Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Figuring Out Disney's Future Releases

Disney has a bunch of open dates on their upcoming schedule.  They released a list of the live-action fairytales they currently had in development.  This helps to decipher what might go into those dates.

Jungle Book 2 would go into the April 2018 slot.  That is two years away and Favreau and the writer Justin Marks are already on board to continue the story.  The Jungle Book left it open for more of Kipling's jungle stories.  Releasing it around in April again makes a lot of sense.

I would expect Nutcracker and the Four Realms to be released on November of 2018.  The Nutcracker Suite is so associated with Christmas that a November release date makes sense.  This is one of the few projects to have a director not associated with several other projects.  Lasse Hallstrom can work on this soon.

There is a Disneytoon Movie schedule on April 2019.  Disneytoon is not as active as it once was with Disney sequels.  It has really only created Tinker Bell and Planes movies recently.  I think Disney wants their animation studio to keep making original movies that can create their own brands.  This gives Frozen 2 a theatrical release without having to slow down their main studio.

I will put A Wrinkle in Time in the November 2019 slot.  It is going to be directed by Ava DuVernay, but she will be busy with Intelligent Life in 2017.  Wrinkle will need two years of her time and around winter is a good release date for it.

The sequel to Mary Poppins will be released the following month, December 2019.  They have Rob Marshall, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt attached and you need to release this during Oscar season.  Expect a firm announcement when Moana is released.

2018 has two live-action films with release dates.  These are not designated as fairytales so they must be something different.  Jungle Cruise might qualify and this would have to be a summer movie.  Expect the Dwayne Johnson vehicle to be released on August 2018.

That means that December 2018 must be Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars Episode IX.  I wouldn't expect it to be released the same year as a Han Solo anthology film.  Episode IX had previously been dated for December 2019, but there is a Disney fairytale there right now.  Disney must want to release two Star Wars films in one year.  Not sure if that is the best idea, but there must be some reasoning behind it.

So that leaves July 2017 with one more Disney live-action fairytale release date.  The only remaining films I don't have slotted are Maleficent 2, Tim Burton's Dumbo, Tink starring Reese Witherspoon
 and Cruella.  I am going with Cruella, it doesn't seem like a summer film but Dumbo would take more than a year of production and Maleficent will take longer to schedule.  It is too close to Pan for Tink and Emma Stone is a better star to attach yourself to than Reese Witherspoon at this point.  Cruella will have less special effects and it has been trending this week.  So expect some sort of 101 Dalmatians prequel next summer.

Other release dates are for Pixar and Disney Animation in 2020.  I expect those to be original films.  Some may be projects we have heard about (Disney may release their Galactic, teen space race film).  But for the Marvel films that year I would guess Guardians vol. 3 for May 2020 and Doctor Strange 2 for November 2020.  Black Panther might need a sequel too, Captain Marvel can wait a year.  Inhumans might go in July, unless Marvel Studios has given up on that project.  There is always a chance Marvel will get Fantastic Four by then, but I will have to wait to find out for sure.

So the final schedule will probably look like:
July 2017- Cruella
April 2018- Jungle Book 2
August 2018- Jungle Cruise
November 2018- Nutcracker and the Four Realms
December 2018- Star Wars Episode IX
April 2019- Frozen 2
November 2019- A Wrinkle in Time
December 2019- Mary Poppins II
May 2020- Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3
July 2020- Inhumans
November 2020- Doctor Strange 2

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Live Read Casts

I have never had the opportunity to see one of Jason Reitman's Live Read shows, but I love the concept.  Live Read is a series of staged readings of film scripts.  I love looking at the cast lists on Wikipedia and picturing how the film would work with different actors.  During spare time I enjoy creating my own cast lists.  My unique challenge for myself is not to use the same actor twice.  Hope you enjoy the cast lists, might keep adding to this page as I come up with more.

