Archive for the ‘Superman’ Category

DVD Sales: Monsters Vs. Aliens Oozes Life On The Home Market

October 13, 2009

Alright guys, no excuses anymore!  My computer is completely fixed (Really, I mean it this time), and I will be blogging daily from now on.  Let’s get started with the latest DVD Sales Chart and my DVD Sales Notes about Monsters Vs. Aliens‘ great debut.

DVD Sales Notes:

-The new number one DVD this week is Dreamworks’ Monsters Vs. Aliens which starts off with a great $38.2 million.  While this won’t be the sort of power house DVD like Wall-E, which sold over 10 million copies, a first week of 2.2 million units sold ain’t half bad!

-62 years after its original release, The Wizard Of Oz shows it still has some fight in it.  A re-release of the film garnered $6 million this week.

-Between Monsters Vs. Aliens strong debut and the $56.9 million that  X-Men Origins: Wolverine has racked up in three weeks, the DVD Sales Chart has experienced a much-needed injection of strong sales lately.

-Wholesomeness > Skankiness.  After three weeks Barbie and the Three Musketeers has made $9.1 million.  After five, Bring It On: Fight To The Finish has earned $9.2 million.  Barbie will have overtaken the cheerleaders by next week.

-My favorite show, How I Met Your Mother, had a modest debut of $3 million for its Season 4 DVDs, but this is better than it’s ever done before, so I’m excited!

The full chart is below.

Top DVD Sales for the Week Ending October 4, 2009
Rank Title Units this Week % Chg Total Units Sales this Week Total Wks
1 Monsters vs. Aliens 2,193,832 -.-% 2,193,832 $38,198,564 $38,198,564 1
2 The Wizard of Oz 308,453 -.-% $6,022,668 654
3 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 270,719 -57.5% 3,331,637 $5,226,420 $56,917,589 3
4 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past 195,690 -63.8% 735,892 $3,547,860 $12,725,892 2
5 Superman/Batman: Public Enemies 194,593 -.-% 194,593 $3,222,460 $3,222,460 1
6 How I Met Your Mother: Season Four 122,196 -.-% 122,196 $3,053,678 $3,053,678 1
7 Hannah Montana The Movie 103,549 9.6% 2,429,300 $1,973,644 $41,949,225 7
8 Observe and Report 98,942 -55.1% 319,433 $1,977,851 $5,723,993 2
9 Barbie and the Three Musketeers 82,488 -44.0% 629,178 $1,236,495 $9,087,877 3
10 Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season 76,784 -14.7% 425,854 $2,774,206 $15,503,812 3
11 Edward Scissorhands 72,835 35.1% $727,622 474
12 State of Play 72,616 57.6% 632,114 $1,197,438 $10,864,816 5
13 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 72,396 -.-% 7,014,940 $741,328 $102,321,731 35
14 The Office – Season Five 68,667 -11.0% 734,387 $2,314,078 $24,755,404 4
15 Corpse Bride, The 66,912 -.-% $381,398 192
16 Thomas & Friends: Percy’s Ghostly Trick 65,815 -.-% 65,815 $656,834 $656,834 57
17 30 Rock: Season Three 64,718 -27.9% 154,507 $2,439,869 $5,267,324 2
18 Spookley the Square Pumpkin 63,402 -.-% $569,984 213
19 Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins 62,085 -64.8% 238,223 $1,253,211 $4,636,311 2
20 Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford’s Big Halloween 60,330 -.-% 60,330 $512,202 $512,202 160
21 Dr. Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites 58,795 -.-% $381,580 313
22 Crank 2: High Voltage 58,575 1.1% 540,576 $1,094,257 $9,761,554 4
23 Heroes – Season Three 57,040 1.9% 560,270 $2,089,375 $20,896,814 5
24 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Complete Second Season 54,626 -21.4% 124,151 $2,032,087 $4,569,054 2
25 Coraline 53,530 3.2% 1,979,780 $917,820 $36,427,166 11
26 Away We Go 53,310 -.-% 53,310 $928,660 $928,660 1
27 Race to Witch Mountain 53,091 2.0% 1,470,193 $1,076,510 $26,651,879 9
28 Management 51,774 -.-% 51,774 $1,034,962 $1,034,962 1
29 Bring It On: Fight to the Finish 50,678 2.9% 515,567 $835,680 $9,217,537 5
30 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 4 43,928 -35.2% 313,138 $1,201,431 $8,094,089 3


Superman Put In The "Speeding Bullet" Track?

August 2, 2009

IESB has started a flurry of interest in a new Superman film, which is possibly being fast-tracked for a 2011 release. Which, if you’ll recall, is pushing the deadline for WB’s ownership of the trademark before it reverts partly back to the creator’s descendants.

