Monday, 20 September 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #597: Little Bits That Plop Out Of My Head

Welcome to the show folks...

TGIM... okay, maybe not, but to get you over the proverbial Monday blahs here are a few drippings from my proverbial brain pan...


There is yet another development that could decide the fate of the long moribund MGM studio. First Spyglass Entertainment is trying to move it out of distribution and into production, mostly TV, but now there's a new player. Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar is in the early stages of making an offer to buy MGM from its owners/creditors for about $2 billion. Some reports say that the Broccoli family, whose EON Productions own the screen rights to James Bond are supporting this deal.

I suspect that the Broccoli family is hoping that this partnership will let the next James Bond movie have scenes like this:

I know I showed it before, but I love that scene so damn much.... yet it does not love me back....

Anyway, but seriously folks, there are some pretty good reasons for the Broccoli family to back any deal that keeps MGM a viable independent producer and distributor.

1. With an independent MGM, EON and James Bond are quite literally the big fish in the pond. If the franchise is doled out to another studio, they become yet another franchise fighting for resources with all of the studio's other franchises.

2. Being the big fish in the MGM pond means EON can fight the inevitable studio meddling, where some suit will force them to replace Daniel Craig with Tracy Morgan, team him up with Jackie Chan, and make it into a buddy-cop comedy directed by Brett Ratner.

3. SIP must have impressed the Broccoli family with a very detailed and serious plan to make MGM viable again, and included a plan to get the Bond franchise back on screens before Daniel Craig has to collect his old age pension.

Personally, I wish good luck to anyone who can make MGM a successful company again. Hollywood needs the competition, the market needs another buyer, and the audience sure could use another supplier of entertainment operating outside the narrow group-think of the other majors.

UPDATE: MGM management denies going Bollywood. We'll have to wait and see if the next Bond movie has any spontaneous musical numbers.


Every box office expert in Hollywood was saying that teen comedy/chick flick
Easy A was going to handily beat Ben Affleck's starring/directing caper flick The Town. It was PG-13, versus The Town's R Rating, the star Emma Stone was very charming, and while The Town had a lot of critical buzz, conventional wisdom was betting against it.

Turns out they were wrong.

The Town kicked butt, over-performing all estimates, while
Easy A did okay, it under-performed all the expert predictions.


Two reasons:

1. MATURITY: The older audience, 25+ by Hollywood's reckoning, is hungry for a movie that offers action and suspense with a decent plot. They were disappointed by
The American, getting a portrait of middle age ennui, and took a chance on The Town. Plus, people have been watching Ben Affleck slowly and surely rebuild his movie career by working his ass off after almost sinking it during that whole Bennifer fiasco. I call that the Robert Downey Jr. effect. It means that the audience respects and rewards hard work on the part of movie stars rebuilding their careers after some bad moves and worse movies.

2. WEAK MARKETING: The ad campaign for
Easy A got a D- on my rankings. Too many ads showed it as just another goofball teen comedy while others showed too much of Amanda Bynes as the film's bitchy evangelical Christian villain. This isn't a knock against Bynes, but at the character. Remember, 75% of Americans are active Christians, many of them belong to evangelical churches, and they tend to ignore and avoid movies that portray them as villains. Personally, I wouldn't have written the character that way. The "I condemn thee" evangelical type is a boring cliche, that ignores the comic potential that lay in making the character more of a Ned Flanders-type, a meddling do-gooder whose well meaning but poorly executed attempts to 'save' the mislabeled harlot create even more chaos.

The film did do pretty good, but that short-sightedness over the picture's villain could cost Easy A its proverbial box-office legs in the long run.


At least to me, because you're still providing me with material. His most recent jaunt into my verbal cross-hairs is his talk to student at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. He was there to give a talk on "Leadership and Management."

Think about that... he lead and managed NBC-Universal to near extinction. Asking Jeff Zucker to talk about leadership and management is like...

...asking Attila the Hun to talk about the importance of diplomacy.

...asking OJ Simpson about maintaining marital happiness.

...asking Field Marshal Haig to discuss modern military strategy.

...asking Phil Spector about successful legal defense strategies.

...asking Lindsay Lohan to lecture about saying no to drugs.

I'm sure you can all whip up a few of your own, please leave them in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. ... asking Dr. Paul Krugman, advisor to spectacularly bankrupt Enron, for advice on the US economy.