Terms of Endearment
Julianne Moore as Aurora Greenway (originated by Shirley MacLaine), Aubrey Plaza as Emma Greenway-Horton (originated by Debra Winger), Jason Bateman as Garrett Breedlove (originated by Jack Nicholson), Max Greenfield as Flap Horton (originated by Jeff Daniels), Rob Huebel as Sam Burns (originated by John Lithgow)
Broadcast News
James Marsden as Tom Grunick (originated by William Hurt), Alison Brie as Jane Craig (originated by Holly Hunter), Samm Levine as Aaron Altman (originated by Albert Brooks), Michaela Watkins as Blair Litton (originated by Joan Cusack), Blake Clark as Ernie Merriman (originated by Robert Prosky), Luke Wilson as Bill Rorish (originated by Jack Nicholson)
As Good as it Gets
Joel McHale as Melvin Udall (originated by Jack Nicholson), Holly Hunter as Carol Connelly (originated by Helen Hunt), Neil Patrick Harris as Simon Bishop (originated by Greg Kinnear)

Jerry Maguire
Tyrese Gibson as Jerry Maguire (originated by Tom Cruise), Paula Patton as Dorothy Boyd (originated by Renee Zellweger), Terry Crews as Rod Tidwell (originated by Cuba Gooding, Jr.), Yvette Nicole Brown as Marcee Tidwell (originated by Regina King), Wanda Sykes as Laurel Boyd (originated by Bonnie Hunt)
Working Girl
Mindy Kaling as Tess McGill (originated by Melanie Griffith), Dwayne Johnson as Jack Trainer (originated by Harrison Ford), Anne Hathaway as Katharine Parker (originated by Sigourney Weaver), Vanessa Bayer as Cyn (originated by Joan Cusack)
Back to the Future
Jason Biggs as Marty McFly (originated by Michael J. Fox), Eugene Levy as Doc Brown (originated by Christopher Lloyd), Alyson Hannigan as Loraine McFly (originated by Leah Thompson), Eddie Kaye Thomas as George McFly (originated by Crispin Glover), Sean William Scott as Biff Tannen (originated by Thomas F. Wilson)
Michael J. Fox as Superman/Clark Kent (originated by Christopher Reeve), Geena Davis as Lois Lane (originated by Margot Kidder), Dennis Quaid as Lex Luthor (originated by Gene Hackman), Aidy Bryant as Otis (originated by Ned Beatty), Hugh Laurie as Jor-El (originated by Marlon Brando)
Robert Downey, Jr. as Paul Sheldon (originated by James Caan), Kathy Najimy as Annie Wilkes (originated by Kathy Bates)
When Harry Met Sally
Gina Rodriguez as Sally Albright (originated by Meg Ryan), Aziz Ansari as Harry Burns (originated by Billy Crystal), Riki Lindhome as Marie (originated by Carrie Fisher), Lamorne Morris as Jess (originated by Bruno Kirby)
True Grit
Michael Keaton as Rooster Cogburn (originated by Jeff Bridges), Taran Killam as LaBeouf (originated by Matt Damon), Michael Pena as Tom Chaney (originated by Josh Brolin)
The Departed
