Avi Arad

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Marvel Almost Sold Rights To Captain America & Thor

It’s learned back in the Marvel bankruptcy days, that the licenses for Captain America and Thor were almost sold off to other studios.

THR has an article taking a look inside Marvel from the perspective of former Marvel president and chief operating officer David Maisel, who, like a lot of people, you probably haven’t heard of. Maisel is behind the upcoming Angry Birds movie.

Among some of the highlights:

Maisel was in part responsible for selling Marvel to Disney at a value of $4 billion.

It’s said Maisel was responsible for the Marvel-method of movies, which he borrowed the idea from George Lucas and Star Wars.

Maisel put the stop on selling Captain America to Warner Bros. and Thor to Sony, noting: “If I had gotten there three months, six months later, those deals would have been done,” he says. “And there would be no chance to bring all these characters together.”

Maisel was behind releasing the direct to DVD Avengers and Iron Man movies as a way of showing people there was a value to the products:  “It allowed me to say to people: ‘Look at the value of our IP. Here’s someone paying all the money, and we have creative control and get half the profits,’ ” says Maisel.

Ike Perlmutter (who Kevin Feige recently had booted from being involved with the movies) gave Maisel the go ahead for Iron Man as long as Marvel didn’t have to put up a dime.

Maisel is said to have had tensions with Spider-Man producer and former Marvel Studios CEO Avi Arad (Feige also booted Arad from any involvement in the new Tom Holland Spider-Man movies). Arad is said to have left Marvel and sold his stock for around $20 a share (Disney ended up purchasing Marvel for $51 a share).

Regarding the 2008 Iron Man movie, the board of Marvel is said to have been just happy enough to break even on the movie, but more excited for toy sales: “Don’t worry. We’ll be very happy if this breaks even and we can sell more toys.” Iron Man went on to gross $585 million worldwide.

Maisel made a deal with Universal Studios where Marvel would get the rights to the Hulk back, but Universal would be able to distribute any Hulk solo movie (which is why there is no new Hulk movie since). Universal would have no rights and receive nothing if Hulk appeared in other films (i.e. The Avengers happened).

February of 2009 saw Maisel meet with Disney’s Bob Iger. Maisel set up a meeting between Iger and Ike Perlmutter. Six month later Marvel was sold to Disney for $4 billion, ten times what Marvel was worth when Maisel started at Marvel.

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Venom Movie In The Works Unrelated To Marvel & Tom Holland Spider-Man

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It still sounds like Sony hasn’t learned anything from the Amazing Spider-Man movies.

THR is reporting Sony is developing a new Venom movie which is: “being envisioned as a franchise apart from and unrelated to the upcoming Spider-Man movie in the works with actor Tom Holland.”

It’s noted long-time Spider-Man producer Avi Arad is behind the new Venom movie along with Amazing Spider-Man producer Matt Tomalch. Edge of Tomorrow writer Dante Harper is writing the Venom script.

Avi Arad was previously blamed for the failure and problems associated with the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man films, and it was said when Marvel got the property back, they wanted nothing to do with Arad. According to previous reports, both Avi Arad and Matt Tomalch have been “downgraded” as executive producers on the new Tom Holland Spider-Man, with it said they will have “no real say in the creative direction of the franchise.”

Now it appears as they can no longer do anything with Spider-Man, the pair have set their sites set on the next best thing with Venom.

THR’s report makes mention it’s unclear what version of Venom they are going with: The classic Venom that is a monstrous alien symbiote or the version in the comics that is more of an anti-hero attached to Peter Parker’s buddy Flash Thompson.

It’s further said: “This Venom is meant to not only stand on its own but to also launch its own franchise.”

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Marvel Surprised At Spider-Man Rumors

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This past week saw new Spider-Man rumors hit the net stating that Spider-Man in The Avengers: Infinity War – Part One was a done deal.

Following that, Sony quickly responded stating it wasn’t true.

Now some of the Hollywood trade reporters have gathered together on a podcast with some updated news.

Marc Graser of Variety, who broke the Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America 3 story, stated he talked with Marvel about the Infinity War rumor. 

According to Graser, Marvel was surprised by the rumor and was “wondering why it popped up again” and “had no clue why.”

Graser also speculated about Spider-Man returning to Marvel where Graser said it will involve a lot of money.

Graser said it’s up to producer and the former head of Marvel Studios, Avi Arad, for Spider-Man to be featured in Disney movies as Arad controls Spider-Man at Sony. 

Graser also pointed out that Spider-Man is really the only thing Arad has going on right now.

