Tagged: George Lucas

John Ostrander: Quo Vadis, Star Wars?

Let’s see – what were the big stories of this past week? Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy slamming the East Coast and turning off power as far away as Lapeer, Michigan. Yup. That’s the big one. President Obama wins re-election. Wait. That’s next week. George Lucas sells his holdings to Disney and Episode VII is announced.

That sounds like the one I’m going to write about.

Caveats: Although I write two Star Wars comics for Dark Horse, I know nothing more than any of you about this. I was as surprised as anyone when the story broke. I hesitated before writing this column for fear that someone might take this as an insider’s view. It’s not. It’s all just rumination and speculation on my part. We good?

There has been, of course, a cacophony of reaction all over the ‘net. Them underground tubes have been humming. Some praise, some wails of distress, some outraged howls of betrayal. Among Star Wars fans there has been a lot of speculation of what Episode VII would be like. Which part of the Extended Universe (EU) would be adapted? The Thrawn Trilogy? The New Jedi Order? Legacy?

The answer: none of the above. Official response has been that it would be “an original story.” Massive disappointment among the EU faithful and fears that the new Episode VII will make hash of the post Episode VI EU. I fully expect the new film to respect EU continuity as much as George Lucas did which was – not at all.

The reason why? If you’re not a EU fan, how many of those possibilities that I named up above made any sense to you? I’m guessing “none of the above.” The fans are important but there’s not enough of them. The first new Star Wars movie in decades? A sequel, not a prequel? Disney and Lucasfilm are going to be looking for Avengers type numbers and that means it has to be accessible to the general public. Heck, they’ll want it to be accessible to those who haven’t watched a Star Wars film ever. That’s not unreasonable. That’s why Disney made the purchase in the first place.

There are also concerns that Disney will “Disneyize” the franchise. That doesn’t make sense to me. Star Wars is very compatible with Disney as is. Also, Disney also owns Pixar and hasn’t messed with that so far as I can see. They own Marvel Comics and Marvel seems to be doing what Marvel does without much change, again so far as I can see.

Not every change is bad. I was one of the doubters when Paramount announced a re-boot of Star Trek. I ended up loving it. I also doubted when Daniel Craig was announced as James Bond. A blonde James Bond? That was just wrong. Now – I think Craig is one of the absolute best Bonds and I can’t wait for Skyfall.

There also has been speculation that the Star Wars comics would move from Dark Horse to Marvel Comics. Here you might think I have some reliable info, but I don’t. Dark Horse has the license at the moment; it was just renewed a few years back. Dark Horse is taking a wait-an-see approach and so am I.

There is history; the Disney Comics were at Boom! before Disney bought Marvel and then they got moved to Marvel Comics. And it would make sense, I suppose, to move the comics to the comic company Disney owns. On the other hand, several of the movie franchises are at studios other than Disney.

As I said, Dark Horse has a license. I have a vested interest to be sure – I have two SW titles out at Dark Horse, Agent of the Empire (the new arc, Hard Targets, has just started and the first arc, Iron Eclipse, has just been released in TPB form) and Dawn of the Jedi (the first arc, Force Storm, will be released on Christmas day, and the new arc, The Prisoner of Bogan, will be released November 28 and, yes, I’m hyping my own product, thank you very much). I’ve worked on Star Wars comics for about ten years. Would that continue if the license moved to Marvel? Beats me.

So is all this a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a thing. George Lucas has been talking about retiring for some time so it makes sense that he found a good home for his creations. He’s still around and I suspect he’ll have as much say as he wants in what happens. Things will change and that includes EU continuity. Does that bother me?

Not really. I don’t own any of the characters that I’ve worked on in the comics any more than I own any characters that I created at Marvel or DC. (I have a financial stake in Amanda Waller and that’s sweet but not ownership.) Fans often evince a feeling of ownership of Star Wars (or Harry Potter or Twilight or any other fan intensive franchise) but that’s not reality.