Anthony Mackie as Leonardo DiCaprio (originated by Billy Costigan), Chris Pine as Colin Sullivan (originated by Matt Damon), Craig T. Nelson as Frank Costello (originated by Jack Nicholson), John Cho as Sean Dignam (originated by John Cho), Parker Posey as Madolyn Madden (originated by Vera Farmiga), William Russ as Oliver Queenan (originated by Martin Sheen), Nick Offerman as George Ellerby (originated by Alec Baldwin), Kevin Pollak
Ocean's Eleven
Rob Lowe as Danny Ocean (originated by George Clooney), Sam Rockwell as Rusty Ryan (originated by Brad Pitt), Donald Glover as Linus Caldwell (originated by Matt Damon), Courteney Cox as Tess Ocean (originated by Julia Roberts), Christian Slater as Terry Benedict (originated by Andy Garcia), Chris Hemsworth as Basher Tarr (originated by Don Cheadle), Craig Robinson as Frank Catton (originated by Bernie Mac), Carol Burnett as Saul Bloom (originated by Carl Reiner), Rob Reiner as Reuben Tishkoff (originated by Elliott Gould)
A Few Good Men
Ellen Page as Lieutenant Kaffee (originated by Tom Cruise), Channing Tatum as Lieutenant Commander Galloway (originated by Demi Moore), Robin Wright as Colonel Jessep (originated by Jack Nicholson), Chelsea Peretti as Lieutenant Weinberg (originated by Kevin Pollak), Christina Hendricks as Captain Ross (originated by Kevin Bacon), Michelle Rodriguez as Lieutenant Kendrick (originated by Kiefer Sutherland), Nora Dunn as Lieutenant Colonel Markinson (originated by J.T. Walsh)
Kate Micucci as Juno MacGruff (originated by Ellen Page), Johnny Pemberton as Paulie Bleeker (originated by Michael Cera), Elisabeth Moss as Vanessa Loring (originated by Jennifer Garner), Mark Duplass as Mark Loring (originated by Jason Bateman), Kevin James as Mac MacGruff (originated by J.K. Simmons), Lisa Kudrow as Bren MacGuff (originated by Allison Janney)
Spider-Man 2
Danny Pudi as Peter Parker (originated by Tobey Maguire), Rebecca Hall as Mary Jane Watson (originated by Kirsten Dunst), Armie Hammer as Harry Osborn (originated by James Franco), Rainn Wilson as Otto Octavius (originated by Alfred Molina), Marion Ross as Aunt May (originated by Rosemarry Harris), Christopher MacDonald as J. Jonah Jameson (originated by J.K. Simmons)
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Tobey Maguire as Andy Stitzer (originated by Steve Carell), Tim Meadows as Jay (originated by Romany Malco), Patton Oswalt as Cal (originated by Seth Rogen), Seth MacFarlane as David (originated by Paul Rudd), Julie Bowen as Trish Piedmont (originated by Catherine Keener), Kate McKinnon as Paula (originated by Jane Lynch), Jena Malone as Beth (originated by Elizabeth Banks), Lennon Parham as Nicky (originated by Leslie Mann)
Forrest Gump
Charlie Day as Forrest Gump (originated by Tom Hanks), Linda Cardellini as Jenny Curran (originated by Robin Wright), Rita Wilson as Mrs. Gump (originated by Sally Field), Jordan Peele as Bubba Buford (originated by Mykelti Williamson), Chris Evans as Dan Taylor (originated by Gary Sinise)
