This follow-up post is coming sooner than I had anticipated, but there has been a lot going on. For first timers, these are posts where I write up brief additional comments updating pieces that have been previously posted, specifically where I don't feel I have enough to say about the matter to justify writing an entire new post about them. In this installment, we're focusing on the business side of show business. And here we go:
It's Going to be Quite a Summer - I never did get around to writing up a post-mortem of 2014's summer blockbuster season, did I? It was a really fun one too, with a lot of surprises. The "Spider-Man" and "Transformers" franchises had their big weekends, but were disappointments overall, smaller comedies like "Neighbors" and "22 Jump Street" exceeded expectations, "Lucy" beat up "Hercules," "The Fault in Our Stars" snuck off with a big total, "Maleficent" put Angelina Jolie back on top, and "Guardians of the Galaxy" blew up August, proving that Marvel movies will make bank no matter where you put them. My favorites were "X-men: Days of Future Past" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" two remarkably strong genre films from two of the most interesting ongoing franchises. And sadly, "Edge of Tomorrow" was the least deserving flop of Tom Cruise's career.
Now 2016 is Getting Crowded - Now roughly a year later, the schedule of releases 2016 is coming into much sharper focus, and it's gotten much more interesting. Nearly all of the potential showdowns I was looking at have been defused. Warners has backed off from the confrontation with "Captain America: Civil War," and will be releasing "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in March. "How to Train Your Dragon 3" has been delayed, leaving "Finding Dory" with no competitor, and the "Amazing Spider-man" sequels have been cancelled. "Alice" and "X-men" are still on for a head-to-head though, and there are some more interesting titles that have been scheduled. March in particular is currently stuffed with Tim Burton's next movie, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," Disney's next animated film, "Zootopia," the "Warcraft" movie, a "Divergent" movie, "Batman v. Superman," "Kung Fu Panda 3," and the long awaited "Beverly Hills Cop 4."
The Late Night Landscape - This isn't so much a follow-up to my previous post as it is a prequel to the post I'm going to write eventually about the departure of Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show," which was recently announced. This is the big one, as far as I'm concerned, because Stewart has been the only late night host I've been inclined to keep watching regularly throughout my adult life, and I have no idea what "The Daily Show" is going to look like without him. People have already been circulating the names of potential replacements, but I don't even want to think about that yet. It's going to take me a while to come to terms with Stewart's departure, and right now all I want is for him to get a sendoff worthy of his accomplishments, and all the best of luck in whatever he decides to do next.
A "Fifty Shades" Rant - Okay, clearly I was completely wrong about the financial prospects of a "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie. Despite lousy reviews and lots of hand-wringing about harmful depictions of kinky business, the movie raked in plenty of dough over Valentine's Day weekend, enough to ensure that we're going to see sequels and rip-offs for a long time to come. There is an upside to this, though, just as there was with the "Twilight" films. The success of "Fifty Shades" means the studios will try to keep catering to this audience and won't be so squeamish about this kind of subject matter in the future. I'm hoping, in the short term, that it might help fuel some interest in Peter Strickland's latest film, "The Duke of Burgundy," which shares similar themes but has a far higher artistic bona fides.
The Sony Hack Scrum - The axe had to fall on somebody in the wake of the Sony hacking scandal, and that person, sadly, was co-chair Amy Pascal. I witnessed several happy reactions from fanboys who were critical of how Pascal had handled the "Spider-man" franchise. And then came the bombshell: Pascal's successor will be Tom Rothman. Penny-pinching, superhero-disparaging Rothman has long been a nemesis of superhero-loving movie nerds everywhere, after the time he spent at FOX blocking the "Deadpool" movie and mucking up the "X-men" and "Fantastic Four" franchises. The new Marvel deal allowing their use of Spidey in upcoming MCU films looked like it would give the faltering film series a boost, but now I'm a lot less sure.