Category Archives: Movies

2017: The Summer of Franchise-Films


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Summer is about a month away, which can only mean one thing…Summer Blockbusters!  The summer blockbusters make waves every year, with the most action-packed films hitting the big screen.  From superhero franchises to action-packed stories, the summer blockbuster is the season where the film industry rakes in billions of dollars in profits.  With the kids out of school and parents taking more vacation times, more audiences check out the movies during the rainy weather.

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This is the pinnacle season where Hollywood really makes bank and this is the chance to wow the audience during the summer season.  Once the Spring season of comedy film is over, the action-packed franchises make their way into the big screen.  But in a twisted turn of events, Hollywood is bracing for a major decline this year.

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If you’re growing tired of the franchise craze, then you’re not alone – Hollywood is expecting a sharp dip during the box-office season.  Last year’s box office earnings were around $4.5 billion and one number-cruncher predicted that profits could drop as much as 10% this year (to $4 billion!).  While this isn’t a serious profit loss, this drop could cause studios to make some serious changes in the future.

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So why are the numbers going down?  How is it that profits are decreasing in one of the busiest box office seasons?  What underlying factors are hindering people from checking out features at the big screen?

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To start with our first factor, let’s take a look at some of the titles that are coming out soon:

  • Cars 3
  • Despicable Me 3
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Alien: Covenant
  • Baywatch
  • The Mummy
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Notice anything about these “new” titles coming out?  They’re ALL franchises!  Every one of these titles will be a sequel, prequel, or a film based off of a familiar idea (Baywatch was a popular drama series during the 1990s before it became a film!).  This franchise-film fad has really taken a hold of the summer blockbuster trend; so much, that it’s the only safe bet that Hollywood plays these games.  Hollywood is playing it safe with the familiar franchise so that it won’t sever its ties with their ever-growing diverse audience around the world.  Releasing a summer blockbusters that audiences will see worldwide is easy, but drawing up an original idea for the domestic audience (audience here in the United States) is much more complicated.

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Hollywood can play it safe for now, but they’ll have to come up with a major plan if profits decrease further in the future.  This is a frustrating/complex situation we have going on.  On the one hand, these franchise films will rake in major profits because they are so well-known all across the world; yet on the other hand, audiences are growing weary of the same franchise ideas hitting the big screens.  Where exactly are those frustrating audiences moving to after seeing too many prequels/sequels of the franchise hits?  Netflix, of course!

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This is another factor in why summer blockbuster sales are decreasing (or box office sales, in general!).  Audiences are turning away from the big screen blockbuster to the silver screen hits from streaming services at their homes.  Streaming sites like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other services are providing better quality content to watch.  For example, one of the most talked-about series last year was Stranger Things when it released on Netflix.  Out of all of the TV series/movies releasing, Stranger Things is the most popular series everyone is flocking to.

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Netflix’s series Sense8 released its 2nd season a few weeks ago and is already taking off with a hit.  The first episode came out back in December and audiences were already psyched for what season 2 had to offer (Hollywood blockbuster films got NOTHING on shows like Sense8, especially after that beautiful orgy scene in the middle of episode 1!).  While Sense8 is pleasing audiences with their action-packed storyline and steamy sex scenes, Hollywood films are boring audiences with their franchise sequels and prequels.  In general, people will save their money for movie tickets and watch films at home through Netflix.

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As an entertainment buff myself, going to the movies is one of my favorite activities on a rainy day.  I enjoy checking out a new film with unique characters and a heart-racing storyline.  Seeing another superhero film this summer won’t hinder my weed buzz, but I will grow weary of watching the same franchise films each year (why would I feel the need to watch ANOTHER Spider-Man movie?).  Why bother taking a trip to the movies when I can smoke up at home and find films on Netflix?  I’m already enjoying the unique content that Netflix offers, so is going to the movies even worth it?  At this point, it isn’t worth spending the $11 on a ticket for another sequel/prequel/franchise title film.

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With that in mind, Hollywood really needs to make serious changes to their range of films.  Since more consumers are watching titles on Netflix, Hollywood must think outside of the box to tap into those audiences.  Playing it safe with the franchise-themed films isn’t going to cut it now that consumers are spreading word about titles like Stranger Things and Sense8.  Not only is Netflix producing better-quality TV series, but they’re also producing amazing films as well.  These titles from Netflix will continue to dominate the entertainment scene as the franchise-films continue to sink from consumer’s interest.