Another point was made that Disney is already making a lot of money from Spider-Man as they own the merchandising rights to the Spider-Man movies, so it’s not like they really need Spider-Man in their films.

“They would love Spider-Man to be in one of their movies, and it would just boost sales,” Graser said. “But they don’t need it.”

While Graser seemed to be insinuating it’s a long shot that Spider-Man would be back at Marvel, he did state that he wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel is having screenwriters working on scripts with Spider-Man in them just to have things ready if a deal does go through.

Regarding Spider-Man costing a lot of money, Disney did pay billions for Marvel and Star Wars, so it’s not like they haven’t dished it out before.

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Marvel Rumored To Boot Avi Arad From Spider-Man

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Recent Sony hack attacks have revealed details regarding Spider-Man possibly joining the Marvel Studios universe as talks are (or were) underway for Spider-Man to appear in Captain America: Civil War.

According to leaked e-mails, Marvel wants a new Spider-Man (meaning Andrew Garfield is out) and a new costume.

Now a new rumor has hit the net from the website Screen Gonzo which states Marvel doesn’t want producer Avi Arad involved with their Spider-Man.

Avi Arad is actually the founder of Marvel Studios who eventually resigned from Marvel in 2006 to start his own production company.

Arad produced the first Iron Man and the Hulk movies for Marvel, X-Men and Fantastic Four movies at Fox, and the Spider-Man movies for Sony.

According to the rumor, a meeting is to take place in January (leaked e-mails revealed an upcoming Sony Spider-Man summit) between Sony’s Amy Pascal and Marvel’s Kevin Feige about Spider-Man.

The report says Marvel would include a Spider-Man post-credit scene in Captain America: Civil War, and the Russo Bros. would go on to write and direct a new Spider-Man trilogy.

It’s further said Kevin Feige is happy with the direction talks have been going with Sony, but Feige is adamant about now having Arad involved, and Marvel is backing him on this. It’s stated there is contention regarding Sony and Marvel over Arad as Amy Pascal and other executives feel Arad has been an integral part of Spider-Man (my note: which is probably why Feige wants him gone).

Interestingly enough, comments recently made by a composer on the first Amazing Spider-Man, blamed the movies producers (i.e. Arad) for the movies being so bad with mention the producers didn’t even want director Marc Webb’s input. 

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Leaked: Super Mario Bros. Animated Movie From Sony In The Works

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Further information continues to become known in regards to Sony’s movie plans as a series of hacked e-mails have revealed details for an animated Super Mario Bros. movie.

According to BuzzFeed, e-mails reveal Sony Pictures and Nintendo are in talks for a deal to the animated feature film rights of the video game franchise.

Spider-Man producer Avi Arad is behind the project, and it is noted nfilmmakers are attached to the project as-of-yet.

E-mails include:

“I am the proud father of mario the animated film [sic],” producer Avi Arad toldn an email dated Oct. 23, 2014, with the subject line “Mario.” Arad then forwarded Pascal separate images of him with Mario Bros.creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, the latter of which included the message, “Happy ceo, lets get together, it’s the mother load [sic].”

Pascal forwarded that email to Tom Rothman, who heads up Sony Pictures subsidiary TriStar Pictures. “Avi closed Mario brothers,” she said. “Animated.”

And:

Arad sent an email to Sony Pictures Animation President of Production Michelle Raimo Kouyate thanking her for a congratulatory basket she sent him filled with Mario Bros. merchandise. “Thank you Avi!” Kouyate responded. “Let’s build a Mario empire!” Kouyate also sent a photo of the basket to Pascal, and said, “I can think of 3-4 movies right out of the gate on this. So huge!”

The article mentions that Avi Arad contacted Buzz Feed following publication and stated negotiations with Nintendo were “just the beginning.”

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Leaked: Russo Bros. Offered Avengers 3 & 4; Could Produce Spider-Man

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The leaks continue at Sony as a result of a series of hacks.

It recently became known that Marvel wanted Spider-Man to come home and be featured in Captain America 3.

Now, further insights into the potential deal are made known through additional e-mails.

The Brazilian website, Overtice.com, managed to get ahold of a series of e-mails and exchanges from co-chairman of Sony Pictures, Amy Pascal.

 

RUSSO BROS.

Pascal had communications with the Russo Bros., who directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and are directing Captain America: Civil War for Marvel Studios.

The e-mails reveal that the Russo Bros. are likely to direct The Avengers Infinity War: Part 1 and Part 2, and they assured Pascal that regardless what happens with The Avenger 3 – Part 1 and 2, they are still going to direct the Gray Man movie for Sony, in which they want Robert Downey Jr. to star.

