Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year! New Questions!

2013 has arrived and as promised, I'm finally getting around to answering the questions you asked me last year.

Let's prepare to dip into the infinite well of my wisdom!

Rainforest Giant asked... 
Okay, I'll bite. First, have you seen the new hobbit? Technical question, how much do the new 3D and frame rate cost in comparison to standard processes? What do audiences think? Is it worth the trouble and expense? Did the new processes add anything to the experience? 
What is the future of 3D?

I haven't seen the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey yet in the theatre since the nearest theatre playing it is about 2+ hours away. While I have heard of people liking the story, I'm hearing some major ambivalence towards its 48 frames per second frame rate with the most common complaints being that it makes the FX look obvious and everything else look like a 1970s TV soap opera which were shot at 30 fps. Most seem to agree that it's actually more of a hindrance than a help with the cinematic experience, with many complaining that it increases the potential for motion sickness that 3D is somewhat notorious for.

As for cost, I'm not sure how much it costs in comparison to regular 24 fps. I'm sure it required all kinds of special equipment custom made for the very important filmmaker which is very expensive, because it has to be.

From what I've been able to gather, I really can't give a definite judgement on the future of 3D. Most films don't really gain anything from it, but the studios get to charge extra, and directors get to feel really important, so I doubt it will go away anytime soon.

Next question...
ILDC aked... 
What do you think would be risker for a major studio: 2 John Carters or 20 Zyzzyx Roads?
2 John Carters.

Even Zyzzyx Road became notorious for its total box office of $30, it only had a production budget of $1.3 million. Which means that 20 of them would only cost about $26 million to make, with a loss of $26 million. Meanwhile 2 John Carters would cost about $500 million to make and lose somewhere around $200 million.
 John Paulson asked... 
Have a friend who worked on "Hot Fuzz" in some back of the way technical part/ behind the scenes aspect. He was talking about the filming and how the whole set was a good and fun time. People laughed and joked together, the big name people and the nobodies, name too. I was wondering does the atmosphere on the set effect the quality of movie? I thought "Hot Fuzz" was a good movie. 
So if the actors and other people have fun making a movie does it reflect the movie quality, production, acting, how it is received and so on. Cause I look back and I see some movies that you know that one must have been hard and difficult to do, because it looks like everyone just filmed it for the money or just to to do it.
The atmosphere of a film's set does effect the finished product, but the twist is that the effect is different on almost every film.

Sometimes you hear about how much fun the people had working on a comedy and/or action movie had so much fun on set, and it really shows, and the audience has fun too. However, there are other times when you hear the exact same thing about another movie but when you see it, it comes across as exciting as watching grass grow. Then you hear about another film where everyone was miserable, and more time was spent fighting than filming, but the finished product is the most entertaining thing you've seen all year.

While I tend to be biased more towards positive on-set energy leading to a positive movie, because I think the odds favour the positive, there really is know way to predict with any accuracy.


Fuloydo asked... 
Book VS Movie. 
I've always liked the book better when the book came first. (Movie adapted from the book) 
I've almost always liked the book better when the movie came first (Novelization of the Movie) but there have been occasions... 
So. Is it just me or is the written word better at getting a story across? 
I'm not giving examples cause I'm not looking for arguments/flame wars. It's just my experience with movies/novels

It's you, and by that I mean that it's probably a completely subjective experience.

I try to not make that kind of judgment unless one version is egregiously worse than the other version because books and movies are extremely different mediums.
 ILDC asked... 
Would you say movies like Hotel Transylvania and Madagascar 3 out-grossing Frankenweenie and Rise of the Guardians reflect what kids want to see, or what their caretakers think they want to see?
I think it reflects what kids want to see. Frankenweenie was hurt by being in black and white, which modern kids don't appear to understand, and Rise of the Guardians was hurt because it looked like a creatively cheap mash up of public domain characters pumped up on Hollywood steroids that gave it a whiff of desperation.
Nate Winchester - "Movie 43" - Do you think it will be ACTUALLY controversial or faux-controversial? (going by your definitions on whether the axis of ego gets offended)
For those who don't know Movie 43 is a film by a dozen filmmakers and an "all star cast" putting together a dozen story lines in the hope that it would make it the most offensive and outrageous comedy ever made.

