Saturday, October 28, 2006

Gift suggestions from Sci-Fi Magazine

The cover of Sci-Fi Magazine's December 2006 issue sports its 2006 Gift Guide for the upcoming holiday season.

Excerpted from the Editor's Log on page 6, Editor-in-Chief, Scott Edelman offers suggestions for holiday presents that a few individuals in the biz really need:

For Bryan Singer: A simple script, one with no superheroes, and not part of any franchise. Keyser Soze would approve.

For Brandon Routh: A personality. Because this year you weren't using yours. You just borrowed the one that belonged to Christopher Reeve. We're pretty sure you have one of your own buried under that Superman Returns performance, because we watched you work the talk-show circuit, but in case of emergency, feel free to unwrap ours.
Summing up a $260 million dollar film in 75 words or less should be harder than that, but Mr. Edelman did have easy material to work with.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Well Isn't That Convenient

We stopped looking at theater counts for Singerman here a long while ago since they really haven't been relevant once the film left general theater distribution. However in just so happening to look at the theater counts for the upcoming weekend, this stuck out like a sore thumb. The turtle that was Singerman FINALLY passes the big $200 million mark after 17 long weekends, and NOW it looks like Warners is finally letting it die in peace.

It dropped 262 theaters this weekend and will only be playing in 41, a reduction of a whopping 86.5%. That seems like a bit of an extreme drop compared to its previos weekends. Which now leaves us wondering just how much exactly "Big Brother" paid TO exhibitors to keep the film running in their dollar theaters so the film could reach $200 million? Since now that its hit the mark, its getting dropped like it has the plague.

While we still dont think a potential sequel hinged on that $200 million amount, it appears obvious there was some incentive on the studios part to hit that milestone, if only to save face perhaps.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Box Office Update: Took You Long Enough

While we've had some fun the past couple weeks looking at some of the film's ancillary revenue forms, we thought we'd peek in at the numbers that really matter once again. In it's 17th weekend at the domestic box office (i.e. a couple hundred dollar theaters), Singerman took in $173,300 and FINALLY broke the $200 million mark for a grand total of $200,006,305 year to date. Granted we fully admit that before the IMAX totals came out, we didn't think it would break that mark, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a supporter of this film that saw that one coming either.

But before Singer and Co. go throw another Halloween party, is their really any significance in hitting the $200 million mark now? Does this latest $173K really make a difference other than being able to say they hit a milestone of a nice round number? In actuality, no, not really, especially not after this length of time. We know there was speculation by some sources that the film hitting $200 million domestic was some "magic number" for a sequel, but that was largely passed off as being inaccurate by certain people in the industry. When you take into account the cost of the film to produce ($209 million) and market ($100 million), it's still glaringly obvious that the film fell well short of expectations (Alan Horn even admitted this). Whether it made $198 million or $202 million the film still has yet to make back it even come close to breaking even. MovieWeb has an interesting look at the situation:
"Superman Returns finally crossed the $200 million plateau! Congratulations. Oh yeah,the bad news. It took 117 days for it to cross that mark, 8th slowest all-time,and, oh yeah, the flick still has $70 million to go before it reaches a profit.Good luck hitting that mark, you idiots."
While we're not exactly sure who the "idiots" are, it does bring up a good point. The film still has a long way to go before it even thinks about breaking even, and even though its now hit $200 million it took almost twice along as films like Batman Begins (who it still sits over $5 million behind) and cost almost $100 million more to make and market. And since some of you have been asking, Singerman also took almost six times as long as contemporary X-men: The Last Stand (who it sits over $34 million behind domestically) and cost just slightly more to make and market.

Looking at those factors, I'd say the status of the future of the "franchise" hasn't changed over the last weekend, and still won't be determined until long after Singerman has been collecting dust on DVD shelves.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nobody Wants to Play with Singerman

Apparently, Mattel didn't do any favors for Singerman's perceptions of "manliness." -->

A bit of a merchandise update for those of you that have been asking. A recent Variety article, gives us some details on movie-related toys that have been hot sellers and ones that are expected to be come Christmas season. The article states:

"With the latest bigscreen incarnations of Batman and Superman taking darker and more complex turns, the toy lines they inspired have taken some hits.
So went the buzz at last week's Toy Wishes Holiday Preview -- a mini lead-up to February's major Toy Fair event. "You have to have the box office," says Jim Silver, editor of Toy Wishes magazine. "But then the story and the theme has to be applicable to translate into the toys and into play."