Another e-mail reveals that Joe Russo told Pascal they can produce Spider-Man as a result of a new contract. It’s unclear if the Russo’s would be working independent of Marvel or for both Marvel and Sony.

 

FUTURE OF SPIDER-MAN AT SONY:
Venom, Sam Raimi, Sinister Six, Jeff Robinov

Pascal also talks about the future of Spider-Man at Sony where e-mails reveal the state of the franchise is up in the air.

Spider-Man producer Avi Arad asked Pascal to greenlight the Venom movie based on sales and promotion of the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes line, which prominently features the character.

In an update on an earlier report about Sony asking Sam Raimi for assistance, the new e-mails reveal that Raimi has had talks with Sony about Spider-Man.  Pascal also remarked that while Raimi did a great job with his first two Spider-Man movies, she compared Raimi to “Joel Schumacher” with the third.

Another interesting conversation is revealed with the former head of Warner Bros. movie studios, Jeff Robinov, who was behind The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel, and is now with Sony. Robinov seems pretty adamant that Pascal and Sony not make a deal with Marvel.

“You can’t go back to Marvel,” Robinov is quoted as saying.

The exchange continues with Pascal revealing just how unsure she is with Sony’s Spider-Man plans as she responds, “I’m worried Sinister Six might not be the right [way to go],” and, “I just have the Spider-Man universe and not the Marvel universe.”

Pascal then asks Robinov for further help, with Robinov actually recommending Stan Lee or someone else in the industry with credibility and knowledge of Spider-Man.

“Can you help me figure it out tomorrow? Unless I make the partnership with Marvel and Spider-man to join their world, I’m running out of options,” Pascal said.

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Avi Arad Fires Back At Business Week For Marvel Studios & Kevin Feige Article

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An article published last month on Business Week spotlighting Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige that also mentioned Avi Arad had resigned from Marvel Studios due to doubts about their strategy has drawn a response from Avi Arad.

The Business Week article glorified and credited Kevin Feige for the success of Marvel Studios, which caused Avi Arad to e-mail the writer of the article, Devin Leonard.

Avi Arad is the former CEO of Marvel and producer on the likes of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and the Amazing Spider-Man films. Arad was involved with Marvel for about ten years when he left in 2006 to form his own production company.

Deadline reached out to Business Week for a response to the following e-mail in which they stated they are standing by the reporting in their story.

Here is Avi Arad’s e-mail response to the article, “The Pow! Bang! Bam! Plan to Save Marvel, Starring B-List Heroes,”:

Good morning Devin. As usual you manage to disappoint me with your false statements. I am sure you were told by Marvel that I resigned over the self-financing strategy. It is about time for a reporter like you to do your homework and check the facts. It will sound arrogant to you, but I single handedly put together the Marvel slate. Read it carefully and you will notice the natural progression of the character’s design to get to where we are today.

You should reach out to Merill Lynch and Ambac Insurance and to our international partners that came on board based on my track record. Our financial partners counted on my reputation. I had to work very hard to convert the doubters. They trusted me and without Iron Man this article would have not been written. Iron Man was not even in the original slate. I knew that we needed it so I set out to get it back from Newline and the rest is history.

Our financing would have never happened without me reaching out to Brad Grey to make a distribution deal that will give you a corporate guarantee. Other people in Marvel worked for many months with Universal and could not reach a deal. I got tired of waiting and went to Brad. The deal was done in days, successful for both companies. The big presentation to financial institutions and insurance companies took place on the Paramount lot. I was the presenter and it worked. Does this sound to you like someone who disagreed with the strategy to make our own movies?

I have forgiven Kevin for following orders and taking the credit, but he had no choice. Shame on you for kowtowing to your business gods. I have given up on journalistic integrity. You called me to talk about Kevin and I gave you the most true and glowing account on someone that I love and respect. Share your notes otherwise you just wasted my time. I will share this letter with other papers and your management to demonstrate the unprofessional self-serving work this reporter demonstrated.

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Spider-Man Would Have To Be Center of Avengers Movie Crossover

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A hot topic amongst just about everyone who loves to watch comic book movies is a crossover between The Avengers and Spider-Man.

Sony owns the film rights to Spider-Man, and Disney and Marvel Studios own The Avengers characters.

While a crossover between the two may never come to pass, as the producers on Amazing Spider-Man recently stated that would only happen if they were basically desperate for ideas, producer Avi Arad further offers that Spider-Man would have to be the focus of the movie.

