Tag Archives: Disney

C’mon Marvel: Pay Up!

We are living in a post Iron Man 3 world, which only means that Marvel’s Phase 2 is upon us.  With Thor 2 out later this year, Captain America out in less than a year and Guardians of the Galaxy a little over a year away, it is time for Marvel to start thinking Avengers 2.  This movie will be bigger than big as evidenced from the box office of the first film and Iron Man 3 this past weekend, but a slight problem is brewing on the horizon.  The actors don’t want to work for peanuts again.  Basically if you decide to act in a film for Marvel you are working for a few hundred thousand dollars, and you will be signed to a multi-picture deal.  Smart move on Marvel’s end.  They get the actors they want locked in long enough so that they can retain consistency throughout their cross-over films.   The only re-casting so far has been Terrence Howard swapped out for Don Cheadle.  Terrence asked for too much money to come back for a sequel, so they booted him.  Also The Hulk has been recast three separate times.  I don’t count it as a recasting for money purposes however.  They wanted someone who worked better in an ensemble capacity.  Ed Norton does not command a large paycheck, but he LOVES having script control. Enter Mark Ruffalo

Right now, Marvel’s biggest problem is that Robert Downey Jr is out of contract.  Iron Man 3 was the last film he was contractually obligated to make, and he was the only one who ever got paid what he was worth.  There has been talk that Iron Man can be replaced with a different actor, but would Marvel REALLY want to test those waters?  Iron Man’s success and Downey’s portrayal is what ties the Avengers films together.  Without him, you have a problem.  So now Marvel has to renegotiate with Downey Jr., but he’s also planning on playing hardball for the rest of the heroes.  Chris Hemsworth and Scarlet Johannson are both said to be chapped over their awful contracts in their previous films and no longer want to work for nothing for a film that will make over one billion dollars.  Neither currently has a contract for Avengers 2, and rumor has it that Marvel would consider either getting other actors or just inserting other characters if need be to replace them.  I get that on paper.  Comics are a revolving door of characters.  They come in and out with little explanation, because certain writers like certain characters.  Thus the absence of any character could be explained away in two seconds: “Oh Thor, he’s up in Asgard protecting the realm.”  See? It’s that easy.  There is already talk of including Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Ms. Marvel, Black Panther, and Iron Patriot in the next film.  All really cool characters yes, but not at the expense of the ones we already have.

My advice to Marvel: Just pay up already.  You were fortunate enough to make an awful lot of money, without having to pay much for the work, but in doing that, you built careers.  Chris Hemsworth IS Thor.  That and women, namely my girlfriend love him.  Don’t upset the apple cart so early.   No, I am not saying that you’ll have to pay them Downey Jr. money ($50 million), but a decent salary, or a backend of the gross would be fair.  With a backend you can worry about paying them after the movie has cleaned up at the box office.  The films are universally beloved, and make you more money than you ever had as a company simply printing comic books.  The frugal nature of Marvel, and Disney for that matter with actors has allowed them to make some great movies, but when the only people getting paid are Johnny Depp, and Robert Downey Jr.  that is a problem.  If this contract dispute becomes more public than it already has, it will not go well for Marvel and Disney.  I, like many other comic book film fans, want to see as many of the characters I’ve grown up with on screen as possible.  Not less.  If I find out Thor isn’t in Avengers 2 because he couldn’t get one million dollars, I’ll lose my ever-loving mind.


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Reboot-o-Tron, Set A Course For Pete’s Dragon

So Disney seems to be perfectly content a mandate of no new original content, or “if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!” because now they seem intent on remaking the old 70’s kid flick Pete’s Dragon.  Most people probably don’t even remember it, but I do.  I grew up spending a lot of weekends with my grandparents and I’d almost always watch Pete’s Dragon.  It was a hybrid live-action/animated film about an abused kid (by Disney standards) who had an “Imaginary” dragon named Elliot.  No one else could see him, but they’d have adventures and hijinks and stuff in a coastal town in New England.  Theres also a ton of hillbillies.   It’s a fun, simple movie that all kids will like.

Here is where I get worried.  Disney only makes a few movies a year, and none of them have budgets below $150 Million.  They are going to turn Pete’s Dragon into a franchise and Narnia or Alice it.  It’ll likely be epic in scale, have little comedy and probably have some sort of prophecy involved.  It seems we forgot kids are relatively easy to amuse.  They don’t need wild effects budgets and swirling Hobbit-level adventures.  Sometimes keeping it smaller in scale works better for their little brains and isn’t boring or expository.  Look at those Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies for example.  They cost nothing, but make a lot and are only for kids.  Why can’t Disney use that model sometimes, albeit on a larger scale?  The only effect needs to be the cartoon Dragon.  Let everything else be bumbling old people and Pete.

