Monday, 9 May 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #722: Monday Miscellania


You've probably already heard that Time-Warner, parent company of the Warner Brothers studio recently bought movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Now some folks had a bit of a hissy when they heard the news, screaming that movie studio owning a movie review site was a "conflict of interest." I even joked on my twitter that Warner's recent turkey
Sucker-Punch was going to mysteriously get a 100% "Fresh" rating. It didn't, and it probably never will.

Because it will cost Warner Bros. more if they played silly buggers with the site than any short term gain they might get artificially inflating their product, or deflating others.

Remember, Rotten Tomatoes works by collecting reams of data that all out in the open, namely published movie reviews. It then collates all that data into its scale that rates films from rotten to fresh by how many good reviews it gets.

If Warners tries to play with these numbers, it will be found out. There are math nerds roaming cyberspace that would love to crunch the numbers to expose shenanigans, and do it for kicks. Then the site would lose its credibility, its readers, then its sponsors, and Warners would be left with a very expensive web address fit only for selling second hand vegetables.


Universal Pictures has possibly put the permanent kibosh on Ron Howard's plan to adapt Stephen King's dark fantasy epic
The Dark Tower as a multi-film multi-media multi-year mega event. The plan, to do three movies, with two TV miniseries between each film over multi-year period, outstripping The Lord of the Rings in the scope department.

While you might think having one of the biggest names in Hollywood adapting a best-selling series of novels by one of the best-selling authors of all time is a sure thing, but remember Universal's become gun-shy in the risk department. They were given a number of sure things in both film and TV, and ended with epic disasters like
Land Of The Lost, and the Knight Rider revival. Even Judd Apatow, their one guaranteed hit-maker snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by spending way too much money making Funny People, and unnecessarily saddling it with the stench of failure.

Right now the studio can't afford to spend too much on any one project, especially one with complicated structure like The Dark Tower. What if the first movie's a hit, but mini-series tanks? What if the first movie tanks in the theaters, do you still make the miniseries? Will people who didn't see the theatrical movies understand the miniseries? There are just too many questions and too many zeros after the dollar sign for them to be comfortable.


Paul Thomas Anderson has inked a deal to have his film, until recently titled The Master, distributed by the Weinstein Company. This will be seen as a great development by those who were upset by the film's subject matter, because it means that the chance of anyone seeing the film in the theater is now slimmer than an anorexic starlet.


Wizards of the Coast, the people behind venerable role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons have started "D&D Encounters." (h/t Topless Robot) No, it's not a chance for your 12th level paladin to show an elf princess the contents of your enchanted codpiece. It's a network of mini-campaigns that can be completed in 1-2 hours and played in groups at local nerd emporiums which can be found here. It also comes with an introductory video:

I think it's a good idea, folks who enjoy the game often can't dedicate 4-6 hours cleaning the orcs out of the dark castle of Dark Lord Rectumus The Ring-Bearer. 1-2 hours is much simpler, and attractive to time pressed casual gamers. It also has a social component with the meeting of new people with similar interests, and will no doubt help move some D&D related merchandise.

1 comment:

  1. Sure, Rotten Tomatos won't be giving WB movies 100 percent ratings, but do you think the guy (now on the WB payroll) who selects who gets to be published on the site and who doesn't is going to be looking pretty closely at people who aren't big fans of, say, the Batman franchise?

    I mean what is WB's motivation for buying a movie review site in the first place if it isn't making damn sure that some big project doesn't get nixed by a bunch of amateur movie reviews just because they happen to be listed on the site. My guess is their analyists calculated that 10 or 15 dumb asses on RT with their own internet movie sites cost WB 5 to 10 million in gross on some movie or other - more than enough reason to buy the site.