Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Hollywood vs Art
Few things irritate me more than changing an aspect of a character/story that has a dedicated and strong True Fan base, because the execs are trying to capture the dedicated and strong True Fan base of another property, and then losing the original dedicated and strong True Fan base by creating a watered-down property that NEITHER True Fan base likes. Then of course when the disappointing numbers come in the response is, "Well, I guess movie goers are tired of superhero films."
The decisions they make are often counterproductive to what they want because they can't stay in their lane. If only they would let the creators do what they do and THEN take the finished product and use their business magic, they would make more money and have a better success rate, instead of INSISTING they have creative input (especially once a product proves itself successful independently of them).
1.) Hollywood decides to take a chance on a Spider-man movie, hoping to make a few bucks on the nostalgia factor. Director Sam Raimi is given free reign on the project because none of the execs want to be blamed if the film flops. They maintain a typical hands-off/skittish stance over the untested property and fully plan to blame a flop on the directing choice. This is fine by Raimi who is a dedicated Spider-man fan, and only wants to share his vision of his fandom by telling stories featuring the original Spider-man's rogue gallery the then 42 year old film maker grew up on.
2.) Spider-man goes on to make a billion dollars. The surprised executives immediately start scrambling around, jockeying to take credit for the super-successful film. One of them... perhaps the one that actually took the chance and hired Raimi... starts struttin' around like he somehow knows the magic formula for making a successful comic book movie, and "according to his research" [rolls eyes] fans of Spider-man comics really liked Venom, Carnage, and he probably names off four or five more, and INSISTS that Raimi add them to the sequel to ensure they reach that billion dollar mark again. Raimi refuses, pointing out he has zero interest in the new Spidey villains and only wants to tell stories involving the earliest rogues gallery. Miraculously, the executive backs off.
3.) Spider-man 2 goes on to make a billion dollars. The executive's supervisor asks him what his plans are and how he's going to take charge or whatever. The exec pulls some kind of memorandum plan out of his butt talking about how this success is all of his doing or whatever, and he guarantees a 40% increase in the gross for a sequel by doing XYZ, so he then goes to Raimi with all kinds of pressure and threats to shove all those above named villains into the next sequel. Raimi argues and goes back and forth and a weak compromise is eventually reached that the disappointed director is 100% unhappy with. Seeing how the wind is blowing, he tells them Spider-man 3 is his last film in the franchise.
4.) With high hopes from a loyal True Fan base, Spider-man 3 went on to make a billion dollars as well, though the fans were disappointed and confused at the uncharacteristically messy plot and inconsistency with the other films. Criticisms were generally negative and the director himself was blamed for the creative problems, while the exec went on to receiving super bonuses and probably two or three promotions, handsomely rewarded for destroying what was gearing up to be a truly magnificent series of films.