I have some brief thoughts on a few of the movie-related news tidbits from the last couple weeks.
Finally, A Live-Action Star Wars TV Show: OK, this isn’t movie news, but you can’t not mention the fact that the decade of rumors and reports about how a live-action Star Wars TV show might or might not happen are finally coming to fruition. That Jon Favreau is writing and producing is fine, though Lucasfilm is rightfully being skewered for once more finding a generally bland white male to handle the franchise as opposed to literally anyone else. The announcement post takes pains to point out he’s assembling a “diverse” room of creators, but that only goes so far. Still, this will be a big value differentiator for Disney’s upcoming streaming subscription service.
Redefining the “Chick Flick.”: A recent Fandango survey of female moviegoers shows Hollywood has been seriously underestimating that audience’s preferences and marketing some of its biggest blockbusters all wrong. Though any survey is subject to scrutiny, the fact that women want to see sci-fi and not the same tired romance isn’t all that surprising, especially when you consider the tired gender roles on display in the latter. The studios would seem to do well to not only make more movies they want to see but also market everything – EVERYTHING – in a way that isn’t so heavily skewed toward men.
Rob Liefeld is Still a Thing? I’m kind of aghast that, given the breadth and depth of talent available in the comics industry, Netflix would hook up with Rob Liefeld for a series of interconnected films based on his “Extreme Universe” characters. Like…do they realize the success of Deadpool wasn’t because of Liefeld but was rooted more in how the character has been treated by Gail Simone and other writers over the years? Props to Liefeld’s agent, who likely sold this to Netflix based on the company’s desire for more action franchises.
Wanna Know How I Got These Scars? I continue to maintain that an origin of the Joker is the least essential story I can think of, but that sounds like exactly what we’re getting, with Joaquin Phoenix, the least engaging actor of this generation, in the lead role. The character’s danger has always come from his unpredictability, which disappears once you explore the roots of what made him into what he is. The Joker’s backstory in “The Killing Joke,” which this movie seems to be taking inspiration from, is vastly inferior to what writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo did with the villain on a number of occasions during their “Batman” run.
The Sopranos Prequel Coming Soon: Along those same lines, I’m not even sure how a prequel film to “The Sopranos” would work, given the emphasis on Tony’s exploring of his past and subsequent issues on the show itself.
Kristen Wiig is The Cheetah for Wonder Woman 2: I like the casting of Kristen Wiig as the antagonist in Wonder Woman 2 mostly because Wiig is a great actress who’s shown in the last several years that not only is she funny but she has dramatic chops enough to go up against anyone.
Who Will the New White Box Office Savior Be? Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Black Panther has been the #1 movie for a month and grossed $565m just domestically, A Wrinkle In Time’s $33m opening weekend proves there’s a sizable audience not afraid of earnest, optimistic sci-fi featuring a mixed-racial cast, and the question being asked by The Hollywood Reporter is what does Red Sparrow’s dismal box-office mean for the future of star power? Like…really? Because the answer is in the first two points I just made.
Better Movie Trailer Targeting Coming Soon: Paramount Pictures is working with Movio to use the latter’s cross-media ad-targeting technology to make sure trailers for the former’s movies are seen by an audience that’s highly likely to buy tickets based on past behavior.
Maybe Disney Has Enough Power? FandangoNow will make its video-on-demand movies available to users of Movies Anywhere, the digital locker operated by a division of Disney. That’s great for cross-platform portability, but I still question whether the issues around ownership versus licensing have been fully hashed out yet.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.