Evidently they are viewing Superman Returns as a bookend to the Donner series, and are planning to move forward. That’s great, though that movie wasn’t a great book-end, I’m thrilled for a new start. It’s not as hard as they think it is, that’s for damn sure.

There are even some director rumors. The Wachowski brothers are mentioned. I have mixed feelings. They gave us The Matrix, a very smart and very action packed movie, with interesting questions and characters. But they also gave us The Matrix Revolution, which, well, sucked like a hoover.

The other name being thrown out is James Mctiegue, with the Wachowski’s producing. I opt for this option, but as of now this is all speculation and rumor. I assure you, I’ll keep you posted.

A World Without Superman

July 22, 2009

There has been a lot of news surrounding the Man of Steel, and not much of it is good. This article here deals the heaviest blow. It explains why, not only might there not be a Superman movie, the character might be completely removed from DC comics and their entire universe. In 2013, the entire intellectual property returns to the heirs of Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster, who first created the character. At first this seemed like a great prompt to get a Superman movie jump started, but it seems Warner Brothers has no plans for that at the moment (more on that later). But it now seems like DC comics might lose their flagship character completely, and that he could be sold to a competing studio. Neither DC nor WB can make anything Superman related without permission (read: payment) to the heirs.

Now, I have suspicions that they aren’t going to let it go so easily. He’s their flagship character, along with Batman, and the two of them have been leading their logo for decades now. I think (and hope) there will be deals made and contracts signed by 2013. But for the moment the lawsuit is proving to be the Kryptonite to the Superman name. And for the moment, WB is preparing for the possibility of a World Without Superman. But the catch is that WB and DC would STILL have the rights to release Superman internationally, meaning if the Siegels decided to go to any other company they’d cause some of the most ridiculous bureaucratic logistical problems they’d ever seen, and I know they don’t want that. Ah, the silver lining. WB is looking to strike a deal, but only one that they believe is economically viable.

If DC loses Superman, do I want to see him with another company? I don’t think he’ll work in any other universe, he’s too established. I don’t want to see him fly with the X-men, he doesn’t work there. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll have to.

Meanwhile, they’re doing exactly what they should be doing with ever character in their arsenal: making shit tons of movies. An article written at the hollywoodreporter shows how the DC movie-verse is on the verge of a storm. Not only is the highly anticipated Green Lantern starting filming soon, but they’re planning a slew of projects with other characters. These include The Flash, Captain Marvel, Green Arrow, numerous graphic novels, a Bizarro Superman, a-

Hold up. They’re making a Bizarro Superman film???

Let me explain to you laymen what “Bizarro Superman” is. Bizarro is an imperfect clone of Superman, with deformities including white skin, backwards thinking, and dumb language. He’s convinced he is Superman, and will say such brilliant lines as “You am no Superman, ME am Superman!” Before punching a hole in a woman’s head. Basically, he’s a mentally handicapped person with Superman’s powers. Why are they making a movie with this guy? This means one of three things.

1. It’s code for a “Superman movie.” This is not uncommon. Superman returns went under the code name “Red Sun” for a while. But this seems like a strange code name.

2. It’s a Superman movie with Bizarro as a villain. This is a terrible idea. Out of all the villains Superman has, they go with the literally retarded one? Now it might be a little different, many incarnations of Bizarro have him being evil rather than dumb, but there’s still so many better villains to use. But since WB has said they’re still stalling on Superman this doesn’t seem right.

3. They’re actually making a movie that stars Bizarro. I don’t know HOW this would go down, he’s never been a starring character. Are they trying to make a comedy? Do they really think this is a good idea? Why do are they afraid to make a Superman movie but they’re willing to make the worst comic book film since Batman and Robin? This could kill the Superman franchise forever… If it isn’t dead already.

In April, WB president Alan Horn said, “Our hope is to develop a Superman property and to try again. What hurt us is that the reviews and so on for the Superman movie did not get the kind of critical acclaim that Batman got, and we have other issues with Superman that concern us.”

This is your reason for stalling? What issues do you have, and why aren’t they present for Bizarro?! They’re making this infinitely more difficult than it needs to be, and making gross missteps. Get your other flagship character off the benches. People will go see him. I don’t know why they think he won’t. Show him punching somebody through a building in a high stakes brawl-comic book movie gold. Superman Returns made 400 million dollars, and received fairly strong reviews. It wasn’t stellar, and it wasn’t perfect, but it showed people still want to see the character.

So they need to work out this lawsuit and get a Superman film underway. He’s an American icon, one of the most recognized characters in history. The Siegels need to realize that and quit playing for greed, and WB needs to realize that and stop stalling.

Superman Court Case Gives Me Hope

July 9, 2009

Wow, I get to write not one, but two Superman articles in less than three days. This is a good week.

And while the first article, found here, delivered some bad news that made me think another Superman movie was hopeless, this one forces me to hold on to whatever shred of possibilities I’m given.