Arad tells the Toronto Sun the following:

But if we want to do that, the crossovers, it has to be a story that is absolutely centered on Spider-Man. We cannot be second banana to anything out there. Because this is the king. This is the one that influenced young people from birth.

I’m not preaching, but Spider-Man, Peter Parker, who is in all of us, is too important to go in and use it as a sidepiece for corporate purposes. The studio may disagree with me, some fans may disagree with me. I don’t care.

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Spider-Man Avengers Movie Crossover Would Be Last Ditch Effort Says Producers

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So what would it take for fans to see Spider-Man and The Avengers crossover on the big screen?

How about the studios running out of ideas?

That is what producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are now stating regarding any type of Sony and Marvel Studios crossover in the near future.

IGN spoke with Avi Arad who said each studio still has a lot of stories to tell and gave Sinister Six and Venom as examples for the Sony Spider-Man universe.

I think I’m probably a little bit of the militant here. I think it will take a moment in which we’ve run out of ideas. There’s so much to tell about Spider-Man. There’s so much to tell about the Sinister Six. The relationship between Spider-Man and Venom will bring a whole other world in.

Avi Arad continued with mentioning that Peter Parker is a unique character who doesn’t belong to a group.

But we really feel very confident that we have so much to do […] Peter Parker is unique; he’s really different. He’s not an Avenger. He’s not an X-Man. He’s unique and we revere that. And we’d rather work really hard to have the right ideas than – you know in the toy business we used to make toys glow in the dark when they weren’t selling well and it gave at least another Christmas. We don’t need it yet.

Producer Matt Tolmach adds the Spider-Man and Avengers crossover would really be nothing more than a stunt.

You know Avi always refers to that question as a stunt. If you were to do that, you know, Spider-Man in the Avengers is a stunt. And I get why everybody – you know, fans and audience members and movie goers – I understand it.

Stunts can be cool but it’s also a business, and so the other side of the answer is they’re owned by different companies. And there’s a ton left in Sony’s world; there’s a lot of business left because there’s a lot of story left. So for them to want to take this character and put it with Marvel and Disney is a huge undertaking and probably, as Avi’s saying, isn’t necessary until you feel like, ‘Wow, we’re sort of out of ideas. What should we do?’ And we’re far from out of ideas.”

Fans can still hope, though, as it’s just been learned that Sony has teamed with Fox to include a clip from X-Men: Days Of Future Past at the end of Amazing Spider-Man 2. So that is at least two movie studios working together on something.

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Producer Hints At Spider-Man Avengers Movie Crossover With Mutual Threat

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With so many movie studios building comic book universes of their own: Marvel Studios and The Avengers, Fox Studios with X-Men and Fantastic Four, Warner Bros. with Batman and Superman, and Sony with their Spider-Man franchise, fans can’t help but want some kind of huge company-wide crossover.

While we can obviously cross off Warner Bros. from the list (DC Comics is a different comic book company), how about the Marvel film properties which are separated into actually four movie studios (Universal owns the rights to Namor).

In the comics, many of the characters are shared amongst the major super teams, such as Wolverine being an X-Men and a member of the Avengers as well as Spider-Man being a fellow Assembler. Sony and Disney also have a mutual deal which sees Sony granted the film rights to Spider-Man with Disney getting the merchandising rights. 

Seems a no-brainer as an Avengers and Spider-Man crossover would be a win-win, and there has even been hints of such as it’s been reported that Easter Eggs of Oscorp Tower and Stark Tower were set to make appearances in the Amazing Spider-Man and The Avengers, but due to time constraints never made it into the movies. While that never happened, fans still wonder if there ever will be an Amazing Spider-Man and The Avengers movie.

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Now the producer on a boat load of Marvel movies including Amazing Spider-Man 2, Avi Arad, teases at least he would want it, which suggests there has been at least internal discussion about the possibility of a Spider-Man Avengers movie. However, fellow producer Matthew Tolmach steps in to crush everyone’s hopes.

“I for one don’t see the value for us in it,” Arad told Total Film Magazine. “I think we’re doing such a good job with the Spider-Man Universe. Spider-Man is arguably the number one character in the world. He shouldn’t make a cameo.” Arad then switches gears, “If there is a natural alliance for some reason…I cannot talk for Sony.”

This is when Tolmach intervenes: “The practical side of it is, look, how many movies have we just talked about? It’s all we can do to build that universe. We’re not going beyond that.”

Maybe not beyond that, yet? 

