Open Thread for February 12, 2010

Open Thread for February 12, 2010. Overthinkers talk about the Terminator franchise being sold and Bioshock 2.

If you live between North Carolina and New York, you’re digging yourself out from over a foot of snow this week. If you don’t, you have no idea what I’m talking about. And speaking of not having any idea what we’re talking about, how about we OPEN up this THREAD?

First off, in news that readers of this site are likely to care about, the rights to the Terminator franchise have been sold for $29,500,000 to hedge fund company Pacificor. That’s less than 15% of what the last movie cost to make, or less than 8% of what it grossed worldwide. Halcyon Holding Corp was forced to sell the rights to Terminator off in order to pay off its debts – debts held largely by Pacificor. If this reminds you of those plays from the 19th century where the bank threatened to foreclose on the farm unless the evil manager could marry the nubile daughter, well, quit spoiling Terminator 5: Foreclosure, jackass.

Question: if you could acquire the rights to one franchise for less than $30,000,000, which would it be? And what would you do with it?

Ohhh, good for you! McG, you got something to say?

Second, some movie news: Valentine’s Day, The Wolfman and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief all debut this weekend. Critics are largely unimpressed by these three, which should shock nobody. Speaking of shocks, Bioshock 2 found its way into reviewer hands this week, and the worst thing anyone can say of it is that it’s “exactly as good as the first one.” Damning with faint praise? Better than damning with OH HELL IT’S BIG DADDY GO RUN HIDE AAAAH!

Question: Adapt either Valentine’s Day, The Wolfman or The Lightning Thief to a grim, atmospheric first-person shooter rife with complex moral dilemmas. Go!

Call me jaded, but I'd rather pay $9.50 to see the entire cast of Valentine's Day get tossed around by a Big Daddy for 80 minutes. ... too soon?

Did anything else happen this week? If so, we clearly missed it. That’s why we rely on you, our readers, and this: your … open thread!

20 Comments on “Open Thread for February 12, 2010”

  1. lee OTI Staff #

    I’m pretty sure we could buy the rights to “Encyclopedia Brown” for less than $30 mil, then make the aforementioned “Wikipedia Brown” series of children’s books, video games, lunch boxes, comic books, webisodes, MMORPG, etc…


  2. RiderIon #

    I’m in northeast Ohio and I have around 20 inches at my house. We’re slated for another 2 inches on Monday so I’m looking forward to another afternoon of shoveling.

    I’d like to hear our OTI panel’s thoughts on the fact that Pacificor has pledged to reboot the franchise and not continue down the path that T3 and Terminator: Salvation have laid. I don’t think it’ll go well as Hollywood has a hit-and-miss relationship with reboots/remakes. There seems to be 1 Ocean’s Eleven to the dozen Punishers.

    As for what franchise I would buy for $30M, I’d buy Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (specifically the Zyuranger verison) and make it grimdark and make it a bit closer to the Japanese original. For example, the Zords would be sentient and people would actually die. I’d also update the mech and suit design a bit. I’d plot it out as a trilogy with the Green Ranger being the villain of the 2nd film. It’d be epic.

    I’m frankly sick of hearing about Bioshock in general. I didn’t own System Shock 2 but I recall playing it. Bioshock is Just a steampunk verison of System Shock 2 and it really irritates me how much attention it garners. Bioshock gets accolades heaped on it when a game (by the same developers if memory serves) did 80% of the same things over 10 years ago. System Shock 2 was critically praised and the only difference is exposure (as the video game market has drastically expanded in the last decade).

    The criticism that a game is “just more of the same” as a negative seems to only apply when you’re franchise is named Mega Man or Dynasty Warriors. Discuss.


  3. lee OTI Staff #

    I’ll have some thoughts on Terminator later in the day (and in a post for next week), but I wanted to see what thoughts people had on romantic comedies, seeing as this is Valentine’s Day weekend.

    Is it getting harder to make good, non-formulaic rom-coms? Has the genre been totally depleted, a la peak theory?


  4. Bob #

    Franchise for $30,000,000. That’s easy – Star Wars. I think Lucas made $30 million in the time it took me to write $30 million – ;)

    But as far as fun franchise to purchase, I think I’d buy Bond, mostly so I could own the rights to the name “Octapussy”

    @ Lee/Rom-Coms – With everything else in entertainment, it goes in cycles. I think one of the best was Love Actually which was made only 7 years ago. The 80’s had a ton, but the 70’s – with the exception of Annie Hall – had none I can think of. Plus it raises the question “What is a Rom-com?”. I looked at to see the highest grossing romantic comedies were and was surprised to see movies such as ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘There’s Something About Mary’ on the list. I assumed that if a movie didn’t have Meg Ryan in it, it wasn’t a Romantic Comedy.


