Blogs and Ends: The Hump Day Dump

Blogs and Ends: The Hump Day Dump

I use these Blogs and Ends posts when I need to do a roundup of smaller stories that don’t really rate a separate post of their own.

FIRST

Bad news for Square Enix, they did business with Disney.  

Their new Avengers game is probably the biggest bomb for that company in twenty years. They’re reportedly out $74,000,000.  The last time Squaresoft had a flop this bad they had to merge with Enix.  I don’t know who they’ll have to merge with to survive this one. Last I checked, the current wait time on Steam for a pickup game is a half-hour. There appear to be no more than a thousand active players at any given time. This is utterly disastrous for a new release. 

And the reason for the failure couldn’t be more obvious. Kamala Khan, the Muslim Ms. Marvel, is the headliner character. Disney/Marvel’s obsession with this character is now borderline necrophilia.  I’m sure there are comic book characters out there who’ve had more titles canceled than she has.* But none of them have managed so many, in so short a period of time. 

The only thing I can say in favor of Kamala Khan is that of all the Marvel Woke characters, she isn’t the worst. But she is dull and uninteresting. Her shtick is that she was a poor immigrant from Pakistan who was also a superhero geek girl and then she got superpowers. She can smash things with deformed Popeye arms. Again, there are worse superpowers out there, DC’s Bouncing Boy comes to mind.

But it doesn’t change the fact that the character is boring.

Peter Parker’s motivation is NOT that his uncle was killed. His motivation is that Uncle Ben wouldn’t have died at all, if he had done the right thing earlier that fateful evening. Spiderman is driven by his moral failure from that night. 

But Kamala Khan’s back story is comparable to a little boy who wants to be a fireman and then grows up to become a fireman. This is second grader, I Can Read Now, levels of layered character development. 

It reeks of entitlement but then so does Kamala Khan’s creator Sana Amanat and she appears to be running things at Marvel Comics at the moment.  This would also explain why Marvel Comics keeps pushing this character despite the fact that she has repeatedly proven herself to be abysmally unpopular. 

Normally, this big of a failure would cause sensible people to sit back and take stock. However, since this loss wasn’t out of Disney’s pocket, I expect there to be more doubling down on the disastrous Kamala Khan. 

I am a little surprised that Square Enix was so quick to go along with something that was so clearly a bad idea to begin with. 

NEXT

There is an update about the as yet unreleased James Bond movie, No Time to Die. Last week I had written, “they want $600 million for this overpriced film school project. There’s no doubt in my mind that MGM knew the odds were pretty slim but “no ask, no sale.”  

Regardless yeah, Netflix, Amazon and Apple all told MGM to pound sand.  In no universe are the streaming rights to this thing worth a half-billion dollars.

What is really interesting here is that we now know this is MGM’s walk-away price.  $600 million is what it will take for them to just break even.  Six hundred million is what a major tentpole has to rake in just to keep the lights on and it’s NOT going to happen.  Not in this environment.  The theaters may be done forever. Millennials were transitioning out of going to movies and Zoomers hadn’t gotten into the habit yet.”

You would have to be truly desperate for eyeballs if you were willing to pay anything close to what MGM wants for the last of the Daniel Craig Bond movies. 

Turns out there’s somebody who is! 

HBOmax was born starving for content. At least Disney Plus had the Mandalorian when they opened shop. HBOmax had no new content when they started streaming, apart from whatever was already on HBO at the time. The rumor is that Warner Media is pissed as hell at George RR Martin.  Their flagship service was supposed to launch with a Game of Thrones prequel ready to be streamed.  And Martin did not deliver. He appears to have become hopelessly blocked when he had a run-in with GoT’s producers about five years ago.  That was apparently when he discovered the horrors that lay ahead for his creation and knew there was nothing, he could do to stop it. 

Consequently, Warner has been greenlighting some very odd projects in the hopes of getting something off the ground fast.  The Snyder Cut and Dune: The Sisterhood series as immediate examples. Frankly, those two vaporware series are the only things generating any real interest at the moment. And forgive me for stating the obvious but there is very little reason to subscribe to a service today for a show that won’t be available until next June… Maybe.

AT&T is $150 billion in debt today. They need something that is ready to go today. 

And it turns out that MGM does have something. Honestly, James Bond strikes me as quite the Hail Mary play.  But it looks like they’re both in serious talks. 

MGM is in almost as bad a shape as Disney. You have to remember their primary source of business hasn’t been movies for years, it’s been resorts. Which of course have been crushed by COVID.  

I have no idea what kind of deal they’re trying to hammer out but whatever it is, it’s going to look like two drunks trying to help each other walk down the street.

LAST 

And speaking of Mickey the Great and Terrible.  Disney made a few announcements about Walt Disney World this week.  

You will be delighted to know that Disney feels that its first function and primary obligation has nothing at all to do with fun, imagination, or escaping to a magical world (for a hefty price tag).

Disney World’s principal objective from now on will be inflicting social justice on “all who enter this happy place.” 

“During his keynote speech this morning for the IAAPA Expo, Josh D’Amaro Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products had a lot to say about the status of the Disney Parks in these times of Covid 19. D’Amaro spoke on the company’s idea to add Inclusion as a fifth key to the companies four keys that every new cast member receives…

“We want to make sure that we’re focusing on inclusivity for our guests as well, so we’ve chosen to speed up some of the work that we had been developing to make sure that our parks remain relevant and welcoming to all of our guests.”

Uh-huh.

Seriously, no one asked for this. 

