Jurassic World's opening weekend will no doubt serve as a healthy reminder that sequels are usually pointless, often execrable ... and we can't stop giving Hollywood money to keep making them. Filmgoers from 20 years ago usually had no way of knowing if an upcoming sequel was gonna soar like Empire Strikes Back or lay a wet fart on your face like Highlander II -- but we don't have that excuse anymore. With this here newfangled Internet box, we now have the ability to smell the fart coming from a mile away, and yet we refuse to move out of the stink radius.
For example, there's a very good chance many of us are still gonna end up paying to see some of the following movies, despite warning signs like the fact that ...
The latest installment in Tom Cruise's series of increasingly extravagant botched human sacrifices to Xenu, Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation was originally set to be released just in time for Jesus' next birthday. But Paramount was so excited to open their present (the last M:I movie grossed almost $700 million) that they told Santa Claus to fuck off and pushed the release date all the way up to July. That probably means everyone involved has a lot of faith in the film, right? Yep, so much faith that they had to stop shooting it to come up with a new ending at the last minute.
Back in February, after six months of shooting and with only a few weeks left on the schedule, director Christopher McQuarrie decided to stop filming to redo the ending. Don't they ... usually have that all figured out before they put the actors in front of the cameras? Yeah, but in this case McQuarrie suddenly decided he wasn't satisfied with what appeared in the script -- a script that had gone through three writers, including the guy responsible for classics like Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Need For Speed: Rivals, and no movies whatsoever. It's worth noting that this writer's hiring was announced with great fanfare last year, and yet McQuarrie himself is the only one listed in the writing credits now.
And so, in a race against time worthy of its own action movie, production was shut down for a week while McQuarrie and a mysterious unnamed co-writer friend hammered out a new finale, presumably after this friend read the script and described it as, "... Great, really."
An anonymous Paramount insider downplayed the shenanigans, saying, "Chris, Tom, and a third person wanted to take a minute to get from what they thought was a good place to a more perfect place," which doesn't instill as much confidence as they think. "A minute"? We gave more thought to planning our high school projects, and we didn't even have $150 million to buy poster board.
20th Century Fox
When you remake Dances With Wolves with blue cat alien people and end up grossing $3 billion, you're obviously going to want to keep that ridiculous bullshit going as long as possible. Director James Cameron has been running his mouth about a sequel since 2010, the year after his cyan windfall, back when everyone was still easily dumbstruck by pretty pixels and 3D movies hadn't fully transitioned from fun novelty to literal headache. So why the hell hasn't it materialized yet? So many reasons.
First, there was a series of years-long delays concerning the script, mostly regarding little matters such as what would happen in it, who would be writing it, and even who would appear in it. For instance, Sigourney Weaver's character, who croaked rather dramatically in the first movie, was originally supposed to be back in the sequel, because "no one ever dies in science fiction," according to Cameron. But he has since changed his tune and said that Weaver is gonna play a new character. Best-case scenario: It's Ellen Ripley, who murders all the Na'vi with a blowtorch.
20th Century Fox
There's also the fact that Cameron intends to spread the sequel across three movies, shot back-to-back and telling one overarching story, because audiences fucking love it when you do that. Since shooting three movies at a time takes approximately three times as much effort and planning as one movie, it's going to be quite a long time before we see so much as a horribly CGI'd teaser trailer. The first installment is slated to be released in 2017 and the final in 2019 if everything goes as planned, which is an "if" big enough to have its own Whole Foods.
Incidentally, the villain for all three sequels has now been confirmed to be this guy again:
20th Century Fox
At least after all that anticipation, we know we'll be getting ... something? No one actually knows what it's going to be about yet. All we know is that Cameron has assured us, "They're gonna be bitchin'. You will shit yourself with your mouth wide open." It doesn't exactly bode well when a director describes his billion-dollar opus the same way your little brother announces he's definitely about to wipe out on his skateboard.
Columbia Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
It is possible to go the other way, of course. Sony has long held the rights to the entire series of books of which the beloved Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was the first installment, including an upcoming fourth book. Four years after the also-beloved movie directed by David Fincher came out, it looks like things may be starting to move on that front. Yay!
Unfortunately, it also looks like none of the people who made the first movie great will be involved, because Sony doesn't want to pay them. Non-yay.
Columbia Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
After Amy Pascal, the former head of Sony, negotiated for the franchise's rights, she was replaced by the budget-conscious Tom Rothman -- "budget-conscious" meaning "super cheap," in case we were too subtle there. Subsequently, it was decided that the second and third installments could be crammed together, with the fourth rounding out the "trilogy." To be clear, both books are multi-part stories that take a collective 34 paragraphs to summarize on Wikipedia, and they think they're going to get one coherent two-hour movie out of them. We've given Daenerys Targaryen 500 hours to do literally nothing, but sorry, Lisbeth Salander -- you're just not interesting enough.