What we have (and I’m a fan as well) is hope, in this case maybe a new hope, that Episode VII will be everything we want in a Star Wars movie and the stories that come out of it and surround it will also be cool. Why do I hope? Because it’s in Disney’s best interest to do it right.

The galaxy will be watching.

Monday: Did Sandy Get Mindy?

 

George Lucas is betting Barack Obama will win re-election

Time 100 2006 gala, George Lucas.

By now, you’ve heard that Lucasfilm has been sold to The Walt Disney Corporation for $4.05 billion dollars. You also see that we’ve discussed what this could mean for Star Wars, Disney, Dark Horse Comics, and many other players. However, what you may not realize is that this also means that George Lucas thinks that the Force is with Barack Obama and in six days, he will win re-election as President of the United States.

Why? Because of what will happen on January 1st.

That’s the day when the Bush Tax Cuts are scheduled to expire. Right now, the current rate on income from corporate dividends and long-term capital gains is 15 percent. With the Bush cuts gone, those numbers would jump to 39.6 percent on dividends and 20 percent on gains.

George Lucas founded Lucasfilm in 1971 and is the sole shareholder. So all the long-term capital gains go straight to him. He would stand to pay an extra 5% on the purchase price, an additional $202.5 million dollars in taxes if he delayed the transaction to 2013.

Now, it should be noted that one of the few things Mitt Romney’s told us about his tax plan is that he plans to keep the 15 percent maximum rate on long-term capital gains and most dividends for taxpayers with income of more than $200,000 per year. So if Romney wins the election, Lucas doesn’t get a bigger tax bill.

But Lucas isn’t doing that– he’s acting now. Ergo, he thinks there’s a significant chance that Romney will lose and that the risk is too big to take.

DISNEY ACQUIRES LUCASFILM

George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm Ltd. to the Walt Disney Company. Disney announced plans for new Star Wars movies to premiere beginning 2015.

Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.

Acquisition continues Disney’s strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.

Lucasfilm to join company’s global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel Comics, and ABC.

STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.

You can read the full (lengthy) press release at http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/disney-news/press-releases/2012/10/disney-acquire-lucasfilm-ltd.

There has been no news as yet regarding the future of Lucasfilm’s beloved pulp adventurer, Indiana Jones.

Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4 Billion; ‘Star Wars 7’ Coming In 2015

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In a deal that rivals the size of its Marvel purchase, Disney has just confirmed that it has agreed to acquire George Lucas’ Lucasfilm Ltd, including all rights to the Star Wars franchise. The companies have also announced a 2015 release for Star Wars: Episode VII. The stock and cash transaction is worth an estimated $4.05 billion, and a conference call is going on right now to discuss the deal.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger in a release announcing the deal. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

But Disney is paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing based on Disney’s stock price on October 26. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm chairman and founder Lucas.

via UPDATE: BREAKING: ‘Star Wars 7’ Slated For 2015 Release As Disney Buys Lucasfilm – Deadline.com.

We’ll note that this deal is happening on a day that the New York Stock Exchange is closed, so the impact of such a huge announcement on Disney’s stock price is minimized.

A quick note: Avengers 2 is also scheduled for 2015. One wonders how scheduling for these two mega-blockbusters is going to shake out.

We’ll have more news as we know about it.

Mixed Review: Dredd, and Martha, and Mike

Mike Gold: So. How did Dredd 3-D compare to the first attempt?

Martha Thomases: So much better! Karl Urban looked the part. The set, while not looking like the comics, had the gritty spirit of the comics. And the violence was terrifically cartoony.

And no Rob Schneider, although I did think he was the best thing about the first one.

Mike: Back in 1995 I went in to the theater with really low expectations, given the Sylvester Stallone / Rob Schneider leads. They managed to live up to those expectations. This new one had enough blood to make Sam Peckinpah gag, but I dug it. It was meaningful blood.

