Category Archives: Film

Denied!

The absence of information opens the door to all sorts of rumor and doubt. For months, we lived with the rumor that a Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer would premiere at the MTV Movie Awards (mainly just based on Catching Fire’s promotional schedule, but the fact that the movie’s Brazilian film distributor posted this as well didn’t help things).

NOJust as soon as the MTV Movie Awards were over and… nothing was shown, a new teaser trailer date rumor came to life. It’s going to be played at Cannes! Cannes! Because of a Variety article from January says that Lionsgate will promote Mockingjay at Cannes!  And then yesterday a twitter account that reports Cannes Film Festival news caused a huge stir by saying that a Mockingjay teaser trailer was CONFIRMED to be shown at Cannes. What’s that? Something actually might happen soon? The fandom rejoices, even if it’s still a month away. It’s something where there once was NOTHING.

And then like an hour later, all that joy was again taken away. Because I suppose this rumor went wide enough for Lionsgate to take the trouble of denying it. So, as per the Lionsgate NO MOCKINGJAY PART 1 TEASER TRAILER AT CANNES. On a positive note, we know definitively and we don’t have to live with a month of people getting excited for something that won’t happen. But on a negative note, the lack of any news, the rollercoaster of rumor, and the general delay in any promotion when compared to last year is taking its toll on the fandom. Where there was just once impatience and excitement, there is now annoyance and resentment.

I guess this is what Lionsgate thinks?

I guess this is what Lionsgate thinks?

One does not invest hundreds of millions of dollars into making a movie without also having a very detailed, scheduled plan to promote it. For whatever reason, Lionsgate has made the start date later this year. Whether it’s other priorities or contractual obligations holding them back we’ll probably never know.  I don’t buy the argument that the start was delayed because Francis Lawrence needed more time to work on the teaser trailer. Or at least, that’s a total cop out excuse. Even if a teaser trailer wasn’t ready there are lots of other things that could be done to build excitement for the film – release movie stills or posters, or at the very least run some teasing posts on your social sites. No, there’s some other reason at play here. But as a fan, it’s absolutely no fun.

My bosses like to use baseball analogies a lot in regards to marketing. I’ve been told that if you bat .300 for the season you’re an All Star. If you bat .300 for a career, you make the Hall of Fame. For Mockingjay Part 1, the batting average is zero because Lionsgate won’t step up to the plate and play.

But baseball isn’t really my thing. I prefer the Frozen analogy here. Mockingjay is young Elsa locked up in her room and we’re Anna and really want to build a snowman.

Stop telling us no. We just want to play.

JJ

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The Hunter Games and Other Sad Misunderstandings

FANDOM: Some people just don’t get it. Or they get some fandoms, but perhaps not yours. Sometimes it’s just a little faux pas that’s a whole ton of hilarious.

The MTV Movie Awards were pretty uninteresting and uneventful this year despite plenty of Hunger Games WINNING (Jen for Best Female Performance, Josh for Best Male Performance, and Catching Fire for Movie of the Year!) Perhaps the most amusing moment of the night came just after Josh gave his first acceptance speech:

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JUST LOOK AT JOSH’S FACE. LOOK AT IT!

Yes, there’s not that much of a difference between The Hunger Games and The Hunter Games. It could have been a slip of the tongue, because we doubt Cameron Diaz lives under a rock THAT big. But it’s not the first time we’ve heard someone say “The Hunter Games”.

There’s a chronic thing among people who just don’t get the series:
They can only manage one of the two words.
Either “Hunger” is replaced with any two syllable word ending in -er, or “Games” is replaced with a kinda sorta rhyming word.

The Hunter Games. The Hunger Dames. The Bunker Games. The Hunger Pains. And these are people genuinely suggesting this is the title. It’s exhausting.

We’re sure you’ve heard some good ones too. Even people who enjoy the series (but aren’t super enthusiastic about it) do this on occasion. It’s like a disease! As fans, we’ve gotten used to this ridiculousness, but perhaps it can be cured.

That’s right: They got a fever and the only cure is more Hunger Games. If we all reach out, maybe we can save them from their embarrassing, grievous misnomers!

