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David Poland

By David Poland

17 Weeks Of Summer: Episode One – The Studios


There are 30 wide-release films due to be released by the 6 major studios in these 17 weeks of summer (May 2-August 24).And the majors haven’t done anything to change the popular media tune about an ongoing obsession with big, expensive movies.

MEGA MOVIES dominate the summer. 7 of the 30 studio releases are in this category, each with production budgets of over $150 million.

5/2/14 – Sony – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
5/16/14 – WB – Godzilla
5/23/14 – Fox – X-Men: Days of Future Past
5/30/14 – Disney – Maleficent
6/27/14 – Par – Transformers: Age of Extinction
7/18/14 – WB – Jupiter Ascending
8/1/14 – Disney – Guardians of the Galaxy

Each of these films will be looking for $200 million domestic at minimum. Coincidentally, there are no instances of seven $200 million-grossing movies in any one summer. However, there have been six such films in each of the last two summers.

Of course, in the 2014 marketplace, these films could underperform domestically and make up for it overseas. So don’t make the mistake of just writing any of these films off just because they look like they might land in the low 100s domestically. Under $100 million domestic and you can start shoveling dirt, though even then at the risk of being shocked by a 3x or 4X multiple overseas… which still might just get to breakeven, but not a writedown.

As you can see from the listing, the month of May is very, very competitive, while later mega-entries have a lot less direct mega-competition to fight off.

BIG MOVIES are also in play – five of them – looking to score some big numbers as well. What’s a Big Movie, as opposed to a Mega-movie? Budgets of $100-150 million. There are five of these, though to be completely fair, one of them – Luc Besson’s Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson – may be a bit under the $100 million mark.

The Big Movies are:
6/6/14 – WB – Edge of Tomorrow
7/11/14 -Fox – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
7/25/14 – Par – Hercules
8/8/14 – U – Lucy
8/8/14 – Par – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

As you can see, none of these films are going after the mega-game. The first of these films is Tom Cruise, waiting until after Memorial Day Weekend. And it’s more than a full month between that crapshoot until the second film in this category, the Apes sequel, which is 2 weeks clear of Transformers 4, and a week before the new film from The Wachowskis, which no one is overly afraid of at this point. The other three are sitting things out until the last push of the summer, just before and into August.

These films are all looking for a minimum of $100 million domestic to break even. Except for Ninja Turtles, which is a bit of an unknown, these films are all built for strong international returns. The first Apes movie did $480m worldwide. Cruise and The Rock are both very popular in action overseas. Lucy is actually made by Europeans and Johansson has Avengers cred.

COMEDIES are the second largest category.

There were six last summer. There are seven this summer, with two studios (Disney, Paramount) staying out of the category.

5/9/14 – U – Neighbors
5/23/14 – WB – Blended
5/30/14 – U – A Million Ways to Die in the West
6/13/14 – Sony – 22 Jump Street
7/2/14 – WB – Tammy
7/25/14 – Sony – Sex Tape
8/13/14 – Fox – Let’s Be Cops

Five of the six comedies from last summer did over $100 million domestic. So there is no reason to assume that this year is in any way overcrowded with comedies.

Though they have not all been rated yet, it’s safe to say that at least five of the seven will be rated R. Blended, the Sandler/Barrymore family comedy is PG-13 and we’ll see what Let’s Be Cops is. But this was true of last year’s line-up too. The only 2 PG-13 films were the Sandler and The Internship, which was really the only major studio comedy flop last summer.

As you can see, they are pretty well spread out. The only slotting without at least 2 weeks of space are Sandler vs McFarlane, though Memorial Day Weekend is the cause of this conflict and the two films are targeting very different demographics.

FAMILY FILMS are a bit thin this summer.

People have long associated summer with family films doing big business. But this summer, there are “only” two animated films and two small family films on either end of the season.

5/16/14 – Dis – Million Dollar Arm
6/13/14 – Fox – How to Train Your Dragon 2
7/18/14 – Dis – Planes: Fire and Rescue
8/8/14 – Dis – The Hundred-Foot Journey

Last summer, this category was good for just under $1 billion domestic. This summer, it would be a small miracle if this foursome delivers half of that.

The big hole is from Pixar, which decided to skip this summer fairly late in the game… which in animation leaves little room to shift for competitors. Nothing from Blue Sky either, though they are not expected every single summer.

But when people are writing their summer wrap-ups in August, expect a lot of scowls about the missed opportunity with the family audience.

