Though many fans are still getting over the CG disappointment that was the Hobbit Trilogy, a recent announcement concerning the BluRay/ DVD release might just bring some back into the fold. The extended version of the epic finale, will include a R rated version of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.
Top Trumps is a game that celebrates the versatility of fandom.
Almost exactly a year since the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the follow-up is set to debut. Once again directed by Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug picks up immediately after its predecessor, continuing the journey of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who reluctantly teams up with a group of Dwarves and the great wizard Gandalf to retrieve their gold from the vicious dragon Smaug.
The majority of the cast from the first film returns, Martin Freeman (Sherlock), Ian McKellen (X-Men), and Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) to name a few, but the more exciting news is the additions to the cast that include Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, Sherlock), returning LOTR’s star Orlando Bloom, and Fast & Furious 6 villain Luke Evans. The trailer’s a bit long, coming in around 3 minutes, but it does a pretty stellar job of showcasing the scale of this film. While I wasn’t that excited before, this trailer’s finally convinced me. Check it out:
This trailer is pretty awesome, but what scares me is the trailer for the first Hobbit was pretty damn good too. Going into that knowing this series was set up for a trilogy, I found I was able to simply enjoy it and have fun, without looking for an actually fulfilling story. That worked cause it was simply setting up the characters, but at the same time, it led on that it’d be this epic journey, when in actuality it was a small adventure. This again looks to be an epic journey, and hopefully it can skip the exposition of teaching us the characters, and move past seceding the story to preserve for the third film. Also, the addition of Cumberbatch is always welcomed. Even in voice alone, he is a force to reckon with, and makes me that much more excited for the film.
Lastly, it’ll be interesting to see the ticket sales this time around for the HFR (48 Frames per a second) because last year people were selecting to see it that way to check out this “new form of cinema”, but this time they most likely have an opinion on it (and most likely negative). To me, I didn’t mind it too much, I thought the scenes of character’s faces and of the landscape were beautiful, but the special effects stood out like a sour thumb, and the majority of people I’ve talked to really disliked it.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is due out December 13th.
As CBS will tell you themselves, quite often and with a bit of smugness, they are “America’s Most Watched Network”. I struggle to see how that is possible given that all their shows seem to be the same – either a predictable crime procedural or a predictable sitcom – but apparently people like predictability because CBS sits on top of ratings and has done so for years. They have a lot of pilots in production, a lot is typical CBS fare (I wonder if Chuck Lorre has naked pictures of Les Moonves somewhere, or he’s just made a deal with the devil that somehow the free world will love his crappy shows) but there are a few that look to be somewhat promising.
I’m choosing to believe that this one will be better than the typical crime procedural. I don’t know why I’m doing this, but I am. After NBC decided not to go forward with a Dwight centered spin-off of The Office, Rainn Wilson has found himself on CBS playing an “overweight, offensive, irascible detective as he tries, and fails, to change his self-destructive behavior.”
Based on a Swedish series of crime novels, THR has said that the show would take place in Portland which will be interesting to see if they make the city a character itself. Hart Hanson, creator of Bones, is behind this project which is promising. No matter how crappy Bones has become, it started off quite strong and was also based on a series of novels so he’s in familiar territory. Not only that but any show that has Dennis Haysbert is one I will watch.
[tab title=”Super Clyde & Unnamed project”]
If you aren’t watching Raising Hope on Fox, well then you need to remedy that, immediately. Greg Garcia’s show about a man who finds himself a single dad raising his daughter while living with his parents is easily one of my favorites. Add in My Name is Earl and Yes, Dear and it’s safe to say I’m a Greg Garcia fan. So you can only imagine my excitement when I saw he was developing not one, but two pilots this year. They both have potential and some pretty big names attached.
The premise of the unnamed project looks to have similar plot points as Garcia’s Raising Hope given that it’s a grown man living with his parents. This time, however, it’s Margo Martindale (who is perhaps one of the greatest character actresses ever) moving in with her recently divorced son, Will Arnett while her husband, Beau Bridges, moves in with their daughter Mary Elizabeth Ellis who you probably know as the Waitress from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Add in Michael Rapaport and this is a great looking cast.
One has to imagine that Will Arnett is primed to have a commercially successful show. We all know that Arrested Development is a genius show, but his 2010 sitcom, Running Wilde, was also really good but sadly was canceled after one season. Up All Night had potential but has crashed and burned in spectacular fashion. Is this Will Arnett’s time? We’ll have to wait and see.
If Super Clyde doesn’t get picked up and CBS instead opts for another mindless crappy formulaic sitcom, I might cry. I have a feeling I’ll be joined by quite a few Anglophiles and Potterheads.
