Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #963: Legendary Rejects Cruise Control

Here's the story boiled down to the bare bones.
Warner Bros. is a major movie studio based in Hollywood.
Legendary Pictures is a major American film financier/production company that has a partnership deal with Warner Bros. which is behind such hits as 300, Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise, and the upcoming reboot of the Superman franchise. This partnership centers on a lot of the big "fanboy" franchise type pictures that dominate the summer box office.
Village Roadshow is a major movie producer/financier based in Australia, that also has a very lucrative partnership with Warner Bros. that's resulted in dozens of movies of every variety.
Warner Bros. is currently starting up production of a movie adaptation of All You Need Is Kill to be directed by Doug Liman. It's from a Japanese "Light Novel" which can be summed up as a cross between Groundhog Day and War Of The Worlds. A soldier is caught in a time loop reliving the first day of an alien invasion where he gets killed again and again, but has to change how the day ends to save himself and the planet Earth.

In the movie version the soldier caught in the loop will be played by...
Actor Tom Cruise, who has seen a bit of a career comeback with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and a bit of a setback with the musical Rock of Ages.

Sounds like a perfect partnership between Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, and Village Roadshow.

Not really.

Legendary Pictures has pulled out of the $140 production. In fact, they are denying ever being involved in the first place, despite what the Warner Bros. press office said earlier.

Now we have a bit of a mystery.

Why has Legendary dropped out?

Well, the prevailing theory involves Tom Cruise and money.

Tom can still sell tickets around the world, especially in the action genre as MI:GP proved.

But Legendary might be thinking back to what happened to Mission Impossible 3

MI3 made a lot of money worldwide. However, so much was spent developing, making, and marketing the film, that any profit margin that film had was thinner than a starving starlet.

A lot the reason why Tom Cruise was in the career wilderness wasn't just because of his couch jumping on Oprah. It was because a lot of the blame for MI3's troubled and expensive production was put squarely on his 4 foot 9 inch frame.

While Legendary's movies have big budgets, they pride themselves on putting every cent spent in production on the screen. Also, when it comes to casting parts, they show a preference for "actors," over "stars." Check their filmography and you'll see that the overwhelming majority of their films do not star so-called "A-Listers" like Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp.

That's because stars can be a lot more expensive than the cost of their fee. A-listers can demand rewrites, hiring, firing, and re-shoots, and then there's the costs of the perks, including hotels, trailers, entourages, per-diems, and hundreds of other expenses that just keep adding up when an A-List star's involved.

Legendary's strategy seems to be to recruit talent that's on the way up, make them stars, and make sure that they're already signed up for the sequels.

So I can understand why they didn't want to get involved with All You Need Is Kill.

That's my theory, what's yours.


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  1. Blast Hardcheese24/10/12 1:43 pm

    My (completely pulled out o' me hinder) theory is that it was a little bit of "Don't want to put up with A-Lister BS" and a little bit of "Tom Cruise Hasn't Really Come Back Yet"

    Sure, MI4 did very well, and I have utmost respect for Mr. Cruise for doing a lot of the stunts in that insane Burj Khalifa sequence...but before then you had:

    Knight and Day (Tanked domestically)
    Valkyrie (barely made back production budget)
    Lions for Lambs (Tanked)
    MI 3: (As D mentioned, only made profit w/ overseas BO)

    There was one well-received bit part in Tropic Thunder, but otherwise that's a grim list right there. If it had been Johnny Depp, there might have been less concern. The only true loser he's had recently was The Rum Diaries.

    What I'm wondering is, why is Legendary trying to pull the Jedi Mind Trick "Oh, we never had a deal in place" stuff? Deals fall through all the time, no harm in that. Is this some weird contractual thing?

  2. Slcard- Can your kobo read kindles? So far it's only available via amazon.

  3. I don't know. I'll have to give it a try.

  4. I think it's a shame because a movie where Tom Cruise dies over and over again would probably have made more money than Avengers.

    Or maybe if they got Mel Gibson to star in it...

    Actually, that is a serious question D: for this movie, do you think it would work better if the studio picked an actor the audience would want to watch die over and over, or should they go with someone more likable?

    So pick two stars: Who would you want to be in the movie and who you think would actually be the best pick for the box office earnings?

  5. Nate- If an actor is so unwanted that people would enjoy seeing him die, they're probably not going to pay money to go see it. They'd just feel it would be better spent on entertainment done by people they liked.