Fan art:

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The “Amazing Spider-Man 2” swings into theaters May 2nd, 2014 directed by Marc Webb starring Andrew GarfieldEmma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti, Felicity Jones, Colm Feore, and Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn.

Head on over to the Cosmic Book News Amazing Spider-Man Movie Hub for more news, images and trailers.

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The State of Hollywood 6: The Metal Gear Movie

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The State of Hollywood 6:

The Reality of the Metal Gear Solid Movie

By: Lawrence Napoli 

 

What could go wrong?

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When the Metal Gear Solid film adaptation was confirmed to be in the works at Konami’s 25th Anniversary of the video game franchise, I was very intrigued at the prospect of bringing one of the most cinematic game sagas to the silver screen.  I was also quite apprehensive of such lofty ambitions for the simple fact that Hollywood has blundered just about every gaming license it has gotten its greasy palms on, and I’d hate to see Kojima’s masterpiece sullied by anyone for any reason.  Just look what they did to Super Mario and he was a fat plumber who curb-stomped turtles to save a princess.  How can Hollywood possibly handle the “nuances, ideology [and] cautionary tales,” (quoting Avi Arad, himself) of global conspiracy by the military industrial complex to control the future of mankind via technology, genetics, economics and violence?  (Wait, isn’t that happening in real life now?)

The answer to that question is that none of the above really matters to Avi Arad or anyone else in Hollywood because there are greenbacks to be made and ravenous fan bases ripe for exploitation.  Hollywood’s goal is producing blockbuster gold in the form of a film that may or may not have something important to say about life, but is really more interested in wooing dollars out of our wallets with explosions. 

In many respects, the meat of Metal Gear’s story contains ideas that average blockbusters wouldn’t normally give a second thought to.  That is until the most recent culmination of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy (who, by the way, is the only director Kojima has mentioned interest in allowing to helm a Metal Gear adaptation).  Unfortunately, there is only one Chris Nolan and he will be too busy promoting the rest of DC’s alphas to Batman’s prominence on film.  Thus, [insert director here] inspires far less confidence in this project’s production which attracts a smaller pool of actors and other talented filmmaking professionals to the cause.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2964:]]Why Metal Gear and why now?

The entertainment industry seems to see Arad’s alliance with Columbia Pictures as a response to Ubisoft using its own production facilities to create an Assassin’s Creed adaptation starring Michael Fassbender.  I see it as Hollywood having sucked just about all the sellable juice from the comic book industry and it needs a new host to leach upon before it goes through a true “dry spell” of projects. 

The big four of the entertainment industry: music, movies, books and DVD’s are averaging between $30-60 billion dollars of annual, global revenue in their respective categories and the video game industry is on par with each of them.  This simply wasn’t the case 15 years ago, but considering the constant evolution of the internet and the increased demand for user interactivity as a result; it stands to reason that gaming continues to be on the rise and more people regardless of age, gender and ethnicity are plugging in.  The best known franchises in gaming have high exposure for various consumer bases around the world, so considering Hollywood’s recent trend on focusing on global numbers (as opposed to [US] domestic profits), it makes perfect sense for more games to be remixed as movies.

Metal Gear, as a franchise, gives Hollywood everything it wants in an adaptation: relevance, popularity, violence and lots of opportunities for special effects.[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2965:]]  Yet history has shown there is no such thing as “a sure thing” so not every gaming icon makes perfect sense to invest in.  As marquee as Mario and Link are in videogames, neither could sell a contemporary blockbuster the way Solid Snake can because they are rooted in Nintendo’s stylized fantasyland which may not be for everyone above the age of 13.  Halo also generates high visibility, but a film adaptation might turn off an audience more interested in action as opposed to being bombarded with too much sci-fi jargon and exposition.  The same goes for Mass Effect and BioShock.  The only other contemporary franchise that might out shine Metal Gear as a potential film would be anything that bears the name of Call of Duty, but please note the similarities between the two: modern day/future warfare, modern day army tactics, modern day violence (with a slight sci-fi edge to Metal Gear).

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2966:]]Dollars, cents and “success”

Let’s just say there really isn’t a lot of success when it comes to movies based on video games (as there isn’t much success in games based on movies).  Hollywood measures its success in cash and despite the ever increasing cost of general admission and conspiratorial gimmicks like double the ticket cost for IMAX and Digital DLP projection, the industry is still not making the money it used to make.  Yes, consumer feedback is most directly reflected in the dollars they spend and when you observe mega-films like Avatar and The Avengers take home multiple billions of dollars worth in global ticket sales, it makes you wonder how Hollywood could ever be struggling.

