Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Movie Quickies

I saw The King's Speech last weekend, which I highly recommend. If anything, I thought it ended too soon, which is a rarity in movie-going, isn't it? Usually, they seem to go on way too long - go see Burlesque and you will know what I mean!

While on the topic of movies, I was thinking the other day about this new trend in movies and TV where studios seem to be buying the rights to, heck, just names of stuff, and then making a film or TV show based solely on that name. Here's one example: Battleship - The Movie. Did you heard about this? They actually bought the rights to the game I used to play as a kid (and which apparently is still popular) Battleship, to make a movie out of it.

From Ain't It Cool News: "Universal has made a deal with Hasbro to make a shit-ton of their board games into movies."

The other one, which I am sure more people have heard of or seen, $#*! My Dad Says. This show is based on a Twitter feed where a kid tweets the funny things his father says. Apparently, it's doing pretty well.

What irks me about this is the fact that the studios are paying millions of dollars for the rights to these names. And really, they couldn't just come up with the concept about a movie about a Battleship on their own? Did they have to make a multi-million deal with Hasbro for that?? And $#*! My Dad Says - they couldn't just come up with a TV show about funny stuff someone's dad said to them?

What they are really paying for is the audience's familiarity with the names of these board games and twitter feeds. Which, if you think about it, is a rather sad commentary on the following:

1. The sophistication of the audience. Are they so easily manipulated, and so easily entertained, that making a movie with the name of a board game they already know means they will go see it??

2. How incredibly fearful of failure the executives at movie and TV studios must be today to have gotten to this point: that they can only make stuff with the Barest Minimal Chance of Failure at the Box Office or In the Ratings. In other words, having to pay millions of dollars for the rights to the names of nouns (like a battleship), or an everyday experience (like having your dad say something funny). Sad, especially when you think of the good those millions of dollars could have been put to in a society and a world that so desperately needs it.

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