AvP 2 Creature Effects Are Lame

by Paul William Tenny

I found this goofy looking picture on the right on aintitcool.com, who found it in USA Today. Does goofy appropriately describe these creature effects, or should we go down a notch or two and just call this shit laughable and pathetic, and perhaps only worth the value of the latex and paint it's made from?

Seriously, did somebody just cut a couple of pieces off the predator costume and glue them onto the alien one, after cutting some pieces off it as well?

When I saw AvP - which was a terrible film by the way - it was exceedingly clear that whoever wrote and directed that movie had either never seen, and certainly wasn't a very big fan of either Alien or Predator to begin with and did not understand what makes things scary on the screen. It was anything but scary, anything but suspenseful, anything but an actual story, and  didn't really make you look forward to a sequel which we were going to have forced on us whether we wanted it or not - whether the first one was a hit or not.

Just look at this picture for crying out loud, does it look scary to you, even if you ignore the dreadlocks? No. Why? How about because it's broad-freaking-daylight, and nothing is ever scary in broad-freaking-daylight? At this point I'd be more willing to pay for Scary Movie 15 than I would another AvP film.

Why can't somebody with some real talent take a hack at the Alien or Predator series like Chris Nolan and Goyer did with Batman Begins? You can come back from the gloom and bargain bin after handing your most lucrative franchise to amateurs, but only if you show some balls first. With AvP 2 and much like any piece of electronics, "balls are not included."
in Film


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So you're saying that we would've gotten an AvP sequel if the first film HADN'T been a hit? That's ridiculous. The sequel was only greenlit after the tremendous box office take of the first film. Sequels don't get made to films that don't perform.
"Studios greenlight sequels for failed films all of the time because they still think that's safer than taking a risk on something completely new."

No, they really don't. As someone who actually makes a living writing for these studios, I can tell you beyond a doubt that studios only greenlight sequels to profitable films -- AvP had a 38 million dollar opening weekend, earning back more than half its production budget in its first three days, marking it an immediate hit in the studio's eyes. When all was said and done, it earned well over twice its production budget alone theatrically and then became one of Fox's top-selling DVDs of the decade, going into multiple prints and making ANOTHER hundred mil on that format. It's a massive success, no hyperbole needed. It's one of the most profitable franchises Fox currently owns, and there's no doubt that the sequel will show similar numbers.

Take a look at 99.9999% of sequels released in the past ten years, and it adds up -- successful films (and again, success is now PRIMARILY tied into DVD sales) get sequels. Unsuccessful films don't. Please name me five films that flopped at the box office and dried up on DVD in the last five years and then immediately had sequels greenlit.

I'll save you the time and effort -- it can't be done.

Also, the critical quotes you posted have no relevance to the matter. AvP was NOT screened for critics in advance -- the studio knew it had a cash cow on its hands, knew that it was entirely critic-proof, and the critical drubbing it received after the fact didn't make one little bit of difference.

This has nothing to do with "not wanting to take a risk on something completely new." It's purely a dollars and cents issue.

No offense, but it seems to me that you're making a lot of baseless outsider assumptions for someone who not only doesn't work in the business, but doesn't even live out here.
You do realize that the majority of the theater's percentage goes right back into paying the distributor for the leasing of the film and the various prints that go out to various theatrical outlets, right?

While this can work in a variety of ways (bidding, percentages, etc) it still means that the distributor (in this case, the studio itself -- Fox acts as its own distributor) gets the majority of money made at the box office. The movie itself is considered a loss leader by the theater owner. Its purpose is get people into the theater, which makes its money selling refreshments to the movie audience. That's why concession prices are so high -- without the profits generated by things like popcorn and soda, most theaters could not afford to stay in business. Of that 44% you mentioned, a good chunk of it goes right back to the studio.

As for DVD, the sales and rentals are published in a variety of trade mags and on a number of web sites. AvP made close to 50 million in DVD sales on its first week of release (I was monitoring the-numbers.com at the time) It's no secret that films in the current market act as trailers for the eventual DVDs, which regularly produce hundreds of millions in revenue. Doubt it all you want, but the figures back it up. AvP was one of Fox's bestsellers and topped the lists for months -- then the director's cut was released and it too topped the list. So yeah, a hundred mil.

Again, let me stress that the critical reviews have absolutely no bearing on this subject. Fox could care less what the critics had to say about AvP, which is why they didn't bother to screen it for critics. Plenty of films receive critical slams and go on to perform like gangbusters. Judging from exit polls, box office and extremely high DVD sales, the sequel (which I'm hearing cost less than the original) is a sure bet.

Although if the first film had utterly tanked at the box office (the original point here) you wouldn't be seeing a sequel.

Because the studios don't make sequels to flops -- they greenlight sequels to successful films. This has nothing to do with not wanting to take a risk (and let's remember that tons of original films get made every single year) -- it has to do with trying to follow a successful formula. Again, please name me a film that flopped that immediately had a sequel greenlit.

And I didn't attack you -- I just noticed after reading a few of your blog posts that you tend to post in the same generalities and half-logic (and in the case of your post on writing partners and the general process of writing for studios and networks, absolute nonsense) applied by people whose only knowledge of the industry comes from reading websites. Which is fine, but is also pretty incomplete. And fairly typical of the internet.

That's also why I'm not responding to your posts on the strike -- as a non-union member who aspires to be a working writer, you've painted it almost entirely in black and white, which is most certainly not the case. The AMPTP folks are not the mustache-twirling villains you seem to think they are, and the WGA negotiating committee sure as hell aren't saints -- indeed, they've fucked up plenty in these negotiations.

Anyway, take care.

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