New And News: Studios Suddenly Seek Sandy Settings For Sexy Sequels And Special Effects

on Monday, May 24, 2010  

So, you know how I love to make up super punny titles that use the names of the movies I'm writing about for my articles on TBOJ?  Today, as I was trying to think of a title for New And News, I thought it would be fun to mash up the titles of the week's new movies, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time and Sex And The City 2.  The resulting title was Sex And The City: The Sands Of Time, and given the age of the SATC women, that just seemed inappropriate.  I came up with another title, got to writing the post, and voila! We have another good old edition of New And News, in which I preview the above movies, and then show you some of the past week's most interesting news stories. This week, we've got information on Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, a new Cinderella, Pixar shorts, rising ticket prices, and on-demand movie viewing.  Enjoy!

New:

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (Disney) - 3,500 theaters - Reviews
Set in the mystical lands of Persia, a rogue prince reluctantly joins forces with a mysterious princess and together, they race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time - a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world.
Sometimes, I see trailers for an action movie that looks pretty bad, and it makes me angry.  Other times, I see them, and I can't wait to go watch them in theaters! In Prince Of Persia's case, I'm feeling the latter.  Maybe it's the surprisingly good reviews, or the fact that Jerry Bruckheimer productions are always fun to watch (Deja Vu? Awesome), but I'm actually quite excited for this film.  Disney has been pushing this $150 million film hard, clearly hoping to launch a new Pirates-style franchise out of it, but it has a lot working against it.  First off, people did not respond well to Jake Gyllenhaal's casting as the titular Persian.  Second, this is a video-game adaptation with a silly storyline, and these video-game movies have historically been disappointments both critically and financially.  Third, this movie is set in the sandy Middle East, a setting which is never as appealing to audiences as cityscapes or lush greenery. Fourth and finally, people just don't think that Prince Of Persia looks all that good, and that's the biggest negative it has on its plate.  Prince Of Persia will have to perform spectacularly to earn back its massive production and advertising budgets, and if there's one thing that will help it on the way to profitability, it's the sense of fun that surrounds it!  Far too often, studios forget that going to the movies is about having escapist fun, despite the fact that audiences demonstrate time and time again that they are usually looking for nothing more than some laughs, some excitement, and a happy ending when they go to the theater.  If Prince Of Persia can open well (I'm seeing something around $60 million) and garner positive word of mouth, it has a solid shot at $200 million and a potential franchise.  It's an uphill (updune?) battle, though.

Sex And The City 2 (Warner Bros) - 3,400 theaters - Reviews
The fun, the fashion, the friendship: "Sex and the City 2" brings it all back and more as Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda take another bite out of The Big Apple--and beyond--carrying on with their busy lives and loves. What happens after you say "I do"? Life is everything the ladies ever wished it to be, but it wouldn't be "Sex and the City" if life didn't hold a few more surprises--this time in the form of a glamorous, sun-drenched adventure that whisks the women away from New York to one of the most luxurious, exotic and vivid places on earth, where the party never ends and there's something mysterious around every corner. It's an escape that comes exactly at the right moment for the four friends, who are finding themselves in--and fighting against--the traditional roles of marriage, motherhood and more. After all, sometimes you just have to get away with the girls.
Back in 2008, Sex And The City, an adaptation of the popular HBO TV show, stunned analysts when it opened to a massive $57 million on its way to $152 million.  Sex And The City managed to capture the pop culture zeitgeist, and its performance effectively demonstrated the buying power of women at the box office.  Warner Brothers and HBO didn't waste any time getting a sequel into production.  Once again, I think the Moroccan setting isn't going to help the film's box office, especially because New York City is such a prevalent part of the series, but this film is almost a guaranteed success.  The production budget is reported at $65 million, and advertising has been extremely strong, partly because of the studio, but mostly because of female-driven entertainment media, which simply wants to write about Sex And The City 2.  The lewd comedy has packaged itself as an event for all females, which will contribute to a big opening weekend and a frontloaded run.  Right now, I'm seeing a $75 million opening (4-day opening, that is, due to a strange Thursday release) on the way to a $150 million finish. 

News:

Disney To Shoot Pirates 4 In 3D
According to Deadline, Disney has decided to shoot Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in 3D, but maintain its May 20, 2011 release date. This decision elicits a few emotions from me.  First and foremost, anger. I hate 3D, and no one will ever convince me of its value. Second, confusion. How can they shoot a giant movie like this in 3D, edit it, put in all the special effects, and release it in less than one year?