Advocating, Annoying… What’s The Difference, Really?
The Girl With The Pearl

Mysterious Movies

Mockingjay Part 1 is a really mysterious movie. Keeping things under wraps big time. Sure, there’s a logo, some cat tweets and a few paparazzi set pics. But it’s all super-hush-hush-deny-everything-this-movie-practically-doesn’t-exist so far. Some other movies’ official twitter accounts go crazy retweeting grainy fan-posted set pics and have their actors tease things on their accounts. These things are not for us, my friends. And so we sit here and stew. I think I may be developing anger issues about it, but let’s not dwell on that.

jennifer-lawrence-serena-2I can only imagine how it feels if you’re a person obsessively anticipating the movie Serena. Cause that’s been quite a run of rumor and no confirmed news. If you’re not familiar, this is a movie Jennifer Lawrence filmed with Bradley Cooper back in early 2012. The movie is based on the novel by Ron Rash, which I have not read, but takes place during the depression in a North Carolina logging town. If you read the synopsis, the story gets pretty dark. Interesting, but dark.

Once the filming wrapped, the director, Susanne Bier seemed to take quite a while putting it together. She’s won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, so the woman knows how to make films. It seems like her perfectionist streak was a big reason why the film has taken so long to come together. But, in the absence of other information, there are rumors circulating that it hasn’t found a distributor yet because it’s too slow and boring. This is a prime example where keeping quiet for too long hurts you. Have a PR person issue a statement. Give a short interview with the trade press and quash the doubt.

jennifer-lawrence-serena-1About two weeks ago several stills were released from the film. But there’s still no distributor, and no confirmed release date either. Although there are rumors that it will be releasing somewhere in September of this year.

All so mysterious. I’m very curious about the film, and hope it took so long to come together because the director had a passion to have it made right.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate, your mystery is no longer cute. Promote the movie!

JJ

The Inevitable Final Book Movie Split

When it was announced that Mockingjay would be split into 2 movies, it was a met with controversy. No one was really surprised – the precedent had been set with Harry Potter and Twilight. For big movie franchises, it gives the opportunity for all involved to make more money. It can be a very good business decision. And for fans, when it’s done well, it’s great too. More of the stuff that you love.

Mockingjay, you're painful, but you have solid content for 2 movies

Mockingjay, you’re painful, but you have solid content for 2 movies

As I remember it, people who were against Mockingjay being split into two complained that 1) it was a blatant money grab and 2) Mockingjay is too dark of a book to run for two movies.  And, yes, a big complaint of Mockingjay is that you’re stuck in Katniss’s head the entire time, and Katniss is in a very dark place. Because she’s mentally ill, it can be a tough read emotionally. But the story itself is solid. The world building is solid. The brilliant thing about a movie adaptation is that the perspective can be broadened. In the movie adaptations of Mockingjay we’ll be able to see beyond what Katniss sees, to the decisions made behind closed doors in 13,  the other districts, and the Capitol.  We get to go deeper into this world, so all of this is exciting. And after Catching Fire, we’re confident that Francis Lawrence will be able to execute this in spades. Lionsgate gets a big thumbs up on the making of Mockingjay 1 and 2. Party till it’s November 2015!

But what happens after November 2015? Today came the announcement that the Divergent movie franchise would be following this same pattern of splitting the final book into 2 movies. The pattern continues, and the collective snark about this decision is strong. I know we’re not a Divergent site, but the movies are being made by a Lionsgate company and as Hunger Games fans, we are the bullseye target market for these films. ALSO WE ARE GETTING NO MOCKINGJAY NEWS TO TALK ABOUT, SO -

Another movie gives more opportunity for merch and longer shots of Tobias's back tats?

Another movie gives more opportunity for merch and longer shots of Tobias’s back tats?

I just had to laugh, because no, it’s not exactly a blatant cash grab. It’s a very risky attempt at a cash grab. The decision to split HP, Twilight, and THG came after these movies became mega-successes so it was clear the extra movie would make huge money. I don’t think that assumption can be made here yet. And the odds are even more against if because it’s doubtful that this particular book can support two solid movies or 4 hours of collective screen time.

Allegiant is a very divisive book. The most passionate of fans love Allegiant, but beyond that group, Allegiant is negatively viewed and not just because of the ending. For me, everything I had liked about the first 2 books came crashing down with Allegiant.  I was uncertain about seeing the Allegiant movie at all because I felt so burned by the book. But 2 movies? It’s adding insult to injury.

The negative perception of the book isn’t news to Summit/Lionsgate, so for the sake of their stock price, they better have one hell of a plan to make this work. Best case scenario – maybe some of the elements that are criticized – the uneven characterization, the world building, the plot – can be improved with a good screenwriter and director to create enjoyable and entertaining movies. The movies also won’t be burdened by chapter by chapter POV switching between Tris and Tobias. However, that’s a dicey situation, because if you change the story, your core fans who love the book are going to be angry and may not support it (or just go see it once, which is damning for the profitability of these movies). And you can’t draw in those who read the book and didn’t like it unless there’s been big changes. Major doubts on this decision. Massively huge doubts.