I admire Urban playing true to the character and never taking the helmet  off. Sly put his money right there on the screen. Sadly.

Martha: Urban kept his face still and his voice growled. I can remember the other characters. The kid who worked the computer for the bad guys has stayed in my mind. Those eyes. Dredd 3-D reminded me of Escape From New York more than Peckinpah.

Mike: Good point. Although Escape From New York reminded me of Grand Central Terminal at evening rush.

Lots of solid special effects with the eyes. It was a signature thing with this movie. I liked how both women leads looked like they had been drawn by Ian Gibson, which was exactly the right thing. The growling was right on target, although I’m afraid some people will think he was imitating Batman.

Martha: I also liked the way the women weren’t played as sexy femme fatales nor damsels in distress. None were there to be love interests, not even Judge Anderson. Although in a society where everything is filthy and no one can get a close shave, I am impressed that they take the time to pluck their eyebrows.

Mike: This one was very faithful to the comics, both in tone and in detail. You’re right about the cityscape, and the blocks looked more realistic (and less ironic) than in the comics.

They really understood their source material… maybe because the 2000AD publisher co-produced it. The dog wagging the tail, as opposed to the Warner Bros. approach.

Martha: I couldn’t tell when it went from real to matte/CGI. The city looked quite believable.

Mike: Like the Tales from the Crypt teevee show, they added nasty language to the dialog. Unlike Tales from the Crypt, no nudity. Which was fine: I, for one, would have to pluck my eyes out after seeing Judge Dredd naked.

Martha: But a naked Dr. McCoy would be a delight!

Mike: Yeah, that’ll be in Star Trek 2.2 for sure! Just to feel Spock’s indifference.

I did flash on how cool it would have been to have Joan Jett as the villain, but Lena Headey was absolutely great.

Martha: I don’t know who should get the credit for Urban’s performance. It was very flat, which is exactly right. Kind of show-offy in a non-show-offy way. I assume the director told him to do that.

Mike: Judge Dredd dominates. Unlike the comics, he can’t be unrealistically one head taller than everybody else so his performance had to make it seem that way. Given how everything was covered up except for his jaw and mouth, all he had to work with was his voice. Which came off great.

Martha: If I have a problem, it’s the McGuffin made no sense. It’s a drug called SloMo, which slows one’s perception of time. If you’ll living a wretched slum, why is that something you would want to do?

Although taking a bath on SloMo sure was pretty.

Mike: I agree with that, although heroin is much the same way – except you also get to distance yourself from your lousy reality. But it worked well for the big finish.

Martha: It worked for the torture threats, too. Made the bad guys seem really, really bad.

Mike: I think the middle of the movie was too drawn out. When Steven Moffatt wrote the Rowin Atkinson Doctor Who, he said the show was about chase scenes through endless corridors. In Dredd 3-D, they seem to think this was a good idea.

Martha: I kept thinking video games. I thought we going to have to go through all 200 levels.

Mike: The outrageousness of the early Dredd stores has since become commonplace in our culture. It lost all its shock value. And as much fun as that was, I think they were smart to avoid that today. It would have turned the movie into a comedy. But without Rob Schneider.

Martha: I eagerly await the Judge Death storyline.

Mike: Yeah, I hope it does well enough for a sequel. Not too sure about that, although the reviews weren’t universally horrible. Two-thirds were at least fairly positive.

What did you think of the Real 3-D?

Martha: It made the SloMo parts really pretty.

Mike: This is the new second move – ever – where I liked the 3-D effects, the first being The Avengers. This was actually better. But those middle scenes lacked ‘em, making them even slower for me.

Martha: Otherwise, it was subtle enough that I focused on the movie.

Mike: Good point. The gimmicks should never outweigh the story or the performances. Just try telling that to George Lucas.

Martha: The sparkle in the SloMo 3D is the only reason I could imagine the drug was any fun.