Hollywood’s problem in general (and game adaptations in particular) is that “success” measured in dollars is a skewed statistic as a result of the aforementioned inflation and tricks.  Only focusing on the green has contributed to the overall decline in Hollywood’s product and whether you agree with that statement or not, the audience is showing disappointment due to its increased absence as the years go by.  When you go to the movies, how often do you sit in theaters that one would consider “full?”  When you talk to your friends about movies how often do complaints like “I’ve seen it all before,” and “they’ve run out of ideas,” come up in the conversation?  It all sounds very circumstantial and unquantifiable, but if we tracked the number of tickets sold (regardless of price) we would begin to see an alarming drop in patronage overall.

Why should any of this be important to Hideo Kojima and his Metal Gear franchise?  Acknowledging the rising cost and decreased business of Hollywood has[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2968:]] placed even more pressure on blockbusters to over perform at the box office and this increased scrutiny demands stricter adherence to the “Hollywood formula”: good writing and plot are sacrificed for big name actors, elaborate set pieces, visual effects and tons of explosions (essentially style over substance).  Even “the formula” cannot be considered foolproof, but no major studio will ever bankroll such a project unless “the formula” is in full effect.  Cue, (Sony) Columbia Pictures which owns 15.5% of movie market share and is 2nd only to Warner Bros. in pure blockbuster production power.  Big money is already behind this Metal Gear project, but accepting it implies the complete submission to whatever Hollywood says the movie will be.  In the words of Amanda Connor regarding the adaptation of her husband’s Jonah Hex: “You don’t handle Hollywood.  Hollywood handles you!”  Sorry Kojima-san, you’ve just been kicked out of the writer’s room.

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Kojima approved” may be irrelevant in the Metal Gear adaptation.

Why it will fail!

Three words: TACTICAL, ESPIONAGE, ACTION!  That is the subtitle for every Metal Gear Solid game and it designates to the player exactly what this fiction is all about in addition to the order of importance of each of these elements have within the story.  Hollywood’s “formula” dictates quite the opposite by forcing the film to be focused on action/effects, rated PG-13 and entirely unconcerned with social commentary.  When the base philosophical difference between the source material and the adaptation is that far apart, how on Earth could Avi Arad speak so smugly about staying true to Metal Gear’s “nuance and ideology?”

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This is a sneaking mission Snake.  The goal here is gathering information, so apply appropriate tactics.

Metal Gear Solidis not about war.  War has changed.  War is the escalating cost of gasoline and energy.  War is hacking databases to steal identities.  War is Chinese banks buying up American debt.  War is corporations over people.  War is the race to do things better, faster and cheaper than the other guy.  War is less about proxy battles fought on foreign soil and more about the concept of human struggle and how interconnected every individual is in our daily toils as we live our lives.  THAT is Metal Gear Solid.  THAT is the story of Solid Snake: a super soldier coming to grips with how his warrior code of honor and discipline is completely at odds with his chain of command and the true authority behind it.  It is a case study in refined, character driven drama where even individuals of immense power still answer to another; slaves to causality; chess pieces playing out their roles.  The trick is they are all discovering this truth and not everyone likes it.

Solid Snake running around for two hours blowing sh*t up has 0% chance of producing a story that approaches any of the above. 

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2971:]]How it might succeed

The right people have to be recruited for the creative positions in this kind of production: writers, actors, crew and F/X.  They must be led by a director that becomes intimate with the source material and creates a vision that he or she will not allow producers or executives to compromise.  [Insert director here] is not well versed in having a spine, let alone creating a vision worth buying into.  This is the reason why there are so many directors you have never heard of and will never hear from again.  Any old person will not do to direct this adaptation.

Mechs must be fully animated, but discipline must be maintained so as not to turn Metal Gear into Transformers.  One easy step in accomplishing this feat is by completely forgetting Michael Bay (or his agent) exists.  The second step is putting serious thought into the final battle which involves Snake vs. Liquid who is piloting the mechanical behemoth, Metal Gear Rex.  As ridiculous as 1 man fighting a robot the size of a house is, planning the action in a way that is not “over the top” is the only way the climax of this film (and Rex specifically) doesn’t come off as stupid.  Of course, that’s assuming the director wants to play out the final confrontation in the same manner as the game.  The answer to this situation becomes a little less daunting so long as “tactical” and “espionage” continue to prevail over “action.”

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My name is Rex, not Grimlock!