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The Marvel Universe, Phase 3, and Hulk

There are some really exciting rumors floating around the Marvel camp in regards to what’s going to be happening with Hulk and with Phase 3.

What we already know:

Kevin Feige has already stated that Ant-Man and Doctor Strange are part of Phase 3.  Ant-Man already has a film ready to come out after the Thanos/Cosmic heavy Phase 2 ends.  Strange I think will be a cool character to flesh out as well.  Whether or not he can hold up his own movie or not is another story.
What we are speculating:

The folks over at Latino-Review, who often nail their super early Marvel movie rumors, came out yesterday with a story that not only will the Hulk be getting his own film AGAIN in Phase 3, but he will be the lynchpin of the whole series of films!  The rumor is that because of Hulk’s extremely violent and dangerous actions (which I’m assuming will take place in Avengers 2), The Illuminati (group of marvel heroes) decide that the safest bet is to send Hulk into space, which will lead to the Phase 3 Hulk film based on Planet Hulk.  Planet Hulk is just about the only interesting thing you could do with him at this point, so if he were to get a movie, this version of Hulk I think would really lend himself to a film like this.  Hulk needs to fight things that are bigger and scarier than him, so him on a planet full of monsters sounds perfect.  Also we know that the long in development Hulk TV series has for the most part been shelved.  It is my thinking that if the Hulk wasn’t so wildly popular in Avengers, they’d continue with it, but now that people like Hulk so much, they have to give us what we want.

The best part of this in my opinion is that Avengers 3 would largely co-op the World War Hulk storyline, which was also huge and widely popular.

I really hope this happens.  I think it would be an awesome followup to Phase 2.  I’m sure they wont call the Illuminati, the Illuminati, and I’m sure they’ll be different characters plugged in, but I think this has the potential to be a gigantic success.  We know Marvel really plans ahead, so it would totally make sense that they are already working on the Phase 3 stuff.  Phase 2, outside of Guardians of the Galaxy, doesn’t really have any real risks associated with it.  But I think if that works, then we’ve been more exposed to other planets and the masses would accept a Hulk/Gladiator type movie.   Also when you consider there is a Hulk cartoon coming out this fall that has a lot of the Planet Hulk monsters on it, I bet that’s Marvels way of getting the kids used to the idea of the other monsters Hulk fights/allies with.

The only thing I’m thinking is that their World War Hulk storyline might have a little more black and white added to it, in that they might make a villain have more to do with all of it instead of just having Hulk fight all of these good guys.  I’ll leave that to the writers though.

Anyway, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and an increased Hulk presence, Marvel will have given me everything I want for a massive Avengers 3.  Except for Black Panther.


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Disney Buys Lucasfilm! New Star Wars film in 2015

Disney just bought Lucasfilm outright for upwards of 4 BILLION dollars.  They are already stating that they are planning on getting a new Star Wars film (episode 7) into theaters by 2015.

I can barely believe this news.  Not only would Disney own the past rights to Star Wars, but they also will get their hands on the Indiana Jones franchise as well.  With their marketing muscle, we’re going to see some of the biggest films get bigger.  What I think might be the best part of this story is that George Lucas is apparently stepping down from his helm of Star Wars overlord to give new younger filmmakers a crack at telling stories in his world, while he’ll stick around as a creative consultant.  This is what I’ve hoped for for years.  Not only will episodes 8 and 9 happen too, but Star Wars world films will come out every 2 or 3 years after that.

Why the hell not?  Star Wars has such a rich world, that theres tons of other stories to tell.  Lucas created a fleshed out world so now with other people being able to get involved I think this can mean great things.

Just think about 2015.  We’ll have Disney putting out a Pixar film, Marvel’s Avengers 2, and Star Wars Episode 7.  They just won the box office war.

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Ant-Man Has A Release Date

Ant-Man crawls into theaters November 6th, 2015.   It will be the second of two Marvel movies being released by Disney that year.  Considering that Avengers 2 is the big May release in 2015, I’m guessing, we’ll get some introduction to Ant-Man around that time at least in a cameo role.  Most of the Marvel characters have shown up in a smaller capacity first before getting their own film, and since Ant-Man doesn’t have as much name recognition, I’d imagine the cameo route to be the case for him as well.

What this leaves me wondering, and I know I’m getting ahead of myself, is if Ant-Man kicks off Phase Three of the Marvel movies, if it is an epilogue to Phase Two, which is purely cosmic, or if it is independent of the Avengers world’s arc completely.  I for one would prefer him to cameo in a film first, and then have his own standalone film cognizant of the Avengers stuff, but unrelated, and with no origin story.  That’s asking a lot, and I’ll probably like whatever Edgar Wright decides to do considering he’s brilliant, so none of what I just wrote matters.  I do hope that it is still light in tone and almost comedic like Wright said he’d like to do.