Mike: So, kids, just say no to drugs unless you’re in a 3-D theater. ComicMix cares.

Martha: 3-D Pixar movies are great in 3-D.

Mike: Yeah, well, personally I’m not a big fan of that animation style. This makes me very lonely. And they’re a waste of Randy Newman’s considerable gifts.

Martha: We will have to agree to disagree about that.

Mike: So I infer you liked Dredd 3-D… a lot?

Martha: A bunch. I would recommend it. I hope it does well so Box Office Democracy covers it. I should warn you that I did not hate the TotalRecall remake, so my opinion might not matter.

Mike: Of course your opinion matters. Consensual reality doesn’t apply to movies. And nice job plugging Box Office Democracy!

I would certainly recommend it to action movie fans and absolutely to comics fan. I think my response is about 90% of yours.

Martha: I would be interested to know how this movie is received by those who don’t know the comic.

Mike: I will be interested to see how it does in the UK as opposed to North America.

What are you looking forward to next?

Martha: I want to see Looker. I still haven’t seen The Master. And Bond. James Bond. The Man with the Iron Fists. Django Unchained. Cloud Atlas – the new Wachowski film. I am a social butterfly!

Mike: The trailer for Iron Fists was great, although you already warned me. It’s made by Michael Davis’s buddy Rza. And, yeah, as always I’m looking forward to the next Bond. Us baby boomers and our James Bond fetish.

That Ben Afflick movie Argo looks interesting. Then again, I’m hoping he’s in Avengers 2 as well. Or Captain America 2. Just to piss the hardcore off.

Martha: I love Ben. I even loved Jersey Girl.

I find that, if there is a theme in my movie preferences of late, it’s that I like to see cute guys in peril.

Mike: Damn. So Daniel Craig is cute? He doesn’t do that much for me. But M…

Martha: Is she in peril in the new one? I think the new Q is adorable.

So, yes, I think all ComicMix readers should go see this… if only to participate in this discussion in the comments.

Mike: Ever vigilant about the page hits! I agree, on both subjects. Thanks, Martha! We’ll see you here next week!

 

All Four Indiana Jones Movies to Receive a 1-Day Marathon

All Four Indiana Jones Movies to Receive a 1-Day Marathon

Yesterday, it was all about Raiders of the Lost Ark being screen in IMAX. Now we get word that AMC theaters will run all four feature films starring Harrison Ford as a one-day marathon. Read on…

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. and KANSAS CITY, Mo. (August 16, 2012) – Director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas’ legendary film series is returning exclusively to AMC Theatres® for an unforgettable cinematic event: a one-day-only marathon presentation of all four Indiana Jones films on the big screen. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, and INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL will be presented in order on 69 AMC screens across the country on Sept. 15.

“For film fans of all ages, this is an extraordinary opportunity to see every exhilarating moment of Indiana Jones’ adventures on the big screen,” said Robert J. Lenihan, president of Programming at AMC.  “We are thrilled to present this exciting one-day event as fans gear up for the arrival of all four Indiana Jones films on Blu-ray.”

The marathon begins at 10:30 a.m. Participating AMC locations and advance tickets are available now at amctheatres.com/indianajones. AMC Stubs members who purchase a ticket to the marathon prior to Sept. 15 will receive $5 Bonus Bucks on their AMC Stubs account, valid the day of the event.

INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures will make its highly-anticipated Blu-ray debut on Sept. 18from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution.  In addition to all of Indy’s thrilling adventures, the set features seven hours of fascinating bonus material, including a brand new two-part documentary entitled “On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark.”  Featuring nearly an hour of rarely seen footage from the set of the film and archival interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford, this captivating piece transports fans back to where the legend began.