Finally, the right actor must be cast for Solid Snake.  Certainly, Metal Gear features one of the most colorful casts in the history of fiction, but the story is very singular in perspective and Solid Snake is the man.  The internet has an interesting list of potential leading men such as Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Sean Bean, Viggo Mortensen and Matt Damon (sorry David Hayter, you are invited to play some role on the film, but you can’t be Snake).  My particular problem with these high profile, A-listers is that just about all of them have already represented iconic characters recently and franchise fatigue is inevitable.  This affects both the actor’s performance as well as the audience’s ability to accept the actor in the role.  I am most intrigued with the mentioning of Josh Holloway who is most remembered for his role on Lost.  I like the fact that he has as much to gain from the role of Solid Snake as the role does from his performance.  He certainly looks the part, but can he act it?  Also, can he completely delete his southern accent?  Both of which are vital to creating a viable, Solid Snake.  I won’t give Josh my official endorsement, but the mitigating circumstances I just mentioned place him higher on the list than anyone else.

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Conclusion

Adapting Metal Gear is not the slam dunk many would make it out to be.  Otherwise, it would have already happened.  It certainly presents a high risk/high reward scenario provided the creators approach this film with the intention of keeping it unique from other war/sci-fi/action films.  It also presents a low yield/heavy backlash scenario if the adaptation simply sucks.  I am not certain Kojima’s ego would survive such an outcome and I’d hate to have him stare that possibility down up close and personal.  And perhaps that is the reason we haven’t seen this game in Hollywood scripts up to now.  However, with the upcoming release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (developed by Platinum Games) and Kojima’s desire to move into the producer’s chair for future Metal Gear Solid games, it seems he is being less possessive of his brainchild.  Ironically, Snake and Kojima share the same problem of trust as both consider themselves to be true professionals that rely on their own efforts rather than others.  Still, it’s much easier for a man to move mountains with the help of other men.

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Toldja: Spider-Man In The Avengers Movie A Possibility; Now, How about Vice Versa?

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1733:]]Cosmic Book News was the first to put forth that Spider-Man might be appearing in The Avengers movie.

It wasn’t much of a stretch seeing how Sony and Disney had come to a deal on the rights for Spider-Man.

Sony kept the film rights and Disney the merchandising rights.

So any promotion on either company’s part would obviously be beneficial for both sides.

Obviously we know that Spidey didn’t appear in The Avengers movie, but how about a sequel?

Could be a possibility as Amazing Spider-Man producer Avi Arad doesn’t rule it out.

CraveOnline, who spoke to Arad about the Venom Movie, has it as:

Now that The Avengers is such a phenomenon, he is even open to considering making a deal between Sony’s Spidey and Disney’s Avengers. He says he thought of the Venom crossover possibility independently of Avengers though.

“Everything is possible,” Arad said. “If something like that happens, it’s great for Disney, it’s great for Sony. If the right story comes in, we are now working on Venom first. It’s our first out. So our thinking is in the right direction. Avengers to me was an expected success so I never looked at it because Avengers was successful.”

The way to make team up movies work, Arad says, is to create the raw materials, both technically and creatively, in other movies first. “Team ups can happen once you create the character, establish the CG, otherwise it’s not affordable.”

Heck, even Andrew Garfield said he wants to be in The Avengers 2.

Going one step further, how about an Avengers appearance in the Amazing Spider-Man movie?

As the new Disney Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon reveals — Nick Fury recruits a young Peter Parker/Spider-Man as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

And, of course, Spider-Man is an Avenger in the Marvel comic books.

The Amazing Spider-Man swings into theaters July 3rd, 2012 in 3-D and is directed by Marc Webb starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, Irrfan Khan as Nels Van Adder, Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy, Sally Field as May Parker and C. Thomas Howell as Ray Cooper.

Head on over to the Cosmic Book News Amazing Spider-Man Movie Hub for more news, images and trailers.

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Toldja: Eddie Brock Will Be A Hero In The Venom Movie; Rick Remender’s Referenced

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1942:]]Just yesterday I posted my thoughts that the new Venom movie would feature Eddie Brock as an anti-hero Venom, and that the Venom Movie wouldn’t even feature Spider-Man.

Now we get some more from The Amazing Spider-Man movie producer Avi Arad on just that.

Via CraveOnline, who spoke with Arad, we get:

A Venom movie would make Eddie Brock the hero. It won’t be until he crosses paths with Peter Parker that he becomes a villain.

“As you know, Venom is defender of the innocent,” Arad said. “The only guy he really, really hates is Peter Parker, Spider-Man.

And regarding an appearance by Spider-Man in the Venom Movie? Not so.

