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Archive for July 2013

Chinese Box Office Decides The Fate Of The Pacific Rim Sequel, But Hollywood Is Struggling To Get Paid

The Chinese box office has never been more important to the fate of Hollywood blockbusters than it is right now and its power to change the fortunes of big budget films is growing daily.

With small windows for Western releases, a vetting procedure and an audience that allegedly looks for particular elements from Western big budget movies, Hollywood has begun tailoring their films for this audience.

It’s not an entirely new phenomenon – take a look at the way in which both versions of The Green Hornet or The Cannonball Run were marketed in Hong Kong and China for some earlier examples – but it is being done on a much greater scale than it ever has been before.

Iron Man Three had scenes added, Skyfall had scenes cut and Looper had a whole mixture of cuts and additions. That’s just three examples of recent films that have been adapted for release in China. There are many more.

These compromises to the Chinese market and attempts to court the large audience there appears to be working, with China moving in just behind America as the biggest movie market in the world in 2012 and 2013 already looking set to eclipse the box office successes of 2012.

But Hollywood only takes a 25% share of the revenue from films distributed in China and since the beginning of the year China has been looking to impose VAT, an extra tax, on that figure. This has led to some disputes between studios and the Chinese government, which have been becoming more and more deadlocked as the year has gone on. Variety and Deadline are now both reporting that this has become a very serious issue indeed.

The United States Trade Representative is now working with the MPAA and “counterparts within the Chinese government to resolve the issue” but until that happens  there is a lot of money that’s not flowing back to America from China.

This situation does not seem to be affecting any of the big studios’ plans as yet and many productions are going full steam ahead with efforts to make it big in China. And one area that seems to be a licence to print money there is the large shadow cast by giant robots.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon managed to score $145 million in China in 2011 and Paramount are clearly hoping to build on that success with Transformers 4 in 2014, which will even feature actors plucked from a Chinese reality show.

Pacific Rim is the latest giant robot picture to excel at the Chinese box office, with Deadline reporting that it’s just opened to $9 million.

Pacific Rim has not exactly set the US box office on fire, taking just under $90 million so far against a reported budget of $190 million, but its worldwide gross has slowly been building as its rolled out globally and it’s currently sitting at just above $225 million.

With this impressive opening in China adding to that total and making headlines in all the trades, it’s Warner Brothers’ biggest opening there to date, it seems far more likely that the film will get the sequel that Travis Beacham and Guillermo Del Toro have been talking up in interviews.

It’s obviously not a given, as there are many other factors that will come in to play, but these surprisingly good figures in China, which will no doubt build momentum and go up and up, will certainly make it easier for Beacham and Del Toro to get the sequel off the ground.

Time will tell though as to how long Warner Brothers, and many other studios, will have to wait to actually get their money out of China.

Chinese Box Office Decides The Fate Of The Pacific Rim Sequel, But Hollywood Is Struggling To Get Paid

Music Videos, Clips And New Images For Ari Folman’s The Congress

The Congress, Ari Folman’s follow up to his remarkable animated documentary Waltz With Bashir, looks to be a very intriguing film. Mixing live action and animation, reality and fiction, The Congress features Robin Wright playing a version of herself that is then digitized to create a virtual actress.

The film played at Cannes as part of the Director’s Fortnight but I was sadly too far back in the queue to get in. I did hear from a number of people who did see it and while no-one seemed to be head over heels for it their reactions certainly suggested a very interesting film.

Drafthouse will be releasing The Congress in US cinemas in 2014. There’s no word yet on a UK release but the film has already opened in France, so if UK distributors continue to drag their heels then this may be one for the import list.

The FilmStage have highlighted a number of new images and videos from the film that are now online, some posted at the film’s official site. Embedded below you can watch two music videos, which feature images from the film and Robin Wright singing, and two behind the scenes clips narrated by director Ari Folman.

Below that are some more images from the official site. Head there or to The Filmstage to see even more. The imagery really is very arresting.

Forever Young (feat. Robin Wright) by Max Richter

Click here to view the embedded video.

If It Be Your Will (feat. Robin Wright) by Max Richter

Click here to view the embedded video.

