Archive for the ‘The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader’ Category

New And News: I See Estranged Brothers, Vampires, And Armored Cars! How Is Everything Fine?!

November 30, 2009

Every Monday, it’s time for New And News, where we accomplish two things in one column.  First, I look ahead and preview each of the new releases for the upcoming week.  Then, I look back and collect some of the news articles that I found most interesting over the past week.  This time around, four new films are hitting screens, and if nothing else, we’ve certainly got a diverse crop of movies on our hands.  Let’s get started:

New:

Everybody’s Fine (Miramax) – 2,200 theaters – Reviews

This is a dramedy starring Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale, and Drew Barrymore about a widower trying to strengthen his relationships with his children.  This is trying to tap into the same niche as The Family Stone did in 2005 on its way to $60 million. With a super-marketable story and wholesome values, I’d expect this find a large family (and elderly) audience, and the schmaltzy feature to do pretty well over the holiday season.

Brothers (Lionsgate) – 2,000 theaters – Reviews

Here’s the movie I’m definitely most excited about this weekend.  In Brothers, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal portray just that: brothers.  Maguire, an officer in the army, is married to Natalie Portman, but when he is at battle in Afghanistan, his Black Hawk is shot down in the mountains.  Believing him to be dead, Gyllenhall steps in to care for his brother’s wife and family.  (Sidenote: Perhaps he’s simply following The Bible’s recommendation in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 that a man should marry his brother’s if her husband dies!  Seriously, I kind of think his actions sound admirable.) Over time, a romance begins to form between Portman and Gyllenhall, but everything gets turned upside down when it turns out that Maguire is not dead.  Alive and very angry, how will Maguire’s sudden return change the messy situation? 

Armored (Sony) – 1,900 theaters – Reviews 

This is a movie about a group of armored car guards who decide to steal one of the armored cars that’s transporting $10 million.  It’s like a more serious, less elaborate version of Oceans Eleven.  Things get complicated when an upstanding cop gets in the way and tries to thwart their plans.  In terms of tone, Armored looks a lot like Law Abiding Citizen, and in the Era of Easy Entertainment, it might do well. The trailer looks fairly compelling, though fairly generic, and it also shows Milo Ventimiglia getting shot.  As a bitter former Heroes fan, that’s the most compelling reason for me to go see it.

Transylmania (Full Circle) – ??? theaters – Reviews

This movie’s release is so confusing.  Originally titled Dorm Daze 3, this was intended to be a direct-to-DVD sequel, but it appears that with the success of vampire-themed entertainment like Twilight and True Blood, producers saw an opportunity to make another one of these horrific spoof movies that Hollywood seems to love.  Therefore, they quickly slapped this piece of junk together, and it’s being rushed out into theaters in the wake of New Moon.  Please, if you are reading this, don’t see this.  I saw about five minutes of Epic Movie on TV tonight, and I was legitimately angry at how bad it was, and this looks equally shameless. Transylmania must be a slapped together wide release, because even though it’s reportedly getting a wide release, there has been almost zero promotion for it, and there are no early theater counts.  This one is really doing its best to put the “suck” in the vampire genre.

News:

First Photos Of The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader Released!

Set for release on December 10, 2010, Disney’s Fox’s The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader has just released new photos of the production on their Facebook page.  I gotta say, they look pretty elaborate and cool, and I’m already more than a little excited for this to come out!  For Narnia and for Aslan!

Tobey Maguire Talks About Brothers, Spider-Man 4

The Boston Globe published this very solid writeup about Tobey Maguire’s preparation for Brothers and his thoughts about the Spider-Man franchise.  I love straightforward interviews with actors like this one.  No frills, no gimmicks, no tabloid fodder. Just good questions and good answers- it really gives you much better insight into an actor’s mind.

Wes Craven Will Direct Scream 4

This feels like the time that MTV brought Chris Rock back to host the VMAs, hoping they could capture the same magic (and ratings) he brought the first time.  Is that feat possible with the Scream franchise, which is pretty tired at this point?  Even with the original director, I’m not so hopeful.  Unless they get a new mask, it’s hard to get super scared of something I see every kid wearing on Halloween… BlackBook reported on the story.

"Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" Will Sail, Thanks To A Pick Up From Fox 2000

January 29, 2009

Oh my Aslan- this is awesome! So last month, Disney discontinued their involvement with the Narnia franchise, due to the high production costs, and relative disappointment of last year’s Prince Caspian. But don’t write out the Pevensie children just yet! The third installment of the popular franchise, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, has just found a new home at Fox 2000, and the studio is aiming for a release during the holiday season in 2010. According to THR:

Despite a couple of suitors, including Columbia, Walden only had eyes for Fox, with whom it partnered to market and distribute its fare under the Fox Walden banner after the first “Narnia” film.

I’m very excited about this! I think that the Narnia franchise has a tremendous amount of potential, both creatively and financially. I thought that The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe was charming, but I was disappointed in the muddled characterization and bland action of Prince Caspian. As far as the box office decline between the first and second films ($745 M vs $419 M worldwide), I attribute most of the blame to Disney, who was utterly lazy in their marketing. With the right advertising, I think Fox could move The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader back into the $200-$250 million range, domestically, and $500-$600 million worldwide.

Story wise, Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is infinitely more interesting than Prince Caspian, with sea monsters, dragons, and some dynamic new children, so I’m thrilled about the pick up from Fox. Now, let’s just hope they make a good movie! What about you? Are you as excited as I am for the next Narnia film?

Disney Abandons The Narnia Franchise; But Will "The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" Still Sail?

December 27, 2008

This week the Walt Disney Company announced that they would no longer be working with Walden Media to produce The Chronicles Of Narnia franchise. Although the studio remained rather mum on the issue, they cited “budgetary considerations and other logistics” as part of their reasoning. Really, though, if you are a box office junkie, it’s no mystery why Disney is suddenly pulling out of the franchise. Let me explain:

The first film in the Narnia franchise, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, was a massive success both domestically and internationally. Debuting in December 2005, it earned $291 million in the US, and $745 million worldwide, and went on to sell fantastically on DVD. The second film, Prince Caspian premiered on May 16th of this year, and was a huge disappointment. Domestically, it earned $141 million, less than half of what the original earned. Worldwide, it earned “only” $419 million. That’s a terribly steep decline for a sequel to a blockbuster, and it was immediately clear to Disney that they had misjudged the public’s love of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books. Apparently, people had a special attachment to the most famous book in the series, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, but not the entire set of books. The problem is that these movies are not cheap. Prince Caspian cost $200 million to produce, and that’s not even including the prints and advertising budget (the first film carried a $60 million budget). In the midst of an economic downturn, Disney, like many other studios, is looking critically at its big budget expenditures.

Disney was originally planning on releasing The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader on May 7, 2010, but that clearly won’t be happening anymore. (Somewhere, Iron Man 2 is cheering…) Walden Media, who owns the movie rights to the Narnia books, claims that they remain committed to the franchise, but were “disappointed” in Disney’s decision. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Personally, I’m a little bit sad. While I didn’t love the second film, I don’t think that the Narnia franchise was a bad investment at all. Prince Caspian was a relatively tough source material to work with, but frankly, Disney was just plain lazy in their advertising. They expected audiences to come to the theaters just because the word “Narnia” was in their title. The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is such an exciting book, and could have made a wonderful movie. I actually hope that another studio, who really believes in Dawn Treader‘s potential, makes a deal with Walden Media to co-finance the project. What do you think? Are you sad about the end of the Disney/Narnia relationship? Do you think the third Narnia film will ever see the light of day?