Good luck to all involved, because it was always going to be a challenge to adapt Allegiant, and now you’ve given yourself twice the job.

JJ

The Hunger Games Hacker Theory

OMG OMG OMG YOU GUYS! DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING! IT’S BIG! IT’S EXCITING! IT’S TOTALLY NOT CONFIRMED OR EVEN HINTED AT BUT WHATEVS!

Interruptions from Beetee?! Maybe? Maaaaaybe? Prolly not.

Interruptions from Beetee?! Maybe? Maaaaaybe? Prolly not.

*drum roll*

“THE REBELLION” IS TOTALLY GOING TO HACK THE MTV MOVIE AWARDS WITH NEW MOCKINGJAY STUFF!

At least that’s what the Internet speculates. Who cares if the sources aren’t at all reliable? It’s on the Internet! If it’s on the Internet, it’s totally true!!!1!11!

Okay, maybe that last statement isn’t totally true… but I’m writing this on the Internet, so I’m not really sure what to believe. It’s like a puzzle covered in an enigma swathed in mystery wrapped in bacon. Anyway…

It would definitely be cool to use the “hacking” angle to promote Mockingjay in all its glory. Do we think it will actually happen? Probably not this time. See, when MTV has something special, even if it’s “secret”, they tend to promote the hell outta that bitch through copious hint-dropping and rumors about appearances. Remember Beyonce’s “secret” VMA performance a couple years ago? Was it really secret to anyone?

If there's anything Capitol savvy MTV knows, it's proper propaganda promotion.

If there’s anything Capitol savvy MTV knows, it’s proper propaganda promotion.

But the thing is, these hints aren’t coming from MTV. They’re mores coming from hopeful Hunger Games conspiracy theorist fans on social media. That’s not to say they’re never right, but there’s usually something else to back it up.

So before you go placing all bets on Sunday, remember that there’s still quite a ways ’til November and there’s still filming going on. We imagine Francis Lawrence would kinda sorta REALLY want to oversee the production of the first trailer (we want that too!) and he’s a liiiiiittle too busy for that at the moment.

It’s not that The Hunger Games promotion won’t be handled quite extensively by MTV. We’re sure it will. Commercials? Definitely. Sneak peeks that we’ll have to sit through some horrible MTV original show to see? Certainly. The Mockingjay special with cast interviews? Inevitable. Just not right now.

We’re not gonna sit in front of our televisions this Sunday, MTV. It’s nothing personal. You’ll get our ratings some other day.

If We’re Wrong, That’s What DVRs Are For,

The Girl With The Pearl

The Most Important Award Ever

Help me. I’ve gotten sucked in to the MTV Awards voting thing and I kind of hate myself for it. I mean, they blatantly left Katniss out of the Best Hero category AND THEN made up a “Favorite Character” social vote category and put her up against that other dystopian series heroine. You don’t need even half a brain to see right through what they’re doing.  They’re using the fervor of two fandoms to build buzz for their show and destroy everyone’s social feeds for two weeks. AND I HATE THEM FOR IT.

Yet even seething in hatred about it, I still made a new voting-only twitter account and tweeted the hell out of #votekatniss during the past few days. I know I shouldn’t care, but I want the magical internet pony for Katniss. So I do it, and hate MTV even more for using my love for this fictional character to build up their dumb ass awards show. [And how this will inevitably happen for the next two years as well. I hate when the media manipulates my love for things for their financial gain. Bastards.]

I’m trying to make peace with it and embrace the stupidity. So beyond the whole #votekatniss craziness, I’ve decided that the award I most want Catching Fire to win is…

BEST SHIRTLESS PERFORMANCE

It’s just Oh, So Capitol of MTV.  MTV can try to class up their show by nominating Oscar winners like 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club, but it’s very off-brand of them to do so. The show made a name for itself by having silly categories like Best Shirtless Performance, Best Kiss, and Best WTF moment. No one’s tuning in for another Oscars so it amuses the hell out of me that they’re trying to mix both together and pretend it works. And with the silly categories, just the fact that they call it a shirtless PERFORMANCE feels like they’re trying to class that up somehow too?  Hilarious.

Sugarcube

Go get it, Sam.

Back to the all-important BEST SHIRTLESS PERFORMANCE category, Sam Claflin has some stiff competition among the likes of Chris Hemsworth (the amazingly gratuitous Thor-thinking-deep- thoughts-while-washing- up scene. If it sounds like I’m mocking it please know I’m mocking it with deep love and admiration.), Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, and Zac Efron. Good job at not wearing shirts while acting, all of you.

