Archive for Movies

The Marvel vs Fox Conspiracy

Posted in A Dose of Buckley with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by adoseofbuckley

If you’ve followed my work for any amount of time, you could probably at least take a guess that I dislike conspiracies, and you’d be right. Mostly I just dislike the people who believe in conspiracies, because they always seem to be bizarre weirdos that you wouldn’t take seriously even if they weren’t talking out of their ass about ridiculous, paranoid theories.

Every group has conspiracy theorists, and nerds are no exception (in fact they’re pretty much the rule). And one conspiracy lately is that Marvel is “sabotaging” their own characters in comic form, specifically characters they don’t own the movie rights to (Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four) in an attempt to drive down interest in the movie properties. You see, Fox owns the rights to these characters, and they aren’t interested in giving them up (The Wolverine made over $400 mil and X-Men: Days of Future Past made nearly $750 mil, so you can understand why they might consider keeping them). Marvel wants them back. So the conspiracy, you see, is that Marvel is fucking up the characters in the comics intentionally. People will then say “oh, that character sucks now, I don’t care about them, so I’m not going to go watch that movie”. Then what will happen in this fantasy world is that no one will go see the movies based on these characters that Marvel has killed or made unenjoyable in some way, and Fox will say “oh, these characters aren’t selling anymore, I guess we’ll just sell them back to Marvel!” and then Marvel will be able to reboot the characters and add them to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and order will be restored. There are just two tiny little flaws in this plan… 1) no one cares about comics, and 2) movies now help drive comic sales, not the other way around.

I’ve addressed the “no one cares about comics” thing before, but let’s go over it again with a different example. In early 2014, Wolverine comics (the series leading up to the “Death of Wolverine”) sold roughly 40,000 copies. When you consider that it’s generally the same people reading a serialized version of a comic, it means roughly the same 40,000 people show up every month to see what’s going on in Wolverine’s world. Now, let’s take $400 mil (the amount of ticket sales for The Wolverine) and divide it by $15 (a slightly high average price for a movie ticket) and you get a number of 26,666,667. That means nearly 27 million tickets sold. Even if every person went and saw it twice (which didn’t happen), you’ve got a little over 13 million people who watched The Wolverine in theatres. 13 million people vs 40,000. Even if Marvel’s supposed tactics of killing Wolverine off in order to destroy interest in the character affected those 40,000 people… even if it affected 165,000 people (the number of copies sold of Death of Wolverine #4, the final issue of the series in which Wolverine bites the big one), that leaves easily 12,840,000 people who are still potentially going to see a Wolverine movie based on this flawed math in which I’m totally downplaying how many people actually watched a movie about Wolverine. It’s a drop in the bucket. That’d only be $2,475,000 of lost revenue (Let’s just say $5 million if they all saw it twice) against $400 million. And this is for one of their lesser selling films, do this example with X-Men (using Days of Future Past’s sales) and you’ll see an even better example. Fox won’t give a shit, that’s not going to be reason enough for them to sell the rights back to Marvel.

The truth of it is… Marvel kills its characters off all the time in order to make money, and in fact uses these movies, whether they own them or not, as springboards to bring them back to the comic world. First, you kill the character, hyping it up for several months before, which drives sales (again, only 40,000 copies of Wolverine’s comic were being sold, which spiked during his death to around 4x that amount). They did it with the Amazing Spider-man, the rights of that character being owned by Sony (Sony, in case you were wondering, is not Marvel. Completely different spelling and everything). In issue #700 of The Amazing Spider-Man, they “killed” Peter Parker, which resulted in sales of over 200,000 issues (before that, they were doing around 50,000 – 60,000 copies sold per month). Then, just in time for the launch of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” film, with interest in the mainstream at peak levels, they brought Peter back from the dead with a relaunch, selling well over half a million copies, their biggest sale in years (it’s settled back into a comfortable range around the 100,000 issues per month mark). It’s all over the Internet right now that they’re going to kill off Deadpool in issue #45 (which, according to some shoddy math that ignores a few issues for convenience sake, will be Deadpool’s 250th issue if you add up all of the different series he’s had), and they’re canceling the Fantastic Four comic, which has the conspiracy theorists once again claiming sabotage by Marvel. Deadpool and the Fantastic Four have movies coming out soon, and Marvel has a few fiscal quarters to pad. SO, if they can get the casuals to buy up Deadpool’s “death” issue and the Fantastic Four’s grand finale, and then get them to buy the relaunch in a year or so when their movies come out, they’re laughing all the way to the bank no matter who’s releasing the movie. Of course I’m sure they’d love to have the movie rights to their characters back again, but I guess they should have thought about that when they were hurting for cash and sold them in the first place!

