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Farewell to Nerds: The Big Studios & Comic Con…

Last year, around this time, I was discussing how great it was to be a nerd or a geek. Hell, Comic Con in San Diego seemed like an obligatory stop-off point for the major studios promoting their latest blockbusters to an overly geeky crowd, debuting the trailer for Tron: Legacy or announcing the cast of The Avengers, not to mention footage and panels based around any number of big-screen blockbusters designed to cater towards the geeks and nerds in the movie-going audience. So it feels like a rather dramatic shift that very few of the major movie studios appear to be planning much for the iconic (or, at least, briefly iconic) Hall H in San Diego this year.

Does this mean that the era of the geek is over?

Will Stars stop Trekking to Hall H?

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How Do Studios Decide What Movies Get Sequels?

This is a question which has bothered me for quite a while now, because it seems like there should be an obvious answer, but I can’t really make a lot of decisions fit based on that. The deciding factor, one would assume, in any industry as to whether a product gets a continuation, a re-release, or a spin-off, would be that of box office. You imagine that the studio executives include an option for sequels in the contracts of any actors they want to stick around, and then wait for the box office totals to come in before they finally decide if they want to make the investment. However, this doesn’t always seem to be the case.

Should I get on my bike?

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Remember Me: The Box Office & Pop Culture Longevity…

I was reading an interesting article on Rope of Silicon which pondered whether Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was our generation’s iteration of The Big Lebowski. Much like the comparisons between The Social Network and Citizen Kane, it doesn’t matter whether the question is downright ridiuclous or even improper, it simple serves to illustrate the type of movie that people think of when they see these modern films. That people would even utter “Scott Pilgrim” and “The Dude” in the same sentence is a huge compliment to the latter, no matter what the literal result of the comparison. Of course, this is small comfort to the studio which is no doubt disappointed by the less than stellar box office returns. However, ignoring the obvious immediate and practical impact of box office receipts, do they speak at all to a film’s longevity?

Does the box office disappointment mean "game over" for Scott Pilgrim?

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Is Classism Alive And Well At The Box Office?

Richard Nixon introduced the phrase “the silent majority” into the popular lexicon, referring to those people who weren’t out protesting or stirring up a storm, but quietly and strongly sanctioning his actions. Since then the term has become almost synonymous with “middle America” or the “the big red middle”, the clear indication that liberalism and activism were traditionally associated with the coasts of the country – specifically concentrated around Washington, New York and California. Whenever loud and vocal protests arise in these regions, expect the more conservative politicians to speak about the silent majority of decent middle-class folks in “flyover country” who don’t make big deals of things and vote with their feet. These are the people, these politicians will tell you, who save their public political expressions for the election day. And so, it would seem, this central part of the country has voted on The Social Network. And silence was certainly there in spades.

The Silent Majority turned down The Social Network's Friend Request...

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Twilight of the Stars?

I’ve been thinking a bit of late about movie stars. Are we reaching the end of the star-driven era of Hollywood stars? What got me thinking about it was the news of Tony Scott’s upcoming Unstoppable – a movie about a runaway train starring Denzel Washington, who has been one of Scott’s most consistent collaborators in the past. I loved Denzel Washington – and I loved Crimson Tide and, to a lesser extent, Man on Fire. And yet, I have absolutely no urge to see the film. It isn’t a “must see” simply because of the talent or skill involved. And, being honest, I don’t think I’m alone. There would have been a time years ago when a name on a marque would have marked a film as “must see”. I am beginning to suspect that the era of “star power” might be slowly passing.

Am I Cloo(ney)ed into something?

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Why Inception Matters…

I spent a great deal of last weekend heavily anticipating the box office figures for Inception. Of money it makes won’t change the fact that I think it’s an amazing film, but it will affect the impact that Christopher Nolan’s latest will have on the movie industry. And that, my friends, is very important. In fact, I’d go out on a limb and suggest that Inception might be the most important summer blockbuster of the decade, and possibly longer.

More movies like Inception? Hopefully not just in my dreams...

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Man of Iron, Feet of Clay: Nothing Succeeds Like Success…

A little while ago, I mumbled something about how ‘failure’ didn’t really mean much, despite how often the term was thrown around in discussions about films like Watchmen and Kick-Ass. They generally made their money back, received cult attention and didn’t enter the history books as massive wastes of time or energy – which I figured was kinda fair given that neither example was a box office bomb in the style of, say, Motherhood, Uma Thurman’s last film (opening weekend of £88 at the UK box office – I’m not kidding and I didn’t omit an ‘m’). Still, it looks like success isn’t a particularly better deal, given what is circulating on the web regarding Iron Man 2 and its opening weekend – just shy of $130m, I believe. When is success not success?

There may be blood in the water... but Ivan isn't the only shark circling...

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What Does Box Office Failure Even Mean these Days?

It’s already happening. We’re already calling Kick-Ass a failure. Even though it managed to narrowly slide into first place at the US Box Office over the weekend, there are tonnes of pundits ready to dogpile on top of it and describe it as the most epic kind of failure. It seems to be a cyclical experience every time that a big geek film emerges, that has experienced a large amount of pre-release hype on the old interweb: Snakes on a Plane, Watchmen and Grindhouse among others. So how come Hollywood keeps pandering to a niche that never seems to show up?

Did Kick-Ass get its ass kicked? Should we call it Ass-Kick?

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Uma Thurman’s Motherhood Makes £88 In It’s Opening Weekend…

It’s karma for Batman & Robin. It has to be.

Even the baby clearly wasn't on board for this marketing push...

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Bah Humbug! Are We Past the Point Where Technical Wizardry Can Amaze?

Hmm… I bet Robert Zemickas was expecting a somewhat bigger reaction for the release of the first trailer for his version of A Christmas Carol (aka Jim Carrey plays almost everyone), the follow-up to The Polar Express (aka Tom Hanks plays everyone), than the collective ‘meh’ that it received. I’ve watched the trailer and it looks technically magnificent (and I’m sure it’ll be even more technically impressive in 3D) – but why should I care? If I’m going to put on a pair of glasses and look at something beautiful until it give me a mild headache, shouldn’t I at least be looking at something interesting and intriguing of itself? Are we past the point where technical wonders alone are enough to lure the geeks out in droves?

Here's hoping Santa can bring Zemickis a 150% return on his investment...

Here's hoping Santa can bring Zemickis a 150% return on his investment...

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