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More Fantasy, Less Fighting for Freedom…

March 18th, 2010

Well, the numbers have come in for war-themed projects… And they’re not good.

Despite all kinds of critical kudos and a foot locker full of movie awards, Oscar winner “The Hurt Locker” grossed only about $13 million in its intial release, and its DVD sales have been disappointing at best. This last weekend, the $100 million dollar “Green Zone” opened with only $14.5 million, and, during the same weekend HBO’s most ambitious miniseries ever, “The Pacific,” drew ‘only’ 3.1 million viewers in its debut, compared to the 10 million who tuned in to see HBO’s WWII-themed “Band of Brothers” premiere in 2001.

It looks like vampires and werewolves, yucks and toons will rule for a while. After nearly 10 years of two protracted wars, the American movie-going audience just doesn’t seem eager to embrace the drama of battle anymore. Well, at least not battles between humans… They seem to like battles between humans and blue aliens, and among the very few war-themed projects coming down the pike, the biggest deal with human-alien conflict, like Universal’s “Battleship.” On the flip side, Warner’s does have a remake of “The Dirty Dozen” scheduled with Joel Silver and Village Roadshow; owing to the financial success of their partnership, that film will probably go forward. But its B.O. potential is anyone’s guess.


 “The Pacific” will probably improve its numbers in repeat airings, but it is evident that the American public has become glutted with war. Historically, it’s usually meant that Hollywood turns to comedy, fantasy or music to cure its woes, and at least part of that formula seems to be coming true. While there aren’t a lot of musicals on Hollywood studios’ upcoming release schedules, probably due to “Nine”‘s tepid response (and the decline of the Hollywood musical in general), look for more comedies, animated films and fantasy films. Today “Daily Variety” announced that “The Hobbit” star Ian McKellen has ‘leaked,’ via his website, that the first of two (!) planned “The Hobbit” films should begin filming this July. Executives at New Line, which is responsible  for paying for the mega-productions, backpedaled, saying the pictures hadn’t even been ‘greenlit,’ which is Hollywood-speak for ‘OK’d for production.’ But McKellen and New line aren’t really at odds: once scripts are ‘locked’ for production, budgets can be prepared and actual production scheduling can begin. So, if we are to read between the lines, the script for (at least the first half of) “The Hobbit” must be close to being locked. Executive producer Peter Jackson, his partner Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro (who will direct) are writing the script together, and Tolkien fans are undoubtedly eager to see another fantasy epic in the mold of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Orcs? Cool! Hobbits? Even better. But you can hang on to your camouflage fatigues and combat boots… They’re just SO last season…

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  1. March 19th, 2010 at 11:16 | #1

    Hurricane movies, that’s what we need!

  2. Barrett
    March 19th, 2010 at 12:17 | #2

    A good point! Although “A Perfect Storm” and “Twister” may have ‘saturated’ audiences for apocalyptic weather fare – at least until the NEXT compelling storm tale…

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