Friday, June 11, 2010

This summer and that summer

Not all summers are created equal especially at the box office. One of my favorite summers of all time was the summer of 1996 when Independence Day came out and I spent the rest of my summer as a ten year old fighting aliens on my cousins farm in Georgia. Looking back, I don't really remember much else from that summer. The first "Nutty Professor" movie came out as did "Twister" and "The Rock" but overall, according to Hollywood analysts that too was a bad summer. That said, the thing that separates the then and now is that it is very doubtful another "Independence Day" will come out of this lot of films being released in 2010. I'm talking, a movie that will go on and gross all the way till fall and keep making money for many years after it.

I've been pretty wrong on most of my predictions so far, I think as far as this summer goes, everyone has. More are failing than I thought was possible. What's up with that? Economic problems in Europe probably arn't helping and like the studios big fight with the summer olympics in 1996 to get audiences, the world cup might be affecting audiences world wide--leaving international numbers pretty slim. Maybe that was in the cards all along, they've learned that they can't compete with a once every four year TV event, so they'll just release filler because they have to and make what they make. No sense trying to fight it.

That's probably what's going on. Notice throughout the rest of June and into early July there aren't many huge films coming. And July 4 weekend is like an empty coffin with the exception of "Last Airbender." That's one of the best weekends of the summer to release anything so the lack of something on that weekend signals to me, something is up. "Knight and Day," "Salt," "Inception" and "Predator" are about the only things left worth mentioning--on and the Mark Wahlburg/Will Ferrell thing in August. So yeah, it's a summer slump, but on the bright side, maybe next summer we won't have to deal with another summer barrage of nothing but franchises and bad adaptations, again, that's Iron Man 2, Shrek 4, Toy Story 3, Predator, Robin Hood, and so so much more.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Del Toro Departs MIddle Earth: Give it up MGM

It's official, Hellboy & Pans Labyrinth's amazing visionary director Guillermo Del Toro is off "The Hobbit" films. These projects were highly anticipated films especially with the disappointment that followed when it was announced that the Lord of the Rings director and screen adapter Peter Jackson would not be allowed to helm the projects. Del Toro was a worthy replacement. Aside from the battle with Jackson to helm the film, the MGM property was mired in a tense battles with everyone that ever had a claim to it after the amazing success of the "Lord of the Rings" films at New Line--a battle that took several years to settle. MGM won it but it seems the studio has lost the war. The project is on hold indefinitely as the studio is led out to auction: that or it is being led out to be shot back behind the barn--which is what should happen.

The question now is not who will replace Del Toro but what will happen to MGM? As not only this project is wrapped up in its fate, many others will follow as well, not to mention a library of hits that serve now only as bitter reminders of a studio that once knew what it was doing. Even at the best scenario, where the studio is bought, management is restructured, and projects are ordered back online, and even with "The Hobbit" leading the charge, it will still take years to work out the deals and line up investors and talent and then finally film the thing.

Del Toro's move is wise and it should become clear to anyone wanting to buy the studio now, what their priority's are: restructure MGM, give it a new image, and let it start with "The Hobbit" and end with a year medium budget, high value and highly targeted niche films to take the place of smaller studios and distributers that have gone bankrupt and are no longer. MGM won't be able to compete again with Paramount, FOX, and WB until they become more financially viable again, so it should stick to what it knows best: good simple film.