Up in the Air
Jason Sudeikis as Ryan Bingham (originated by George Clooney), Malin Akerman as Alex Goran (originated by Vera Farmiga), Judy Greer as Natalie Keener (originated by Anna Kendrick), Oscar Nunez as Craig Gregory (originated by Jason Bateman), Bill Pullman as Bob (originated by J.K. Simmons)
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Adam Scott as Cal Weaver (originated by Steve Carell), Lake Bell as Emily Weaver (originated by Julianne Moore), John Krasinski as Jacob Palmer (originated by Ryan Gosling), Brie Larson as Hannah Weaver (originated by Emma Stone), Sofia Vergara as Kate Tafferty (originated by Marisa Tomei), Emilio Estevez as David Lindhagen (originated by Kevin Bacon)
Field of Dreams
Peter Krause as Ray Kinsella (originated by Kevin Costner), Leslie Mann as Annie Kinsella (originated by Amy Madigan), Keith David as Terence Mann (originated by James Earl Jones), Danny Glover as Archibald Graham (originated by Burt Lancaster), Kyle Chandler as Shoeless Joe Jackson (originated by Ray Liotta)
Being John Malkovich
Jason Schwartzmann as Craig Schwartz (originated by John Cusack), Jenna Fischer as Lotte Schwartz (originated by Cameron Diaz), Monica Potter as Maxine Lund (originated by Catherine Keener), Sharlto Copley as John Malkovich, Carl Reiner as Dr. Lester (originated by Orson Bean), James Franco as Charlie Sheen
Silence of the Lambs
Kate Mara as Clarice Starling (originated by Jodie Foster), Jonathan Banks as Hannibal Lecter (originated by Anthony Hopkins), Casey Affleck as Jack Crawford (originated by Scott Glenn), Michael Rooker as Buffalo Bill (originated by Ted Levine)
L.A. Confidential
Michael B. Jordan as Officer White (originated by Russell Crowe), Sam Jaeger as Det. Lt. Exley (originated by Guy Pearce), Oscar Isaac as Det. Sgt. Vincennes (originated by Kevin Spacey), Elizabeth Banks as Lynn Bracken (originated by Lynn Bracken), Henry Winkler as Sid Hudgens (originated by Danny DeVito), John Lithgow as Capt. Smith (originated by James Cromwell), Jeffrey Wright as Pierce Patchett (originated by David Strathairn)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Patrick Warburton as Star-Lord (originated by Chris Pratt), Paget Brewster as Gamora (originated by Zoe Saldana), Dennis Haysbert as Drax the Destroyer (originated by Dave Bautista), Kevin Michael Richardson as Groot (originated by Vin Diesel), Jake Johnson as Rocket Raccoon (originated by Bradley Cooper)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Anna Kendrick as Rey (originated by Daisy Ridley), Damon Wayans, Jr. as Finn (originated by John Boyega), Ben Foster as Kylo Ren (originated by Adam Driver), Danny Trejo as Han Solo (originated by Harrison Ford), Mark Ruffalo as Poe Dameron (originated by Oscar Isaac), Sigourney Weaver as Leia Organa (originated by Carrie Fisher)