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If you’re not interested in the summer blockbuster list this year, just skip the movies and search for content on Netflix.

Supernatural: XXX Edition


One interesting horror series I have been binge-watching on Netflix lately is SupernaturalSupernatural first aired on September 13th, 2005 on The WB network.  The series revolves around brothers Dean and Sam Winchester who hunt for demons, ghosts, monsters, and other ghastly figures that try to destroy the earth.  They cruise around the country in Dean’s ’67 Chevrolet Impala that was passed down from their father John Winchester.  Almost every episode begins with the Winchester brothers heading to a new city/town to destroy another creature (for the record, the whole series is filmed in British Columbia!).

Supernatural plays off as a beefed-up, macho version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where its two brothers fighting monsters and saving the damsel in distress.  I would say that it’s not as gruesome as American Horror Story, but the show has some gory death scenes every now and then.  It has some horror scenes mixed in, but the thing that really draws me into the series?  The subtle gay jokes in some of the episodes.

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Every now and then, Supernatural slips in some homosexual occurrences that pulls the series into another direction.  A running gag that keeps happening is Dean and Sam being mistaken for partners rather than brothers.  While Sam and Dean are straight, the series spills some sexual innuendos that have audiences believing another tale.  One of my favorite instances when Dean meets with Chief in season 4 (Dean’s reaction to meeting the Chief was just PRICELESS and I would pay good money to see what would’ve happened between the two!).

After digging up some research, I realized that I wasn’t the only fan who thought of this.  Apparently, there’s this whole community that creates gay fanfiction stories that happen between Sam/Dean and Dean/Castiel.  For those of you who don’t know, fanfictions are fictional stories that people write based on their favorite TV series.  Since the start of the series, audiences have been writing fanfiction stories surrounding Sam and Dean’s relationship.

If that weren’t interesting enough, there’s critics believing that Dean may be bisexual.  This idea started after Castiel was introduced in season 4 after Castiel pulled Dean out of hell.  From what I have seen on season 4, Dean and Castiel have an…INTERESTING relationship.  Dean is not a fan of Castiel right now, but their relationship will blossom as the series goes on.  If that were truly the case, it would make the series a LOT more interesting.

For the record, I think we should cut the bullshit and provide the fans what they truly want – a homoerotic version of Supernatural.  There’s been so many gay fanfiction stories surrounding the characters and it give the audiences exactly what they wanted in the first place.  Let’s face it – audiences that watch the series are fantasizing about a relationship between Sam and Dean or Dean and Castiel.  I think what America really needs now is a XXX-rated version of Supernatural (NO JOKE, there’s ACTUALLY a porno version of this series titled This Ain’t Supernatural XXX!).  It wouldn’t have to cast the same characters from the series, but it would cast look-alikes from the series.

The XXX-rated series would be titled Supernatural: XXX Edition.  It would star Dean, Sam, and Castiel as they fight off monsters and for their love for one another.  There would be some cheesy fighting scenes and ridiculous one-liners (cause when has there EVER been porn that had good dialogue?).  In the end, the boys celebrate together after a long week of hunting with a three-way in bed.  This porno would be about three boys, lots of monsters coming their way, and one steamy relationship that tests their love for one another.

It’s your move, Hollywood – millions of fans have been writing gay fanfiction of Supernatural and now’s the time to deliver what everyone’s been waiting for.  The subtle gay jokes have been enough to convince me that there’s a gay porno that should be in the works (There HAS to be a scene between Dean and this ‘Chief’ character in the porn!).  There’s a lot of parody porn out on the market and a homoerotic version of Supernatural would be just the thing people need.

Fans all around the world have the right ideas and now the porno just needs to be in the works.  There’s a lot of craziness in the world right now and we could really use something entertaining like Supernatural: XXX Edition.

Lange/Paulson TV Criss-Cross!


 

For our last TV criss-cross, we looked at two actresses (Jessica Lange and Kiernan Shipka) and how their roles were similar in Feud.  A few of Jessica Lange’s characters in American Horror Story had their sights set on fame and fortune, particularly Sister Jude Martin and Elsa Mars.  Kiernan Shipka was little Sally Draper in Mad Men before landing her latest role as Bette Davis’s daughter.  Sally Draper’s mother, Elizabeth Draper, used to be a model before becoming a housewife.  Shipka played a daughter to two famous mothers that yearn for the glitz and glamour they were so used to.