And how come this theory doesn’t apply to the characters they own? Marvel has the rights to the Avengers, and yet they’ve made some pretty dramatic changes to those characters in the last few months. The Falcon is now the new Captain America, with Steve Rogers becoming a de-powered old man. The character of Thor is now a woman, with the original Thor (the Odinson) deemed unfit to wield his own hammer. Iron Man is now a prick… well, ok, not that dramatic of a change, but far more of a prick than he’s been in a while. For some reason, these same conspiracy theorists will tell you that THIS is all for sales, and that all of these characters will be restored just in time for their films. Funny how that works… no no, they’re killing off Deadpool and Wolverine, two of their most popular characters, to fuck over Fox, but they made Thor a woman to temporarily boost sales and then to boost them again when they have the original Thor take over again. Makes perfect sense… if you’re a drooling paranoid delusional moron.

As for people claiming that the X-Men comics are getting shittier and that they’re doing that on purpose to lower interest… have you ever thought that maybe the simple answer is that it has nothing to do with the movies and they just suck because they suck? It wouldn’t make any sense for them to just sabotage the comic so that no one will read them, the only company that really loses on that deal is Marvel themselves. Then they don’t see any revenue from the movies OR the comics.

There is no conspiracy. If that was Marvel’s plan, it would fail horribly. The audience for the films is NOT the same audience who buys comics. The comic buying audience only represents a tiny, miniscule, insignificant fraction of the movie-going public. You may believe differently because that little fraction is very noisy on the Internet, but you need to understand that you’re not the target audience. You’re the guaranteed audience. They know you’re in. Their goal is to convince everyone else to come see a movie about people in weird costumes saving the world from people in weirder costumes, and nothing they do in the comics will be a deterrent to those people… unless they force them to read the comics to understand the movie. Then they’re out.

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5 Different Movies To Watch This Halloween

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 29, 2013 by adoseofbuckley

Halloween… a time to watch the same fucking handful of movies over and over. Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas (which kind of works for two holidays, way to cash in Tim Burton), something from the Saw, Scream, Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth, or A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, a bunch of weird J-Horror movies about ghosts that have bizarre endings, I’m sure you can come up with more but it’s all the same fucking shit year after year. Well, I’ve had enough. Here are 5 movies to watch this Halloween that probably wouldn’t make your traditional list, but are horrific in their own ways (and as a bonus, they’re all from different countries… have a cultured All Hallows’ Eve this year!):

Se7en
(USA, 1995)

David Fincher has made 3 amazing films (Fight Club, Se7en, and The Game) and a bunch of other ones that arguably range from “meh” to “not too shabby”. Not bad for a guy who used to make music videos for Madonna. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman attempt to hunt down a serial killer who is murdering his victims based on each of the seven deadly sins. Se7en is not really a horror film as much as it is a thriller, but it’s a dark, moody thriller that just never lets up, and I know that sounds fucking cliched but it’s true. From the unnerving opening credits to the grim ending, this is a movie that fucks you up so well the first time you watch it, you wish you could erase your memory just so you could let yourself experience it again.