Mary Poppins
Joan Cusack as Mary Poppins (originated by Julie Andrews), Ed Helms as Bert (originated by Dick van Dyke), Patrick Stewart as George Banks (originated by David Tomlinson), John Ratzenberger as Uncle Albert (originated by Ed Wynn)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Tomorrowland: A Good Movie Overshadowed by Bad Business

            Movies in Fargo-Moorhead theatres have a weird cycle.  Usually the two first run theatres share around 8-10 movies.  If one of those movies does not do big numbers it will be gone before you know it.  Then there is a small chance film print might come to our discount theatre a month or two later.  This run down theatre will keep around five movies of its seven movies for three to five months.  Meaning that discount theatre has a very slow rotation.  So if you miss a movie at the main theatre, which gets rid of them too fast, you are going to have to wait a while in the hopes that the cheap seats get it for a little while.  I was excited to see that the cheap theatre just got Tomorrowland, because I have really wanted to see it again.
            Tomorrowland was not a success.  It ranks among the biggest box-office bombs of all time, only making a little over $200 million worldwide on a $190 million budget.  Reviews have also been lukewarm.  People don’t hate it, but not many are excited about it.
I am in the minority that loved Brad Bird’s sci-fi throwback.  I am a lifelong Disney die-hard and I found this movie to be one that Walt would be proud of.  The values of Tomorrowland are so in line with the enthusiasm and ambition behind the Disneyland TV series and the original concept for EPCOT.  All of the ties to the 1964 World’s Fair made me so happy.
I honestly loved the movie.  Clooney paid a grizzled inventor perfectly, never once coming across as a suave movie star.  Raffey Cassidy also created one of the most memorable characters of the year and is the best child actor The Walt Disney Company has introduced in a very long time.  But above all the movie had a big, hopeful feel to it.  It got me thinking, feeling and dreaming.  Which is the exact experience I personally want from a movie, especially on the big screen.
That is not to say that the movie is not without its flaws.  I think that the structure of the movie is a little sloppy.  The narration and banter between Clooney and Britt Robertson slowed the start of the movie down.  It would have had a tighter opening had the World’s Fair was just followed by Casey’s journey.  But the failure of Tomorrowland really has less to do with the movie itself and more to do with the marketing, budget and role as a tentpole.
Marketing really should not factor into experiencing the film itself.  However with the Internet providing more access to marketing and a venue to analyze it, many audiences have their minds made up before they see the movie.  I have a hunch that a lot of reviews are written after the trailer is released.  Which is not necessarily fair, but this is the modern movie going experience and studios need to do a better job selling the movie because that can affect everything.
Tomorrowland took a mystery box approach in its trailers.  It alluded to some sort of twist that you could only find out by seeing the movie.  This misled critics into expecting a different experience.  While Tomorrowland has surprises it is a very straightforward family movie.  Which is not the easiest sell for a big budget tentpole, but then again why did this have to be an event movie?
It is admirable that Disney put so much of a push and money behind an original movie that was helmed by a creator they believe in.  However Hollywood keeps making the same mistake of throwing loads of money at a hopeful franchise and burdening it with the expectations of a tentpole.  I hope to do another post on this trend, but the bottom line is that these movies almost always underperform if not bomb.
Back to the internet affecting the movie-going experience, we are receiving more and more access to the business of movie making.  Take Ant-Man for example, a movie that shares Tomorrowland’s point of view.  There are people who will never be able to enjoy that movie because the internet wrote its own narrative about what happened with Edgar Wright over a year before the movie’s release.  Budgets in particular place a big target on a movie for the internet.  We now seem to be less open to take a movie on its own merits, once we hear about a movie with a big price tag under performing that is all the news focuses on.  The negative press dealing with the money overshadows the movie itself.
And Tomorrowland honestly did not need to cost $190 million.  This was an old fashioned Disney adventure based in Cold War sci-fi.  The visuals were terrific, but they would have been just as credible at $100 million or even less (keep in mind I have no idea how money really works).
The real big thing working against Tomorrowland in theatres was its position as a tentpole on Memorial Weekend.  It probably still would have failed at another release date, but expectations of huge success are not good for original movies.  They need time to be discovered and grow an audience.  I think that Tomorrowland was a great summer move and has a lot of potential to be a blockbuster.  But you can’t count your eggs before they hatch.  This movie was counted before it hatched.

Again, Tomorrowland is not a perfect.  I love family movies and am big on Disney lore, it was right up my alley.  But this is a movie that does not deserve the different reputation of a failure.  I hope you will catch this at your discount theatre, it is ambitious and has its heart in the right place.  Which is as good of a reason to make and attend a movie as any.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How the Fox Box Should Have Started

This is an odd concept, but lately I have been thinking about the Fox Box.  I was never a huge viewer, although I watched a lot of their Ninja Turtles.  But the Fox Box (later 4Kids TV) began at a shift in Saturday mornings.  2002 was when Fox Kids closed, One Saturday morning became ABC Kids, ABC Family created a great action block, among other changes across the networks.  I was a kid at the time and paid a lot of attention to changes in Saturday morning.  Back then, to me anyways, Saturdays were a time when networks would put effort into children's programming and you would see things you wouldn't during the rest of the week.  I am nostalgic towards a lot of it, even if I was never big on the programs themselves.

But anyways, the odd concept I have been working on lately has been a fantasy rescheduling of the first few years of The Fox Box.  I feel that, while 4Kids made many mistakes (many legal mistakes), their cartoon block could have gotten a much better start.  So here is my fantasy line-up for the first three seasons of the Fox Box.