Hmm, looks like there is a relation between the box office and merchandising.

"'Superman Returns' was a bit of a disappointment with respect to toys. It was more of a love story. If it had had more action it probably would have done better in the toy aisles."
This Christmas, instead of traditional toy staples like superhero lines, look for more whimsical properties to dominate kids' toy lists.
Merchandisers at the Toy Wishes confab were talking penguins and pirates.

Looks like Singer's problems do in fact carry over into the merchandising aspect of the film. After all, who wants to play with a hero who sits around and pouts about his girlfriend that he left, and throws big rocks? (especially when it looks like a young Liberace doll.) Sounds an awful lot like what we heard about the Halloween costumes.

Perhaps they should've used some of our merchandising ideas that were more in line with the film's plot?

Thanks to Christopher for the heads up.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Was the Singerman video game purposefully distanced from the film?

Recently Electronic Arts, who you may know as the video game company that ruined the Golden Eye franchise and who produces countless repetitive Madden NFL Football sequels, held a media day for the upcoming video game based on Singerman. Although the decision to release the game almost 5 months after the film it's allegedley based on unspooled seems a bit weird at first. But after reading a few of the reports on the game from a few of the different gaming sites, this may have been done somewhat intentionally, as it appears the release dates weren't the only things distanced from one another with these two entities.

According to GameZone, it seems that certain things that were problematic about the film were intentionally left out of the game, and things the movie lacked were added in, as EA seems to have taken a few creative liberties with the license in order to beef up the content.
"First off, EA is not using the John Ottman’s score or John Williams’ theme from the film. What a travesty! EA has all this money and can’t dish out the dough for integral parts to keep it authentic to the video game. Wait a minute, maybe this isn’t a bad thing after all. Tiburon can continue to distance themselves from the movie with not using licensed music, which will be a good thing when everything is said and done. Tiburon knows that the movie wasn’t action oriented and was geared more towards Clark Kent stalking Lois Lane like a maniac."
That's interesting to say the least. How many times have you played a licensed game that doesn't use the film's score? Can't say I can think of many. Looks like EA agrees with us that Ottman's score was lame, and Singerman hanging outside of Lois' house spying on her was downright creepy.
"Now that we know that Tiburon is moving away from the drama and inserting the action, what else could they have done to boost the game in a whole new direction? It’s easy to see, just from screenshots of Metallo – Tiburon is putting forth new villains and telling new stories the movie never did. One example would be before the movie, when Superman went to search for Krypton, he was on his way back when Mongul warps him to his WarWorld. Mongul puts Superman through a series of battles with his greatest gladiators until you finally meet up with him to battle."
That actually sounds somewhat interesting. Singer can't be happy with this at all. He's probably furious there's no "stalker mode," "emo-level meter," or final battle with a large, rocky land mass.

CBR also sheds some light on who's really responsible for scheming out the game:
"But while Singer & Co. were involved in the development of the game, another very special writing force was behind much of the game's story and underlining philosophy. "We worked very closely with Marv Wolfman," said Associate Producer Sergio Bustamente.

The results of this synthesis of projects and collaborators are most impressive. While the game's Superman, Lois, Jimmy, Lex and Kitty are modeled after and voiced by their film counterparts, the game plays and feels like that of a very original experience, one that invokes the core mythology of Superman without confining players to the film's vision."
Well now, that sure explains why the game sounds somewhat interesting to me. Marv Wolfman's work on Crisis of Infinite Earths was probably some of the best I've read. He knows far more about the character than what came out of the Richard Donner films. I'm glad to hear the game isn't confined to the film's "vision" or lack thereof, and from what I read it sounds like other than the voice actors the 2 properties don't have much else in common. Though I'm sure Bosworth will still suck virtually.