I saw the trailer, and I didn't see any real controversy, just a lot of dumb low-brow gags.

Kit asked: 
One thing I've noticed about old movies is how the Stars of Old could make even clunky or mediocre movies not just watchable, but classics. 
For example, White Heat. The movie, to me, comes across as clunky and the undercover cop character, a very important character in the story, is about as interesting as a block of wood, but James Cagney's performance as the main character is so amazing that the movie is mesmerizing and considered a classic. 

The last actor I can think of capable of pulling that off would be John Candy.
What do you think?
You're talking about little thing called "Glamour."
Glamour is now associated with fashion, actually has much deeper roots. It actually began as a mangling of the word "grammar" because literacy had an element of magic to the illiterate. It evolved to mean a nearly magical form of charisma that makes a person, and the things they do appealing to an audience.

Now you could assume glamour involves physical beauty, but that's not true. Back in the 1930s one of the biggest box office stars in Hollywood was the Canadian actress Marie Dressler. She was well past middle aged, over-weight, and not a beauty by any stretch of the imagination. However the audience loved her, and her movies were huge money-makers.

She had a charisma that created an emotional connection to the audience, and the audience went to her films in droves.

Now you're wondering what happened to glamour, well, the definition got dumbed down.

As the Golden Age of Hollywood faded into the technicolor doldrums of the 1950s the studios tried to define glamour into a controllable commodity. Looks began to take precedence over charm, and the market was flooded with pretty but bland people, with only a handful making that precious connection with the audience.

In the 1960s-1970s there began a rebellion against the sterility of manufactured glamour and filmmakers began looking for stars with a more "real world" vibe and natural charisma. Ironically, the same qualities the Golden Age studios used to look for.

Nowadays the notion of glamour has devolved once again. Today it seems to be all about dress size over charisma, and I can't wait for a new revival of old school glamour to begin again.


Kit asked... 
You mentioned High Concept movies being successful. 
What about the Christian-based films like Fireproof and Courageous? I have seen neither but from what I hear about the plots they are hardly high-concept and, in fact, have more in common with the old Hollywood melodramas and were highly successful.  
Both grossed about $33,000,000 and cost $500,000 and $2,000,000 respectively.

Those films are both examples of well done niche marketing. They had a specific audience, they made a film within a budget that the said audience can support, and then that film was carefully sold to that audience, with some lovely profits in the end.
Maurice asked...  
Why did HBO cancel "Luck", one of its most-recently-launched prestige series? The official reason was that a couple of horses died. Btu that struck me as absurd, almost ridiculously absurd, as though it were flimsy wallpaper covering up the real reason. HBO wouldn't have pulled the plug on something like that- with major stars like Dustin Hoffman, and a proven (if eccentric and problematic) showrunner like David Milch, after putting in millions. Ratings aren't really the issue at HBO, like they would have been for a broadcast network, plus the show was designed to have a slowly-developing plot. So what's the real story? Was Milch the issue (Deadwood never finished in part because of his notoriously last-minute work habits)? Star tantrums? Turf battle among HBO execs? Inquiring minds want to know.

It was an expensive show to make, Milch does have a prickly reputation, the ratings weren't that great, so it was unlikely to lure in new subscribers, and then the horses started dying.

I'm no insider, so this is all speculation, but I suspect the management at HBO probably decided it all just wasn't worth it, cut their losses, and walked away.
 ILDC asked...Why did so many people believe Disney could buy Hasbro after Lucasfilm?
People love to speculate, especially hoping that one takeover will lead to another.

Well, I hope I was able to answer your questions.

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