Cube
(Canada, 1997)

A Canadian horror film with a cast of nobodies (the most famous person in the movie is an actress that was in a couple Kids in the Hall sketches). People talk about how great the first Saw movie was on a budget of a little over a million, Cube was made for $350k and blows it out of the fucking water. A psychological thriller about a group of people trapped in a gigantic cube made up of smaller cubes probably sounds really boring, but within about a minute when the Cube claims its first victim, you’ll shut the fuck up about how boring you think it is. It’s a great minimalist film that has some excellent gory moments (the effects are pretty solid for how much they spent on the movie) and manages to be a pretty fun mind-fuck overall. Oh, but ignore the prequel and the sequel. They sucked.

Battle Royale
(Japan, 2000)

Not a horror movie at all, despite the section some shitty HMVs put it in, but the premise would be pretty terrifying for most 13-14 year olds: What would happen if your entire class was kidnapped, put on an island, and forced to kill each other for sport and because the government doesn’t have a better solution for population control? Battle Royale only recently became available in North America, conveniently just before the Hunger Games hit theatres (the plots are similar, and the author of the Hunger Games franchise claims that they never heard of the novel or the film Battle Royale before writing it, but then Battle Royale is kind of a rip-off of Stephen King’s early novels The Long Walk and The Running Man, and I’m sure someone would suggest those novels borrow elements from other works as well, so… what the fuck can you do). It’s got everything you need this Halloween: violence, creepy Asian girls, a weird bad guy that’s possibly a pedophile, and more violence. It’s kids viciously murdering each other on an island! What more do you need to know!?

13 Tzameti
(France, 2005)

Normally when you think “French films”, you think about a bag blowing in the wind for 45 minutes while a mime cries and it’s in black and white. While definitely horrifying, thankfully that’s not what 13 Tzameti is (although it IS in black and white). Absolutely NOT a horror movie in any way, but similar to Battle Royale in the sense that the situation is the terrifying part. A guy doing a construction job on a private house finds out about an envelope in his employer’s home, said envelope including instructions that could net him a fortune. What follows is so fucking awesome that I don’t even want to give any more away, although I’m sure someone will spoil it for you if you try to look any deeper into it, but the guy gets sucked into a world he wishes he hadn’t. Doesn’t ruin the whole movie or anything if you find out where the envelope takes him (it happens in about the first 30 minutes and the rest is him dealing with the situation), but if you can go in completely spoiler free, it makes it even cooler, so I’m not going to be the asshole to tell you. They did an American remake that’s pretty close to the original (it was made by the same director), so if you absolutely must watch it in colour and in English then the option exists, but don’t be lame. Just watch the original.

I Saw the Devil
(South Korea, 2010)

Before Kim Ji-woon made his American directorial debut with The Last Stand (an unfortunate misuse of his talents), he directed this modern masterpiece. The premise seems pretty simple at first (a cop tracks down a serial killer after the killer makes it personal) but then we get an interesting twist: the cop relentlessly tracks, beats, tortures, and maims our villain only to keep releasing him so he can beat him some more (with unfortunate consequences for all involved). Never let it be said that Koreans don’t know how to make revenge films (see also: Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, both of which could also have easily made this list). There’s a gruesome scene involving an Achilles tendon and a sharp object that makes me cringe every time I even think about it, a darkly humorous moment with a screwdriver, and so much brutality throughout that I couldn’t leave it off this list. Never mind the shitty “jumpy-loud-noise” scares of bullshit modern horror like The Conjuring or those Paranormal Activity movies, this is that creepy, uncomfortable and unsettling horror that stays with you some time after the movie is over.

So there you go, 5 different movies to watch beyond the usual crap we always end up watching at this time of year. The downside to all of these movies is that your girlfriend isn’t going to cutely grip your arm and hide her face in your chest while you watch them and then fuck you when it’s all over. They’re just going to be pissed that you made them watch these with you. Of course, if they do want to fuck you after watching any one of these… they’re a keeper. A weird, disturbed keeper. My kind of woman.