Raiders of the Lost Ark gets IMAX Theatrical Run

Raiders of the Lost Ark gets IMAX Theatrical Run

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 15, 2012) – The cinematic classic that introduced the world to Indiana Jones is ready to embark on a new adventure when director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas’ unforgettable Raiders of the Lost Ark is released for an exclusive one-week engagement in select IMAX® theatres beginning September 7, 2012.  The film has undergone a complete restoration for the IMAX exclusive one-week release and subsequent debut on Blu-ray. Tickets and a list of participating theatres are available starting today at www.imax.com.

“When I saw the stunning quality of the picture and heard the enhanced sound in an IMAX theatre, I was quite literally blown away and hope that audiences will enjoy the experience as much as I did,” said Spielberg.

“We are honored to present all the excitement of Indiana Jones in a way it’s never been experienced before – IMAX,” said Greg Foster, Chairman & President, IMAX Filmed Entertainment.  “We look forward to celebrating this iconic film with longtime fans as well as a new generation of moviegoers.”

The IMAX release of Raiders of the Lost Ark will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

Under the supervision of Spielberg and renowned sound designer Ben Burtt, Raiders of the Lost Ark has been meticulously restored with careful attention to preserving the original look, sound and feel of the iconic film for its highly-anticipated release on Blu-ray as part of INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures.  Every extraordinary exploit of world-renowned, globetrotting hero Indiana Jones finally comes home in sparkling high definition on September 18, 2012 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution.  In addition to all of the thrilling adventures, the set features seven hours of fascinating bonus material, including a brand new two-part documentary entitled “On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark – From Jungle to Desert and From Adventure to Legend.”  Featuring nearly an hour of rarely seen footage from the set of the film and archival interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford, this captivating piece transports fans back to where the legend began.

Lucasfilm, Indiana Jones™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.  All rights reserved.  All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

Indiana Jones The Complete Adventures Blu-ray Bonus Features Announced

It was 30 years ago, that magical summer when we had our minds blown with amazing regularity. Among the highlights, of course, was this collaboration between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. as they channeled their childhoods into something new and delightful for the present generation. We’ve been awaiting this collection and share with you the press details about what you will find in addition to the four films.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 7, 2012) – Every unforgettable exploit of world-renowned, globetrotting hero Indiana Jones finally comes home with pristine picture and sound when INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures debuts on Blu-ray September 18, 2012 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution. The cinematic classic that started it all—Raiders of the Lost Ark—has been meticulously restored under the supervision of director Steven Spielberg and sound designer Ben Burtt.  Additionally, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade have both been remastered alongside 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull making this landmark release the first time all four films in the epic and award-winning franchise have been available together in sparkling high definition. INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures will also be available on iTunes, so the adventure is just a click away!

In addition to all of Indy’s thrilling adventures, the set includes seven hours of fascinating documentaries, featurettes and interviews with cast members and filmmakers.  This comprehensive collection of behind-the-scenes bonus features is augmented by a brand new two-part documentary entitled “On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark – From Jungle to Desert and From Adventure to Legend.”  Featuring nearly an hour of rarely seen footage from the set of the film and archival interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford, these captivating pieces transports fans back to where the legend began.

Raiders of the Lost Ark has been painstakingly restored with careful attention to preserving the original look, sound and feel of the iconic film.  The original negative was scanned at 4K and then examined frame-by-frame so that any damage could be repaired.  The sound design was similarly preserved using Burtt’s original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981.  New stereo surrounds were created using the original music tracks and original effects recorded in stereo but used previously only in mono.  In addition, the sub bass was redone entirely up to modern specifications and care was taken to improve dialogue and correct small technical flaws to create the most complete and highest quality version of the sound possible while retaining the director’s vision.

