Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who's getting paid $50m for ONE film?

...Not counting our beloved bevvy of merchant bankers and their bonuses for wreaking economic devestation. Nope, this is a humble actor, getting the highest fee EVER for a single film. Discounting Working Title, would the entire combined budget of a year's British cinema amount to this much?
Can you work out who it is? Its a useful fact to cite to demonstrate the challenge facing Indie cinema, but also all non-Hollywood cinema, including the UK's.
You can find the answer at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jan/01/2011-film-preview

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Economics demand remakes/sequels?

Great article from ... The Film Guardian (do try and read it weekly!) about the raw economics of the film industry and how these always seem to overcome any notions of film as art; some sample quotes then the full article:

...the economics of remakes and sequels is hard to argue. In the modern era the marketing of a film is key and for a big budget picture can often exceed $100m. Sequels and remakes bring a built-in brand name . That is why Hollywood is intent on endless reboots and sequels of superhero franchises such as Superman, Batman, X-Men and Spider-Man. It also explains why 2011 will see a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, a film series inspired by a theme-park ride at Disneyland.
[following is by Philip French, not the main article author]
... Remakes have been Hollywood's stock in trade ever since in 1914 Edwin S Porter (director of The Great Train Robbery, the first film to achieve worldwide recognition) was told his company needed to produce a feature-length movie a week. "There's not enough talent in the world to make that many pictures in a year," Porter replied.
Are they ever justified other than commercially? Yes, if significant improvements can be made, especially if this means going back to a literary source. Eventually someone is bound to make a successful version of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. But some attempts should never be made or allowed. Only a fool or a knave would embark on remakes of Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind or Singin' in the Rain, though Gus Van Sant, a director who is neither fool nor knave, got egg on his face and a tarnished reputation with a shot-for-shot reworking of Hitchcock's Psycho.
Remakes are frequently interesting sociologically for the light they throw on changing times and different cultures: Seven Samurai becoming The Magnificent Seven, for instance, or the blaxploitation version of Odd Man Out and The Informer, or the four contrasted treatments of The Front Page.

SOURCE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jan/02/hollywood-remakes-sequels-weinstein 

Hollywood takes a safe bet for 2011 with the year of the repeat

To critics' dismay and despite the success of original films like Inception, the movies on this year's agenda announced by Harvey Weinstein are sequels, spin-offs and remakes of past hits
Marion Cotillard, Leonardo DiCaprio
Marion Cotillard, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from Inception.
The new year ought to be a time for

Monday, January 10, 2011

Enfield plays Nighy plays Grant

Wonderfully postmodern skit playing on the cliches employed in Richard Curtis' Hugh Grant-starring rom-coms (cross-posted on BritCinema + rom-com blogs):
(NB: contains 1 swear word towards the end)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Critics v Popular Culture?

Brief article about the Twilight franchise picking up awards voted for by the US public (as did HSMusical); horror movies - especially teen-centred horror - tend to be dismissed as worthless, empty commercial vehicles by critics ... yet remain enduringly popular with the public. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jan/06/twilight-eclipse-peoples-choice-awards
This links into previous posts about female directors, and the prevailing scorn for female-targeted cultural forms: celeb mags, soap operas, rom-coms etc

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Hugh Grant breaks down

Nice story here on how the bundle of joy that is Mr Rom-com was compelled to take a lift with a journo from the News of the Screws (a common nickname for The S*n's Sunday sister paper, given its muck-raking, sensationalist history under Murdoch's proprietorship), a rag that has been none too complimentary about HG in the past: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2011/jan/03/hughgrant-newsoftheworld
Click through for the rather funny picture...
(Never forget though that the Grant-Curtis partnership is responsible for some of the biggest all-time British movies)