So would the plan be to merge this Venom with Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man in a later movie? “All things are possible someday,” Tolmach carefully implied, which come on, almost definitely means they haven’t signed the contracts yet but are planning it.

Regarding the hero aspect of Venom, interestingly enough Arad brings up the recent comic book version that sees the symbiote bonded with war veteran Flash Thompson. Thompson is a Govt. ops agent, using the symbiote for good, written by Marvel Comics scribe Rick Remender. And with that we see more of a mention of Brock as a hero.

We always struggle with storylines and you see the new Venom books. It’s Flash in Iraq. We know that if we put him in a certain position and concentrate on the human, not on the creature, which I thought was a really good beginning in 3.”

So there you have it wrapped in a nice little web. They will concentrate on the human Eddie Brock, who seemingly has the powers of a grounded Venom, defending the innocent using them for good.

Until he meets Peter Parker.

Whenever that happens.

Excited?

The Amazing Spider-Man swings into theaters July 3rd, 2012 in 3-D and is directed by Marc Webb starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, Irrfan Khan as Nels Van Adder, Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy, Sally Field as May Parker and C. Thomas Howell as Ray Cooper.

Head on over to the Cosmic Book News Amazing Spider-Man Movie Hub for more news, images and trailers.

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Venom Movie Sounds Like It Will Feature Anti-Hero Eddie Brock; No Spider-Man

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1913:]]We get a bit of an update on the Venom Movie that was made known back in March with possibly Josh Trank at the helm, from The Amazing Spider-Man movie producers Avi Arad and Matthew Tolmach.

Pure speculation on my part, but from the sounds of things the Venom Movie will not feature Spider-Man, and also it looks as if the anti-hero comic book version of Eddie Brock will be featured.

Update: Toldja: Eddie Brock Will Be A Hero In The Venom Movie; Rick Remender’s Referenced

Also it seems as if Venom will not be the monstrous muscled bulked up version, but according to Hollywood.com more “normal”:

Tolmach and Arad insisted their Eddie Brock, who was drawn in early incarnations as a muscled man, would be more grounded. “He was a journalist. He had the wrong story, he got in trouble for it, he got fired,” explains Tolmach, who also went on to describe his and Arad’s approach to adapting Marvel properties. “The whole essence to us for the Marvel characters. Stay close to the bible, stay close to the emotional story, and the rest is fun.”

As comic book (and Spider-Man 3) fans know, Eddie Brock became Venom after bonding with the alien symbiote after it was rejected by Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Eddie had been outed as being a cheat at the Daily Globe by Spider-Man, with Brock and the symbiote eventually bonding — sharing a hatred for the Web Slinger. 

In the comics, the first five years or so featured a more villainous Venom, but as the character’s popularity skyrocketed, Marvel Comics changed their approach to make Brock/Venom more of an anti-hero (when he saw Spidey save his ex-wife) — which is similar to what Marvel did with Wolverine.

Now, if the Venom Movie doesn’t include Spider-Man, Sony is either going to include an Eddie Brock cameo in the Amazing Spider-Man (or sequel), or change the origin altogether.

A couple quotes from Hollywood.com seem to suggest the latter, in my opinion (bold their own).

While promoting Spider-Man, Arad and Tolmach alluded that their next project, Venom would be developed in a similar fashion that could potentially tie the films together. “What I’m trying to say to you without giving anything away is hopefully all these worlds will live together in peace someday,” hinted Tolmach.

When Venom eventually hits theaters, expect it to feel intrinsically connected to July’s Amazing Spider-Man. As Tolmach puts it: “Look for the worlds to make sense with one another.” 

Avi Arad does say they want to stick as close to the comics as possible, but notes that it is Eddie’s story, which leads me to the conclusion of an anti-hero Eddie Brock Venom. Plus, are they really going to make a movie about a bad guy? Would be cool, though.

“It’s an Eddie Brock story,” explained Arad. “We want to be as close to the comics as possible. Especially in Eddie Brock’s story. But again, pseudo-sceince is becoming science. All these tidbits about webs, artificial webs, is a huge industry now. Spiderwebs have unique qualities that will be huge for communications, fibers, and so forth. So we have taken the approach that we want to make the huge amazing movie about Eddie.”

The Amazing Spider-Man swings into theaters July 3rd, 2012 in 3-D and is directed by Marc Webb starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, Irrfan Khan as Nels Van Adder, Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy, Sally Field as May Parker and C. Thomas Howell as Ray Cooper.

Head on over to the Cosmic Book News Amazing Spider-Man Movie Hub for more news, images and trailers.