WOMEN’S FILMS is a category that may draw some nasty tweets, just for its name. But what can you do?

And the fact that there are only two films that qualify for the category this summer? Even worse. Oh… and both films were directed by guys.

It’s Shailene Woodley vs Chloë Grace Moretz, just in case you were worried that there would be some new faces leading the way this summer. I’m sure both will be pretty good. I am a bit more excited for the August film because it’s been directed by an established doc director, RJ Cutler, making his fictional feature debut.

6/6/14 – Fox – The Fault in our Stars
8/22/14 – WB – If I Stay

OTHER is a place to put a couple high profile films, a couple low-profile films and one somewhere in the middle.

Do you know that there is a Clint Eastwood movie coming this summer? You probably would if you were working in the film business. His adaptation of the stage sensation, Jersey Boys, lands in June. WB won’t let you forget this… once they get past Godzilla.

Universal rolls out its sequel to a big success of a low-budget horror film with The Purge: Anarchy.

The middle movie is a biopic of James Brown, Get On Up, starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Tate Taylor. That may sound better as, “the star of 42 and the director of The Help.” Who knows? Maybe it will be a surprise late summer shocker.

Into The Storm – “A group of high school students document the events and aftermath of a devastating tornado.” (That’s from imdb._ The biggest stars are Sarah Wayne Callies and Matt Walsh (“The Walking Dead” and “Veep”).

And finally, As Above, So Below… a Legendary-funded movie that doesn’t even have actors listed on the imdb page. So… we’ll see. I’m not mocking… just don’t know… maybe we’ll see it in the spring of 2015.

WB – Jersey Boys 6/20/14
U – The Purge: Anarchy 7/18/14
U – Get On Up 8/1/14
WB – Into The Storm 8/8/14
U – As Above, So Below 8/15/14

So what does all this mean?

Well, that’s another column, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, here is another way at looking at the summer… in simple order of date of release…

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Million Dollar Arm
X-Men: Days of Future Past
A Million Ways to Die in the West

Edge of Tomorrow
The Fault in our Stars
How to Train Your Dragon 2
22 Jump Street
Jersey Boys
Transformers: Age of Extinction

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Jupiter Ascending
Planes: Fire and Rescue
The Purge: Anarchy
Sex Tape

Guardians of the Galaxy
Get On Up
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Into The Storm
Let’s Be Cops
As Above, So Below
If I Stay

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49 Responses to “17 Weeks Of Summer: Episode One – The Studios”

  1. Casual Dining Table says:

    August will easily be a record holder, no? Should help offset some tough comps for the other months.

  2. nick says:

    there’s a red-band trailer for Let’s Be Cops online so it must be R, no?

  3. SamLowry says:

    I don’t get why “The Butler” couldn’t go out as-is because of a short made a century ago, but Universal is allowed to call their movie “Neighbors” despite the 1981 NEIGHBORS released by Columbia.

    Did someone buy the rights to the original, or is nobody willing to pitch a fit this time around?

  4. Geoff says:

    Dave, last summer actually DID see seven films released who exceeded $200 million domestically:

    Iron Man 3
    Despicable Me 2
    Man of Steel
    Monsters University
    Fast & Furious
    Star Trek Into Darkness
    World War Z

  5. Geoff says:

    And I think I talked about this in another thread, but does it really make sense for Guardians of the Galaxy to cost that much??? Does Marvel Studios really think that just their banner above a title is now going to guarantee $200 million domestic? I gather they do…..

  6. berg says:

    ” … does it really make sense for Guardians of the Galaxy to cost that much?”

    Raccoon CGI is expensive

    “Universal is allowed to call their movie “Neighbors” despite the 1981 NEIGHBORS released by Columbia”

    Rush (2013, Universal) … Rush (1991, MGM)

  7. chris says:

    I think you are miscategorizing “Fault” and “100 Foot Journey.” The former is going to be aimed at 13 year olds — mostly girls, but not women. And “100 Foot” probably does qualify as a women’s picture. It’s certainly not a family film, unless children suddenly care about men learning how to cook French food from older women.

  8. Ray Pride says:

    Each studio holds a set number of titles in reserve, it’s not just every title they’ve ever used. An MPAA mutual-agreement society that’s bureaucratic in its complication.

