Last week, Steven Soderbergh bemoaned the state of the film industry during a talk at the San Francisco International Film Fest, and this week, the Girls in Hoodies respond to some of his arguments. We use examples from a so-far-underwhelming summer movie season and Baz Luhrmann's upcoming The Great Gatsby 3D as fodder, and probably alienate every fan of Marvel's Avengers mega-franchise in the process.
On Wednesday, we pointed your attention to reports of renewed, possibly contentious negotiations between Robert Downey Jr. and the good-but-stingy folks at Marvel over future Iron Man and Avengers sequels. Today, more Marvel inside baseball, this time volunteered freely via Avengers lord of the realm Joss Whedon.
See, during the chatter about Downey's paychecks, as well as the paychecks for his superhero friends, the number $100 million was thrown out for Joss. As in, $100 million to make another Avengers. $100 million?! For the guy who can barely keep a show on the air for more than a season?!! No, you're right, it was too good to be true. And Joss himself set the record straight, in his trademark cheeky manner. From his comment on the site Whedonesque (via EW):
Iron Man 3 is making money hand over fist ($678.9 million in 10 days, to be exact). Robert Downey Jr. is being paid handsomely for his services ($50 milliooooooon). What could possibly stop the beautiful Marvel-RDJ relationship from blossoming ever more? Two things: (1) Downey is not signed for any more Marvel movies. And while he's already entered negotiations for two more Avengers movies, he's not quite ready to talk Iron Man 4. And (2), Marvel, it turns out, is actually quite cheap. Just ask all the Avengers who don't have a powerful suit of armor that keeps their injured hearts beating.
This Friday sees the release of Iron Man 3, with Robert Downey Jr. returning to the role that took him from (hugely rewarding) indie purgatory to all-out blockbuster movie star. But there are more than two chapters to the RDJ saga, and this week the Grantland staff looks back at some of the most memorable moments of his career.
Please stop what you are doing and watch, in slack-jawed amazement and delight, as Patton Oswalt filibusters a Pawnee City Council vote with his fevered ideas for Star Wars: Episode VII in this very extended outtake from tomorrow night's Parks and Recreation double bill. What follows is eight minutes of improvisational wizardry that ends only when Oswalt nearly dies of dry mouth, having heroically reached the extreme limits of nerd-endurance by liquefying the minds of Star Wars purists with the taboo-obliterating suggestion of a grand merger with the Marvel universe.
Silver: Forget the Oscars (Seriously. We should. It’s gotten to the point where the hype in/around awards season is more appealing than the telecast. Which at this point feels more like required DMV orientation-video viewing.) Each year, I look to the Super Bowl to be my cultural shepherd, guiding me toward a transition from the pomp, circumstance, and elevated significance surrounding six minutes of Anne Hathaway singing and Daniel Day-Lewis’s beard to the glut of (mostly) vapid movie theater butter–glazed summer tentpole movies. The overmarketed celluloid morsels crammed down moviegoers' throats by studios, if even remotely entertaining and able to garner a reasonable three-day box office gross, are considered successful. But also on rare occasions they get stamped as genuinely good cinema. So enough talk about Tommy Lee Jones’s scowl let’s start debating which, if any, Marvel Phase 2 characters will be showing up in Iron Man 3, or how Wolverine will play into 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Browne: It's like Party City on my keyboard right now. Let's do this.
If you are, somehow, not one of the $1.5 billion worth of people that made up The Avengers audience this summer, you may want to avert your eyes from these spoilers. For the rest of you: Hey, remember Agent Coulson? The straight-laced but still kind of badass S.H.I.E.L.D. bureaucrat played by Clark Gregg? The guy whose brutal death at the hands of Loki united the bickering Avengers when nothing else could, because he used to collect their trading cards and that used to mean something in this country, or something? Well, he's not dead anymore. Yep, he got shot up by all kinds of secretive high-tech government weaponry. But nope, not dead anymore.
Are you the last holdout on The Avengers? Because it's one of the biggest movies of all time — I saw it twice in the theater, and I didn't even like it that much — taking all the appeal of a superhero movie and multiplying it by ... let's see ... four. (Six, if you count Black Widow and Hawkeye, but since they both lack superpowers of any kind, I don't.)
Next week, once the barbecues, boat shoes, and Breaking Bad have been safely packed away for another season, the pop cultural apparatus — yours truly included — will pivot to focus on the annual parade of hope and hype known as fall television. With great fanfare, the traditional broadcast networks will unveil their fresh product to the skeptical masses. Features will be dutifully written on stars both new and returning, wildly optimistic predictions will be made, misgivings will be muted, bets will be hedged. But with the hot sun still shining and most of Hollywood still on vacation, here’s a hard truth: Most of the new shows being debuted in September are lousy. And, like alopecia-stricken bears, precious few of them will survive the winter.
The Avengers Blu-ray is coming, and they've released this clip of the film's alternate opening to whet the appetite of those action-starved Whedonites eager to set out on one more mission with Cap, Thor, Hulk, and the boyz. While this certainly would've been a darker way to kick things off, the clip's not without a much-needed moment of levity; when Tony Stark wanders through the background of the last few frames, absently kicking at some smoldering rubble as he snacks on some delicious shawarma, that's a moment of clever foreshadowing that would have paid off big time 140 exhilarating, harrowing minutes down the line.