Now from a nuts and bolts business perspective reskinning Splash Mountain was eventually going to be a necessity.  It was built using recycled animatronics from the old America Sings exhibit from the Bicentennial.  Which means the Splash Mountain robots are the oldest in the parks.  One of the Brer Rabbit animatronics is known as the Million Dollar Bunny because that is allegedly how much has been spent on repairing it.  

So, yes it clearly needed to be done.  And given that Song of the South hasn’t been seen in the United States since 1972, There was little point in retaining a theme that has had zero relevance for the past two generations. 

On the other hand, it’s nothing short of utterly ludicrous to push ahead with this project in the middle of the plague. They are prioritizing the reskinning of this ride over completion of the Tron rollercoaster. 

A reskinned thirty-year-old log ride simply isn’t going to have the draw of a new high tech coaster. I don’t care how many princesses it’s got!  The utterly ludicrous part is that there is already a Frozen themed water ride at EPCOT. And if I had to pick between the two, I’d take the one that is in air-conditioned comfort, thank you very much.

Here is what park goers are going to be missing out on:

You will not be surprised to discover that Disney has an even worse idea they are pursuing.

The Halcyon Star Wars Immersive Interactive Experience.  AKA the Star Wars hotel.   

For those not in the know, this a hotel where you are basically locked in with your children for two days as you “experience” a galactic cruise. The idea is that you will be getting a luxury liner experience on dry land. You are allowed one… O-N-E… Port call at Galaxy’s Edge. The rest of the time you are in lockdown in a hotel without windows.

Your $3K a night prison cell.

Two days is both the minimum and maximum time you will be staying “aboard” the Halcyon. I can’t speak for anyone else but I know I’d be looking for the escape pod after thirty minutes of “why didn’t we go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Dad?!” 

Anyway, after two days you would then have to pack back up and shift over to your real hotel for the rest of your stay.

It looked like it was going to be put on hold for a while.  But now they’re pushing frantically ahead with it. Apparently firm in the belief that doing anything is better than doing nothing. This is potentially true, however, doing the obviously wrong thing usually is worse than doing nothing. This high-tech brig is still set to prominently feature Rey and the First Order. 

At this rate, I give Disney somewhere between three and five years before bankruptcy. 

OK, I’m done here. 

*I think Wonder Woman still holds the all-time record but I’m not certain.

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Comments (9)

  • Jfizzy Reply

    The idea of being locked into a “cruise” experience sounds fun if done right. But we all know it won’t be done right.

    November 19, 2020 at 6:05 pm
  • Corey Ashcraft Reply

    Hey,

    I have the Avengers game and I do enjoy it, but, you are right that making he main protagonist Kamala Khan, Muslim Heroine hurt the game bigly.

    How big, my Mom was watching the story and said this about the Character: “She’s like Spider-Man? Why didn’t they just use Spider-Man? It would have worked better!”

    My Mom, as far as one can get from a comics Nerd as one can get, and on a gut fundamental level hated this game as it is centered around this character. The character does not work but the story can be fine. In fact, as portrayed in the game, she is simply a very poor woke knockoff of a more successful character.

    November 19, 2020 at 9:00 pm
  • The Dark Herald Reply

    Please note, I did not review the game itself. I was reporting it as a financial failure and the most likely cause of it.

    November 20, 2020 at 12:35 am
    • Corey Ashcraft Reply

      I see, I can understand that. I was merely trying to relate a personal anecdote that supported your insight into Ms. Muslim. I guess the point I was trying to bolster is that even non comic people, in this case my Mom, actively revile the character and that there is no reason to continue to push the character.

      If non-comic people despise the character, what would possess Square to make a game centered around that character? In hindsight, it is easy to see how the game failed to meet its financial expectations.

      November 21, 2020 at 4:27 pm
      • Andy Reply

        To somewhat defend Square, they probably figured forming a partnership with these very successful Marvel people was a great move on paper – those movies are popular in Japan, too! – but as a Japanese company they needed guidance on how to realize this huge video game targeted at western players. Marvel of course is a hopelessly delusional, self-destructive company and gave Square nothing but bad advice, and now Square will pay dearly for it.

        November 23, 2020 at 10:24 pm
  • DJ Reply

    What, no love for Matter Eater Lad?
    That’s my go-to for stupid superpowers.

    November 20, 2020 at 10:46 am
  • TroperA Reply

    I do remember seeing Song of the South in a movie theater in 1980, so I think it got a couple of re-releases in that decade. I don’t know why it’s so controversial. It’s boring except for the cartoon segments, which you can watch on Youtube anyway.

    I don’t think companies care about making money anymore. Studio accounting and the banking system are so broken that most money is just smoke and mirrors anyway. I’m guessing some ideologically driven deep-pocket billionaires are keeping the media companies afloat, telling them to keep pushing the wokeshit at all costs. Even if no one wants it. It’ll be interesting to see if big movie studios actually CAN run out of money. Maybe they’re hoping for a government bailout if they fail hard enough…

    November 21, 2020 at 10:48 am
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      Oops.

      You appear to be correct.

      According to SongoftheSouth.net the last American re-release of SOTS was in 1986.

      November 21, 2020 at 3:09 pm
  • MrUNIVAC Reply

    Good question on how Square is going to recover from this. The Final Fantasy VII remake was their one “break glass in case of bankruptcy” card that they had to play, and they botched the execution of that one too (stretching it out into episodes plus *spoiler alert* the game stops being a remake at the end.). The remaining episodes of that turd won’t save them.

    November 25, 2020 at 3:44 pm

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