  9. EtGuild2 says:

    Not sure how you can categorize “Hundred Foot Journey,” from Dreamworks, as a “major studio release,” but TriStar and Screen Gems don’t count for Sony. This creates a world where “Elysium” and “Evil Dead” weren’t major releases last year, but “Delivery Man” and “Fifth Estate” were….and leaves Sony with just two summer movies.

    Anyway, it’s interesting how Warner Bros and Universal continue to rely so heavily on stuff that isn’t a “Sequel/Remake/Re-imagining.” It’s worked for them recently…and they’re going full tilt in the next few months.

    “Originals” (including adapted literature non-sequels) versus sequel/Reborquel stuff by studio, including TriStar, Screen Gems and Dreamworks:

    Warners: 8 originals to 1 non-original
    Universal: 5 originals to 1 non
    Sony: 4 originals to 3 non
    Disney: 3 originals to 2 non
    Fox: 2 originals to 3 non
    Paramoint: Zero originals to 3 non (yeesh)

  10. Geoff says:

    Well with regards to Universal, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t planned that way… go back less than a year and they had both Jurassic World and Fast and Furious 7 planned for this coming summer….and it’s a shame because both of them could have killed with this level of competition in June and July. But they pushed Jurassic back to the drawing board for budget reasons…and it’s actually looking good for next summer now. And F&F had obvious reasons for its delay.

    Fox truly has the best lineup for this summer in my opinion….if they can’t get at least a combined $700 million domestic from X Men/Planet of the Apes/Dragon, then they’re just not trying.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah Walker’s death definitely impacted Universal. I don’t think anyone really thought the JURASSIC WORLD announcement date was ever more than a placeholder to show it was really happening though since it had become an ongoing industry joke (machine gun wielding half-human/half-dinosaur monsters that fight crime were rumored at one point).

    Universal, in general, is the most sequel averse studio in the biz right now, with only two slated for the next year. You get the feeling if this was a few years ago, they would have freaked out and tried to finish F&F by this Fall since they basically have nothing, and fill the void with a cheapie cash-grabber like maybe “Mama 2: Papa’s Home” or “American Pie 5: Baby Pudding.”

  12. David Poland says:

    Et – Traditionally, Screen Gems is like Searchlight and Focus… a division that is a bit separate and not after the bigger numbers.

    If TriStar had an Elysium this summer, I’d have included it. They don’t. They have a little film that they aren’t really talking about. Next summer, TriStar should have real product, as the Tom Rothman studio. But I don’t have structural rules for this that are set because TriStar has been all over the place for many years.

    As for Hundred Foot Journey, Disney presented it at CinemaCon as one of their own, so it is on this list. Like I say, very much in flux.

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    Fair enough DP, though I’d always thought of SPC as Sony’s version of Searchlight.

    Sony is expecting bigger numbers for “Think Like a Man Too” than quite a few of these titles. With no urban competition for pretty much the whole summer, you’d suspect they’re shooting for “Ride Along’s” number, which, frighteningly, would be better than anything released by any part of Sony last summer in the States. It’s a niche, domestic marketing effort for sure, but so is stuff like “Fault in Our Stars” and “Million Dollar Arm.”

  14. movieman says:

    …with a cheapie cash-grabber like maybe “Mama 2: Papa’s Home” or “American Pie 5: Baby Pudding.”

    Or “The Purge: Anarchy”?

    (“Baby Pudding”? Lol.)

  15. EtGuild2 says:

    Supposedly movieman, “The Purge” isn’t just a slap and dash follow-up…Jason Blum, Mr. Horror Movie himself has been working on it, and has proclaimed it to hopefully be the next Saw/Paranormal Activity horror franchise with a new flick every year.

    I actually think the sequel looks good, and I think it does what most people wanted with the original: see what’s going on outside. But a franchise? God I hope not.

  16. movieman says:

    Guilty until proven innocent as far as I’m concerned, Et.

    I thought the first “Purge” was all set-up and zero (certainly bungled) delivery.
    The best thing about it was an ultra-short running time.

  17. movieman says:

    Also, who the fuck needs another “Saw” or “Paranormal” franchise?–even though I actually think the “PA” movies have gotten increasingly stronger.

    Every “PA” sequel, including the unofficial one (“The Marked Ones”), were better than the original as far as I’m concerned.

  18. EtGuild2 says:

    “The best thing about it was an ultra-short running time.”

    Agreed. I actually think it’s the worst horror movie associated with Blum or his company…by a lot (I actually liked “Dark Skies” and thought PA 4 wasn’t terrible like most people). So it’s strange that he’d choose it for an immediate turnaround franchise. I’m going to assume he knows something I don’t.