They also refuse to bring back Fincher to direct due to budget concerns, because never mind the fact that his 2011 film made nearly three times its budget: The guy will clearly blow their hard-earned dollars on hookers and string cheese. Daniel Craig could easily fuck off, too, since he was asking for a raise and, well, Sony could always get a more affordable Bond to replace him (what's Woody Allen doing these days?). Not even the titular Girl herself, Rooney Mara, is safe from the chopping block, since her part in the second movie would be pretty physical and she herself conceded that she's not getting any younger ... two years ago.
But at least the source material is still pretty great? Sure ... for the second and third books. The fourth one is written by another guy, who didn't even use the 200-page manuscript left by the late original author of the series. Finally, the great smushening would also force them to shelve a script for the sequel by the film's original screenwriter, which had cost Sony seven figures to buy. Hopefully they can recycle it into a Spider-Man movie or something.
Spring Breakers had all the trappings of a quickly forgotten piece of schlock -- barely legal boobs, probably legal guns, and James Franco. Thanks to the writing-and-directing balls on professional weirdo Harmony Korine, though, it was actually not terrible. Franco even won a bunch of awards, which is hard to do when you're playing Ali G completely straight.
But the producers of Spring Breakers: The Second Coming (seriously) seem to be confused about the causes of the movie's success, which is understandable -- the main byproduct of a Harmony Korine movie is confusion. They're keeping the boobs and the guns, but axing the talent that was the only thing that prevented the movie from becoming Girls Gone Wild mixed with a rap video.
Franco wasn't shy about letting everyone know what he thought about that, saying:
The original was wholly Harmony's creation, and these producers are capitalizing on that innovative film to make money on a weak sequel. I want everyone to know that whoever is involved in the sequel is jumping on board a poison ship. It will be a terrible film.
Remember: This is a man who was handed a script that required him to get bitten in the crotch by a hydra and make out with a stoner cave troll and said, "Yes, that is a thing I want my name on."
What's more, the film isn't even technically a sequel, showing the continuing adventures of the bikini bandits -- they'll be rehashing the exact same plot, just with different characters. So basically, they're remaking the movie, minus the people who made it good. Did we learn nothing from Mean Girls 2?
It looks like 40-year-old men who still consider pizza rolls an acceptable dinner aren't the only ones who are nervous about the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot. One of the first things Tom Rothman (hey, it's that asshole again!) did when he took over as chairman of Sony was order the film's budget slashed. As weird as it is for Hollywood to not have faith in the moneymaking potential of an all-female action movie, the filmmakers were nevertheless able to cut the budget from $169 million to $154 million ... without reducing anyone's salary, of course. Because that's what matters here, right? How much could half a million jars of marshmallow fluff cost, anyway? They'll make it work; there are ridiculously overpaid actors to think about!
To be fair, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Paul Feig (who's had a hand in every one of your favorite TV comedies) don't come cheap. With that kind of funny power at the helm, what could possibly go wrong? Well ...
In a rambling email leaked during the Sony hack, Feig outlines his vision for the film, which has apparently been compromised by some funny-tasting mushrooms. Potential spoilers follow:
For example, I want in the third act to have the entire police force and army accompany the Ghostbusters to the final battle but since our villain only wants to deal with the Ghostbusters and wants to make the government look ridiculous, he possesses the entire police and army forces and makes them do a big ridiculous dance number in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
Let's be honest -- that may very well end up being the most hilarious thing you'll ever see. But it doesn't get any more normal from there. Feig says he wants the ghosts to be "dead villains and famous criminals he recruits from the ghost world," including "in what I think could be a billion-dollar idea ... the ghosts of evil beings from other parts of the universe -- yes, ghost aliens!" Yes, ghost aliens.
Feig also describes his intentions for the villain to "be both evil and funny in the ways [he] screws with our world," as if it's a stroke of brilliance. Hey guys? They already made that movie.
If you're not into foreign films -- and let's face it, reading is hard -- you might not have heard of the Ip Man franchise, which chronicles the totally made-up adventures of a legendary non-made-up martial artist. Though they were never released in North America, both installments have earned critical praise and been stuffed like turkeys with Asian money, like some kind of cross-cultural Thanksgiving feast. The obvious next move: computer necromancy and Soda Popinski's arch-nemesis.
It sounds like the kind of idea that would be thrown out of even the most cocaine-drenched Hollywood brainstorming sessions, but Ip Man 3 is pretty far along and nobody seems to be having second thoughts about the decision to cast Mike Tyson and Bruce Lee in featured roles.
TPG/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
You might notice a problem with the latter actor, chiefly that he's dead. Just, so dead, you guys. Alas, that hasn't stopped people from casting him in movies before, so why should it now?
Hap Dong Films
One big reason: Lee's estate has sued the filmmakers to, in legal terms, not fucking do that, because of course they did. That's going to be quite a setback, as it took so long for someone to point out how completely awful they are, they've already begun filming. Jeez, you want them to stop now? The dancing CGI corpse has already put in so much work! Or maybe not: Lee's role isn't even that of an old grizzled martial arts master that our hero comes to for guidance, but the other way around: a disciple of Ip Man. Sure, the real Ip Man did train Lee when he was young, but the movie's inclusion of an aging boxer who was 7 when Lee died suggests they were never going for historical realism here.
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