Bleats

All Our Fave Film Franchises Are About To Get A Heap Of C-Grade Entries, So Yay?

Expect plenty of wrongs over these rights.

If you’ve been loving Hollywood’s enthusiasm for endless remakes and reboots and retreads then great news: there’s even more on the way because some big franchises will be leaving studios shortly and reverting to their creators.

And there’s no way that said studios aren’t going to shake that IP until coins jangle the hell out.

The short version of the long story is that the rights to use any piece of intellectual property can only be granted for a limited amount of time before it reverts to its creator.

It depends on the nature of the work, the details of the deal and the territory the copyright covers. However, it’s one of the reasons why a lot of bands suddenly put out box sets and reissues about thirty years after being huge: chances are they’ve suddenly gotten their masters back and are desperately attempting to make up for all that lost superannuation they weren’t earning while sitting in the back of smelly tour vans.

Anyway: there’s a test case making stately progress through the courts in the US regarding the convoluted rights to the Friday the 13th franchise, which already has a tangled history. Fun fact: for one thing, when New Line bought the franchise after Paramount’s deal elapsed, they couldn’t use the name “Friday the 13th”, which is why all their films had “Jason” in the title instead.

“Um, great.”

And depending on the outcome of said deal, some big name franchises are going to be yanked off the market and back to their creators, including Terminator and Predator.

And as we’ve seen in the past nothing guarantees terrible films like something rushed to market by a studio shared of losing their rights. 2015’s Fantastic Four, anyone? Hey, who loved the quick-before-Stephen-King-stops -us 2019 remake of Pet Sematary?

Heed his advice, franchise graverobbers!

Of course, there’s a new Terminator film coming shortly which might reinvigorate the moribund franchise, or finally kill it off for good.

But expect a rushed new Predator flick before too long as the rights holders try to squeeze some final money-drops from its dried up husk – and for your other fave film franchises to follow.

Terrible Books Make Great Films (And Vice Versa)

Ultimately, we're all going to need a bigger boat.

Why is it so hard to make a good film out of a good book? Why? WHY????

The Goldfinch seems set to be the latest great book terrible film adaptation to fail to capture what made the novel great. And it follows reviews of It: Chapter 2 arguing that the movie missed the mark in terms of capturing the menace of Stephen King’s book (which has plenty weird about it to start with…).

The biggest problem with a good book is that a lot of the time the thing that makes a book great is the writing – the language, the pacing, the way the story unfolds – rather than that it’s about, say, a boy wizard-slash-Christ analogue.

You know the one.

And that’s the stuff which translates least well to the screen. In fact, it’s preferable to get a trashy book written by a hack than an artsy classic where every setnence is a tiny work of art.

For example: Francis Ford Coppola’s decision to eliminate a long, rambling through-plot about a woman getting restorative surgery on her vagina from Mario Puzo’s trite novel is just one of the reasons why The Godfather is a great film and an annoying unreadable book.

Similarly, the decision by Steven Spielberg to focus the movie version of Jaws on a large unstoppable sea monster made it rather more interesting than the novel, which is a leaden exploration of infidelity and small-town corruption featuring unlikeable characters and tedious exposition, punctuated by the odd shark attack.

And ultimately that’s what makes awful books much easier to film. After all, they’re different mediums with different requirements, with pacing being the most obvious.

Thus if you have a meh sort of a YA series about a girl what shoots arrows or some vampires which encourage stalking and chastity then you’re more comfortable moving things around, cutting boring bits and inventing new bits to make an interesting film.

But it’s harder if you have source material that you love because then it becomes harder to cut things that won’t work on screen, or which pad out the run time, or

There’s also the reason why short stories tend to make better films than entire novels. To use Stephen King’s source material again: Stand By Me is a great film. Dark Tower very, very isn’t.

And sure, the Golden Age Of Television has let some great book-to-screen adaptations, from the brilliant (Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens) to the a-bit-over-faithful (Jospeh Heller’s Catch-22) to the utterly infuriating (Nail Gaiman again: oh, American Gods, you’re so close to being amazing and yet…).

Agreed.

And it’s not perfect. Meg: A Novel Of Deep Terror, for example, is an unreadably bad book by Steve Alten about a prehistoric shark sharking it up in the modern era, and last year’s film version The Meg was hardly better, although wildly different. And those claiming 50 Shades Of Grey is a great book are about as numerous as those claiming it’s a cinema classic.

Great books make for terrible films, and terrible books can be perfect movies. So if you love Donna Tartt’s prose, maybe avoid The Goldfinch like the plague. But man, how fun is Starship Troopers?

HELL YES LET’S WATCH IT AGAIN RIGHT NOW.

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