There’s been a rather long-running tension between WB, DC Comics, and the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster. It’s been filled with lawsuits and settlements and all sorts factors I haven’t been able to keep track of. One thing I know is for certain: the heirs own the rights to the title “Superboy,” since apparently it is distinctly different from “Superman.” This means Clark Kent on Smallville can never be called “Superboy,” and that WB cannot release the other three seasons of the live action 80s series Superboy, after they got in trouble for releasing the first. (It’s becoming a completely forgotten event as well, due to the fact that it can’t be shown in reruns either. Essentially, the Siegels and Shusters are strangling it).

Lately there’s been a case involving Superman Returns, and who should get paid, and how much. I don’t understand all the legal mumbo jumbo, but Variety has reported today that WB has won the case, and won’t have to pay any more than they already have (that’s essentially the point, evidently there were claims of a nonexistent “Sweetheart deal”).

But something else has come out of the case as well. From what I understand, in 2013 the “Superman” title goes back to the heirs. This means WB needs to start a movie by 2011. Now I’m not sure if making this movie keeps the trademark in their possession, but either way they’re going to want to make a movie before they lose the licensing. My prediction is, if they DO lose it, they’ll buy it right back up. There’s no way WB would have every DC character except the biggest one. But they have plenty of time to get a great Superman movie off the ground.

Everything I’ve heard about this makes me think less of the heirs of the creators of my favorite hero. It seems they’re trying to exploit him and use it for personal gain more than either of the big companies attached to his name are. They hold him back when they could allow his promotion, putting him in the popular limelight he deserves. Siegel and Shuster never did it for money, they gave us a meaningful icon who has meant a lot to a lot of people. He has become more than a license or a trademark, and while I’m sure both WB and the heirs treat it as such, at least WB wants to make it well known. They’ve made various animated series, movies, and cartoons on the character, and the heirs have the gall to call it “exploitation.” I’m just not okay with that.

And it has crossed my mind that perhaps WB waited for Routh’s contract to expire so they could start fresh. And while I liked Routh a lot, if that was their plan, perhaps they’ll get to work.

I can dream.

Author’s note: I’m having some difficulties with the programming here, so there might be some oddities at the site until I figure it out.

The Future Of Superman

July 6, 2009

I’ve waited patiently for the opportunity to write about this topic, knowing the day would come where something would be newsworthy enough to mention. There have been little snippets about what’s next for Superman, but all those snippets have been uniform in their message: nobody knows. Bryan Singer, who directed Superman Returns, had this to say a little over the month ago:

““I don’t know, I don’t know. There are still issues…I just…I just don’t know. I don’t necessarily…I don’t know. It’s one of those things where…It’s so weird talking about stuff unless I’m about to ramp up and shoot it.”

That’s a far cry from what he was saying in March of 2008:

“The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film. I’ll be the first person to own up to that without making any apologies for it. I knew it was going to be that from the outset. And now that the characters are established, there’s really an opportunity to up the threat levels…Clearly there’ll be a body count [laughs]. From frame one, it will be unrelenting terror! All those teenage girls who found the movie and mooned over James Marsden or Brandon? Well, I’m going to wake them up!”

And then, in these past few days, Brandon Routh, who donned the cape for the most recent outing, revealed that his contract to play the hero has expired, and he is no longer officially attached. He was the one constant I had.

Those of you who aren’t me might not be aware that the Superman issue has been the source of intense debate. How good was Superman Returns? Should there be a sequel or a reboot? Should Routh play the Man of Steel? Was the first film financially successful?

As to that last one, Bryan Singer says it best: “The movie made 400 million dollars! I don’t know what constitutes as under-performing these days.” Because the movie did do well. But evidently Warner Bros. hoped it would do better.

I certainly have opinions on all of these questions, but I won’t try to write them all here. Singer clearly has a lot of respect for the character, he notes that Superman is a harder character to create than, say, X-Men, and that he needed to establish the universe first. He promised the second film would be a “Wrath of Kahn” to the first, meaning it will up the action. Most people correctly asses that the excitement was missing from that film.

My general regard for Superman Returns is this: It was a great film, it wasn’t the Superman film we needed. The cinematography is stunning, the characters are great (with the possible exception of Kate Bosworth’s Lois Lane), and the story was epic. But it wasn’t epic in the action sense, it was a character-driven drama. I applaud Singer for trying something so different with the franchise and the medium, because he took it very seriously. Also recall this was still early on in the comic-book craze. What worked and what didn’t wasn’t entirely fleshed out yet.

