Hollywood Playbook: Today's Top 5 News Items
1. Jack Ryan Flops
A disastrous opening for "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" could mean that the franchise will lay dormant for another dozen years, or more. "The Sum of All Fears" (2002) was itself an attempted reboot of the franchise after the inexplicable exit of Harrison Ford. The Ben Affleck starrer is widely considered to be a commercial and critical disappointment, which it was, but it made more money than this latest reboot will.
A dozen years ago, "Sum" opened to $31 million and went on to gross $119 million. "Shadow Recruit" opened to a measly $17 million and a crippling "B" score from moviegoers.
So what went wrong….
As I see it, the primary problem is that Paramount tried to sell something that was neither fish nor fowl. A Jack Ryan movie is supposed to be an action movie for adults -- a smart, deliberately paced thinking man's thriller. "Shadow Recruit" stars a kid (Chris Pine) and was sold as just another fast-paced, choppily-edited, action flick.
No one really knew what kind of movie they were getting.
And his probably didn't help…
2. Jack Ryan: Another Hollywood Thriller About Christian Terrorists
Then, as the movie develops you discover the enemies who are set on blowing up New York City are Christians from Russia who get their orders from the local Orthodox priest in Deerborn, Michigan. Got that?
Anyway – Jack Ryan is able to stop the young church-going Christian before he was able to blow up Wall Street. Jack Ryan saves the day. Thank you, Jack Ryan. The US is once again safe from the dreaded Christian terrorists. You really must see this to believe it. You just can’t make this stuff up. We are living in a very non-serious time with very serious enemies. Someone needs to tell Hollywood that the Christians aren’t the ones plotting and scheming to blow up Wall Street.
This is a big mistake on the filmmaker's part for two reasons. First off, why alienate a vast majority of moviegoers. Secondly, it is lousy storytelling. You want people to be able to relate to your story and feel something real. The idea of Christians as international terrorists is laughable -- as pure a fantasy as making a pack of midgets terrorists.
3. Adultery Keeps Martin Luther King Off the Big Screen
The dilemma: Directors Oliver Stone and Paul Greengrass cannot get their respective Martin Luther King biopics approved by DreamWorks and Warner Bros. It is widely believed King regularly cheated on his wife. Both directors think it is important to include the adultery in their films. King's estate (which holds the rights necessary to make the film) does not and therefore the studios do not.
Personally, I am tired of biopics that rely so heavily on adultery and drug and/or alcohol abuse as a way to create conflict, a three-act structure, and the character's personal arc. It is becoming a crutch in this genre, and a predictable one.
For example, "Walk the Line" and "Ray" were fine movies but would have been better had they delved into the artistry instead of the sin. Both of those biopics could have been about anyone, or even a fictional character, and been just as compelling.
Whatever King's personal failings might have been, they do not define who he is as a man and are greatly overshadowed by his achievements. There was enough conflict in King's life to make for a compelling story without the added crutch of his womanizing.
4. Oprah Winfrey Joins Brad Pitt as Producer of MLK Drama ‘Selma’
"Selma" isn't a biopic. The story will focus only on the three 1965 marches in Selma, Alabama, that successfully pushed for the Voting Rights Act:
Oprah Winfrey will produce “Selma,” an upcoming biopic of Martin Luther King Jr. focused on the voting-rights marches he led in Alabama.
Brad Pitt is also producing under his Plan B banner with colleagues Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, as well as Pathe’s Cameron McKracken and “Slumdog Millionaire” producer Christian Coulson.
5. Madonna Calls Her White Son "N**ger"
Madonna's kids are doomed….
Madonna has never been the one to shy away from expressing herself. But the outspoken singer may have stuck her foot in her mouth when she called her son Rocco Ritchie the N-word on Instagram.
"No one messes with Dirty Soap!" she captioned a photo of her 13-year-old son during a boxing workout Friday. "Mama said knock you out! #disn---a"
Now the 55-year-old "Justify My Love" singer is apologizing for her choice of words.
Shia LaBeouf Re-Emerges Into Public Life With Bar Fight, Drunken Ramble About Being ‘Normal…
J.J. Abrams Says ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ Script Done…
Treasure Trove of Drugs Found In Bieber Mansion…
One Direction singer Liam Payne faces backlash for supporting ‘Duck Dynasty’…
Don't Miss "Elmer Gantry" on TCM Tuesday at 10 p.m.
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