Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 News Items

Marvel’s Auteur Approach

About halfway through “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” I was startled by what I was watching. The whole movie was so wonderfully different from the over-CGI’d, heavy-on-mythology, humdrum Marvel films that had come before (including the first “Captain America”) — so different, it felt like a renegade, like it wasn’t part of the franchise.

From the looks of it, this isn’t a fluke. “Guardians of the Galaxy” hits theatres this August, is part of the Marvel Universe, and looks even further outside the Marvel brand than the stripped-down “Winter Soldier”:

“Guardians” writer/director is James Gunn, and he definitely brings along  his own style and sensibility.

Next summer we get Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” which stars Paul Rudd and is directed by Edgar Wright of “Shaun of the Dead” fame.

Wright co-wrote the screenplay and is another director with his own distinctive voice and style.

Before the steam ran out (and it was going to), the Marvel suits have wisely tuned their films over to distinctive, off-beat directors.


Markos Calls Me Nick, Thinks the Left Won the Culture War Cuz Sex, Obviously Hasn’t Seen ‘Captain America 2’

Markos of Daily Kos thinks the Left has won the culture war.

 They haven’t.

Not by a long shot.

But he’s also wrong about my first name and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”:

Liberal social values are deeply embedded in our culture, from pretty much everything on TV outside the Christian channels at the fringe of the channel lineup, to any movie of note. In that Breitbart link above, Nick Nolte waxes about God’s Not Dead, an indie Christian film that has grossed $41 million on a production budget of $2 million. Good job! Then again, it’s a blip. Captain America has grossed nearly half a billion in 10 days, with its overtly civil-libertarian and anti-neocon message. I mean, Captain America is saying that a fear-based (read: Republican) foreign policy is not the “American Way.”

Unless, Markos wants to convince himself that Obama is some kind of neocon, he should probably watch the movie again.  

I mention this in a longer piece, but Markos celebrating this as the left’s big culture war win says so much:

For a crowd that flinches at any notion of sex, it’s gotta be impossible to escape sexual imagery, from advertising to media to Miley Cyrus’ latest whatever-the-hell she is doing.

Women exploiting themselves is commonplace now. Well done, libs.


Former “Tonight Show” Head Writer: Colbert Is a Lousy Business Model

Raymond Siller is a former head writer for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and has even written for Breitbart News on occasion. Today he has an editorial in The Wall Street Journal that looks at the state of Late Night in general and Stephen Colbert in particular:

Still, the choice of Mr. Colbert is a strange business model for CBS. Gallup calibrates 38% of Americans as conservatives, 34% as moderates, and 23% as liberals. Friends who know Mr. Colbert, even some conservatives, tell me he’s a good human being. But if he doesn’t widen his appeal beyond those who lean strongly left, CBS will be writing off a large part of its potential audience. Carson hit the advertisers’ sweet spot with a broad appeal to all consumers. It’s a misnomer that comedians are rebels. At least not the successful ones who reflect the views of their fans.

Politically, Mr. Letterman took a left turn in recent years. It enraged many on the right when he mocked Sarah Palin’s daughter and even today continues to bash Mr. Bush. And it didn’t help his ratings. Now, by picking Mr. Colbert, CBS seems to be signaling that its target demo is Democrats of a decidedly liberal stripe.

CBS President Les Moonves is also making no secret of the fact that Colbert was a political hire:

“He’ll be the guy who does social commentary,” CBS’s CEO, Leslie Moonves, said of Mr. Colbert. “This is going to feel very different from the Jimmys [NBC’s Fallon and ABC’s Kimmel].” The viewer of Mr. Colbert’s “Late Night” can expect a large dose of political satire.

The left will always place holding on to the culture ahead of ratings and profits.

Just look at the news media.


After 5 Long Years, Time for Another ‘Friday the 13th’ Reboot

It was all the way back in 2009 when the last “Friday the 13th” reboot happened. And now, a mere five years later, Paramount and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes are looking at another.

As a dedicated fan of this franchise, and not for nostalgia sake, rebooting Jason makes no sense to me. And I don’t see any way to reimagine the franchise into something that will sell today.

Young people want something a little more inventive and interesting than stalk and kill. And I don’t know how you expand Jason’s character without losing who he really is.

Moreover, Jason was never all that popular to begin with. Even adjusted for inflation, the box office back in the day was just okay. What kept the franchise alive for so long was how cheap the films were to make. With marketing costs today, you really can’t repeat that formula, especially if you are rebooting something.

The 2009 reboot,  grossed only $91 million worldwide. I’m assuming that after a $20 million production budget and whatever the promotional budget was, it failed to make any or much of a profit. How else to explain no sequel?  

The slasher genre is pretty much played out. Jason is an iconic character,, but with marketing costs, how do you make money on a genre that in its history has only ever had two films barely squeak past $100?


‘Game of Thrones’ Sets New Piracy Record

I do not participate in and have never condoned piracy, but stories like this make me wonder if Hollywood is really all that opposed to it. After all, if TorrentFreak can keep track of records like these, how hard could it be to trace and track and shut down the file sharers?



Quick hits:

‘Fargo’s’ Billy Bob Thornton on What TV Can Teach the Film Industry

Netflix Asks Appellate Court to Reconsider ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Ruling

‘Fargo’ Creator Noah Hawley: How I Made It in Hollywood

Ice Cube Backpedals Over Paul Walker MTV Movie Award ‘Sympathy’ Vote Remarks

Hollywood’s Elite Gathers to Watch a Bunch of Films No One Will Ever See



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Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC