Monday, 23 November 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #401: Miscellaneous Movie/Media Musings...

Welcome to the show folks...


New Moon, the second installment of the Twilight Saga has the folks at the Summit Entertainment head office dancing with a record breaking first night and a near record weekend take of $142 million.

Well, good for them, invest the money wisely, and put it to smart use, because this might not last.

Sure, legions of "Twihards" camped out in front of theaters from Kalamazoo to Kathmandu to catch the opening night screenings, but such hysteria is a double edged sword.

To bastardize Cole Porter, it's all just too hot not to cool down.

We're talking about teenage girls, sure when they love something it's with a fanatical fervor that can change pop culture, and make an otherwise struggling indie distributor an industry powerhouse.

But they can also change direction sharper than the Flash on a meth buzz, and when they do, they look at what once inspired love and hysteria, and see it as an embarrassment that they don't want anything to do with again.

It's actually easier with male audiences. When they catch on to a movie franchise when they're young, they tend to stick with it. Even when it becomes as limp as the last Star Wars franchise, or as crotchety as the Indiana Jones comeback. This comes less from fanatical devotion, than from the simple fact that once a man tastes something they like, they want the full meal, or they'll feel they're missing out on something. And even if they now consider what they liked before embarrassing, they'll still buy into it, if only for the camp value.

Girls are different, when their tastes change, it changes for good, and woe betide those who are expecting it to last forever.

So I'll repeat my advice to Summit, bank your money, and invest it wisely, because you don't want to end up like all those other indies who rode a trend to the top, and then into oblivion.


Apparently the New Moon is a good time for harvesting sour grapes, as director Chris Weitz says that the failure of The Golden Compass, the fantasy epic that sank New Line was not his fault, but the fault of New Line Cinema. Apparently they took the film away in the editing suite and chopped out 30 minutes that took away the film's "edginess."


Well, let's look at the facts behind the failure of The Golden Compass, and who is to blame for what:

-The movie cost $180 million. That's a hell of a lot, and it doesn't cover the prints and advertising costs, which was at least another $100 million. That's a hell of a lot of risk for adapting a controversial kids book.

Blame: New Line for green-lighting a film that risky, in their eagerness for a Lord of the Rings replacement, and Weitz for spending it.

-The "edginess" the Weitz says was lost in the editing room basically meant more emphasis on the whole saga being about a little girl out to save the Universe by killing the Judeo-Christian God. American audiences don't like to pay to see movies telling them that their spiritual beliefs are inherently evil.

Blame: New Line for buying the book without knowing what they were getting into, Author Phillip Pullman for hyping the militant atheism of the story at the time of the film's release, and Weitz for thinking that more atheism will somehow win the hearts a predominantly Christian US audience.

-Making the film's success completely dependent on the US audience because they pre-sold all the foreign rights to cover budget overages.

Blame: New Line for pre-selling the foreign rights, Weitz for going over budget.

-Releasing an anti-religious film AT CHRISTMAS TIME while the original book's author is on every channel bashing religion, Christianity in particular.

Blame: New Line and Phillip Pullman.

So by my reckoning, New Line gets about 50% of the blame, Weitz gets 40%, and Phillip Pullman gets about 10%.

So you see there's plenty of blame to go around.


  1. Words cannot express my dislike for everything about Twilight...

  2. Y'know, I'm an athiest. I'm quite happy with my decision. Now, I keep getting this feeling like I'm somehow, I dunno, obligated, to read the His Dark Materials trilogy - especially since I've read Pullman's thoughts on writing, and he gives really good advice. However, I'm just not that wild about the idea. On the other hand, maybe it's the simple fact that 'British Athiesm' has this air of smug self-satisfaction and superiority to it that makes me want to wring my hands in despair. (Also? Someone needs to explain to 'militant' Athiests that, unless they're actually crazy enough to plan on arming up and storming churches or some other obviously insane scheme, they should really stop using a term that brings to mind militias and terrorists, 'cause it's Not Helping.)

  3. Twilight is successful because the teenage girls and dull housewives whodo not know any better. 16-30 year old males could care less because they are too busy playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.