Ron Weasley is possibly coming to TV and I couldn’t be happier. Rupert Grint stars in the title role of Garcia’s Super Clyde playing the fast-food worker who decides to become a superhero. Everything in that sentence sounds awesome. If I needed more reason to want this show to make it to air, I’d find it in Stephen Fry. Yes, Stephen Fry. That Stephen Fry.
This show is a fangirl’s dream come true!
[/tab][tab title=”Second Sight”]
Speaking of My Name is Earl and all things Britain, Jason Lee is returning to network TV in a remake of the British crime drama, Second Sight.
I’ll admit that I really didn’t think anything of this pilot until I saw the logline.
[quote]Based on the British crime drama, the gothic psychological thriller follows a detective who is suddenly afflicted with an autoimmune virus that causes him to hallucinate about subjects in his subconscious. He soon learns that catching killers depends as much on insight as eyesight.[/quote]
I have not seen any of the British version so I can’t attest to how successful this premise is, but it certainly sounds different and promising. Perhaps a bit of Medium mixed with Ghost Whisperer with a bit of Memphis Beat added in for good measure. Set in New Orleans, much like Backstrom I imagine the city will be a star as well.
Michael Cuesta is behind Second Sight and if his work on the re-imagining of the Israeli show Hatufim (Cuesta is an executive producer of Homeland) is any indication, the production value of Second Sight should be rather high. He’s also worked on this little show called Dexter that has a few fans so he’s no stranger to big shows.
[tab title=”The Surgeon General”]
Lie to Me, Awake, Commander-in-Chief, Lord of the Rings, Ringer
That’s just some of the shows and movies people involved both in front of and behind the camera of The Surgeon General have on their resumes. Given how much I like each of those shows and movies, I imagine that my knowledge of the Surgeon General is going to go beyond this episode of West Wing.
We have to hand it to Jason Issacs who resisted the urge to burn NBC to the ground after his show Awake was canceled. I don’t think anyone would have blamed him as it was as close to a crime as you can get without actually committing a crime. Now he’s moved on over to CBS and is in the lead role as the top doctor in the country, the Surgeon General. His chief of staff is being played by one of my favorites, Kathryn Morris. She’s done a few things here or there but has mostly been unheard of since her show Cold Case went off the air in 2010.
Both Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings obviously) and Mike Colter (Ringer) are listed as doctors but their roles aren’t any more specified than that.
From Samuel Baum, who created Lie to Me, The Surgeon General looks to be like most other political shows but instead of the President, it’s the Surgeon General. Will this be enough to make it seem like a fresh and unique show? Well Rod Lurie is directing that pilot and he did a pretty nice job making a show about the President seem new when he was an executive producer of the canceled before it’s time, Commander in Chief, so chances are good.
[tab title=”The Crazy Ones”]
BUFFY IS BACK!!!!!
Okay, well sort of. Sarah Michelle Gellar is back at least. After spending a year over at CW with Ringer (a show people should have stuck with as it got much better as it went on), Gellar is teaming up with a little known actor/comedian named Robin Williams for a workplace comedy about a father/daughter run ad agency.
If Gellar and Williams weren’t enough to pique your interest (seriously?) then some of the other cast will. Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine) will play the agency’s art director and James Wolk (Political Animals) has signed on as a copywriter.
Of course having big on-screen names is great, but having TV royalty behind the scenes is even greater. David E. Kelley might not have hit gold with Harry’s Law but one has to imagine that Crazy Ones will find an audience pretty quickly, even if they are people who are just looking to finally have something to fill that Just Shoot Me! void in their lives.
So there we go! A somewhat varied group of prospects that hopefully will see the light of day. If for no other reason than perhaps we can see something else besides Big Bang Theory and NCIS promos on the network. That would be a refreshing change.
Update: As series orders roll in, see how I did across the board!
FOX and The CW
I do love when big releases come out outside the summer because they seem to carry more weight because there is less out there in the movie landscape. You don’t have to divide your attention into several event movies like you do in the summer, as you’ll get usually just one per season that is set to blow your mind. This weekend, my friends, are one of those events. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out and it’s the only wide release this weekend so it has all of your attention. I looked at my Facebook feed on Thursday night and I saw bunches of people posting the pics or statuses of going and getting dressed up for it. It’s these type of events that get me psyched up to see movies because there’s nothing more invigorating than sitting a full theater with all the people that are geeking out about one film. Everyone laughs in the same spots, gets pumped up at certain times, and everyone cheers in the end. Stuff like that gets me excited to go to the movie theater and believe me, there will be a TON of people excited with me. How many people and how much money is to be earned? Let’s get into that right now because this is…the Box Office Predictions of the Hobbit weekend, aka December 14th through 16th!