Disc Specifications:

Disc 1—Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:

  • Teaser Trailer (HD)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD)
  • Re-Issue Trailer (HD)

Disc 2—Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:

  • Teaser Trailer (HD)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD)

Disc 3—Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:

  • Teaser Trailer (HD)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD)

Disc 4—Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the following:

  • Theatrical Trailer #2 (HD)
  • Theatrical Trailer #3 (HD)
  • Theatrical Trailer #4 (HD)

Disc 5—Bonus Features

Bonus features are presented in standard and high definition (as indicated below) in English with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

  • NEW – On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark
    • From Jungle to Desert
    • From Adventure to Legend
  • Making the Films
    • The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 documentary previously unavailable on DVD)
    • The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark
    • The Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    • The Making of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    • The Making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (HD)
  • Behind the Scenes
    • The Stunts of Indiana Jones
    • The Sound of Indiana Jones
    • The Music of Indiana Jones
    • The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones
    • Raiders: The Melting Face!
    • Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies (with optional pop-ups)
    • Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations (with optional pop-ups)
    • Indy’s Women: The American Film Institute Tribute
    • Indy’s Friends and Enemies
    • Iconic Props (Crystal Skull) (HD)
    • The Effects of Indy (Crystal Skull) (HD)
    • Adventures in Post Production (Crystal Skull) (HD)

Michael Davis: Once You Go Black, Part 3

If you have not done, so please read last week’s article. Thanks.

I’ve encountered quite a few things in my Hollywood journey. Some great some not so great and some that really sucked.

Really sucked.

I once sold a show on a Monday morning and by Monday night the show was gone and so was my deal.

I once had a great idea for a reality show. I took the idea to a huge Hollywood player with the intention of making him the host of the show. He loved my idea. He loved my idea so much he tried to sue me and take the show. The show I created and asked him to be a part of.

One of the fun things about Hollywood is finding project financing. That’s always the highlight of any deal…not.

My partner in one particular deal was the fantastic writer, TV producer and now huge young adult novelist E. Van Lowe. E (yes, I call him E) and I spent a weekend in San Francisco securing funding for this great project.

We were a well-oiled money getting machine that weekend. We pitched the project like major league all stars and the money people were so impressed we had a yes before we left to go back to L.A. In fact, the meetings went so well that after we sold the idea and spent the rest of the weekend in the city by the bay just hanging out and celebrating our new fully financed deal!

Monday morning bright and early we boarded our flight secure in the knowledge that we were about to make television history!

When we touched down in LAX all was right in the world. E dropped me off at my house and before he left he took a phone call.

The deal was dead.

Dead like Lincoln. What happened? Or in hood speak, What had happened? Why hood speak? Because this is an article about blacks in the entertainment field and unless I throw in some hood speak many in Hollywood won’t take this seriously.

I know, I know. It’s pandering but you have to understand there are some in Hollywood that thinks my Ph.D. stands for pretty hard dick.

Well, continuing hood speak, what had happened was a third partner had decided she had not contributed enough to the closing of the deal so while E and I were happily flying to L.A. that bright Monday morning, she who must not be named was having a talk with the investors at breakfast.

Neither E nor I had any idea she was having this talk, and what a talk it was. She talked us right out of the deal.

Ah yes, there’s no business like show business!

I’ve got more horrible yet uplifting to my enemies stories but I’d best get to the point. In the blah blah years I’ve been doing the Hollywood thing I’ve had some great experiences and some (obviously) not so great experiences. Rather great or sucky I’ve never had a deal go south because I was black.

You would think that the way some in Hollywood react to black properties that would be the standard issue rejection.

Dear Michael Davis,

Thanks for coming in to pitch Negro Stories: Stories about black People.

Unfortunately, although we loved the concept, we could not help but notice there were many segments about black people in your pitch.

We completely understand the need for more diversity on TV but we are a business and everyone knows that black does not sell.

Sorry, homie.

Sincerely,

Ian White

Executive, Fox Studios

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that black doesn’t sell or black is death and many more asinine statements regarding black properties in the entertainment business.

Think about this for a moment. There are people running studios, networks and comic book companies in 2012 that think that black doesn’t sell. These people think that America will not pay to watch black people entertain them.

