Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Secrets and 'Suits and Shortness

Fact: J.J. Abrams, director of the still-untitled seventh STAR WARS film, has addressed the methods of secrecy he has used in the past with his own films (STAR TREK, SUPER 8), and how those methods may need to change heading to the upcoming filming dates. Abrams, who has been criticized by fans and media for his coy teases and denials in the weeks and months prior to his films, concurs that STAR WARS has always been an “open, fan engaged universe than I’ve been used to…”, but also says that “there’s a purity in not knowing every little thing”.

Opinion: As the internet gets bigger and faster and more accessible no matter where you are, so does the demand for information. That demand for information has led to an annoying sense of entitlement from fans, who suddenly feel that they should know the details before stepping into the theatre. Where is the fun in that? A major part of the experience of film is to be surprised, blown-away, shocked, and most of all, entertained. That experience is greatly lessened when all the details are known before-hand. This Blogger hopes that Abrams keeps everything a tight secret until the moment the curtain rises on EPISODE VII in December of 2015. Blast these spoiled brats.

Fact: Speaking of spoiling movies, as mentioned here last week, director/writer Quentin Tarantino had shelved his next planned film, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, because the first draft of the script had been leaked and found its way online. Now, the seemingly enraged Tarantino has filed a suit against the news website gawker.com for providing a link to that leaked script.

Opinion: Quentin Tarantino has every right to sue the pants off of any website which is now peddling around his screenplay without his permission. The script for THE HATEFUL EIGHT is his intellectual property, and he is the one who says where it goes and when. If you struck oil in your backyard, would you give away free gallons? If QT is successful here, it could very well change a lot of things around the interwebs.
Fact: The National Association of Theater Owners has issued a new set of voluntary guidelines which ask for stricter rules concerning in-cinema promotions and marketing by the studios in the form of trailers and posters. Among the many rules are trailers (the movie previews we see before a feature film) cannot be more than two minutes in length, and no trailer should be shown earlier than 150 days of a film’s release.

Opinion: Addressing the length of the trailers first…this seems to be a move made towards what this Blogger calls the YouTube Generation, where undeveloped minds can’t handle moving images and sounds more than two minutes in length (and also can’t handle a two-hour movie). But at the same time, it does seem that trailers these days have been made longer and longer…as editors basically put together a Cliff’s Notes-version of the film and give away everything; this year’s JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT was a good example. So maybe a shorter running-time will make these lazy editors actually have to edit. The other issue, the 150-day window, can go either way; if you are an avid moviegoer it does get annoying to see the same trailer run every weekend for six months. However, some studios can really take advantage of an early trailer. The very first trailer for Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT was released a full year in advance, and put everyone on a Hobbit-watch which lasted the full 365 days. Hopefully these new guidelines (again, voluntary), will make studios work harder and smarter to get our attention.

What say you?

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