    But maybe this is where he finally starts to run off the rails.

  19. movieman says:

    Still seems like nothing more than a cynical cash-grab to me, Et.
    Like I said, “guilty until prevent innocent,” lol.

  20. Walter says:

    Can’t wait to see Jersey Boys!

  21. hcat says:

    Is Universal sequel averse or do they just not have hits to continue with? As mentioned Jurassic and F&F are forthcoming as are Ted and Despicable sequels. The lack of sequels speaks more to their inability to get a Wanted sequel together or keep the Bourne films alive than it does a commitment to original film.

  22. EtGuild2 says:

    That’s true. But it also seems like there is plenty of stuff they could have made but haven’t. “American Reunion” was very profitable thanks to overseas and video, so “American Pie 5” seemed like a foregone conclusion. They smartly did not push for the rumored “Safe House 2” or “Snow White and the Huntsman 2.” Likewise “Mama” and “Identity Thief” are films you’d think they’d push for sequels whether they are good ideas or not.

    On stuff you’d figure they’d rush (Despicable Me, Pitch Perfect), they’ve taken their time.

  23. hcat says:

    But with Thief, Mama, and Despicable Me just a year old it would be tough to mount sequels in that short time (especially with McCarthy’s busy schedule).

    I am suprised on the time they are taking on that Pitch Perfect sequel, my niece is in fifth grade and that film is her Star Wars, I hope the iron doesn’t cool on them before they strike it again.

    But I can’t say I mind the lack of sequels, Universal has been on a really strong run lately, loved 2Guns, Rush and FF and even their missteps of RIPD and Oblivion were not as awful as they could have been.

    And scanning the summer the title that looks the juciest to me is Lucy.

  24. EtGuild2 says:

    “Minions” was actually going to come out this year. Maybe it’s another example of not having their crap together, but supposedly it’s because they were so happy with the DM2 performance they’ve let it percolate awhile (smart decision since “Happy” just became a surprise smash from the soundtrack.)

    Kind of like “Cups” with Anna Kendrick became huge well after the release. Yeah, I hope they don’t screw up the sequel…

  25. SamLowry says:

    I was thinking about THE HUNTSMAN just yesterday, wondering about the due-date for that abortion. And I thought about it only because I was thinking about another abortion, FROZEN, and the idiocy of the “Nothing grew anymore” meme from SWATH that has since leaked into other films:

    When plants stop growing, or when three feet of snow gets dumped in the middle of your growing season, you’ll lose a lot more than pretty flowers–people will eventually starve, and after all the animals have been eaten they’ll turn on each other. So the next time you wonder just what Brunnhilda Bin Laden did to her own people in FROZEN, think about THE ROAD.

    (Another fun scene from “THE GOOD WAR”: The Nazis thought it would be hilarious to release vicious dogs into the Russian POW barracks, only to hear the barking stop immediately. When they ventured inside to look for the dogs they found only the collars…because the starving Russians ate the dogs. Raw! BTW, since kids might be reading this I deleted a story about the liberated slave labor camp where one dead prisoner was found with his teeth buried in the well-gnawed ass of another dead prisoner. Can’t say that I’m not sensitive!)

    Amazing that this film was released by the studio that owns Marvel. You know what happens to a mutant that can’t control their powers? They’re dead by the end of the story, for the good of the Earth, if not the universe. And yet the Snow Queen’s sis–who set off this rampage to begin with–tells everyone to chill because love will, uh, make the snow go away and, uh, restore the crops that would have gotten them through the next real winter if they hadn’t been wiped out by the snow, because…magic. Yep.

    Meanwhile, Hottie McWMD sings a song telling everyone to kiss her sparkly ass and it becomes a worldwide hit. Maybe all Putin needs to do to make everyone love him is sing “Springtime for Hitler.”

    Oh, and here are all the other problems I failed to mention, with singing!

  26. John Rieber says:

    Great article as always. It will be interesting to see how the new Tom Cruise film does, since his last two did $75-mil in the US. His star is waning, and this seems to be i n the same vein as his previous two – so is he the latest star to exist because of international box office?

  27. hcat says:

    As with most superstars, Cruise is ageing out of his prime and his audience isnt as big as it once was, I do have to give him credit though he has never chased the family audience for a quick BO boost like Night at the Museaum or The Pacifier.

