Hollywood Playbook: Friday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Friday's Top 5 News Items

Superhero News: DC Release Schedule, ‘Amazing Spider-Man 3’ Delayed to 2017

According to Nikki Finke’s first scoop in her reboot, below is the DC film release schedule through 2018. The company is about 7 years behind Marvel but there’s no question they are also serious as hell about catching up.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Two new Superman films before 2019:


July 2016 – SHAZAM

Xmas 2016 – SANDMAN


July 2017 – WONDER WOMAN



In other superhero  news: AICN reports that Sony is bumping “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” from 2016 to 2017.

If this is true, don’t buy the hype you’re reading at places like Yahoo News about the box office for “Amazing Spider-Man 2” not being a factor.

When you consider the production and promotion costs, the Sony sequel probably hasn’t yet broke even, despite a $700 million worldwide haul.

“Amazing 2” is under-performing in a big way. This is obvious when you wake up to the fact that, like most sequels, it was expected to soar over the first. Even without accounting for inflation, “Amazing 2” is lagging behind the Raimi trilogy, which didn’t enjoy the boost that comes from 3D and Imax ticketing. And movies have gotten a lot more expensive to produce and promote since the Raimi days.

These lackluster results likely have Sony rattled, especially when the already-announced threequel is almost certain to cost as much, if not more than its predecessor A run-of-the-mill third chapter just isn’t going to do it. The studio needs to take a breath, recalibrate, and try to come up with a plan to overcome two films that have almost no one excited for a third.

 ‘Jump Street,’ ‘Dragon’ Sequels Open Big

Thursday night numbers are fairly reliable indicators of how badly moviegoers want to see whatever is new, and things are looking good for “22 Jump Street.”

22 Jump Street

The sequel to the popular 2012 reboot of the ’80s television show took in $5.5 million Thursday night, which is more than twice the amount “Neighbors” grossed on its Thursday debut back in May. “Neighbors” went on to a $48 million opening weekend and a domestic gross of almost $140 million.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2” earned just $2 million last night, but it is a kids film. As Deadline points out, that audience doesn’t swarm until Saturday and Sunday.

Both films are expected to clear $50 million or better by Monday morning.


How Could Walter White or Jesse Pinkman Show Up In the ‘Breaking Bad’ Prequel?

“Better Call Saul” is a prequel to “Breaking Bad.”

Saul is the sleazy, easy-to-control, but surprisingly resourceful attorney Walter White hired as his errand boy and fixer. At the time, the show made it quite clear that the two had never met before then. It was just as clear that Jesse didn’t know Saul. Regardless, both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have said that they would like to be part of “Better Call Saul” — if only for a guest shot.

Maybe you could bring Walter and Jesse back in a subplot where no one meets but the stories still connect in some way. Based on their talents, you have to assume the writers could pull that off without resorting to gimmickry.

Personally, I wish “Better Call Saul” was a sequel not a prequel. I would love to know where Saul ended up and to watch him rebuild after being burned as collateral damage in Walter White’s wake. I wouldn’t even mind if Saul and Jesse ended up crossing paths. The last time we saw Jesse he was burning rubber with nowhere to go. You could also bring Walter back through flashbacks.

Looks Like Netflix Won a Big Victory for Net Neutrality

Some background…

Even though Comcast’s Internet customers paid for service fast enough to stream Netflix, Comcast still put Netflix in what’s called a “slow lane” which made it frustratingly difficult for some of Comcast’s customers to stream the Netflix they paid for using the Internet they paid for.

To get “fast-laned” Netflix paid Comcast what I would describe as an extortion demand.  

Whether it’s Netflix or Comcast, customers should get the service they paid for.

If Comcast is losing money due to the amount of Netflix Streaming its customers are using, the company should increase the price of their Internet service to those customers, not blackmail Netflix.

Last week, Netflix pushed back hard after Verizon apparently attempted to pull the same crap. Rather than bend over again, Netflix instead posted an error message for customers that placed the blame where it belonged. “The Verizon network is crowded right now,” the message read.

At that point, you can bet people got on the phone with Verizon none too happy about not getting the service they pay a pretty penny for. Veizon squealed. An uneasy truce was worked out.

Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced he will look into this:

“We don’t know the answers and we are not suggesting that any company is at fault,” Wheeler wrote in a memo. “Consumers pay their ISP and they pay content providers like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon. Then when they don’t get good service they wonder what is going on. I have experienced these problems myself and know how exasperating it can be. Consumers must get what they pay for.”

Better late than never. And good on Netflix. They are the little guy disruptors being bullied and blackmailed by multinationals for the unpardonable sin of offering a better product at a cheaper price.

Oh, and did I mention that on top of providing Internet, Comcast and Verizon are also in the cable television business — the business most threatened by streaming services like Netflix?

This Weekend Is All About FX’s ‘Fargo’

The wife and I are finally paring down our once-bloated DVR to a manageable level and hoping to get through the FX Channel’s 10-episode reimagining of the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” in time to catch up with the rest of America when it concludes next week.

We’re only through one episode but already addicted.

Billy Bob Thornton is spectacular as the unflappable sociopath who sets off an epic chain of human tragedy after he inadvertently ends up spending a few days in the small, wintry Minnesota town of Bemidji. As the meek but simmering insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, Martin Freeman is just as good and completely believable as an American Midwesterner. You instantly forget his iconic British roles in “The Office” and “Sherlock Holmes.”

The writing, direction, tone, and performances perfectly capture the 1996 original. At the same time, there’s no question it’s something all its own.

Everything, as always, depends on the weather. If it’s nice, there’s still a house to finish painting and remaining brush to clear on those lots I bought last week.  This is my third summer in a row of summer-long projects. With some luck, next summer will be all about maintaining the yard and sitting under a tree with a good book and a tall drink.

Have a good weekend, everyone…

Quick Hits:

Kickstarter Campaign: ‘Channel Zero – A Post-Apocalyptic TV Station

Amazon Allows You to Legally Steal ‘Alien Anthology’ and ‘Prometheus’ Bundle

Ten Directors Who Were Replaced On Major Films

Harrison Ford Injured on the ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Set

Eastwood’s Up for Starring In a Tarantino Movie

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