The resignation/firing of Rich Ross as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, which I suggested was coming when I wrote a couple of blogs on the mentality that produced the disaster of John Carter several weeks ago, demonstrates another point I have made: that the average shelf life of the head of production at a studio in recent decades is in the range of 18-30 months.
An astute analyst of the film industry who had substantial investments in it compiled a list titled “What’s Wrong With the Film Industry?” which included the following points: Read more
“Those whom the gods wish to destroy,
they first make mad”
… ancient Greek proverb
I would add my own corollary to this: those whom the Gods would destroy, they first cause to believe they are gods.
I assume you’re getting tired of reading about John Carter, so I promise this is my last commentary on the subject. The press and the web are full of people trying to explain why the film failed. There’s an article in today’s Los Angeles Times “Calendar” section titled “Crash Landing” (online, the title was changed to “Why did Disney’s ‘John Carter’ flop?”) that focuses on studio leadership – or lack of it.
Yesterday’s New York Times Business Day section had “’Ishtar’ Lands on Mars” that splits its focus between the executives and Andrew Stanton. The web site vulture.com has what I thought was the most interesting of the three articles, “The Inside Story of How John Carter Was Doomed by Its First Trailer” and focuses much more on Andrew Stanton’s role in dooming his own film.
I’ve thought further about my comments in an earlier blog in which I referred to that Great Hollywood Copout, “Nobody knows anything.” If that’s what you really believe, who does know something? Well, the gods of course. Read more
As much research has demonstrated, creativity in the arts seldom consists of producing something entirely new, but in putting together two or more elements that had not previously been brought together. A very large percentage of the elements in film storytelling are to a large extent based on what has come before.
But this does not mean you can willy-nilly combine elements in any which way The New York Times article linked below refers to the 1912 source material, A Princess on Mars (notice the gender shift in the film’s title), as “a bewildering mash-up.” Having now seen the film, I’d say that, if you don’t concern yourself with plot, character, and dialogue (something large portions of foreign audiences without a strong command of English don’t) and just surrender to spectacle, the film is often entertaining. Read more
Future historians may write that this month the Walt Disney Company finally jumped the shark.
The phrase is increasingly used in the film and television industry to indicate that something has reached its creative peak and henceforth will inevitable go downhill from there. The phrase comes from a September, 1977, episode of the long-running tv series, Happy Days, when “The Fonz,” in his identifying leather jacket, performs a stunt in which he is pulled by a speedboat over a penned-in shark near the Southern California coast.
The series continued on for nearly five years, so “jumping the shark” doesn’t mean it’s the sign of the end; it means that something or someone has run out of creative ideas, and it’s going to be downhill from there on. Rush Limbaugh in September, 2011, said Michelle Bachmann had jumped the shark with her story of a woman (who could not be found) who told her after a presidential debate that her child suffered from “mental retardation” after taking a vaccine that was being hotly debated. While it would be five months more before Bachmann dropped out of the presidential race, it was clear even to Limbaugh that it would all be downhill from there. Read more