It wasn’t until the 5th episode ‘And the Winner is… (The Oscars of 1963)’ that I discovered another interesting character.  After finding out that Bette Davis was nominated for her role in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Joan calls up a few friends in Hollywood that were also being nominated.  One of those friends happens to be Geraldine Page.  Who’s the actress portraying Geraldine Page?  It’s no other than American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson!

That’s right people – Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson were onscreen together in Feud!  Another special TV criss-cross discovered on the same show.  Seeing Kiernan and Jessica together was interesting, but seeing Sarah Paulson again on the silver screen was even better!  It’s like the TV criss-cross gift that keeps on giving.

Way before Feud even started, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson have been onscreen together for Ryan Murphy’s horror series American Horror Story.  Ever since American Horror Story: Murder House, the duo has played various characters with twisted personalities.  Sometimes the characters were friends while other times they became adversaries.  Jessica Lange’s last appearance was on American Horror Story: Freak Show, but Sarah Paulson continues to drudge through the bizarrely-twisted world that is American Horror Story.  Since Lange left the series, Sarah Paulson played Hypodermic Sally McKenna on American Horror Story: Hotel and Audrey Tindall/Lana Winters in American Horror Story: Roanoke.

This was so great to see Sarah Paulson in another work by Ryan Murphy!  Paulson has been doing such a great job in the American Horror Story anthology and she did well in her role on Feud.  After Lange left her work in American Horror Story, it was great to see her onscreen with Sarah Paulson again.  The two are terrific actresses with Ryan Murphy’s work.

Besides the TV criss-cross itself, Feud has been a really interesting series to watch.  It’s not as disturbing or gruesome as American Horror Story, but it is shocking to watch what the actresses went through over What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.  Davis and Crawford may have been at each other throats for a while, but Hollywood only fanned the flames of this notorious feud.  To think that all this trickery and back-stabbing is all part of show business here in Hollywood.  Like I mentioned earlier, it’s ALL show business and actresses will do ANYTHING they can to snag what they want (including sleeping with the sleaziest of sleazeballs!).

There’s only three episodes left of Feud.  What will happen next to Betty and Joan now that the Oscars are over?  Could they be working together again on another film?  We’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

Deadpool Teases a Sequel!


On a gloomy Friday evening, there was no better idea than to go check out a movie.  I’ve been dying to see Logan when it came out and some friends have told me that it was amazing.  After eating an early dinner at a sub shop, it was time to head to the theaters to go see Logan.  Even though the film opened a few weeks ago, the theater packed up just mere minutes before the film started.

Logan ended up being an amazing film!  The movie centers around James ‘Logan’ Howlett (Wolverine) and Professor Charles Xavier as they escort 11-year-old Laura to a destination in North Dakota called ‘Eden’.  Along the road, the trio encounter slew of enemies that are looking to kidnap Laura.  It was one adventurous road trip to North Dakota where we got to learn about Laura’s past.

While the film itself was excellent, there was something even more interesting that happened before it started.  After the trailers were finished, there was a new teaser being shown.  It took me a few minutes to realize that it was the teaser for Deadpool 2.  How ironic that they saved the best teaser for last right before Logan was about to be screened!  Ryan Reynolds will be returning as Deadpool once again.

The teaser itself was hilarious.  Wade Wilson is walking down an alleyway when he noticed someone getting robbed at gunpoint.  He dashes into the phonebooth to change into Deadpool.  It took him a minute or two as he struggled to get his gear on.  After fumbling with his costume, Deadpool notices that the guy was already dead before he got there.  In typical Deadpool fashion, he just laid his head onto his chest while sipping coffee.  The screen pans out from the scene to reveal that Deadpool will be coming back.

Other than being a hilarious trailer, it was an interesting publicity stunt that Marvel pulled off.  Marvel’s films are connected in some form or another and it holds true through their teasers (FYI, a poster of Logan can be seen on the brick wall!).  Deadpool and Logan are both titles from the same Marvel universe, so it made sense that Deadpool appeared before the film started.  There will be a lot more Marvel film releasing in the future, so this was great to captivate the audience about their newest title.