Image result for POkemon master questImage result for yu-gi-ohImage result for ninja turtles 2003
Season 1 (2002-2003)
The biggest mistake 4Kids made was that they kept their familiar properties on a rival network.  While I am sure that Kids' WB held their PokeRights pretty closely back then, 4Kids really should have tried to use Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Cubix to launch their network.  4Kids could have also reran the Indigo League episodes under the title PokeClassics instead of letting Cartoon Network do the same a year later.  This would all be similar to how Kids' WB brought over Animaniacs, Batman and Tiny Toons from Fox Kids.  4Kids should have also premiered the block with Ninja Turtles as their big new show instead of waiting until midseason.  Ultimate Muscle and Kirby would have been the same as those two shows worked.  I would also keep Ultraman Tiga, but with a better dub.  This is was a chance at a new Power Rangers with a marketable character, but the jokes were unbearable and out of place.  4Kids was also syndicating Tama and Friends around this time, they could have used that as a replacement for either Cubix or PokeClassics later in the season.  I would just leave off Stargate Infinity and Fighting Foodons altogether.

The Initial Schedule (in central time)
7:00 PokeClassics (favorite episodes!)
7:30 Cubix: Robots for Everyone (new to Fox!)
8:00 Kirby, Right Back at Ya! (new series!)
8:30 Ultraman Tiga (new series!)
9:00 Pokemon Master Quest (new season!)
9:30 Ultimate Muscle (new series!)
10:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (new series!)
10:30 Yu-Gi-Oh! (new season!)

Image result for Homestar RunnerImage result for Sonic XImage result for Shaman King
Season 2 (2003-2004)
Ultraman Tiga, PokeClassics and Cubix would all leave the schedule.  Kirby, Ultimate Muscle, Ninja Turtles and Yu-Gi-Oh! would stay.  This season would see the premiere of Pokemon Advanced.  I would not include Funky Cops or The Cramp Twins, but Shaman King and Sonic X would be the new series.  I would also add the TV premiere of Homestar Runner.  By 2003 there were enough shorts of the popular webtoon to create a TV anthology.  I am really surprised that there was never a successful attempt at bringing H*R to television.  4Kids would not play any role in the creation, the Brothers Chaps would create their own package and format for the network that needed a solid comedy, broader audience and something topical.

The Initial Schedule (in central time)
7:00 Kirby, Right Back at Ya! (new season!)
7:30 Ultimate Muscle (new season!)
8:00 Pokemon Advanced (new season!)
8:30 Homestar Runner (new to TV!)
9:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (new season!)
9:30 Sonic X (new season!)
10:00 Yu-Gi-Oh! (new season!)
10:30 Shaman King (new series!)

Image result for SPider-man the new animated seriesImage result for winx club 4kids
Season 3 (2004-2005)
The Adrenaline Project would never air on the network and the Fox Box name would remain.  Ultimate Muscle and Shaman King would leave the schedule (but still come back for midseason replacements).  Leaving Kirby, Ninja Turtles, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Sonic X and Homestar as the returning hits while the PokeFranchise would enter Advanced Challenge.  Winx Club would still be the big new show for the season.  4Kids would also pick up Spider-Man: The New Animated Series after MTV failed it.  This may be an odd fit as the series was a little more mature, but look at what the censors let TMNT get away with, Sony already marketed Spidey DVDs to kids anyways.  This would start a relationship with Sony that could lead to Astro Boy and others.  Spidey would bring a familiar character, a better chance for a good show and a challenge the idea of what 4Kids is.

The Initial Schedule (in central time)
7:00 Kirby, Right Back at Ya! (new season!)
7:30 Winx Club (new series!)
8:00 Pokemon Advanced Challenge (new season!)
8:30 Yu-Gi-Oh! (new season!)
9:00 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (new season!)
9:30 Sonic X (new season!)
10:00 Homestar Runner (new to TV episodes!)
10:30 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (new to Fox!)

Which would bring us to the point where Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!'s popularity was dying down anyway.  So what do you think?  It is of course easy to look back and say, "this is what you should have done!"  But it is always fun to look back and think about what if.