Two behind the scenes clips, narrated by Ari Folman.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Music Videos, Clips And New Images For Ari Folman’s The Congress

Batman Incorporated #13 Review

Perhaps it's unfair to judge a single issue as an “ending” to something as big and epic as Grant Morrison's run on Batman. Spanning years and universes – one of the last surviving relics of a pre-New 52 era – Morrison had built a massive web of a story, something that could hardly be described as linear or straightforward. So, what we get here is hardly a neat little package tied up with a bow, but instead just another chapter in the big tapestry of Batman's life; another notch on the utility belt. The story goes on even as the creators part ways.

Batman Incorporated #13 is a good comic book. It's well-written and wonderfully drawn. Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham deliver a fun, over-the-top read that matches the wit and tone of the rest of the series. However, as bookend, as the conclusion of years' worth of stories, it feels jumbled and bloated. If you were looking for a stunning ending to a truly gigantic run, this isn't it. The battle of Gotham is over as quickly as it started. Batman and Talia's battle is somewhat anti-climatic, lacking any real punch or excitement.

Continue reading…

Batman Incorporated #13 Review

Perhaps it's unfair to judge a single issue as an “ending” to something as big and epic as Grant Morrison's run on Batman. Spanning years and universes – one of the last surviving relics of a pre-New 52 era – Morrison had built a massive web of a story, something that could hardly be described as linear or straightforward. So, what we get here is hardly a neat little package tied up with a bow, but instead just another chapter in the big tapestry of Batman's life; another notch on the utility belt. The story goes on even as the creators part ways.

Batman Incorporated #13 is a good comic book. It's well-written and wonderfully drawn. Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham deliver a fun, over-the-top read that matches the wit and tone of the rest of the series. However, as bookend, as the conclusion of years' worth of stories, it feels jumbled and bloated. If you were looking for a stunning ending to a truly gigantic run, this isn't it. The battle of Gotham is over as quickly as it started. Batman and Talia's battle is somewhat anti-climatic, lacking any real punch or excitement.

Continue reading…

Dueling Review: Batman Annual #2 (2013)

Time once again for Dueling Review, a show where two guys sit down with one comic and discuss the book in-depth.

BATMAN_ANN2_ra4ejm6iuw_BATMAN ANNUAL #2
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Wes Craig
Publisher: DC Comics
A special ZERO YEAR tie-in! Bruce Wayne’s first year as the Dark Knight has just barely begun…and already dangerous elements are coalescing, leading Bruce toward his final destiny.

The post Dueling Review: Batman Annual #2 (2013) appeared first on Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News.

Frank Miller To Meet With Zack Snyder Over Superman-Batman Movie Plans “In The Next Few Days”

Having adapted two of Frank Miller‘s comics already – as a director with 300, and a screenwriter with the 300 sequel – I’m not at all surprised that Zack Snyder will be chatting with Miller about his upcoming Superman-Batman movie.

According to The Independent, Miller wasn’t aware of the big Comic-Con announcement for the movie, so Snyder’s decision to have Harry Lennix read from The Dark Knight Returns on stage would have been news to him.

But, the paper’s “source close to Miller” says:

He’s going to be meeting up with Zach [sic] in the next few days to go over the plans for the Superman film so things should be clearer after that.

Note how this source is calling it a Superman film. They’re right. That’s what it is. All available info indicates that Batman is very much a supporting player in the film.

Now, there’s no indication that Miller’s meeting with Snyder will be anything else than a couple of friends getting together for a chat, an opportunity to get one another up to date on their respective projects.

But this story came from somewhere, right? The Independent had some reason to start writing this, surely? And reaching out to Miller’s people for comment?

Okay, maybe not. But there you go. Frank Miller will have his chance to give Zack Snyder his Superman-Batman input.

Frank Miller To Meet With Zack Snyder Over Superman-Batman Movie Plans “In The Next Few Days”

10 Things GRANT MORRISON Added to the BATMAN Mythos

Grant Morrison's seven year run with the caped crusader is over, but his legacy will carry on.

10 Things GRANT MORRISON Added to the BATMAN Mythos

Grant Morrison's seven year run with the caped crusader is over, but his legacy will carry on.

10 Things GRANT MORRISON Added to the BATMAN Mythos

Grant Morrison's seven year run with the caped crusader is over, but his legacy will carry on.

The Walking Dead Gets Monopolized

If real estate management and world domination weren't hard enough on their own, try adding zombies to the mix. Hasbro has announced Monopoly: The Walking Dead Survival Edition and Risk: The Walking Dead Survival Edition, both of which which are scheduled for a late September 2013 release.

twd monopoly

twd risk

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