Of course, we have to see how I did the weekend before. While I did well in terms of predicting Skyfall reaching the top spot, even garnering props from fellow writer Amanda, I also deservedly got crap for saying that Playing For Keeps was going to tie it for first place. That, in hindsight, was a stupid choice. Skyfall did reach number one but it definitely overshot my estimate of 9 million to end with 10.7 million for the weekend. In 2nd place was Rise of the Guardians, which held up stronger than I thought it would, good news for Dreamworks Animation, as it almost snagged first place but got 10.4 million compared to my low prediction of 6.5 million. In 3rd, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 ended up with 9 million, just ahead of my 8 million prediction. Lincoln also powered through my projection and scored 9 million instead of my guess of 7 million. Life of Pi showed some legs as it scored 8 million versus my 6 million I projected. Then of course, Playing For Keeps, did NOT make my 9 million prediction, instead tanking at just under 6 million. I wish I could say it won’t happen again. But I like to keep you guys on your toes.
Let’s do this then. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It’s coming out. It’s in IMAX. It’s in 3D. It’s in HFR 3D. It’s in freaking IMAX HFR 3D! You have several options to watch this flick and at 2 hours and 45 minutes, hopefully you pick the right option for you. Basically the reason I mention all of these is because you’re going to have options that are going to cost more than the average ticket. How it was supposed to be seen is in HFR 3D and you know theaters will tack on higher pricing for those tickets. Plus it’s the freaking Hobbit. We’ve all been waiting for so long to see this come out, almost like how Skyfall was waiting with the MGM bankruptcy too and look at all the buzz that got and all the people that came out to the theater to check that out. We’re due for an epic and this comes at the right time. However, the reviews are coming back more mixed than usual so this will be an interesting test. That and the almost 3 hour run time might bog down on screenings but that never stopped it previously, right? Alright, let’s look at some comparisons: The Matrix Reloaded and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
That’s right, I’m invoking the two most vilified returns to a franchise. Not because I think The Hobbit will trip and drop the torch like these movies did, but the numbers should be similar on what to expect in terms of buzz and people coming to watch their franchise come back. The Matrix Reloaded did an amazing 91 million and averaged 25k per screen despite the fact that everyone came out of the movie and wondered aloud what just happened on the screen. However, it drew so many people excited to see the return to the Matrix so everyone spent money to take it all in. Episode 1 did the same, everyone was so psyched to see light sabers, the force and Natalie Portman on the big screen in an epic return to the battle between good and the Sith. Yeah, after the fact, we knew this to be a horrible exercise in poor storytelling and vision and Jar Jar but again, everyone still came out in droves. While it didn’t pull in as much as The Matrix Reloaded, it did 64 million for the weekend, it still managed to average almost 22k per screen in only 2900 screens. The per screen average is going to be the big indicator on what The Hobbit will do. It’s going to do over 20k easily just because of ticket prices alone and it will fill theaters up and will probably get some repeat customers because that’s what crazed fans do for these types of movies as they want to pick up on all the small details.
So what’s it going to do? Well, here’s my prediction on The Hobbit. It’s coming in to 4045 theaters. We take that number and seeing how there is zero competition out there and that people have been clamoring for this for years, I’d say it’s going to do 28k average per screen. That puts it on pace for 113 million for the weekend. That number scares me because admittedly, I’ve been staring at predictions I’ve seen 80 million to 140 million. I guess this puts me right in the middle so hopefully the numbers will guide me the right way.
I almost don’t even care to predict how the other movies will turn out but we gotta make sure everyone is covered despite the concentration being on those dwarves and Bilbo. Skyfall will dip 45% to 6 million, Rise of the Guardians will drop 30% to 7 million, Twilight will drop another 50% to 5 million, Lincoln will drop 25% to 7 million due to recent nomination buzz, Life of Pi will drop 35% as 3D theaters will be taken away and that will result in 5 million for the weekend. Playing For Keeps will drop out of the sky at 65% and will garner only a 2 million return in its second weekend. Let’s recap, shall we?
[box_dark]1.) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 113 million
2.) (tied) Rise of the Guardians: 7 million
3.) Lincoln: 7 million
4.) Skyfall: 6 million
5.) (tied) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2: 5 million
5.) (tied)Life of Pi: 5 million[/box_dark]
Now we’ll see how this goes and have fun watching The Hobbit and look for our review on Saturday! We’ll be checking it out in HFR 3D by the way with the new frame rate so we’ll see how that goes. Enjoy Middle Earth my friends!