Sunday, June 25, 2017

The June, 2017 Follow-Up Post

For the uninitiated, my "follow-up" posts are semi-regular installments where I write about recent developments related to topics I've blogged about in the past, but which I didn't think needed a whole new write-up to themselves. The original posts are linked below for your convenience.

Is January the New March?

This January saw two sizable hits, M. Night Shyamalan's "Split," which already has a sequel in the works, and "xXx: Return of Xander Cage," which made only modest bank in the U.S., but turned out to be a massive hit in China during the holidays. Along with the successes of "A Dog's Purpose" and the latest "Resident Evil," they prove that audiences are willing to come out in January. So I expect we'll keep seeing the smaller genre and franchise films appear in this month, though it's always going to be slower than February or March.

The Remake Rodeo

So how did 2016's remakes do? Disney's "Jungle Book" was a massive success, both commercially and critically while "Pete's Dragon" managed to be a more modest one on both fronts. "Ghostbusters" had a very mixed reception, but it had by far the most cultural impact of any summer film, and will be a talking point for years to come. "Blair Witch" wasn't a breakout hit, but it made money, and won praise from some corners. Ditto "The Magnificent Seven." "Ben-Hur," however, was a complete bust by every measure. All in all, not a bad year for remakes at all.

The New Disney Fairy Tale Franchise

Well, it turns out that "Fairy Tale" may just be Disney's catch-all term for any live action film that they have in production. And their staking out of so many prime release dates so far in advance is just so they have the dates if they want them, not because they have any specific films in mind for them yet. The "Untitled Live Action Fairy Tale" movie originally dated for December, 2017 and moved up to July, turned out to be the family comedy "Magic Camp," not something based off of one of their older properties. So there goes all that speculation down the drain.

Falling Through the Digital Distribution Cracks

With Amazon having become the first streaming service to win a Best Picture nomination with "Manchester by the Sea," and acquiring Sundance films left and right this year, digital distribution is definitely here to stay. However, the biggest bellwether of the changing times may be Netflix's recent deal with Martin Scorsese for "The Irishman," which will feature Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. And after what happened to Scorsese's "Silence," can you blame the man? I still suspect a few of the smaller titles are going to get lost in the shuffle, but it won't be long before the reviewers acclimate to the new status quo.

Keep the VFX Artists Happy

Matters seem to have gone from bad to worse. "Hollywood's Greatest Trick" is a documentary short on the subject that was released free on Youtube a few months ago to help shed some light on the increasingly complicated ways that Hollywood is keeping their VFX costs low. There's also this excellent Freakonomics podcast episode, "No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry"

Where Did All the Stephen King Adaptations Go?

2017 is looking like the apex of a Stephen King resurgence. In addition to "The Dark Tower" and "It" theatrical features, the Spike is readying a TV series based on "The Mist," and Hulu has announced "Castle Rock," which many are speculating will use Stephen King's work as a jumping off point for new horror stories much in the same way that FX's "Fargo" does with the Coen brothers films. Netflix also has two Stephen King movie projects expected to premiere in the near future, "1922" and "Gerald's Game." This isn't even counting "Stranger Things," due back in October, which definitely seems to have helped popularize the return of nostalgic '80s horror.

The EEOC Comes to Hollywood

And in case you missed it, the EEOC investigation was completed in February, and they did conclude that there was systemic bias against female directors at all the major studios. They're currently still in the settlement phase, determining whether or not to file a lawsuit.

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