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OnMedea: February 2011 Archives

February 2011 Archives

alice_in_wonderland.jpgOnce upon a time, Hollywood was creatively bankrupt... again.  The year was 2011 and poor little Hollywood didn't know what kind of movies to make. 

The heads of the major studios (including Manka Bros. - the owner of OnMedea) knew that a film adaptation of the fairy tale "Alice In Wonderland" made over $1 billion at the box office in 2010 and said "That's a lot of money." 

So after much thought (or not), Hollywood decided to make EVERY FREAKING FAIRY TALE EVER WRITTEN INTO A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!

Come on, really? 

Every day, I read about another studio doing another fairy tale adaption.  And all of them are a DARK, GRITTY version that the "19th century authors originally had in mind". 

Not a fluffy Hollywood squeaky clean version that doesn't scare our whimpy modern day kids - but a frightening and bloody tale like children used to experience when kids were tough and enjoyed waking up screaming from a horrifying nightmare because of the bedtime story they were read.

red_riding_hood.jpgTo be fair, I think it was a great idea to reimagine Red Riding Hood with a darker tone  - which is certainly fitting of the story.  And while the trailer looks like a cross between a perfume ad and Twilight, I still believe it's a solid original concept and should result in strong box office.  (I'll certainly be there opening weekend.) 

But then came a fairy tale adaptation tsunami (which includes 3 SNOW WHITES!) that has now completely flooded the town. 

Here's a sampling of what's coming up:

  • Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount) - Starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton (and, no doubt, various star cameos), H&G are now accomplished bounty hunters out to get the witches who nearly killed them years before.
  • Pinnochio 3D - a stop motion reimagining of the classic fairy tale.  Expect a very dark and disturbing retake on this one as it comes from the genius mind of Guillermo Del Toro.  I can already imagine losing sleep after I witness the stop motion, painful transformation of the children into donkeys sequence.
  • Hey Diddle Diddle (Manka Bros.) - a grim reimagining of the classic bedtime ditty set during the 1930s in a Soviet Union gulag.  Why does the cow jump over the moon?  Freedom.
  • Grimm (NBC) - Gritty TV cop drama set in a world where the characters of Grimm's Fairy Tales actually exist.
pat_the_bunny.jpgAnd that's just in the next couple of years.  Just think if these projects make money what we'll see next:

  • Rumpelstiltskin - featuring the beloved garden Gnomes from Gnomeo & Juliet in their first R-rated turn.
Etc. etc. etc.

And the sad reality is, I won't be able to take my five year old daughter to one of them because, if I did, she would wake up screaming in the middle of the night after witnessing Snow White disembowel one of the dwarfs (or something). 

But I guess these movies aren't made for her.  They're Fairy Tales - they're not made for children for Christ's sake.  They're made for the guys who go to Comic-Con.  And THEY lived happily ever after.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

jeffrey_katzenberg.jpgI certainly hope Jeffrey Katzenberg is actively trying to sell the company.  I mean, for a guy like him, I just don't get why he does it. 

For most people, it would be a great gig:  Produce two high quality (some at Pixar would say average quality) animated movies a year for ever and ever and ever.  But Jeffrey Katzenberg isn't 'most people'.  He's a guy that wanted to build an empire and has apparently stopped trying to do that.  I can't imagine he's suddenly content with what he has.

When DreamWorks was formed in 1994, I was all for it.  To build a media empire from scratch is the kind of ambition that Hollywood hadn't seen in decades (and probably won't be seen again).  But if anyone could do it, it would be Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen - SKG.  But they couldn't stomach the hard times. 

They didn't have the guts of a Khan Manka or a Walt Disney who were willing to mortgage everything to keep their dreams afloat.  SKG used mostly other people's money - not their houses or art collections - and the other people started getting nervous.  SKG decided to remain rich and refined the art of risk management. 

And I'm sure they've all had very happy lives even without a media empire.

dreamworks_animation.jpgBut I think it's time for DreamWorks to finally exit the stage.  It's going to happen sooner or later.  Just do it now.  Why go through the aggravation of further stockholder meetings and quarterly reports to Wall Street. 

Right, Mr. Katzenberg?

Just sell (probably for a few billion), if you can, at a decent return to shareholders, set up an office on one of the studio lots and reminisce about the old days and how things might have turned out different if you'd been a little crazier.

Nearly all the movies DreamWorks Animation has produced and will produce have been and will most likely be solid hits worldwide that any film studio would love to add to their library/event film slate.  It's a pretty simple formula - write average script, hire stars as voices, animate, market, distribute and make about $500 million worldwide (with only the occasional disappointment of something like "Flushed Away").  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

A big studio purchase of DWA fits perfectly into Hollywood's current mindset of accurately predicting financial results and avoiding any kind of risk. 

Lucky are we to get to pay for and sit through the movies that reflect this strategy.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

About Jill Kennedy

Jill Kennedy - Blogger - OnMedea Jill Kennedy is an Ivy League MBA / refugee from Lehman Brothers.

Manka Bros. (and the Manka Business Channel) hired her (for a very low sum) to cover the world of media (not the world of Medea) in her own words without corporate interference.

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About Medea

Medea Medea was a real bitch from classical mythology - as most famously dramatized by Euripides.

She was a sorceress and wife of Jason, whom she assisted in obtaining the Golden Fleece. When Jason deserted her, she chopped up their children. One could say, Medea acted as rationally as a major media company.


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