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Old January 11th 04, 12:16   #31
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

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New Line's Lord of the Rings trilogy certainly looks insanely expensive (It looks soooo damn good! ). Isn't that a one studio production?
Yes, but it is also three films so in terms of budget and cash-flow it isn't the same thing as something like Titanic. When budgets get out of control studios are sometimes faced with a choice: Take on a partner or cancel/postpone other project in development. Since New Line knew it was making three films that would be released across three budget years, and since tiny New Line could also draw on the financial resources of parent company Time-Warner if need be, LotR wasn't as risky as it might appear at first blush.

One of the biggest expense categories in films like these is post-production. Adding the CGI, and model photography, digital editing and compositing, Foley, scoring, etc. eat up much of the total budget. By doing all of the principle photography for all three films "up front" and concentrating on the CGI, etc. for Fellowship first, New Line was able to release Movie #1 and use the income from that to finance reshoots and post production on Movie # 2, and so on.

Granted, this was a risk for New Line. If Jackson made a bad film and the first one bombed at the box office, they were in big trouble. OTOH if they'd gone the "one film at a time" route they would also be running risks. They could lose actors to death, illness, or scheduling conflicts, they'd have to store and/or rebuild sets every few years, there would probably be a hold-out or two looking for more money if the first one were a hit, etc.

The over-all cost of shooting three movies one-at-a-time instead of all at once would have been several times higher because of all of these factors, and they might never finish the project - which would leave them with one third of a film, a curiosity with little long-term value. Nobody would be running it on television once it became clear that there would be no other films, and home video sales wouldn't be great. (Bakshi's version sold mostly to animation fans, not LotR fans. Jackson's film would have no alternate audience.)

Doing LotR the way they did it was somewhat risky for New Line, but it wouldn't have approached bankrupting the studio the way Heaven's Gate nearly destroyed United Artists or Cleopatra all-but sunk 20th Century Fox. The way the deal was structured they didn't need another studio, and the risk/reward analysis heavily favored doing things the way they did.

Regards,

Joe
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Old January 11th 04, 20:08   #32
A_M_Swallow
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

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Let's not over-generalize too much, and let's not give in the the SF fan's classic chicken little mentality. Considering that we're supposed to be fans of a genre that largely deals with the future, SF fans are some of the gloomiest damned people you'd ever care to meet and the sky is always falling.

SF Fans are slightly more complex than that.

1. As a group they enjoy solving problems.
2. They frequently get jobs in which they are paid to solve problems.
3. Most managers do not pay to have invisible problems fixed.

So to SF Fans: problems = work = more pay and fun

Consequently if you put anything in front of SF Fans that is less than perfect they will enjoy telling you about the problems.

SF Fans are a good group to experiment on - they will forgive your mistakes, unlike say lawyers who will try and sue you for a million dollars.

What SF Fans do not forgive is the same mistake 3 times. That is why there was such a fuss about the scratches on Babylon 5 Season 3 box sets - it should have been cured after Season 1.
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Old January 11th 04, 20:50   #33
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

As I recall, 20th Century Fox was in deep trouble round about '75, when along came this crazy kid called George Lucas and an idiotic project known as The Star Wars...

In the climate of LotR, Harry Potter, and the Matrix films, it's clear that fantasy/sci-fi is a viable field. Also, Star Trek and Star Wars, the former giants of the field, are apparently weakening (although do be careful, comments in this thread are about to trigger my "Episode II defense rant"). So it's an excellent time for B5 to make a strong reappearance, especially with the moderately impressive DVD sales.
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Old January 12th 04, 02:30   #34
Vonbloodbath
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

I wouldn't say that Big-Screen SF is in a bleak position at all: for starters this year you have Chronicls of Riddick, a hard sci fi film with a big-name studio favourite (Diesel) headlining...

In the field of "Speculative Fiction" - i.e. SF and Fantasy - this year you have, off the top of my head:

Troy, Harry Potter, King Arthur, spider-Man 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Paycheck, Hellboy, Van Helsing, the Day After tomorrow, I, Robot, Thunderbirds, Alien Vs Predator, A Sound of Thunder, sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Constantine, Alexander (the Oliver Stone one)...

That being said, I still think a miniseries like the Dune / Children of Dune ones is most likely, and my money's on the Teep war.

VB

PS - Z Minus 3 Days
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Old January 12th 04, 05:02   #35
dawnchild
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

I believe Sci fi/fantasy is doing pretty darn well these days, both at the cinema and on dvd. The Matrix-sequels (great films, I think!), Star Wars ep 2 (which btw is a very good and hugely entertaining movie! , despite the bashing it undeservedly receives by some, and which has done pretty well on dvd-sales from what I gather from various netsite-dvd-charts of 2003), the magnificent Lord of the Rings-films, Harry Potter-success, Farscape (good dvd-sales from what I gather, a deserved success!) and last but not least the B5-dvds which have gotten better sales than most in the know presumed they would get .

Can't wait for B5 season 5 on dvd in April (region 1), Return of the King on dvd i May, AND last but not least the 3rd Star Wars-movie at the cinema in 2005!
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Old January 12th 04, 11:00   #36
KoshN
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

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What SF Fans do not forgive is the same mistake 3 times. That is why there was such a fuss about the scratches on Babylon 5 Season 3 box sets - it should have been cured after Season 1.

Make that 4 times. In April, you can probably make it a 5.

Ditto for the DVD packaging/hub problems.
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Old January 12th 04, 18:59   #37
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

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Constantine,
Yeah, I saw this was being made and was quite happy.

Unitl I saw who they cast as John.

Keanu Reeves????????? WTF??????

I mean, this man has shown that he can't hold an accent through a film ( Brom Stoker's Dracula anyone?) and I can not see him playing the conniving slimeball that John Constantine is.

My choice for this role would have been James Marsters, who played Spike on Buffy. He could nail the accent, has the hair and looks and has shown he can play bad guys with a heart of gold. Not big name enough I guess.
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Old January 13th 04, 02:51   #38
Vonbloodbath
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Re: So who else is counting the days until...

to be fair, I think they've abandoned the whole cockney malarky anyway...

Not so true to the comic, but at least we know Keanu can hold an american accent. Or at least, I hope he can. the initial art work / set photos look promising...

VB.
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