arthur isn’t boozy and Helen Mirren plays Arthur’s nanny.

As for The Bodyguard, Warner Brothers recently approved a remaking this film. The Bodyguard came out in 1992 and dealt with a former Secret Service Agent who is hired to protect a pop star from a stalker. The original starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. The story has been updated, so instead of having the bodyguard be a former Secret Service Agent, the bodyguard is a former Iraq War Veteran and he has to content with the stalking via Twitter, Gawker Stalker and other Internet sites. So far, no actors have been chosen to star in the movie.

Good gravy! What has gotten into the studios? First they mine the comic books, then the sitcoms, now recent movies? It is one thing to redo Clash of the Titan because special effects are more advanced in the 2010’s then they were in the 1980’s. Arthur and The Bodyguard didn’t have any major special effects to begin with, so what could be improved about them? These films were both successful and good movies in their own right. Why couldn’t the studios leave them alone and greenlight a project that is not a remake or reboot? After all, there is so much talent and money out there. It is hard to believe that studio executives could not find, let alone fund, an original project.

Then again, I could be wrong. The new versions of Arthur and The Bodyguard could end up being just as good, if not better, than the original versions. Maybe they just needed some infusion of 21st Century sensibilities and doing that would give these films a little something extra to make them better creations.

Yeah and if you believe that, then I could sell you some bridge in Brooklyn and afterwards flap my arms and fly to the Moon when you find out that I don’t hold the deed to such a structure.

Sources:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/02/22/greta_gerwig_finally_acknowledged_by_arthur_poster/

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/usmovies.thehollywoodreporter.com/warner-bros-remake-bodyguard

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082031/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103855/