    But yes, Edge, Jupiter, and Hercules are my biggest question marks for the summer, Malecifent and Godzilla are far from sure things, and I have great doubts about X-Men and great hopes for Apes. I am actually more excited about watching the box office this summer than I am most of the titles.

  28. hcat says:

    ‘When plants stop growing, or when three feet of snow gets dumped in the middle of your growing season, you’ll lose a lot more than pretty flowers–people will eventually starve, and after all the animals have been eaten they’ll turn on each other.’

    The movie happened over the course of what a long weekend, if you have to be literal about an animated film that has magic and talking snowmen it is hardly more of an ecological setback than a drought or flood, they have many trading partners and should be able to take the hit.

    Hell I’m in the middle of Illinois right now and we got snow last night, doubt it will be much of a hinderance on the crops this year.

  29. Bulldog68 says:

    “and I have great doubts about X-Men and great hopes for Apes.”

    Funny, I’m actually bullish on Xmen and more doubtful on Apes. The return of McKellen and Stewart seems to be a crowd grabber to me.

  30. brian jones says:

    I don’t see WOODY ALLEN’s latest MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT in the above mix but supposedly due out FRI JULY 25 the same weekend last year his rather successful BLUE JASMINE came out and went on to do rather well I recall!

  31. Hcat says:

    Dave might be saving limited releases and rollouts for another post

    Bulldog, I could be wrong but I am worried that with a cast that size it’s going to be awfully cluttered. And I still have the sawdusty aftertaste of last years wolverine adding to my doubt

  32. SamLowry says:

    Hcat, depends on if anything was budding yet. Michigan lost 90% of its apple and cherry crop two years ago because of a similar cold snap since we had a few unusually warm weeks beforehand and everything was flowering when the freeze hit.

    As for realism, even THE ROAD was highly questionable. What made the sky so dark that everything stopped growing? Everyone in the movie is stupid so nobody knows, but if it had been a nuclear war the dust should’ve settled in about six months, according to some disappointing research handed to me (I was hoping for a good 15 years and instead had to cloud up the skies with floating jellyfish©). A volcano might be a better fit, but even if it could put out ash for the 8+ years required by the movie it would still leave the Southern Hemisphere untouched. Shortwave broadcasts should be getting through at the very least, though it would be pretty funny if all the northerners were eating each other while everyone south of the border was doing perfectly fine.

    Oh, as for prime stupidity in that movie–why were the captives kept alive long enough to begin to starve while they awaited a trip to “the smokehouse”? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to kill them right away, because isn’t meat much better when it still has some fat in it? Or are we dealing with cannibals on a health kick?

  33. storymark says:

    “The movie happened over the course of what a long weekend, if you have to be literal about an animated film that has magic and talking snowmen it is hardly more of an ecological setback than a drought or flood, they have many trading partners and should be able to take the hit.”

    I think what we are seeing is someone trying real damned hard to rationalize their irrational hatred of the flick.

  34. hcat says:

    ‘Michigan lost 90% of its apple and cherry crop two years ago because of a similar cold snap since we had a few unusually warm weeks beforehand and everything was flowering when the freeze hit.’

    And did they resort to Cannabilism?

    The only thing regarding Frozen that I am suprised by (other than how quick my daughter can memorize a song) is the fact that they were given so much credit for switching up the act of true love, and how many people didn’t see it coming. As soon as they said ‘act of true love’ I figured it would be something with the sis, yet everyone in my family was caught by suprise when it was sisterly and not romantic love even though falling in love with the Ice Guy after a day would have been just as bad as falling in love with the Prince after a few hours.

    As for the “wow they weren’t saved by a prince’s kiss” factor….wasn’t Disney the only ones keeping that hackneyed trope alive? Sure you can give a nod in their direction for finally giving it up but it seems like they got a standing ovation for joining the rest of us in the present.

  35. SamLowry says:

    Considering the price of apples–which had to be imported at great cost–cannibalism would have saved me quite a bit of money.

    Oh, FROZEN offered plenty of reasons to dislike it (as pointed out in the Screen Junkies trailer I linked to); that bit at the beginning with the suddenly-in-love sister going on about “true love’s kiss” (which must have fallen into SJ’s umbrella assessment “adorkable”) made me wonder if this was supposed to be a meta version of ENCHANTED. And I really can’t stand meta, because it gives me bad Whedon flashbacks.