  5. lee OTI Staff #

    @Riderlon- are you sure that Pacificor has explicitly stated it’s going to reboot instead of crank out sequels to Terminator: Salvation? From what I’ve seen (mostly on, it’s all completely up in the air for now:

    McG claims he has first right of refusal to make the next two movies, in which case he’d make a couple crap-tastic sequels to his first crap-tastic movie.

    William Wisher, the screenwriter for T1 and T2 (and therefore a god in my book), is rumored to have written treatments for two Terminator sequels, but obviously those would in no way be officially associated with any upcoming productions (yet).

    I think I’ve said this before, but at this point I think the way to go is straight up remake with maybe some new twists thrown in. For those who say it can’t be done, I point to the latest “Star Trek,” whose re-imagining of the classic Kirk/Spock characters worked far better than anyone anticipated.

    Filling Arnold, Linda, and Michael’s shoes would be an extremely tall order, but it could be done.


  6. stokes OTI Staff #

    You could actually make an innovative Valentine’s day FPS where the player is Cupid, and needs to go around shooting darts of love at the cast members to get them paired off appropriately. Winning would be a matter of manipulating the environment so that the first person a character sees after you shoot them is the one they’re supposed to fall for. (Note that I said “innovative,” not necessarily “good.”)


  7. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Stokes: Sounds kind of like Lemmings meets an FPS. I approve of that.

    On the other hand, I also like the idea of a “Katamari Valentine’s Day,” in which you play cupid, who has to gather up all of the single people into a giant ball of love. Sure, they may be crushed along the way, but isn’t that what taking a chance on love is all about?


  8. stokes OTI Staff #

    Nice! That would also fits with the general aesthetic of that movie, which is “Let’s just wad a bunch of bankable stars up into a giant ball, and see if it floats.


  9. Tim Peever #

    I would buy the Transformers franchise. I would make toys that were as awesome as the original ones from the 80s (with things like multiple robots forming a giant robot, and ROBOT DINOSAURS), and I would want to make new episodes of the cartoon, but I am torn about the proper approach. I would want to make it something kids really liked watching, but I also want to make insightful science fiction on the level that the new Dr. Who sometimes approaches. “Insightful sci-fi that kids want to watch every time it’s on” seems like it would be tricky, but with the right writer(s), I think it could be done.


  10. Gab #

    Winter Olympics, people? Favorite events? Least? Any events y’all think should or shouldn’t count? Best Olympics movie? C’mon, that’s ripe for discussion.

    If I could reboot anything… This is going to sound like copying, but I was actually thinking _Sailor Moon_ before I even read your comment, Riderlon, honest. Power Rangers has similar sentimental value to me, though, so yours made me giddy. Anyhoo, I’d probably set it up so that the girls all went to the same college or worked in the same building and their past lives sort of made them all gravitate toward each other. They’d be able to do more with their respective elements (when applicable- for example, Mokoto would be able to move trees and Rei would be able to throw balls of fire, etc.) (although Usagi, I dunno… I hate to say it, but maybe she’d be kind of like a cross between Bella and Jasper from _Twilight_, meaning she could make shields and influence emotions, but she’d at least have an awesome weapon to use, too). I’d use more from the manga, as well, since there were some pretty divergent plotlines (like the sword, omg, that sword!) that never got explored onscreen. And I think I’d make it live action. Of course, instead of Ami having blue hair, she’d have blue streaks or something as an allusion. And plus, that way the old rumors of Johnny Depp being Mamoru could be fulfilled. Mmmm, Johnny Depp in that mask and cape and tossing around deadly roses. Yes. Wow, I’m totally rambling, this is way too enjoyable…

    I just read the first two Percy Jackson books, and those would be pretty easy FPSs, especially if you took the term “shooter” really loosely. And actually, what you describe, Stokes, could fit quite easily into it. ::strokes imaginary beard:: Maybe each god, or a child of each god, could have their own level or scenario or something.

    As for rom-coms, I think they have evolved a lot, and the formula is pretty different from what it was back in the day. I don’t know, I still think there are some really good rom-coms out there that are relatively recent, too. It depends on what kind of rom-com you’re going for, though, since there are variants of the formula throughout the genre. There’s the version where A wants B and does all sorts of comical stuff to win them over; A and B hate each other and then end up in love after being forced around each other enough; A and B hate each other in person but love each other in some abstract way; A and B are together but lots of stuff is making it hard for them to stay together; etc. I think some versions are more tired than others.


  11. Sillyweasel #

    Man if I had 30 mil, I’d remake FF7. Updated graphics, no changes to the plot whatsoever outside of possibly making Vincent and Yuffie full on characters instead of side quest types. I always hated they weren’t in the cut scenes. I’d want to open a website to allow other fans to vote on things like possible new bosses and materia, but outside of extra content, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t particularly care about owning the entire FF franchise, just the rights to remake FF7 itself. Also, screw those remade costumes from Advent Children, no no no no no, all original, all updates, ohhhh yeaaah.