Pixar's Day And Night Teaser
Slashfilm got their hands on an exclusive clip from Pixar's new short Day And Night. The short features 2D characters who's insides are 3D. It sounds confusing, and it kinda is, but it's really cool! I hope this runs before Toy Story 3!

Live Action Cinderella Coming To Theaters?
Hot on the heels of Alice In Wonderland's success, Disney ordered a live-action adaptation of Maleficent.  Now, it looks like they're hoping to continue the live action trend with an adaptation of Cinderella.  I'm not so sure about this.  Cinderella is the classic of all classics when it comes to Disney. Their logo is Cinderella's castle, for Pete's sake! If I were in charge, I wouldn't remake something so iconic and brand-defining.

Studios Try To Screw Theaters Over
Ugh.

Theaters Trying To Screw Consumers Over
UGH!

10 comments:

Rohan B said...

Both movies look terrible. looks like I'll be sitting at home this weekend, still unsure about what I thought about the Lost finale.

Kevin said...

Yeah, there's something niggling me about the production schedule for Pirates 4 that I can't put my finger on, I'm glad you mention it.

It has a little over a year to go, will be shot in 3D but - to my knowledge - has not begun filming yet and will seem primed to have huge numbers of effects sequences in the mix.

Now with barely a year to go?

The last time a major film was looking to be put together on such a close schedule was Raimi's Spider-Man 4 - and it ended up turning into something very different.

I'm not suggesting there's something weird about Pirates 4 going on - but I have a funny feeling about it nonetheless.

I'll be seeing SATC2 this weekend but I still haven't decided whether to part with the money to see Persia. It's just not clicking into place for me yet!

Grady Smith said...

Rohan, I absolutely LOVED the Lost finale. I spent like two hours thinking about it before I could fall asleep last night.

Kevin, I had no idea you were a SATC fan. Somehow, I just didn't expect that!

Jose Salvador said...

Day and Night is being shown in front of Toy Story 3.

Interesting bit of news fere, Cartoon Network is planning on rebooting Looney Tunes by releasing a new show in the fall. WB is also planning on showing short 3D films of the Looney Tunes in front of their upcoming films (The first one will be a Wile E. Coyote feature in front of Cats & Dogs 2).

And what did you think about the Lost finale Grady? I though it was awesome and did not go to bed dissapointed at all, you?

Rohan B said...

Re: Lost

I thought they did a fantastic job with the conclusion of the show regarding characters. And I mean, the bulk of the season was devoted to learning who these people were and falling in love with them.

However, I was kind of let down by all of the unanswered questions about the Island. Like I said, they show was about the CHARACTERS not the Island. But I began to get really enthralled by all the mysteries and philosophies introduced in season 6.

So I guess I'll put it like this: fantastic SERIES finale, weak SEASON finale. If that makes any sense at all.

And sorry guys for discussing Lost on a boxoffice website. But I can't help it, I know Grady is a fan and wanted to get his insight.

Krystal said...

Day & Night short is really cute. But maybe you should rephrase "features 2D characters who's insides are 3D." Initially I read that to mean their intestines, hearts, etc. are 3D which made no sense whatsoever! Then I watched the video & then it made sense. Creative idea.

Maybe the Studios are worried that they'll be the next MGM. I think the higher ticket prices won't be good in the long run. It'll discourage lots of the public to stop seeing movies, especially with the lousy economy.

Prince of Persia should do better than SATC2. Their trailers looked a lot better.

Kevin said...

@ Grady - re SATC, I preferred the series to be honest but I'm a completist so since I've seen everything else then may as well catch the flick!

Brandon said...

You wrote, "Their logo is Cinderella's castle, for Pete's sake! If I were in charge, I wouldn't remake something so iconic and brand-defining."

Wow. How incredibly insightful, and what a crazy, crazy, crazy risk!!!

i'm so incredibly pissed that theaters want to charge consumers $20 for a ticket. a mom and her 3 kids will go see that movie this weekend and spend nearly $100 once snacks are paid for... and what if they eat out for dinner? that's ridiculous. it's a 2 hour movie. not a theme park!

Kevin said...

Well, this is where the role of the consumer enters the fray.

If people go less, or demonstrate unwillingness to pay those prices then something will have to give.

Either the ticket prices, or perhaps the exorbitant costs of making tentpole movies in the first place. As more and more films now hit or surpass the $200 million budget (not including other costs of course) mark the studios have to aim to get that back somehow.

If, however, consumers demonstrate a willingness to pay such prices (and early indications remain that more are than are not) then the issue won't go away soon.

Reed Arnold said...

Prince of Persia. See it.

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