Thursday, October 31, 2013

Abrams Has Become Autocratic

Star Wars: Disney CEO Bob Iger's Firm 2015 Date Leaves 'EpisodeVII' Team Scrambling

(from The Hollywood Reporter)

As Oscar winner Michael Arndt exits, producer Kathleen Kennedy sought — and was denied — a delay, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

In a previous post, I worried that Arndt's departure was inspired by JJ Abrams, not Lawrence Kasdan.

As the director of the movie, and a power player in his own right, JJ ought to have more authority over VII even than Kasdan.

This seems to be confirmed by sources that tell the Reporter:

Abrams has become autocratic in recent months...

If this is true, and if there is a degree of chaos overtaking the production -- suggested by Kathleen Kennedy's attempt to get the release date pushed back -- then the fault for it lies with Abrams.

Of course, "autocratic" dictators in charge of troubled productions have produced good movies in the past.

You could almost say they have produced most good movies in the past.

But I can't shake the queasy feeling that Abrams just doesn't know how to work with anyone who isn't named Kurzman or Orci, and that they will be ghostwriting this project, and Episode VII will turn into Star Wars Into Darkness before we know it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Disturbance in the Force

Michael Arndt Out of Star Wars VII

(from everyone, everywhere)

Michael Arndt is officially off the project, to be replaced by Lawrence Kasdan and JJ Abrams.

I don't know what to make of this news.

Arndt is a very good writer. He was not a cause for concern in the upcoming Star Wars VII.

The cause for concern is Mr. Lens Flare, JJ Abrams.

And now that both he and Kasdan are slated to get screenwriting credit, the question remains: who is REALLY in charge of this thing, Kasdan or Abrams?

This news doesn't clarify that issue.

But it does suggest that someone wasn't happy with Arndt's script.

My guess is that someone is Abrams, which means Abrams is in charge of things.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Upscale Density Index

"Parks and Recreation" - Season 6'Parks and Recreation's' audience is modest, but wealthy 

(from The LA Times)

...Three weeks into the fall season, "Parks and Rec" boasts a score of 171 on the upscale density index, for which 100 equals an average concentration of homes. That makes it the show with the audience that skews most toward upper incomes.

Wow. We're getting really detailed with our metrics these days.

This also explains why I don't watch "Parks and Rec." I'd probably pull their score down 2 points all by myself.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Oscars are a Mess

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosts of the Golden Globes.Tina Fey believes Golden Globes is a much easier gig than the Oscars

(from The LA Times)

Tina Fey has said she'd probably never host the Oscars. "I think that's too hard," Fey told the Los Angeles Times, when asked in an interview last May if she'd take the job. "Too many dresses to try on."

We all know what would make every major sport better:

Contract at least ten percent of the teams and reduce the regular season schedule by at least ten percent.

Over time these things get bloated beyond their ability to entertain, and it's because extra teams and extra games mean more money for owners. So we get them anyway; even though we don't want them.

Which brings us to the Oscars. The telecast is an hour too long, has about ten too many awards, three too many songs and four too many dance numbers.

We all know what would make the thing better: slim it down, let the host run the show however he/she wants, and dial back on all the pomposity. It's a entertainment awards show. It should be informal.

This won't happen, of course, so talent like Tina Fey will wisely stay away from the Oscar job.

And the Oscars will continue to suck.

I Wouldn't Either

FILM: Michael FassbenderOscars: Michael Fassbender Says He Won't Campaign Again

 (from The Hollywood Reporter)

After his fruitless pursuit of a nomination for "Shame," the "12 Years a Slave" star tells GQ, "I'm not a politician. I'm an actor."

I think Oscar campaigning is bad for your soul.

It involves inventing a backstory for your performance or preparation -- Natalie Portman actually became a ballerina; Mark Wahlberg actually became a prize fighter -- and then repeating the lie endlessly in public for months leading up to...


A chance to bore the nation for thirty seconds while you thank your manager and your agency?

A chance to harbor the insane notion that an Oscar somehow validates your career or your existence?

It does neither.

A chance to nudge your quote a little higher?

It's not worth the money. Nor the time. And it's definitely not worth the cost to your self-image. It's degrading, petty and disingenuous.

And there's an eighty percent chance you won't win anyway.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


'Fifty Shades of Grey' replacing Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey


Charlie Hunnam has dropped out of the erotic thriller, "Fifty Shades of Grey," Universal Pictures and Focus Features unexpectedly announced on Saturday.

"The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam's immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey," the studios said in a joint statement.

We all know the minimal demands of being a supporting actor on a TV show are hardly overwhelming, so the question around town -- among those who care about such things -- is: what's the real reason Hunnam's dropping out?

My theory is that he looked at the script a few times -- or for the first time! -- and started to realize that he'd signed himself up for a pretty goofy and potentially embarassing public experience, especially for a self-styled tough guy. (I'm assuming Hunnam's a tough guy from his role; I have no real evidence to back that up.)

If my theory is true, then Hunnam's an idiot.

"Fifty Shades" may be stupid and emotionally stunted, but it's a franchise.

A franchise, for God's sake.

How many chances to lead a franchise does any actor get? When one comes by, you really ought to say yes.

And not get cold feet.

Hunnam may well have just passed up on tens of millions of dollars.

Gets to keep his tough guy image, though.

Hope he has fun with that.

The Hybrid

44.3m for Gravity

(The Hollywood Reporter)

Adults fueled another strong weekend at the North American box office as Warner Bros.' Gravity stayed at No. 1 with a record $44.3 million.

Sandra may have had a hard time getting down from orbit in "Gravity," but the movie's having an easy time raking in the dough.

The super-strong second weekend puts "Gravity" on pace for about $250m domestic -- maybe a bit less, but I doubt it given the fact that the movie will get more relevant the deeper we get into Oscar season.

The foreign take has been far less. That may change, but I doubt it. International audiences a) aren't interested in science quite the way we are and b) are predominantly teenaged, and teenagers don't have any interest in science at all.

Part of the beauty of this movie, however, is that it's only half science-driven art house flick. The other half is that 3D thrill-ride. This gives the movie some crossover appeal to teens -- though not much -- and it might give it crossover to international auds. Time will tell.

Either way the movie should absolutely clean up when it's time to collect home video revenues.

Lots of adults have nice home theater systems, and there's no better movie to use them on than "Gravity."

All told, the movie will probably break even theatrically, given marketing costs that must have been in excess of 50m, but it will end up comfortably in the black by one or two hundred million when all is said and done.

Still, you'd rather have "Iron Man 3."

(Okay, now I'm throwing stones for no reason.)