It will probably be a while before we hear anything about casting, but we can assume the fanboy chants for Nathan Fillion to commence shortly.

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Condorman Reboot. Because No One Asked For It

Back in 1981 when Disney was in the “dark ages” and creatively bankrupt, they made a live-action comedy/adventure film called Condorman.  It was about a cartoonist who inexplicably became a superhero.  This is what it looked like:

This film was one of my least favorite movies ever growing up.  It was one of the few movies for kids I would rather turn the TV off than watch.  Leave it to the powers that be at the Mouse House to reboot this into a big-budget franchise.

I’ve stopped asking “Why?” It serves no purpose.  We all know that studios believe that SOME recognition is better than a completely new idea, and if you already have the rights to something, hell, you’re pretty much done.  Disney has aggressively been going after the young male demo for the last few years with mixed results.  For every Avengers and Wreck-It Ralph, we get John Carter or Mars Needs Moms.  I have a feeling whatever they do with Condorman is going to be pure ass.

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Ms. Marvel in Avengers 2 To Be Played By…

Either Ruth Wilson or Emily Blunt.

Either way they decide to go on this one I’m into for Avengers 2.  Carol Danvers being brought into the Cinematic Marvel Universe is nothing short of brilliant.  I, like many others, feel like she’s the woman who Phil Coulson dated, so bringing her in for that reason makes sense.  The fact that she is one of the better female characters in the Marvel U and they are going the cosmic route for the next set of films, this makes sense.  The fact that they are pretty much only looking at English actresses, because they are better at acting also makes sense.

Emily Blunt I think is the safer choice, but slightly more expensive choice.  I think she could play this role well.  She was originally set to play Black Widow, but had to drop out of the role due to scheduling conflicts.  She can play an american very well (see: Looper), and she’s not so recognizable that you’ll associate her with other films.  She can BE Carol Danvers.

Ruth Wilson I think is the better choice.  Marvel likes to hire their actors on a shoestring pay scale, but wrap them into multi-film deals, which would likely work better for Wilson than Blunt.  She’s already the female lead in The Lone Ranger, another Disney film, which despite being a mess of a production, I’m going to see.  She’s purely MAGNETIC in Luther.  She plays the best female character on tv, this side of Homeland.  She’s unusually gorgeous, and I feel like she would greatly fit the mold of awesomely strong, funny, smart female characters that Whedon writes.

I honestly don’t care which way they go, because I’m so happy Danvers/Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel is going to brought into the fold.  I hope it’s Wilson though.

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S.H.I.E.L.D. brings the Marvel Universe to TV

I have wanted to write about TV at about 1031 different times this year so far.  With Breaking Bad being as good as it’s been, I need a place to write about that, but I dont.  This is the MOVIE MOVIE podcast.  Not Tv Tv.  Anyway, the powers that be at ABC have greenlit a pilot based on S.H.I.E.L.D.

This is the right way to go.  Because they are a giant,shadowy organization, the stories can happen all over the place and they can have other smaller characters from the Marvel U make appearances.  The best news about all of this is that Joss Whedon will be writing the show, along with his brother Jed and possibly directing the pilot.  Because we’ve already seen his vision of SHIELD in Avengers, it already feels like this project is closer to Buffy/Angel, than it is to Dollhouse.  My only question is what do they do with Nick Fury and Maria Hill?  Sam Jackson is too big for tv, Cobie Smulders is still finding out about how he met his mother, and Phil Coulson is dead.

I’m curious, but totally faithful.

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The Reboot-eteer

Disney is doing a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. They made the best decision of their mousey lives buying Marvel, but they let Pixar go and made ‘John Carter.’ We can add something else to the dumb idea list with the rumored plans of theirs to produce a reboot of the ‘The Rocketeer.’
Continue reading

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DreamWorks Animation Moves To FOX

After months and months of unsuccessfully securing a new distribution deal with Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks has reached a 5 yr deal with 20th Century Fox worth billions.  Starting in 2013, all animated films produced by DW will be distributed by Fox through 2017.  What this means:

20th Century Fox now has DreamWorks Animated and Blue Sky (Ice Age, Rio) under it’s banner and becomes the dominant home in animated films.  Yes, Disney/Pixar still puts out mostly better films, but they only make one a year.  Now Fox has the luxury of being able to put 3 animated films out each year and really rake in the dough.   Considering that most DW films have or will have sequels (Shrek, Madagascar, HTTYD, Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda), this deal has already paid for itself.

DreamWorks is now completely split between film and animation divisions.  Disney distributes DreamWorks’ live action films, and Fox distributes the animated films.

Disney will have to ramp up it’s own efforts in Disney Animated, to make it not look like Fox is completely owning them.

Paramount has nothing. Which leads to my next article…

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