  36. jesse says:

    Helpful hint: if you want me to immediately disengage from your opinion, use the phrase “as pointed out in the Screen Junkies trailer I linked to.”

    Honest Trailers and 78 Things Wrong With… videos are two of the most worthless forms of comedy passed off as two of the most worthless forms of criticism.

  37. SamLowry says:

    So does that mean making fun of a movie’s many shortcomings on YouTube is inappropriate, but doing it on a bulletin board is totes cool?

  38. jesse says:

    If the version on the bulletin board makes actual points instead of cutesy nitpicking, absolutely.

    Honest Trailers, etc., sort of split the difference between wannabe SNL writers and wannabe movie critics, and achieve results enviable to neither.

  39. storymark says:

    “Helpful hint: if you want me to immediately disengage from your opinion, use the phrase “as pointed out in the Screen Junkies trailer I linked to.””

    No kidding.

    There is a HUGE difference between discussing the shortcomings of a film, and doing the juvenile and bone headed nit-picking they do. Many of their “critiques” require ignoring what actually happened in the film so they can bitch about it.

  40. SamLowry says:

    It depends on what you call nitpicking–is it nitpicking to point out that the time-travel rules in LOOPER are completely inconsistent? Is it nitpicking to ask what happened to the tank missile shown to us midway through IRON MAN that would have come in so handy at the end? Or ask what kind of parents would send their offspring to Hogwarts, considering all the “accidents” and outright murders? Why isn’t every child chosen for Slytherin immediately executed? Or why is something so game-changing as a time turner used for idiotic crap then whisked away forever when it’s actually needed?

    All were actual questions raised by “Honest Trailers”, “Everything Wrong With…” and Cracked’s “After Hours”.

    But then folks here dismissed my inquiries as irrelevant nitpicking when I asked about the raison d’être behind the calamities that launched THE ROAD and CHILDREN OF MEN, suggesting that only a fool would be distracted from such awe-inspiring masterworks of cinema to voice such frippery as “So why has the sky been gray for over eight years?”

  41. jesse says:

    My question is, why would it make the movie better to explain why the sky has been gray for over eight years?

    Is Looper about time-travel mechanics, or is it about reconciling your younger and older selves?

  42. Mike says:

    I think it’s a fine line on some of these inconsistencies. If it’s a good movie, they’ll bother you but won’t affect your feelings on the film (Looper). If it’s a crap movie, they’ll bother you because there’s nothing worthwhile to distract you from them (Prometheus).

  43. SamLowry says:

    The movie is a waste of time if it doesn’t explain its bizarre premise (constantly gray sky or all women suddenly stop getting pregnant) or if it relies on rules that it keeps breaking (based on the ending, LOOPER never should have happened).

    Either way, I couldn’t even accept the first two movies enough to insert myself into them (as you always do in a viewing experience) because nobody bothered to explain why it was happening.

  44. Hcat says:

    In children of men the cause was still being investigated, which was why it was so important to get her to the science barge, would a disclaimer at the end on what they found have led to your enjoyment of the film. Do you despise the Romero zombie movies since the cause of the zombies is never explained?

  45. SamLowry says:

    At least they said it was caused by something that came down with a satellite, even though the behavior still seems awfully magical–maybe it hit a dementor on the way down.

    And CHILDREN OF MEN was just as magical–all women suddenly stop getting pregnant, all over the world? At least Herbert’s THE WHITE PLAGUE came up with the simple solution to isolate some women from the rest of humanity to make sure they didn’t get infected.

  46. jesse says:

    Yes, I agree, the essence of drama is in explanation and exposition.

  47. SamLowry says:

    Yes, explanation and exposition were the best parts of THE WHITE PLAGUE: the protagonist’s family being killed by an IRA bomb while they crossed a street, inspiring him to create a pathogen designed to kill only women as his form of revenge. He soaks various forms of paper money in the stuff, dries them, seals them in Ziploc bags and mails the deadly bills all over the world. The parts where he tramps across the countryside with a group of men and boys while civilization collapses were a complete yawner, though. More exposition was definitely needed.

  48. cadavra says:

    Cruise’s problem is that he’s the same age as Clooney, but whereas the latter has embraced his 50s and plays them, Cruise still thinks he’s in his 30s and selects roles he is clearly too old for, regardless of how good a shape he’s in. Harrison Ford likewise had a string of flops before he finally saw the light and started taking character roles.

  49. JoJo says:

    Lucy did not cost anywhere near $100 million.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon