If anyone is still reading this, I strongly suggest that you read a lengthy Vanity Fair piece on the production chaos that plagued World War Z.
I personally found it amusing, the job role of the person who came in to "save the day" at the end. I won't say because I don't want to spoil.
That mess reminded me of similar problems suffered by the production of Gladiator, and what it took to get that film back on track. It's the characters and story. It always is.
In World War Z, Brad Pitt's first attempt to build himself an action franchise, he would try to save the world from zombie domination. But amid delays, on-set drama, and rumors that the budget had ballooned above $200 million and that Pitt had clashed with director Marc Forster, Hollywood began to wonder if Paramount's thriller was dead on arrival. As the blockbuster finally hits theaters, Laura M. Holson reports on the behind-the-scenes battles, the re-writes and reshoots, and the stakes involved
If I were pretending to be him, I might write this line of dialogue:
"Good things happen to good people. It's not true, you know. But it ought to be."
A few weeks from now, it's going to come true for someone who has more than earned it.
If you mention a certain name to most people, you'll probably draw an uncomfortable but brief blank stare, like they are waiting for the punchline of a joke, followed by a glance at the ground and if you look closely, even a squint or two, as they desperately search their memory for clues. Is this someone who was awesome back in the day, but I missed it because I always miss this crap? Is it someone brand new from a generation removed of pop culture that I'm missing because I always miss this crap?
But if you know that name, then you're already hastily throwing together a shrine made from whatever you can grab that's nearby. Pebbles on the side of the road. A doodle on a napkin. An impressive and distinguished mountain of empty pop cans.
Hallowed quotes thatyou can't get from anyone else in the world will inevitably follow:
"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back. Wife or no, you are no one's property to be tossed aside. You got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people."
Steve Zeitchick has a short piece in an LA Times blog, wondering "what will the [Hunger Games] franchise look like without [Director Gary Ross], and what will his career look like without it?".
I'd take issue with this point:
Recent Hollywood history suggests that, "Harry Potter" notwithstanding, sequels work best when the same director stays with them. "Jurassic Park" took a pretty big dive when Joe Johnston stepped in for Steven Spielberg. In contrast, a franchise conceived and helmed by one person over the course of its life tends to turn out pretty well (see under: Peter Jackson and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy).
This is an old and cheap trick, dismissing a very important exception to the proposed new rule precisely because it disproves the thesis of the author. Especially cheap when you don't give a valid reason for doing it, and Zeitchick didn't. It allows you to spend five minutes on a blog post instead of spending an hour or two doing research to find out why the Potter franchise is a standout exception.
First, this past weekend's box office numbers:
1. The Hunger Games: $21.5 million ($337m total)
2. *The Three Stooges: $17.1m
3. *The Cabin in the Woods: $14.8m
4. Titanic 3D (2012): $11.6m ($44m)
5. American Reunion: $10.7m ($39.9)
9. *Lockout: $6.2m
14. Woman Thou Art Loosed!: $650,000 (limited release)*+
15. Bully: $534,000 (limited release)*+
These are domestic numbers only. The Hunger Games has earned $531 million worldwide between March 23 and April 15th. Here's how the first installment matches up against other freshman franchise films (title, domestic sales, worldwide gross, budget not including marketing):
I just got a press release from FOX that can be summed up thusly:
After much deliberation, the producers of House M.D. have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last. By April this year they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004.
I'm not sure if House would have hung on much longer with its steady decline in ratings, given how much it costs to produce a show -- any show -- in its eighth season. Ratings this year have ranged from 9.78 million for the season premier back in October to a low of 6.63 million in mid-November, but recovering into the 7's and 8's over the past three episodes. Still, that's pretty far away from its highs last year (12.33 for "Family Practice"), for 2009 (17.25 for second season episode "Broken Part 2"), and the all-time high of 29.04 million that watched season four episode "Frozen" with guest star Mira Sorvino.
The current ratings are pretty close what the first half of the first season, so House has really come full circle in that respect.
Eight seasons is a long time for any show and it appears that the producers and star decided enough was enough, not the network.
Too bad. There's nothing else like House on television and maybe there never will be again.
I've included the entire press release after the jump.
When I first heard of an American version of the BBC's Being Human, my heart sank. My initial thought was "Did we learn nothing from the epic fail that was MTV's Skins?" Mitchell, George, and Annie were some of the most interesting and original characters I have had the pleasure of meeting in a long time - why would want to change them?
My fear was that the conservativeness of American television would destroy any chance the series had of being interesting. Then I sucked it up and sat down to watched it.