Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #430: When It Comes To Money, Everything's Relative....

Welcome to the show folks...


Okay, here's the story for those too lazy to click the link. A big Tintin fan named Bob Garcia put out a bunch of essays about how much he loved the books growing up, and how the artist Herge was influenced by the cinema of his time, and other fanboy stuff. The guy who married Herge's widow, from now to be referred to as GWMHW, decided that the use of pictures from Tintin to praise Tintin made the author worse than Hitler. So GWMHW has sued Superfan Garcia and won £35,000, and wants the cash or will have the bailiffs seize Garcia's house and belongings.

Now fans are threatening to boycott the big budget Spielberg Tintin movie, as well as the books and other merchandise.

Way to go Mr. GWMHW. You've tainted the brand you inherited by marrying the creator's widow, when a little diplomacy, and strategic intelligence, could have made this situation turn out in a way where you don't look like an ass.

We can look at this from GWMHW's view, he owns the character simply because he married the second wife of the man who did all the work. He profits greatly from the labor of a dead man he
probably never even met, that can generate resentment, both real and imagined on the part of the owner, and the fans. Obvious his resentment of the fans has been revealed as real, or he wouldn't be trying to bankrupt them for praising his property in public, and that's breeding real resentment among those same fans.

Now here's how he could have avoided all this bad press, and potential boycotts, and come across smelling like a rose.

When GWMHW found out about these pamphlets he should have realized that this wasn't some lame pseudo-pinko anarchist dribble like Tintin: Breaking Free, deliberately violating his copyrights for a political point, this was FREE ADVERTISING.

So he should have had his people approach Mr. Garcia, say, we have copyright and trademark concerns, and would like you to formally ask for permission, which we will give to a select few
uncompensated promoters. Get the guy to sign a pledge that he won't do it for profit, and get written permission before publication, and then GWMHW would no longer have a courtroom adversary, and a lightning rod for fanboy resentment, he would have an ally telling the world via the pamphlets and internet what a wonderful guy GWMHW is, and how everyone should buy more Tintin books and merchandise.

You see, everything is relative to how you look at it. GWMHW saw an enemy, when he could have seen a tool, and now both are going to be hurt when both could be getting not only what they want, but more.


Mini-major Lionsgate has put itself in as a "stalking horse" bidder for the rights to the Terminator franchise from Halcyon's bankruptcy sale. This means that if Halcyon can't get above a certain amount for the Terminator, then it will accept the agreed upon price from Lionsgate.

While I have no problem with Lionsgate handling home video sales for Terminator projects, I do have one thing to say about trying to make more Terminator:







Sure, it's tempting, but look at it from a different angle. The films made hundreds of millions at the box office, that's a fact, but it's also a fact that the companies that made those movies are all either defunct (Hemdale), or bankrupt (Carolco, Halcyon).

You don't want to fall into that trap.


The indefatigable Nikki Finke has some more news about the ongoing disintegration of The Weinstein Co. and tries to explain how both it and its partner Relativity Media took a bath on the musical Nine, no matter how you look at it. In fact, Relativity's taken a bath on just about everything it's put out in the last while, which is odd considering the company likes to brag about how it calculates everything down to the last detail, scientifically, using big brainy computer doodads and gadgets.

Which goes to show what I think is the one hard and fast rule: movie success isn't a scientific formula. It's all about gut instinct, getting that chill down the back of your neck when you hear a pitch, and then figuring out how to get that chill incorporated into the finished film and the marketing campaign. It can't be boiled down like a storyline in the show Numb3rs.

Relativity's "plan" struck me as so much digitized snake oil, promising cures for poor box office, while making a film like Brothers, even though every calculation would tell you that it would fail, no matter how much the critics might like it.

That's what I think, and I do tend to be right about these sorts of things.

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