Friday, 14 August 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #346: Miscellaneous Money, Movie, Media Musings

Welcome to the show folks, here are a few little musings:


Here's the scoop from Nikki Finke. The companies behind the top TV networks are banding together to create their own TV ratings monitor to compete with the Nielsen TV ratings monopoly. The big media boys claim that it's a necessary move because Nielsen's flawed TV ratings collection system is under-reporting the real numbers, and exacerbating the viewer flight from the mainstream networks.

Okay, let's say that the big media boys are right and that Nielsen's ratings system is flawed, something that a lot of people seem to agree with, and the fact that Nielsen is a big lumbering monopoly seems to provide evidence for that claim. I also love seeing companies compete.

But, and this is a big but, I am really suspicious of the major network's claim that they can handle this job objectively.

They live and die by ratings, and the temptation to fudge their results is just too great. Like it or not, Nielsen may be a monopoly, it may be inaccurate, but at least it's independent.

Which brings me to what I think is the major question here:

Where are the advertisers?

They need to have accurate numbers and demographics to judge how effective shows are at reaching their target audience, and if Nielsen isn't as accurate as it should be the solution is simple.

The big ad agencies know market research, so why don't they get together, start their own ratings measurement company, or, better yet, start several companies, with new methods, and more detailed metrics than Nielsen, to either light a fire under the old guard with some good old fashioned competition, or to pool their numbers together to create something hopefully more accurate.

That's my opinion, though I do tend to be right, about everything.

2. WHY G.I.?

Patrick Goldstein, the blogger at the Los Angeles Times Big Picture Blog asked why did so many people go to see
GI Joe on its opening weekend despite reports of its epic crappiness.

The theories are diverse, from the film as sensory escape, to Sienna Miller in a tight leather catsuit. But I think there's a little something else to it.

Take a look at recent movies that feature the US Military.

How many of them cast the US Military personnel as unquestioned heroes?

Outside of the
Transformers flicks, not many. In fact since the start of the Iraq War, Hollywood's created their own sub-genre of anti-war films that portray US military personnel as either intellectually deficient victims of the cruel machinations of Halliburton and their political puppets, or psychopathic rapists who commit atrocities with wild abandon. Even films that try to be either evenhanded, or treat the subject from a purely action-adventure standpoint, can't resist making some sort of statement against the soldiers and/or their mission.

Americans like their soldiers, because their soldiers are their fellow Americans. They like to see them in a positive light.

Now I fear that
GI Joe will not have the legs it needs to make a profit from it's $175 million production budget, once you include prints and advertising. That's because a lot of folks are complaining that they de-Americanized GI Joe, to make them some sort of UN force.

Flyover country might be fooled on the opening weekend, but they're not going to go back if they feel the film lacks the testicular fortitude to wave the flag a little. I'm expecting
District 9 to best GI Joe this weekend.


ABC has announced that they intend to turn the 1980s ensemble movie St. Elmo's Fire into a television series.

The series will follow a group of recent college grads making their way in the real world, in an attempt to replace the long departed
Friends in the hearts of viewers.

Now here's where things get screwy.

ABC is paying money, to redo an 80s movie, in order to win the audience from a 90s sitcom.

Think about that for a second.

Why didn't they just do a show about college grads and make no claim to the movie? I doubt enough people remember the film to make the connection, or put any real value in the title.

They're so scared of anything new, they will buy anything old, no matter what.

It's officially insanity.


  1. For the record I have nothing to do with hollyweird or television or anything else in any way entertainment related.

    Also, I live in flyover country. I'd probably qualify as a poster-boy for everything that the suits in la-la land think, on the rare occasions when they do think, of the people who live out here in the middle of the country.

    With that said... I'm guessing that the reason that everything, and I mean everything, that comes out of development these days is 'based on' something else is that it's the only way the person pitching the show/movie can get anyone to listen.

    They go to a pitch meeting and say "I've got a great idea for a show based around a bunch of 20-something recent college grads" and the suits shrug. They add "It's based on a movie that made money at some point in history" and they get attention.

    None of that is meant to refute your diagnosis of insanity. It most definately is insane.

    I wish I could write. I've got an outline for a short-story/novel that would rock as a movie. Unfortunately I can't write well enough to turn it into a book, much less a screenplay.

    Of course it's original so it wouldn't get looked at anyway.

  2. They already greenlit a GI JOE 2, I predict the film will have a script that will fix any of the flaws that were in the first one. Eventhough I have yet to see it.

    As a member of the MI national guard, When I am in uniform I get treated with upmost respect for what I do, even though what I do so far has been graduating BCT, AIT and several drills that involved cleaning weapons and gasmasks.

  3. If they have greenlit GI Joe 2, they'll probably try to slash the budget as well. $175 million is just too much for one film.

    GI Joe's box office is down 68% this weekend showing that it doesn't have legs, and that any sequel will have to be done way cheaper, which will put it in the spiral of dwindling returns.

    Fuloydo, just look at some of the scripts being green-lit, and you can see that actual writing ability has very little to do with it. ;)