Sequels: A Necessary Evil

Yet another attempt to clean out the inbox and the supply you with some time wasting links:

it would be interesting to for anyone to keep a straight face when explaining the reasoning for fast and the furious 5 other than money

it would be interesting to for anyone to keep a straight face when explaining the reasoning for fast and the furious 5 other than money

Wanna hear something thoroughly unsurprising? 2011 will see more sequels hit theaters than any other year. Normally, this is where I shake my head at the American movie-going public and go into convulsions under my desk. But I’m in a good mood, so let’s go in a different direction today — this is a good thing. Hollywood needs sure-thing hits, or else it can’t take chances on movies that otherwise couldn’t get made. That’s what sequels are — sure-fire hits that already have a fan base, name recognition and box office reliability. Without Avatar, Fox’s 2010 was so bad maybe it considers closing Fox Searchlight. Without the Harry Potter franchise, Warner Brothers probably doesn’t take a shot on what had to be the weirdest script its seen in years with Inception. I still feel bad for the people who are going to pay good money to see the fifth Fast and the Furious to the point where I pray for their souls and their imaginations. And maybe we’re getting less original ideas to the screen than in years past. But without these sure-fire, no doubt hits, then studios just aren’t going to be able to make interesting, thoughtful write-off movies that are bound to barely crack the $5 million gross. So instead of complaining, today I’ll embrace it. Then I’ll come close to tears in August when Spy Kids 4 opens #1 at the box office.

How long did that last, a minute? Did it crack the two-minute mark? Because now the director of the Justin Beiber movie is one of the favorites to direct the ultimate movie-that-should-never-have-a-sequel-Martin-Scorcese-is-involved, GI Joe. Last night’s Glee was enough to give me Beiber-itis, but it’s turning into a full-blown Beiber Flu known to affect anyone over the age of 15 who has heard the name Justin Beiber more than five times an hour for three straight weeks. Let’s just say my glands are pretty swollen right now. I was still holding out hope for the next installment of the GI Joe series because 1. It couldn’t possibly be worst than the first one 2. The cast still is talented, despite what they all showed in the first one and 3. Stephen Sommers is no longer involved. Those are three pretty strong arguments for the improvement of the second one, but when one of the favorites for director steps into a Hollywood studio with this kind of discussion and leaves thinking he might have won the job, it’s scary:

Hollywood Exec: So tell me, what have you done so far?

John Chu: Well, I started out by writing and directing a couple movies that revolve around music that you’ve never heard of, and even I can’t find them on DVD.

Exec: Great! Tell me more!

this might be a picture from step up 3d or it might not be. the world may never know.

this might be a picture from step up 3d or it might not be. the world may never know.

Chu: Then I stuck with the whole music thing and stole money by “directing” the second and third Step Up movies.

Exec: I love those!

Chu: I know, right? Then I followed a 16-year-old around for a couple months with a camera and taped his concerts. Might I add that not once was I accused of pedophilia in those months.

Exec: Hey, that’s not easy to do!

Chu: Seriously!

Exec: So what makes you think you can handle our summer blockbuster franchise that had people drooling two years ago before we turned it into stir-fried s—?

Chu: Haven’t you been listening? (holding up movie poster and pointing at it) Step Up 3-D!!!

Exec: Wow, you’ve even come prepared with visual aids! I love it! Can you start next week?

Chu: Actually, no, James Cameron has asked me to collaborate on the second Avatar movie (pausing, looking around the room with a smirk on his face) … of course I can! Just one question, who’s this Cobra Commander guy. Is he, like, a villain or something?

(I just got chills thinking about whether that actually happened or not.)

the newest addition of the fantastic four

the newest addition of the fantastic four

This one’s a little old, but in case you haven’t heard, Spider-Man is about to join the Fantastic Four. It’s not the first time the seminal Marvel group has had a celebrity replacement — Storm, Ant-Man and She-Hulk were members at one time or another as replacements for the founding members. Even Spider-Man once applied for membership, even though he never made it in. But anymore, when there are momentous roster changes like this — Spider-Man taking over for a presumed deceased Johnny Storm — there’s probably a good argument for the changes being made specifically for the big screen. Remember, Disney is in charge of Marvel now and wants to make sure it’s got the most profitable product available. So while crossovers have always been always interesting and big money makers, a new owner would want to make it even more interesting by bringing together two of the comic company’s biggest products. The added dimension of prepping it for a big-screen adaptation only makes it more interesting. When Andrew Garfield is on the press tour next year for The Amazing Spider-Man, someone better ask him if he’s under contract for any Fantastic Four movies. When you see the movie in 2025, just remember who told you about it first.

Are Hollywood studios tired of big director egos and their paycheck requests? It used to be you didn’t have to IMDB names of announced directors of tentpole franchises. The names are supposed to roll off your tongue with ease, but when Sony announced Marc Webb — he of the one $32 million grossing indie (500) Days of Summer — it seems like the game changed. Matthew Vaughn was handed the X-Men franchise even though he turned it down once and hasn’t made a $50-million grossing movie yet. The Harry Potter franchise has been completely content discovering directors instead of giving big ones another job. Die Hard is following suit for the fifth and possibly final installment of the best original action franchise ever by naming Noam Murro as its director. At least Webb was the hot young property of the time, this Murro guy wasn’t even hot when he directed his one movie, the remarkably average Smart People.

i didn't know the plot of the first two, so don't feel bad tommy

i didn't know the plot of the first two, so don't feel bad tommy

Hear that pop? That’s the bubble bursting from the last person holding out any hope that Men in Black III can actually be good. Production on the movie has been pushed back yet again, though it’s not supposed to have any affect on the release date (we’ll see about that). This is approximately the 674th time the production schedule has changed, and if there was a good reason as to why, it would be one thing. But when major issues like multiple script revisions are openly being blamed, that’s not a good thing. It should also be noted that Tommy Lee Jones, who probably should know what’s going on in the movie, said last week, “I don’t really know what the plotline is.” Good times! Can I pre-order my tickets now?

Yet another sequel for 2011 getting a name: Sherlock Homles: Game of Shadows. Whatever that means. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it sounds a lot like the Blair Witch sequel Book of Shadows and the upcoming much-hyped HBO series Game of Thrones. So not only is the movie an unoriginal adaptation of something that’s been adapted 100 times, but the title is even unoriginal and thoroughly uninspiring. Yeah, that whole good mood thing? Gone.

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