Damn it though, Catching Fire/Sam needs to take this one home. Why?

  1. Vindication for Sam after all the crap he got when he was cast that he wasn’t “hot enough” for the role. Bam, go away haters. The guy pulled it off. Give the man some inedible popcorn to go with his chicken and asparagus.
  2. Because that scene is actually really iconic in the series. As much as I love seeing Thor pensively bathe, it can’t come close to sugarcubes.
  3. The unabashed mirroring of our world with the Capitol. Just as the Capitol paraded Finnick Odair as a shallow piece of meat, so does MTV.

Suck it, MTV. I can’t wait until next Monday when this is over.

JJ

Game of Mockingjay

christieAfter the long drought of no Mockingjay-related news, we finally got some, but very much on the unexpected side. Today we learn that Lily Rabe had to back out of her role as Commander Lyme due to a scheduling conflict. That’s sad news because she would have undoubtedly been awesome in the role. We were really pleased when her casting was announced back in September.

But don’t be too sad for long, because there are lots of amazing actresses in the world, and count on the Mockingjay team to find one that will undoubtedly be great as well. Gwendoline Christie, best known for her role as Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones, will be taking on the role!

brienne

Christie as Brienne of Tarth

I love Game of Thrones, and Christie’s role as Brienne is one tough woman. She’s a female knight who’s had to deal with an enormous amount of pain and bullshit for being a strong, brave woman in the sexist, oppressive world of the series. No doubt she can take a lot of her experience in that performance and channel it to her role as Lyme. She’ll be a powerful presence and I can’t wait to see her and Katniss go toe to toe.

This announcement also reveals that Lyme is in Mockingjay PART 2, there’s no mention of 1. This could be an oversight of whoever is reporting the news, or it could be another clue as to where the two movies are split. Hmm.

The Mockingjay movies already have a Game of Thrones actress on board with Natalie Dormer, though I don’t think Dormer and Christie have every had any scenes together on the show… yet?  It’s a well-timed announcement, since Season 4 of Game of Thrones begins this Sunday. So if you haven’t watched before, you’ve got some extra reason to now!

Fight on, ladies.

JJ

 

Money, Money, Money

Date check time – tomorrow is the first day of April! Maybe a month where we actually get news about a Mockingjay movie!?! Tomorrow is also April Fools’ Day, an annoying day where you can TRUST NO ONE. So I’m going to hate that. But maybe, after April Fools’ Day we can get some Mockingjay news? I’m dying here.

Happy New [Fiscal] Year, Lionsgate!

Happy New [Fiscal] Year, Lionsgate!

But enough of my desperate begging, did you also know that tomorrow is the first day of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s fiscal year?  Yep, I was so bored with the lack of Mockingjay news, I spent some time on their investor relations site.  Their year closes today, and then the auditors come in to check that the money was counted right. The annual report, or 10-K, won’t come out until late May but it did spur me to check in to see where the final totals for Catching Fire ended up. You may have heard a few months ago that Catching Fire surpassed Iron Man 3 to be the number one US domestic grossing film of 2013, which is especially impressive when you realize the film was only released in 2D and IMAX, not those extra 3D formats that bump up total receipts.  But it raked in even a few more million after surpassing Iron Man 3.

Congratulations.

Congratulations.

Here are the stats per BoxOfficeMojo.com

Domestic – $424,645,577

Foreign – $439,897,616

Total –  $864,543,193

 

That’s a whole lot of money. I doubted that Catching Fire would surpass The Hunger Games’s domestic gross (just because THG’s success was so very massive). Though I did see Catching Fire in theaters 7 times compared to The Hunger Games 4 times, so maybe a few other fans like me did the same thing and ca-ching ca-ching. Happy days.

I had higher expectations for Catching Fire’s foreign take however, especially with all the extra emphasis on international markets (the parties at Cannes, more international premieres, etc). The more or less 50/50 split domestic/foreign is increasingly rare for blockbuster movies. More and more blockbusters make 2/3 of their total box office overseas. Though Catching Fire still made $157 million more internationally than it did with The Hunger Games (and improved from a 60/40 domestic/international spit). $157 million is basically an entire hit movie’s US box office in itself, so it’s huge growth. But I bet there will be a continued focus on getting the rest of the world watching so that the Mockingjay movies are even stronger internationally, and of course, keeping US audiences energized so they can try and top the success of Catching Fire.

Now that the new fiscal year has started let’s start spending some of that marketing budget on Mockingjay Part 1!

