Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bits Journal #37

This week a rather surprising bit popped up. Matthew McConaughey will be providing a voice in Illumination's untitled musical, which is currently set for December 2016. If you haven't read what I had to say on that film, I'll say this: I'm intrigued. It's an original story, much like Illumination's other 2016 release, that film is an untitled comedy about what pets do when owners aren't around. (Its French title translates to The Secret Life of Pets, I wonder if the US version will get that title too...) On the other hand, we know next to nothing about this musical's plot or characters. All we know is that the director of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Garth Jennings - will write and direct it. Sounds awesome already!

Disney's live-action slate got an update, and the update is as unexciting as ever if you're like me and dislike the fact that the live-action house is making rehashes. Tomorrowland is the only original, truly cool-sounding project in a sea of films that includes Cinderella-Live-Action, The Jungle Book-Live-Action-Agan, that Cruella de Vil origin story, the live-action Dumbo (errg!), The Beast...

So, yeah... What's next in the anti-keep moving forward sweepstakes? Pete's Dragon. August 12, 2016. I don't care if it will star the likes of Robert Redford and such, this is unnecessary to me, and what's worse... This Pete's Dragon won't be a musical, unlike the original 1977 film! Yeah, that's right, adapt a musical but rip the musical elements out. Like taking frosting off of cake!

Touchstone's slate is a drag, too. While it's nice that the label is being used for small-scale, more adult-centric dramas (like the upcoming The Finest Hours, which moved up to 10/9/2015 and sent original placeholder The Jungle Book back to 4/15/2016), there's not much to it. Sports dramas? Yeah fine, but Disney's done tons of those a decade ago. The newly-added Ghost in the Shell? (4/14/2017) A big no to that one too; when Hollywood announces they want to do a live-action take on a well-known anime, it never sits well with me. I don't want Warner Bros.' planned Akira film to move forward either, though Shane Black directing a Death Note film is slightly intriguing...

So yeah, bummer update all around. I wouldn't mind Disney green lighting new takes on stories already adapted into their animated classics if they didn't shuffle the cool stuff away completely. (All because they can't own up to the fact that studio politics, crumby marketing, and poor management lead to Prince of Persia, Sorcerer's Apprentice, John Carter of Mars, and The Lone Ranger bombing.) Where's all that stuff that current Chairman Alan Horn approved of back in 2012-2013? Where's TRON 3? Where's Terra Incognita? Where's The Stuff of Legend? Where's Matched? Where's Guillermo del Toro's Haunted Mansion?

There is some hope. A Wrinkle in Time seems to be moving forward, and with Jennifer Lee highly involved (writing, and possibly directing), and a budget of roughly $35 million, it seems like a go at this rate. I mean, why would you not green light that? In November, it was announced that a film based on Goblins! A Survival Guide and Fiasco in Four Parts was in development with Peter Segal (50 First Dates, Get SmartGrudge Match) directing, Get Smart and Epic's Matt Ember and Tom J. Astle writing, and the book author and illustrator Ari Berk and Brian Froud respectably producing. But an announcement is an announcement, Disney had directors lined up for projects that fell through as well. Disney also acquired a book series called Floors in September, which was said to be Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory-esque.

Interestingly enough, Disney's live-action slate currently ends at Pete's Dragon's tentative release date. With the exception of the ever-delayed fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film, nothing is set for 2017 or 2018, while various Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm projects are set for release in those two years. Even a Touchstone release is pegged for 2017! Makes me wonder if they're waiting to see how Tomorrowland does before slating any new projects. Cinderella is bound to do very well this year, I see people getting excited over it, I'm just sitting here saying "Meh". Hopefully the Tomorrowland trailer gets people talking, because I sense very little buzz for it. A teaser that showed too little doesn't help, either.

On the Pixar side of things, another Cars short has been revealed via toys found by The Pixar Post...

The new short - titled Ice Racers - will take the characters to Moscow, and will involve an icy race. Based on the three toys pictured, it seems the competitor racers from Cars 2 will return. One thing I really wanted to see more of in Cars 2 was the racing stuff, especially since McQueen's competition was quite colorful. Alas, only Francesco was something of a character and two others spoke actual lines. I hope all of them are featured in the new short. But we have another Cars short coming first, To Protect and Serve.

I'll admit I like the idea of the Cars shorts, I like the characters and the world the series takes place in, so seeing them in these 5-minute toons is fun. Radiator Springs 500 1/2 was a refreshing break from the "Mater's Tall Tales" formula, and it seems like they're moving away from that entirely. To Protect and Serve is about two cops temporarily taking over the town that overdo their job, and this new one ain't no Mater tale.

American Sniper is breaking the January opening weekend record... And how!

The film, which has been in limited release since Christmas Day, has opened with a massive $30 million on Friday. This means that the film will make at least $80 million for the weekend, which is nearly twice the amount of money the previous January opening record holder made, last year's Ride Along.

I have yet to see the film, but everyone's raving about it. It got good reviews, it has an excellent CinemaScore rating, lot of people I know are thrilled about it. What's more? It's a January release.

I hear people talk about how January is usually a month for not-so-big releases. True, it is. Many studios dump their least-anticipated flicks during that month and February, but that does not mean that a big hit can't open during this time. After all, in January 2010, holdover Avatar was blowing up the box office.

I think this doing well will start a new era of box office. That may sound crazy, but I think it could happen. We might end up seeing big event movies come out at times we would've never thought...

With the success of films like Gravity and The Lego Movie, it becomes so obvious that you can release a film any time of the year as long as the audience thinks it looks like it's worth seeing. The Lego Movie especially.

Little by little, the big animation studios are taking advantage of the January and February slots. I'm getting tired of hearing things like "But kids are in school!" Well, The Lego Movie did damn good because adults went. A lot of March animated releases did damn good, I think January and February are absolutely important when it comes to studios who can't secure the summer and autumn spots that the heavies lock up in advance.

Next month, Paramount Animation will release The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water. In February 2016 we'll be getting Illumination's untitled pets movie. DreamWorks plans to release Captain Underpants in January 2017. Warner Animation has projects slated for February 2017 and February 2018. Imagine if we start seeing even more animated features secure those spot! Two films in January, two films in February... Who knows!

The first trailer for the US dub of Argentina's hit 2013 animated film Foosball is here...

Not a terrible dub per se, but nothing special. (The dubbing also isn't very good or consistent.) I was so afraid that TWC would essentially Doogal this movie, but that doesn't really seem to be the case here. For those who don't know, in 2005 an animated feature based on the classic French/British TV series The Magic Roundabout was released in Europe. Weinstein then got a hold of it and planned to give it a 2006 release in the US, but they took what was (from what I heard) an okay flick and turned it into shovelware. (Before you assume, no, I didn't see Doogal nor do I ever want to.) The dub replaced the British cast with an all-American one and was stuffed to the brim with toilet humor and pop culture jokes. It was a massive critical and commercial bomb, and deservedly so.

Thankfully Underdogs didn't seem to suffer too much, but the new script for the US dub is just... Eh...

1 comment:

  1. Disney's live-action movies have become as awful as a Disney Channel teenybopper sitcom. The only reason I'm still a Disney fan is because of the animated movies, Pixar, the theme parks, and Star Wars (even though Marvel still makes great stuff too, I thought buying them was a tremendous mistake on Disney's part).