When last we left the column, we were discussing how Hollywood keeps the money rolling by selling the same product again and again.
What is a new concept in corporate movie-making is the trilogy. A trilogy is different from a sequel as the trilogy is supposedly one continuous story broken up into three parts. Trilogies, however, usually start as sequels. Then when the market share results comes in, the next two installments are planned. STAR WARS is the model for this genre. When the box office exploded with the first (or fourth, if you're a purist), installment, plans were made to make the second movie a cliffhanger to be concluded with the third movie. Some very few movies are initially planned to be trilogies. PIRATES of the CARIBBEAN, was expected to be a flop, but had such a successful first run, so successful that The Black Pearl, the "ship" used in the first movie, was originally filmed on a sound stage. For the next two installments, as well as for the upcoming PIRATES of the CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES due out next year, an actual ship had to be built.
Another marketing ploy perpetrated by Hollywood is the multi-release DVD. By careful promotions by the studio, a
fan of a movie could get roped into purchasing multiple copies of the same movie. The LORD of the RINGS was always planned to be a trilogy, each a whopping 3 hours long. One can spend the entire day watching all three installments. As a side note, the trilogy gave birth to the "complete" DVD movie set. Though already a marketing staple, the "Complete Trilogy Boxed Set" became a collector's item. Now, an avid LOTR fan can own the complete trilogy as a smartly-packaged box set. ...If they haven't already bought each movie individually. ...Or broke down and bought the special edition version of each movie. ...Or haven't bought the original boxed set of the trilogy, and waited until the Deluxe Boxed Set, complete with 14 hours of extra footage and a souvenir ring with every purchase. A running joke is as follows: " I own 27 DVD's. What are they? LORD of the RINGS."
Nikita - the remake of the series of the remake of the movie
Soon, TV series were remade into full-length feature movies, which became remade into TV series again. A TV series like the ADDAMS FAMILYwould be remade into a feature film, The ADDAMS FAMILY, which was remade into another short-lived TV series, The ADDAMS FAMILY, after a series of sequels and direct-to-DVD features. It's getting to the
point that when you reference a show, you have to qualify it by citing whether you're referring to the movie, the TV show, the remake or the sequel. Redoing movies has it's own lexicon. Sequels are just the beginning. There is the prequel, the interquel , the midquel, and the sidequel (if you can figure all of that out - GO OUTSIDE! GET SOME SUN! You probably need it!).
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Adding to the confusion, the latest in the "lazing" of Hollywood is the reboot. Here, an established work is reset to Square One. Sometimes establishing the mythology, other taking the title of the movie alone and creating a whole new mythology. The reboot is, in my opinion, the most destructive and laziest device in the Hollywood Committee Mill. If a movie fails, or producers want to wring more money out of an aging franchise, they will just wipe the slate clean and start over. Or they'll take a story that has been done before, and put their "distinctive" spin on the movie. One example comes to mind is Robin Hood. As of the Russell Crowe version this year and a possible sequel afterward coming next year, there will be a staggering 66 versions of basically the same movie!
According to a recent survey, the movie-going public is growing tired of
The Future of Movies?
sequels. Hollywood has become a very scared, paranoid place. With movies costing hundreds of millions of dollars to produce, and the fate of each of these mega-blockbusters depending solely on the first weekend box office receipts, Hollywood hedge their bets big time with market analysts, audience polls, and being soooooooooo
careful to give the viewing audience exactly what they had before, if television was the opium for the masses, today's movies are the roofies.
From now until the end of the year, there will be 3 reboots, 5 remakes and 19 sequels. In 2011 so far, there are 27 sequels, remakes and reboots are already in the works - and these are the ones that are already scheduled.
The pattern of the sequel, the remake and the reboot has no sign of letting up any time soon. Futurists are predicting that we will have the technology to accurately reconstitute not only the physical presence, but the acting talents of long-dead actors. The implications are horrifying. Think of Charlie Chaplain doing a remake of DUMB and DUMBER. Or John Wayne in RAMBO XVII. As computer-generated, Hollywood-controlled avatars, any combination of movies in any combination of actors could be possible. And in "giving" the average movie-goer what they want, the movies will cater to the lowest denominator.
Of course, I could be wrong!
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Aug 13, 2010 7:27 AM
|They're shooting the FOURTH Pirates of the Caribbean this Summer in the UK and Hawaii. Great column Mike|
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Every other Wednesday
Until I find my footing, I'd like to vent on the state of today's movies. I will occasionally praise a movie that piques my fancy. But it's a whole lot more fun railing against a person's work who makes more money on a single project than I would make if I lived 500 years. Oh, I will usually make observations on movies rather than films. The difference? Films are critically acclaimed, while movies are just darned good fun.
Born in the Fifties with an extreme phobia for movies in general, I became obsessed with movies when I broke that phobia with the first movie I actually enjoyed, “The Ten Commandments.” I particularly like the kind of movie where you can put your brain on hold. I get enough reality and drama in my everyday life; I refuse to pay someone to subject me to the same. |
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