James Franco might be one of the beautiful people, but on-screen it’s not all Ivy League educations and art projects. Whether they wear manic smiles or smoldering glares, Franco’s characters tend to get put through the ringer, though never the same way twice. Let’s take a look at “127 Hours,” “Spider-Man,” and “Spring Breakers” … and that’s just a start.
It wasn’t just the (literally) life and death drama surrounding the Spider-Man Broadway musical that people were gossiping about this year, but its upcoming celluloid cousin – a reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise that re-imagines the possibilities of a Marvel universe with a non-white Peter Parker – was also a source of chatter around the Internet water cooler amongst Marvel, sci-fi, and oddly enough Donald Glover fans.
Now here’s a trend we can get behind: Mainstream movie audiences are increasingly turning their backs on cleverly marketed but shoddily made movies in favor of higher quality films.
Citing disappointing box-office results from middle-brow movies on which the big studios had pinned blockbuster hopes – remakes like THE WOLFMAN and THE A-TEAM, star vehicles like KILLERS with Ashton Kutcher and THE TOURIST with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and sequels like SEX AND THE CITY 2 – and the surprising success of more complicated pictures like INCEPTION and THE SOCIAL NETWORK – the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes asserts that “studios are finally and fully conceding that moviegoers, armed with Facebook and other networking tools and concerned about escalating ticket prices, are holding them to higher standards. The product has to be good.”
By now everyone has heard about the less than fortuitous opening previews for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” The mega-musical, directed by Julie Taymor with music by Bono and The Edge, has broken records (and the bank) with a $65 million initial budget, more than twice as big as the previous record holder, “Shrek the Musical.” “Spider-Man” is up against a monster task to turn a profit, and its extremely limited in that it can’t travel. Part of the reason it cost so much to produce is because the Foxwoods Theater on Broadway was built especially for “Spider-Man,” with specific height and construction requirements for its many flying sequences and stunts. It’s going to take a lot to make that $65 million back, but how much, exactly?