Some gaming sites claim that Singerman doesn't even look like Brandon Routh, and is more of a cell-shaded cartoon.

I may actually have to give this a rental once I've beaten Justice League Heroes.

Monday, October 09, 2006

WB: 'Hey We had Cheaper Flops Too!'

Today's Defamer takes a humorous look at an article from today's New York Times about Warner Bros.' awful summer box office, where WB execs, Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov, use some REALLY odd logic when trying to explain why WB is sitting in sixth place for total box office this year, when just months ago they appeared to be primed for a second straight summer of big box office grosses. In the Times story, Robinov and Horn lament that people have harped on their higher-profile disasters, while ignoring all the money they've proudly lost on lower-budgeted projects??

"Studio executives say it will make a profit. But in bringing in only $389 million at the worldwide box office, “Superman Returns” failed to live up to prerelease expectations. If Superman had done twice what it did, the whole summer would havelooked different," said Mr. Robinov. "It's as much about perception as reality.Even with the failure of a movie like 'Poseidon,' we've had much smaller movieswe've lost as much on."

Mr. Horn agreed. "I've seen movies that cost $15 million lose as much as $20 million,he said. "But when event movies don't perform well, it is very high profile."

And IF the Queen had balls she'd be King, Jeff. And what are these guys really saying? That it's easy to lose a bundle on supposed "can't miss" superhero franchise like Singerman, but only a select few individuals like themselves can lose big time on a much lower budgeted film?? With people like this making the call on the Singerman franchise, no wonder we got the film that we did. If you own any Time Warner stock, now might be a good time to sell those babies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Miscellaneous Bits 10/6

<-- sometimes no caption is necessary. We've got a few miscellaneous news bits from around the web relating to Singerman from the past week, that I didn't care enough about to give them their own postings.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Singerman et al Negatively Affecting WB's Stock Value

AOL Money & Finance's "Blogging Stocks" has an interesting look at the current situation over at Warner Bros. and just how exactly the sorry performance of their 2006 film slate, tent-poled by Singerman, is affecting the company's bottom line.

Doug McIntyre
, a partner at Wall Street firm "24/Wall St" explains how investors were hoping that Warner's film slate would do better this year. A recent downgrade of the TWX stock by JPMorgan was based, in part, on the projections that the financials of the company's film unit would get worse.
"Things are not looking up at the Time Warner film unit. It has had no hits this year, and even "Jackass" ($51.4 million so far), could ultimately pass "Superman Returns" ($198.5 million), which is Time Warner's biggest box office release in 2006. "Superman" cost so much to make that it almost did not matter how much money it brought in. It was going to lose money under even the best of circumstances."
Although we're very skeptical ourselves that an idiotic picture like Jackass 2 will pass even Singerman's domestic box office (unless of course he's talking about profitability?), McIntyre's sentiment is one that's been echoed around Wall Street about WB and their summer film slate. Tack onto this the implosions of Poseidon, Lady In The Water, and Ant Bully and the picture gets even more grim. All "fanboyism" aside, it's the opinion of "the Street" and in turn Time Warner shareholders and its board of directors that's going to determine where their film division goes from here. Singerman was expected to lead the way for the WB summer slate, and when it fell flat, there wasn't much else for the studio to fall back on to show it's stockholders. With Singerman struggling to get to $200 million domestic and $400 million worldwide, it wont see a profit until long after it hits the home video market. (Assuming WB gets about 55% of the worldwide B.O., and it cost about $300 million to produce and market.) McIntyre goes on to add:

"The film-making business is notoriously fickle. But the costs of running a studio are not. Disney decided to cut 450 people at its production unit earlier this year and cut the number of movies it would put out. At least if it had a dry spell its costs should be less.

For Time Warner and its stock to stage a full recovery, it will not suffice that its cable and network businesses do well. The film unit will have to pull its own weight. Right now, it isn't."

Pretty interesting stuff, especially considering Disney had what was largely considered the most successful summer of all studios with POTC2 and Cars. Personally I'd expect to see budgets for WB films scaled back considerably in the coming years. The real question then becomes, can superhero franchises survive under those restrictions? And if so, can they be done well?