The only reason that movie exists is that studios are in a similar scenario when it comes to sequels. As The New York Times once detailed, Universal Pictures made over a hundred international licensing deals for computer games and toys before the film was fully conceived. Then they locked down a Thanksgiving release, which ended up screwing them when Paramount's Rugrats movie changed its schedule to compete. In other words, Universal raised the stakes before even knowing the hand they were being dealt, and found themselves financially committed to a movie way weirder than the original Babe, what with its clown thieves and inflatable asses. Cut to now, and the Pig In The City model has become the go-to movie making tactic, all thanks to studios announcing their sequels years and years in advance.
"Jared Leto's co-stars on suicide watch."
Suicide Squad was so rushed that the studio only gave David Ayer six weeks to write the script before immediately going into production. But when every film is hurtling toward a predetermined release date, Hollywood has no choice but to blindly straddle their way from one project to the next. Suddenly, merchandising and licensing gets locked down before even finishing a script. And because of that, films like Iron Man 3 get rewrites specifically to cater to toy sales, and the quality of the film takes a backseat to fulfilling all the financial obligations set in place.
Because what kid doesn't want a "Shirtless Guy Pearce" action figure?
And since the marketing is in place, studios start signing expensive contracts with actors. Scummy Johnny Depp gets stupid money for a fifth Pirates film that nobody wants. Terminator films are hung on $30 million signing contracts with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mark Wahlberg is legally obligated to do two more Transformers films. Sebastian Stan must play the Winter Soldier nine fucking times. Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are legally going to be in three Avatar sequels, whether they or anyone else on the planet wants it or not.
As more and more chips are thrown into that poker pot, studios become financially handcuffed to unwritten films. James Cameron could die tomorrow having yet to finish the Avatar 2 script, and they would still have to make it to justify the $500 million theme park coinciding with its release.
Here's an idea: Maybe FINISH WRITING THE MOVIE before you start laying roller coaster track?
And while all this fuss is being poured into the release, the studio has completely forgotten to check if the movie is any good. Suddenly, hastily written films like Rogue One, Fantastic Four, and Suicide Squad are getting so many reshoots and competing edits that you can make entire films with the deleted footage.
THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF HOW GOOD MOVIES ARE MADE. By working backwards from the marketing, studios are forced to gamble large sums of money on long-term projects that may or may not be viable in the future. Instead of single houses, they are now building entire neighborhoods constrained by specific sizes and time tables. The result is to either throw out craftsmanship for automation and uniformity (Marvel), or treat every new project like a mad dash (DC). Either way, the result is goddamn hideous from a distance. In conclusion, go fuck yourself, Babe.
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