But Returns was too strongly stuck in the past, in the Richard Donner, Christopher Reeve era. They used an antiquated Lex Luthor, regardless of how well Kevin Spacey played him. They took an old plot and recycled it, and even went so far as to reuse several lines from the original classic. It offered nothing new besides advanced effects (used magnificently). But we needed something fresh, something original, something big. Superman needed something to punch, and punch hard. I enjoyed the action, and there are some breathtaking moments, but he needed a stronger villain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my favorite comic book films to date, and it did make a lot of money. But it should top my list by a mile, seeing as how nutty I am for the character. It resonated well with critics and audiences alike; it’s the die-hards that had problems with it.

And then there’s the kid. If anything is putting a hamper on a sequel, it’s how you deal with Superman’s son. That’s territory never really explored before, and to me it seems strange to do it in film when there hasn’t even been an accurate transition from comics to screen for the characters involved. The movies have, by and large, stayed clear from the comic book roots. There is a strong science-fiction aspect to Superman that is unknown to a majority of viewers. It was prevalent in the original two, but most young people today have never seen those. I think Singer was planning to bring it in with his sequel, but the fact that Superman has a son who is being raised by a decent man who believes its his, and is in a longstanding relationship with Lois Lane, really put them in a corner.

My solution has been to reboot. Perhaps in the way The Incredible Hulk rebooted, with an abbreviated origin. Fans don’t want to see another origin, because they’ve seen it so many times before, but the layman knows very little about who Superman is. They know Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Kryptonite. But how many know know Jor El? You could ask somebody who saw Superman Returns, and they would miss the ‘Jor El’ bit, or even who this ‘Kal El’ guy is.

But either way, I did want to see Routh in the role, because he played a fantastic Superman. Though Superman Returns had many flaws, Routh was a spectacular. He had the charm, the kindness, but also the hint of loneliness that Superman embodies. If given a different film, I would have loved to see what he could do with it. Hopefully, I still will.

Warner Bros. is sitting on their gold mine, letting the flagship for superheroes sit on the bench during the heyday of the comic book movie. They’re making something difficult that should be fairly easy. Give us Superman, have him be a beacon of hope, give him a villain who is NOT a beacon of hope (Darkseid or Brainiac, perhaps?), let them fight for Earth’s future. Done, can I get paid for that?

Slow News Day: A Shameless Plug For Wonder Woman

May 26, 2009

I mentioned this a while back, and have made a few comments here and there reinforcing it: I’m kind of a Superman/Batman/DC fan. Alright, so saying ‘kind of’ is a very liberal usage of the term… Here’s a shot of my collection, of sorts, something I call my ‘Alter of Superman’ though it has gathered quite a bit of Batman lately.

It’s poor quality because it was taken with the camera on my laptop, but it should get the point across. It’s also a mirror image, so it looks like Bizarro’s S. But if you think it looks ridiculous there, you should see it in person, because it’s much more imposing in real life. I should add that that entire top row of the DVD shelf is filled with various Superman and Batman movies and TV shows made throughout the years…

Obsessed much? Yes. I am. So sue me. But of the DC poster-heroes, there’s a third that gets little love. Wonder Woman. I know, right? Nobody wants to see female superheroes, unless they’re supporting characters in a predominantly male cast. I can hear feminists scream from here…

But that’s the point of Wonder Woman, isn’t it? A strong, female hero. One that can embrace her sexuality in that skin-tight leotard without being a promiscuous, erm, harlot.

Anyway, I never really thought much of Wonder Woman outside of that supporting role. She was fine in the Justice League TV show or when working with the other big guys, but I didn’t really care about, or think it would be worthwhile, seeing her in a standalone setting.

Then I saw Wonder Woman, a recent direct to DVD release in the DC animated universe, the fourth of its kind produced by Bruce Timm, the leading man in the critically acclaimed Batman, Superman, and Justice League animated series. The first, Superman Doomsday, gave a simple version of the ‘Death of Superman’ arc from the nineties. The story wasn’t quite as fleshed out as it could have been, but it gave the best Superman action scene to date. The second, Justice League: The New Frontier, was mediocre. The third, Batman: Gotham Knight, which was released about the time of The Dark Knight and meant to tie in loosely with that universe, was absolutely horrible. Then came Wonder Woman, a movie I bought out of brand loyalty but didn’t expect much out of.

It turns out this was the best of the group, by far. In terms of story quality this one surpasses the others by miles. The only rival it has in action is Superman, but I think most neutral viewers would agree that this was the better film. And critics agree. It has gotten very positive reviews, and IGN ranked it the number 1 straight to DVD animated movies of 2008 (obscure award? Perhaps, but an award nonetheless). Not only that, I learned today that it’s still selling well and is projected to continue its upward trend (hence my promotion). It was released in March and has sold almost 200,000 copies and is expected to hit the half-million mark by years end. The bottom line is: Wonder Woman turns out to be marketable, even in direct to DVD animated format, and the movie is really good. So put away your preconceived notions about cartoons and superheroes and watch it. I assure you, you’ve seen a lot worse (like Ghost Rider).