Seeing that teaser before Logan was amazing!  I’ve yet to see Deadpool and I’m excited to see that Ryan Reynolds will be reprising his role for the sequel.  Viewing trailers are my favorite part of going to the movies and the Deadpool 2 trailer worked well before the film.  Hopefully we will get more information soon on the Deadpool sequel.

And the Oscar Goes to La-La Land…No Wait, Moonlight!


Sundays just haven’t been the same without football season (that’s because the Patriots have been too busy celebrating their 5th world champion victory baby!).  Even still, there are definitely some noteworthy TV specials to catch every once in a while.  One of those TV specials that aired last week was the Oscars.

The Oscars are just one of the award shows presenting awards in film for movies released in 2016.  All the hottest celebrities gathered on the red carpet of Hollywood in hopes of winning an Oscar for their work in the film.  After a full hour of showing off their glamorous outfits, they strutted into the Dolby Theatre to start the show.

Jimmy Kimmel was this year’s host, cracking jokes on the films and the political controversy that’s been happening lately.  No celebrity was safe from the roasting of the host (that also included Matt Damon as well!).  Kimmel’s fake feud with Matt Damon was one of the most entertaining running gags of the show.  From teasing him about his film The Great Wall to playing him off the stage, Kimmel’s pranks against Damon made for great entertainment.

This year’s Oscars made me laugh, cry, and even cringe.  Most of all, The Oscars shocked everyone with the ending results from the nominations.  But it was the last nomination results that became one of the most shocking incidents of all time.

So here’s what happened: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunway, who were reuniting for the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, were presenting the final award for Best Picture.  The duo were playing around over who would present the award.  Warren Beatty handed Faye the envelope for her to make the announcement.  Faye opened the envelope and announced that La La Land was the winner!  At first, the crowd erupted in applause as the team rushed into the stage to accept their prize.

A few moments later, two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers came up onstage to talk with the producers.  It was then that the producers announced that Moonlight was the real winner.  In a shocking turn of events, the cast of Moonlight went up to accept their award instead.  It would become a PR nightmare for PwC after going into crisis-management mode for their mistake.

What caused this shocking incident to occur on the Oscars?  Brian Cullinan, a partner at the accounting firm of PwC, and his colleague were tasked with handing the right envelopes to the presenters.  Cullinan seemed at ease with his job, even finding the time to tweet about Emma Stone before the show ended (bad idea here!).  He caused the show-business musical La La Land to be mistakenly named by handing out the wrong envelope to Warren and Faye.  This sparked a major PR nightmare for PwC, hurting the brand’s reputation after the blunder.

PwC acted quickly after the incident by reaching out to the academy with a sincere apology.  United States chairman of PwC Tim Ryan remarked that he shared apologies from the firm and himself, further mentioning how he will talk with the employees about how to make things right in the end.  In the PR sense, Ryan had to utilize corporate social responsibility in order to salvage his company’s reputation after the incident.  Still, that didn’t stop the social media world from spreading the news all around.

Millions of users took to Twitter on Monday to discuss the mistake during the Oscars.  Hashtags like #envelopegate and #Oscarfail trended on the Twitter feed, sending a public outcry over the wrong envelope.  They say that there is no such thing as bad publicity and this certainly held true for PwC’s PR nightmare they are facing.  PwC’s reputation has been severely damaged right now and they need to work quickly before things go even more awry.

This was the craziest event that happened at the Oscars on Sunday night!  I was SO confused when I saw this happening and I thought this was part of the performance.  When I saw that even Jimmy Kimmel was shocked himself, that’s when I knew that something went horribly wrong.  Mistakes like this one can be costly for a company like PwC if they don’t act quickly.  As a PR practitioner, this was one PR nightmare I enjoyed reading about after the Oscars was over.

In the end, blunders like this can cost you majorly.  A small mistake like handing the wrong envelope can cause drastic effects for you and your company.  With everyone living in the social media universe, that small mistake will be remembered for weeks at a time.  There will definitely be something more interesting people will be discussing about, but PwC still needs to recover from their PR nightmare.

Congratulations to Moonlight for winning Best Picture!  It was a strange blunder, but they still deserved it after all of that.