That’s as stupid as thinking that just because I’m a black man I have a huge peni…nope, wrong example. That’s as stupid as thinking global warming is a myth. Global warming has been proven without a shadow of a doubt. Those people who refuse to believe in it despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary do so, in my opinion, because they simply don’t want to believe it.

Who denies facts? Well the GOP for one, and many in the entertainment business for sure.

Black doesn’t sell?

Really?

Here’s a news flash, Hollywood. Young people drive Hollywood revenue. Young people decide what’s hot and what’s not. Pop culture is a young person’s playground.

Here’s the kicker. Black culture is youth culture. Let me be clear, African American culture is youth culture all over the world.

It’s our swagger that drives pop culture. That’s our music your kids are listening too. That’s our style of dress you kids are wearing, that slang you don’t understand comes from us. That’s us who dominates sports, that’s our dance your daughter is trying to do…badly.

The film Heaven’s Gate was made for what was in 1980 an unheard of budget of 50 million dollars. That’s like 75 billion dollars in 2012 money. OK, maybe I’m a tad off but it’s not a stretch to think that in 2012 dollars that 50 million would be upwards of 300 million or more even.

Heaven’s Gate made three million dollars.

Damn! That, as they say in the hood, is ghetto!

Now that would be bad enough if the lost was just 47 million but the lost was much more. The budget was 50 million to make the movie. The adverting and marketing costs added millions more to that sum.

Result?

Heaven’s Gate just may be the worst box office disaster in the history of the world…that and The Spirit. Sorry, Frank.

Using the Hollywood formula applied to black movies that box office performance should have prevented another western from being made for years and years. When a black movie fails Hollywood loses its mind and then it’s years before another black movie is made because black means death and black doesn’t sell.

Here’s what I think, when any movie fails, black or white it’s because the movie could not find its audience for whatever reason… or perhaps it’s because the movie sucked.

George Lucas wrote a $58 million dollar check to produce Red Tails, an all black film about the Tuskegee Airmen. He said in an interview that Hollywood did not want to fund the movie because they did not know how to market it.

Translation: black equals death.

The movie did not do well. Here’s my guess why that was. It wasn’t a great movie.

Duh.

I wanted to like it but there were too many plot issues for me and the film seemed a bit contrived. The movie was the problem, not the racial element.

According to some in Hollywood, when a black movie fails its because it was a black movie – when any other movie fails it’s because of a zillion other reasons.

If that’s not the world is flat thinking then I really don’t know what is.

I’m amazed at the sheer idiotic thinking of some in Hollywood.

Black doesn’t sell?

Will Smith.

Black doesn’t sell?

Oprah Winfrey.

Black doesn’t sell?

Tyler Perry.

Black doesn’t sell?

Blade.

Black doesn’t sell?

Hancock.

Black doesn’t sell?

Jamie Foxx.

Black doesn’t sell?

Spawn.

Black doesn’t sell?

Denzel Washington

Black doesn’t sell? Bullshit, Mr. Hollywood, simply bullshit. The above list is a very short one to be sure but I think it makes the point rather well.

I think the problem is not that black doesn’t sell Mr. Hollywood but rather you don’t know how to sell black.

End, part 3.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten wants stuff!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold takes on Secret Identities!

 

Happy 35th Anniversary, Star Wars– thanks for saving the comic book industry!

A long time ago… 35 years, to be precise… what were you doing?

On May 25th, 1977, theaters across the country premiered a little film that you might have heard of… and thereby saved the comic book industry. After the Star Wars comic came out, Marvel sold millions of copies, going back to press for numerous reprintings and outselling Marvel’s best-selling title Amazing Spider-Man by a factor of five.

So thank you, George Lucas, Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, for that six issue miniseries that staved off the Marvel Implosion.

For more information, read Jim Shooter’s take on how Roy Thomas saved Marvel, and the more detailed history at io9.