Blogs and Ends: The Hollywood Questions Edition

Blogs and Ends: The Hollywood Questions Edition

Will Alec Baldwin face charges in the shooting death of Halyina Hutchins? 

I’ll be brutally honest here.  I doubt it will be anything substantive.  The DA is a Democrat who took office in 2021.  She won’t be up for election until 2025.  She has also been very soft on the kind of crimes that Democrats have found to be fashionable.  I haven’t found out if she took Soros money but would you be surprised if she has?

The DA has been granted funds to charge four people in the death of Halyna Hutchins.  But she has only said that Baldwin “might” be one of them.

My guess is that she is pressuring him to take whatever slap-on-the-wrist plea deal she is offering in exchange for his testimony against the other people that will be charged.  

My personal loathing of Alec Baldwin not-withstanding, the armorer was the person most responsible for the death of Hutchins.  Although whoever hired her should be locked up too, because she was notoriously incompetent.  The Assistant Director obviously didn’t check the gun either.  The propmaster won’t be charged because they didn’t hire a propmaster.  Which takes us back to the producer, who should have hired one.

When you have a loss of life and there are a ton of regulations to prevent that from happening, then it is never one decision.  It is always, ALWAYS a string of bad decisions and it invariably starts from the top.

So, who was the owner of the production company anyway?  

Oh yeah, Alec Baldwin


Can Avatar II Crack the Billion Dollar Mark?

Avatar was rereleased in theaters this weekend and pulled in $10 million.  

According to the Hollywood trade press, this is great news for James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water. Wonderful! Fantastic! It’s going to blow the boffo box office doors clean off the hinges.  Break out the champagne now, it’s already a smash hit!

The Dark Herald is saying it’s not, and here’s why: 

During the run-up to Star Wars The Force Awakens, Disney rereleased The Phantom Menace as part of the hype-building campaign.  

When the acknowledged as garbage tier Star Wars Phantom Menace (we didn’t know what was coming) was rereleased on February 10, 2012, it pulled down $22 million.

That is what a franchise with an active fanbase looks like.  (Again, we didn’t know what was coming).  

Remember, those are the raw numbers, please keep in mind ticket prices have shot up an average of $3.00 since 2012.  Which makes things even worse for Cameron.

Now there is a Hollywood adage that goes, never bet against James Cameron. And there is something to it but it’s less than the film industry likes to tell itself.  

The Terminator:  It had a box office that was typical of a B-movie, which it was.  Where it blew up big was on home video.  This was in 1984 when surprise video hits briefly became a thing.  This was mostly due to the fact that studios were still extremely reluctant to put their A-list films on video.  That ended in 1986 with the “Now Priced to Own” video releases.  Before then video tapes of movies ran about $60-$80. 

Aliens:  Not as strong a box office as people think it was, but still very good numbers.  Although, I suspect any film that does the Colonial Marines right would do better than an Avatar movie. 

The Abyss.  Not since above-ground testing was banned had a bomb of such magnitude been detonated. It was up there with Heaven’s Gate (1980).  It was nearly the end of his career.

Terminator 2:  Before the Abyss flopped, Cameron had been fairly unenthusiastic about a sequel.  He suddenly changed his mind and had his first mega-hit. 

True Lies: Good popcorn burner.  Arnold was at his peak. Huge money maker.

Titanic:  This is James Cameron’s first authentic, knock it so far out of the park it went into orbit hit, where he beat the odds in every way available, hit.  Terminator 2 was a monster, granted, but there was never a doubt it would be one.  Titanic looked like it was contending with Abyss as the biggest money loser of his career.  This one was in the running to be the next Cleopatra (1963).  Famously it beat the odds.  There were several factors going for it.  First and foremost it was a really good movie with spectacular visuals and the kind of live sets that will never be used again. It worked as a love story.  Word of mouth gave it the kind of legs it needed.  There was a backlash against it but I suspect that 90% of that was because of that FUCKING SONG.

Avatar:  Now we reach the anomaly.  At best it was an okay movie with several gimmicks that put it a lot farther ahead than it should have been.  All CG plus 3D.  Cameron’s visuals were great as always but the story was recycled garbage. Kate and Leo made the romance work in Titanic.  That didn’t happen in Avatar.   

Also, it was released in 2009. Rupert Murdoch threw the kitchen sink at the marketing. Every show on Fox had to have an episode that promoted Avatar.  2009 was still a world (if only just) where you could still “buy your percentage.”  There was still just enough centralized pop culture that you could force an interest in an IP through the sheer power of marketing muscle.  It unquestionably worked but that world is gone now.  Boomers and above are still watching network TV but they aren’t frequent moviegoers anymore.  Honestly, Avatar was the last hit that got Generation X in the theaters in a big way, and we aren’t doing popcorn burners anymore, (unless you count Top Gun 2). 

Cameron’s track record is good enough that I won’t go so far out on a limb as to say that Avatar 2 will bomb.  But I will say that as of this date, it is at serious risk of underperformance.

Okay, I’m done here.

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