JJ

 

 

The Hunger Games Casting Effect

Every now and then, we see a casting announcement for one of The Hunger Games actors and think “PERFECT!” This is especially true when it’s one of the young tributes from the first film, because we get all sentimental about the fledgling careers of budding young actors. They were just baby tributes yesterday! *sniffle*

#Swag #Boss Remember those days?!

#Swag #Boss Remember those days?!

When we heard earlier this week that Dayo Okeniyi has gone from Thresh to a lead role in Terminator: Genesis, we were pretty stoked. Dayo will be playing the adult version of Skynet creator Miles Dyson’s currently unnamed son, who almost met his fate at a young age in Terminator 2, but apparently lived through the apocalypse after that.

In the world of action movies, the Terminator films are surprisingly more tolerable than most, even in their later versions. We’re actually way more knowledgeable about this series than should ever be warranted. There isn’t a full plot breakdown yet, but this looks like the original Terminator retold mainly from the post-Skynet POV. Lots of time travel and all. And whether the plot is good or not, this movie is going to get a looooot of attention for Dayo!

Because that's not creepy... *hides*

Because that’s not creepy… *hides*

The newness of Dayo’s character in the future setting could mean a couple things: 1) Because he’s not deeply rooted in the mythology, he’s easy to kill off or 2) Because the mythology says Kyle Reese and John Connor both kick the bucket, Dyson Jr takes over as leader of the rebels. We’re hoping for the latter, because Dayo is a bona fide actor and we know he deserves better roles than the smartass best friend in a romantic comedy. We mean… his last movie was Endless Love. Ouch.

This, along with roles like Alexander Ludwig on Vikings and Jack Quaid’s upcoming HBO pilot, only helps prove that there were some really stellar actors even in the not-so-big roles in The Hunger Games. We wish we saw more of it! But, ya know, we’re cool most of those actors finishing high school before they bombard the big and small screen!

Who knows! At this rate, I just may have to fancast several ex-tributes in the inevitable “re-imagined” versions of popular movies!

I’LL BE BACK,
The Girl With The Pearl

Josh Hutcherson In Mockingjay Peeta Mode

OMG MOCKINGJAY PHOTO!

Okay, it’s not official, but it’s still pretty freaking stellar.

Laura Simpson, aka Jennifer Lawrence’s BFFL who went to the Oscars to support Jen and spent a decent chunk of it at the bar with Jen’s dad (for which we already love her), posted up a photo of herself and Josh Hutcherson on the Mockingjay set.

BEHOLD!

Mockingjay-Set-Josh-580x573
(Gracias, Jabberjays!)

PEETA! He’s back! …And he got the shizz beat outta him!

Observe the black eye, the burned and bruised chest, and the locket! Oh, the locket! Of course, this is not DURING actual filming because Josh is in a gym sweatshirt, but a scene was either being prepped or just finished.

What does it meeeeean?!

Most likely, we’re talking District 13 scenes, post-hijacking. Josh is wearing THE LOCKET. You know the one! The Capitol wouldn’t be letting Peeta hold onto that. He’s got himself a partially-healed shiner too. Unless Peeta gets roughed up by Katniss or Gale or maybe even Boggs in a newly added scene (though we doubt it, because that’s just asking for THE ATTACK OF THE FANGIRLSSSS), he’s still sporting that injury from the Capitol. He’s also got extensive scarring on his chest from Capitol torture, right? This could be batshit crazy hijacked Peeta!

… At least, that’s the popular theory. BUT WE HAVE ANOTHER!

Remember when Nina Jacobson told us Buttercup was back on set? JJ thought it was time for “She’s dead, you stupid cat!” and thus the ending scenes to be filmed. We think she’s totally right! Peeta just proves it.

The shattered remnants of Star Squad 451 reach the Capitol Square. They’ve been put through hell and are likely bruised and bloodied. When the bomb detonates, both Katniss and Peeta are burned extensively. Assuming we skip over or even speed up the imprisonment and trial of Katniss Everdeen and ship her back to District 12, she’d be there in a few weeks, shortly followed by Peeta. Remember when he gets back?

“He looks well. Thin and covered with burn scars like me, but his eyes have lost that clouded, tortured look.”

Peeta, with treacherous burn scars across his body. Peeta, possibly still sporting a black eye from the battle in the Capitol. Peeta, wearing the locket that ties him to Katniss, still caring about her no matter what they’ve both done during the war. Peeta, planting evening primroses.

*gaspsnifflesob*

Aaaaaand of course, we could be totally wrong. This could be anywhere, at any time. But a fangirl can dream!

We’re Just Assuming Peeta Is Not In Total Distress Because His Hair Is Still PERFECT,
The Girl With The Pearl

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