  12. Wade #

    If I had $30 million, I’d purchase the rights to the Back to the Future franchise and then lock it in a vault deep underground until I die, at which time the rights would revert back to a charity foundation I’ve set up in the meantime to stop Hollywood from remaking, and thus ruining, perfectly good franchises.

    Of course, the more fun option would be to buy the rights to the 8-bit Nintendo classic Kid Icarus, which probably wouldn’t cost but maybe $1 million. Then with the remaining $29 million, I’d hire the Wachowski Siblings to make a live-action adaptation a-la Speed Racer. Then I’d laugh all the way to the bank as my live-action Kid Icarus movie makes only fifteen dollars (domestic) after I pay to see the film twice.

    It’s probably a good idea I abandoned my plans to take over Hollywood…


  13. RiderIon #

    @Gab: Japan has done two live action Sailor Moon: SeraMyu (the live action musicals that ran for around 4 or 5 years) and Pretty Guardian Sailor MOon (the live action TV show, ran for around 49 or 50 episodes). I’ve never seen the musicals but they expand a lot on the common fan assumptions (like relationships between the Inner Senshi and the 4 Kings from the first arc). I’ve watched about 5 or 6 episodes of PGSM and it’s…different. The girls have normal hair colors but their hair color changes to their manga/anime counterparts’ color upon transformation. It still has the Monster of the Week formula but there’s a lot more character interaction which is always a plus. However, it has a lot of problems when it comes to the action sequences and the terrible, terrible CG they use.


  14. Trevor #

    I don’t think this counts as a “franchise” per se, but the SNL character movies have been universally rank except for the first one (The Blues Brothers) and the first “Wayne’s World, so I’d buy the rights to those, launch the prints out into space, and explode the rocket when it’s a safe distance from the earth’s orbit. Then and only then will “The Ladies’ Man” or “It’s Pat” be the delusional ravings of the one guy who saw them, not cinematic fact.

    I think “Valentine’s Day” is basically “Love, Actually” minus the British people, a co-worker and I were discussing our mutual love for “Mortal Kombat” so perhaps a video-game genius could make something from that premise.


  15. Hazbaz #

    I think I would buy the rights to the Preacher comic Series, and make an HBO-style miniseries out of it.

    It would also be quite fun to turn Terry Pratchett’s Guards novels into Law and Order: Ankh-Morpork


  16. Gab #

    @Riderlon: I had heard of those live versions, too, actually. The whole hair-change-after-transformation thing really caught me off-guard and, really, turned me quite off, when I first knew of it. And I was never into the idea of the sailor senshi busting out into song, either. (I mean, really, I cannot possibly imagine Haruka or Setsuna singing for any reason whatsoever.) But I admit I haven’t seen any episodes of either incarnation, mostly because they’re unavailable (legally) here in the States, as far as I’m aware.

    @Trevor: You didn’t like _Wayne’s World 2_? :(


  17. Sillyweasel #

    @hazbaz Excellent Pratchett idea, I’d pay to see that. Of course, I’d pay to see well,… anything having to do with that mans writings.


  18. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Gab: Overlook the silliness inherent in the very concept of Sailor Moon, and overlook the ridiculous CG monsters, and the live-action (non-musical) TV show is pretty fun. I’d argue it’s superior to the original cartoon version–it’s more concise and the characters seem more realistic. I watched it streaming online a few years ago (likely the same place where I watched the live-action GTO–which is awesome), so if you do a search I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere.


  19. cat #

    I live in NY so the snow wasn’t terrible in terms of amount so much as how it chose to attack in periodic torrential gusts. Oh, and the adamant refusal of NY colleges to close until the afternoon when they realized it might kill us all to keep fighting through it to get to classes.

    The franchise question is difficult. To amuse myself, I’d probably want one of those historical miniseries (i.e. The Tudors, which I’ve never seen since I don’t have showtime.) It seems like something you could continue for a long time. I think what deserves to be revived are those “franchises” with the sequels that never were. 10th Kingdom, anyone?

    Valentine’s Day is following in a long line of unsuccessful romcoms lately, which just saddens me because I’m a fan of the genre. But the romantic comedy has not died yet. It also fits within the vague grouping of those large ensemble pieces with many individual stories that sort of work together as a whole, doesn’t it? Can anyone think of one of those that has actually worked?


  20. Trevor #

    It seems like the romantic comedies are following a pattern established with WWII movies in the Sixties and Seventies, namely to overload your cast with A-listers and fill the screen with lots of scenes of them doing what they do best (shooting up the place in war movies, having romantic complications in rom-coms). And the last rom-com I liked was the very same one I compared unfavorably to “Valentine’s Day.” Granted, there’s a lot of hokeyness to “Love Actually,” but it’s a very well-done film and not everything works out for the characters in the end like in a traditional rom-com (where, going back to Shakespeare, everyone ends up with the person they’re supposed to be with).


Add a Comment