The New Halloween Movie Champ

Monday links:

i'm sure there's a difference between the paranormal activities. right?

There can’t be more than five or six fans of Saw left out there, but those who are will be disappointed to learn it now has been officially supplanted as the Halloween franchise of hollywood’s choice. That mantle now belongs solely to Paranormal Activity after it just set an October opening weekend record of $54 million, which is also the highest horror movie debut ever. I can’t find anyone that has written about this so far, but this has to be the most profitable franchise ever, right? The first one was made for $15,000 and made $193 million around the world. The second one was made for $3 million and made $177 million. Now this one’s budget has been jacked all the way up to $5 million — and remember, Jerry Bruckheimer just complained about cutting his Lone Ranger budget to $215 million — and made $80 million around the world in its opening weekend and is easily on its way to $150 million, probably closer to $200 million. If it makes $200 million, then the franchise will have grossed $570 million on about an $8 million budget. That’s more than a 70-time return on investment. Get your tickets now for Paranormal Activity 24 in 2032, because there will be a new one of these every Halloween.

big difference between when this fails and when paranormal activity 22 fails

Then there is the other angle, that Hollywood wants more of these movies, not more of the risky special effects-laden genre features that could end up blowing up in a studio’s face. If by some miracle Paranormal Activity 3 bombed, so what? Then a studio worth billions just lost $5 million. But when Green Lantern bombs and struggles to make back its $200 million budget and additional marketing costs, that affects the quarterly bottom line, directly affects the future of Warner Brothers and makes stockholders angry. It’s not much different than the mid-90s when independent movies started making $100 million against $2 million budgets. The same kind of push happened. But then something comes along like Titanic, or Spider-Man, or Avatar, that makes rich people very, very rich, and instead of studios saying “Bring us the next Paranormal Activity!” they say “Get us the next Batman!” It’s cyclical.

And the demand for big, tentpole franchises that can produce big money payoffs more than just once will always be in demand. That’s why The Stand looks like it’s making its way to theaters at some point with Ben Affleck directing. Not quite sure why they need to make a movie series when the TV miniseries was eight hours long and was pretty good (Gary Sinise, especially. I remember watching the whole thing in college). But when you can get Ben Who-fleck for something, you might as well go ahead and do it.

As long as we’re talking shaved budgets and Stephen King, there should probably be some kind of Dark Tower update out there, right? Yup, there it is. Producer Brian Grazer said the series still is going to get made as three movies and a TV show but you can see Universal cringing at this as soon as they hear it because what happens if the movie is a success, but the TV ratings tank? That’s a weird possibility, but still. The TV series is supposed to be the details of the story between the movies, but if it tanks off the bat, does NBC (Universal’s partner) pull the show and say details be damned? Or does it stick with it, take the bad ratings and call it a win since the movie portion is successful? That’s a long way off for a project that only has a rejection letter to its lost of credits.

Even though I’ve still never watched a movie in 3-D at a theater, there’s no way this whole 3-D thing is dead. The initial demand petered out, yeah. But how could it have stayed as high as it was for Avatar and Alice in Wonderland back-to-back? And the problem with a success like Avatar is you initially will get hacky impostors looking to capitalize off a fad. So you get stuck with movies being converted to 3-D artificially instead of being actually shot in 3-D — bad product. 3-D isn’t for me. My high-def TV is as far as I need to take it, and I barely like wearing sunglasses, let alone having to wear glasses to watch TV in my house. I’m also extremely cheap, so I don’t really feel like I need to pay extra money at the theater to get a similar experience. Most people say, “It’s $3, what’s the big deal?” but those are people who go to the movies and don’t pay for anyone else. If you want to take your family of three kids, that’s an extra $15 tacked on to an already expensive day at the movies. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the value of 3-D for other people. It’s not going anywhere.

oh c'mon. of all the people to bring back for sin city 2, jessica alba is the most important?

Can’t figure out if Sin City 2 is a good idea or not. The movie holds up remarkably well, has one of the best casts of the last 10 years and is more than just stylish. It’s a good collection of nior stories pieced together with effective voiceover (for once). But why muck that up with a sequel? The style gimmick is going to be played out, so that section of the public isn’t going to come out to see the new one. The stories will have to be top-notch to bring the fans back. It’s not a movie that will live on reputation, it’s going to have to get good reviews to get people out to see it. That’s a dangerous prospect for a sequel.

Haven’t watched Once Upon a Time yet, planning on it tonight. Big ratings. It was a weird time to premiere it opposite the World Series, but the people who run ABC are obviously smarter than me.

Everytime I come close to ditching cable and switching to DirecTV, something like this happens. This news started breaking last week, and it sounded like posturing by both sides to get a deal done in some way. Then over the weekend the ads started running during Fox’s football game saying how the company’s second tier channels — FX, Fox Soccer, Fox regional sports, etc. — are going to be pulled from DirecTV’s channel package. That? That’s not posturing. That’s Fox spending a good deal of money for valuable advertising space telling them to drop DirecTV if they want to see Always Sunny or Sons of Anarchy. Not only that, but it blatantly shows an “Available on Dish Network” logo on the commercial, a way of directing DirecTV customers right to the competition. Low blow! If I’m DirecTV, I’m keeping a list of everyone that cancels in the next few days, and charging Fox for them when the company comes back and wants to make a deal. Pretty strange bedfellows too since Fox and Dish Network had this same fight last year.

When is it not enjoyable news that Scott Baio is getting another chance at a show? He quite possibly may be the most enjoyable bad actor on the planet. Oh, I’m sorry, you don’t believe me?

There. But even bigger news — Jason Harvey and Eric Bischoff are producing it through their own production company. Wait, that’s not the news. The news is that Jason Hervey and Eric Bischoff have a production company together!!! How does that happen? How do an 80s footnote like Hervey and the greatest showrunner in professional wrestling history get together to make a production company? Did they meet at a bar? Do they have the same agent? Did their collective love of all things Baio bring them together? Was Bischoff one of the extra nuns in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and that’s where they met? I need to know. America needs to know. And because I couldn’t find Hervey’s Pee Wee scene, here’s the next best thing.

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