2012 has been a remarkable year for testing the limits of trailers, with studios often oversaturating the market with four or five previews before a film is actually released, putting out teasers for "official" trailers, and even deploying the much-hated "teaser for the teaser." While this double-tease phenomenon has been the lowlight in the world of movie previews this year, a high point has been the music that has accompanied the trailers.
It's not simply acoustic guitar into electric guitar with a voice-over anymore. Or just "O Fortuna" or "Gimme Shelter" over and over again. (Well, there was Flight, but ...) Major artists are getting involved, new artists are breaking into the mainstream by way of their inclusion in a big movie's trailer and, in many cases, a trailer (and a film) would be nothing without the wise decision to incorporate the perfect song.
At this late stage of my life, I should be more comfortable with the idea of living through the inevitable recasting of pop culture reboots. After all, I'm on my second Spider-Man, second James T. Kirk, fifth Batman. I've watched four different versions of Fitzwilliam Darcy, a bunch of different Sherlock Holmeses and Professors Moriarty. (For some reason, Wolverine and Gandalf abide, unchanging.)
The point is, I shouldn't be so offended that this fourth Bourne movie — which came just five years after the third, The Bourne Ultimatum -- continues the story. It offers a new protagonist, who happens to have a remarkably similar backstory to the "Jason Bourne" we came to know in the original trilogy, which, fine, I guess; TV series refresh their casts like this all the time. But replacing the charming and likable Matt Damon with Jeremy "Charisma Vacuum" Renner? UUUUUUUUUGH. Won't it be hard for audiences to care whether he unravels the mystery of his true identity if he seems like such a sour jerk that we don't want anything good to happen to him? ...Just me? Okay. At least Rachel Weisz is on hand to supply some humanity to balance Renner's off-putting grouchiness.
After last weekend's shameful box office numbers, things are looking up in Hollywood. Originality is still dead, for the most part: The big movies were a re-release and a sequel. But at least the same old, unoriginal stuff made some money!
First, good news for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. Out in only five theaters, it managed a $729,745 haul. That's a $145,949 per theater average, and that's the BEST per-theater average for a live-action film EVER. (The record was most recently held by Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, which put up a $130,749 figure). Yes, The Master reviews are already gushing, and Oscar glory seems destined. But (relatively) big money is always a bonus come award season, differentiating your classy high-brow fare from all the classy high-brow fare nobody saw. PTA's highest-grossing movie to date was his last, 2007's There Will Be Blood, which managed over $40 million. If The Master's hoping to take that title, it's off to a damn fine start. If David Miscavige seems particularly irritable this morning, this is probably why.
So Seth MacFarlane made a risky move this weekend, leaving the cozy warmth of his Family Guy nest to venture out with his first movie, Ted. And everything went well — really, really well. As EW reports, Ted pulled in "$54.1 million ... the third-best debut ever for an R rated comedy behind the openings of The Hangover Part II ($85.9 million) and Sex and the City ($57 million) ... and the best debut ever for an original comedic storyline." The "best debut ever for an original comedic storyline"?! Clearly the built-in Family Guy audience mitigates that little factoid somewhat, but still — you wouldn't be able to fault MacFarlane for trotting that one out during dinner-table conversations for the next few years. Now, with positive reviews behind it (this one reviewer liked it so much, he wrote his piece from the point of a view of a bear) and A- Cinemascore grade, Ted could barrel toward a $200 million haul, in EW's estimation.
It's the end of an era. A culture-defining, couch-jumping, Matt Lauer–berating, Brooke Shields–bullying, publicist-sacking, psychiatry-denying, temporarily-career-enfeebling, tabloid-enriching, adorable-clonebaby-producing, Beckhams-befriending, hairy-fat-suit-wearing, Burj-Dubai-scaling, Def Leppard–singing era. The end of an era we all hoped would last a billion years, but which, in the end, spanned a mere five. But doesn't it seem like they've been together forever? You know what they say: Time flies when you're secretly recording your escape plans in a journal you hide inside a hollowed-out Build-A-Bear in the nursery.
Seth MacFarlane doesn’t need your money, and he doesn’t need your respect. After nearly a decade of benevolent dictatorship over the Family Guy empire — TBS syndication residuals and belching Peter Griffin plush dolls as far as the eye can see! — MacFarlane has succeeded to the point where his children’s children’s children will be able to skip lines at douchey clubs. There is a vocal, highly influential minority, however, that shuns MacFarlane, his particular brand of aggressive humor, and all his minions like he was 2005 Dane Cook. And where that minority now comes into play is that, this week, MacFarlane steps out of his sheltered role as the reigning don of animation and into the dicier territory of the multiplex.