Who Will Disney Buy Next?

With the recent purchase of 20th Century Fox, Disney is now even more on top of the world than they already were. Not only do they have the rights to classic films like The Lion King and Snow White, but they now have control of your entire childhood with Star Wars and Marvel under their belt. Disney has fully revived the Star Wars franchise and has now put Marvel in their best position in years, all while still being able to make original animated films and running a multitude of theme parks. You simply cannot stop Disney. 

Walt Disney Logo

Walt Disney Logo

But what could make them even stronger? What brands or companies would make perfect sense for Disney to get their hands on? What gaps are there still to fill in their ever growing company? While there may not be much, there are still some spots that Disney would no doubt love to fill to make their ever growing empire even larger. 


Hasbro

This purchase would make perfect sense and back around 2012 it was rumored that it would actually happen. But since then, things have been very quiet on that front and that deal might never see the light of day. But that has not stopped Disney and Hasbro from being in deep connection. Go to Target or Walmart and pick up ANY Star Wars or Marvel related toy. Odds are it was built and distributed by Hasbro. 

Star Wars Black Series Line

Star Wars Black Series Line

The more you think about it, it is a huge missed opportunity for Disney. While it is obvious that toys are not at the height of popularity that they once were due to the advancement of technology. It is still a huge market with children and collectors. Especially brands like Star Wars and Marvel which rack in billions of dollars from merchandise sales a year. Now just imagine Disney being able to have full ownership over their toy revenue. It would be a huge financial boost to the company that would be greatly appreciated and it would no doubt make Disney the ultimate king of the toy market. 


Viacom/ Nickelodeon

Disney's 2D animation department has been slacking as of late. The days of Phineas and Ferb, The Proud Family and Kim Possible are way behind us. And while the general audience does love the over abundance of 3D animation, there is no doubt that there is a hunger for more 2D animated films and cartoons.

Nickelodeon Logo

Nickelodeon Logo

Here is where Nickelodeon can come in the mix. While they have built an empire over the last 20 years, it is clearly obvious that they are no where near the height that they once were in the late 90's to early 2000's. Yes, Spongebob Squarepants continues to be an unstoppable ratings force, but Nickelodeon has not manged to grasp on to another hit, whether it is in their animated or live-action department. They are clearly struggling to find some new footing and it is obvious that they have pushed the panic button, as we can see with their recent push for  90's nostalgia in their recent Hey Arnold! movie and their upcoming Rocko's Modern Life TV film. 

Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob Squarepants

So what could save Nickelodeon from their slow downwards spiral? Disney buying them out of course! Disney actually already has a spot saved for all their shows in their Disney XD department, which specializes in 2D and 3D animated cartoons. Disney XD which started back in 2009, has also struggled to find its footing in the cartoon space. So not only would this help revive Nickelodeon being under the Disney brand, but this would of course help Disney rejuvenate their cartoon brand with household names like Spongebob Squarepants, The Fairly Odd Parents, Hey Arnold! and so much more. This is just a match made in heaven and do not be surprised if this were to ever unfold. 


Square-Enix

Now this might seem like the most out of left field pick, but it honestly makes perfect sense. If you're a gamer you might be familiar with a little franchise called Kingdom Hearts. Without getting too much into the plot of it, the basic concept of Kingdom Hearts is that it is a fusion of Disney properties and the world of Square-Enix's most popular brand, Final Fantasy. It is a weird concept, but it works. Since 2002, the series as a whole has sold nearly 25 million units, with a hotly anticipated squeal on the horizon.  

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts

Disney has had to work with Square for some time now on the Kingdom Hearts series and it is obvious that the two have taken a liking to each other. Their good partnership was shown once again in January 2017, when it was announced that Square and Disney/Marvel reached a multi-year game partnership and the first title that was announced was a secret project Avengers game. 

But why should Disney buyout Square-Enix? Square is no financial trouble whatsoever and they have a good amount of franchises to keep them afloat for a good amount of time. But this is the one situation where Disney actually needs help. With the video game market growing faster than ever, Disney is on the lacking side. Their recent video game project, Disney Infinity fell through and with that Disney closed down all of their gaming studios, leaving them with nothing in the gaming space. But Disney buying out Square-Enix could put them right back in the gaming market stronger than ever.

Square-Enix logo

Square-Enix logo

They would have full control of franchises such as Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Tomb Raider, their upcoming Avengers title and much more. Sure it would be a little strange to see Disney in control of these franchises, but imagine the places they could take them with the increased budget that Disney could provide? Imagine the franchises that could make a huge comeback like Legacy of Kain and Theif? This would be all but good news for the gaming landscape and it would sure bring Disney back into the gaming world stronger than ever. 


So who else do you think Disney should buyout to help their ever growing empire? Let us know down below!

-Paul

The Struggle of the 2017 Summer Box Office

In no way does this satisfy me to make this article. Ever since I was a kid I have been going to the movie theater on a constant basis. It is one of my favorite outlets and I could never see my life without it. But as of late, things have not been looking too good for the movie theater industry and in some ways, Hollywood as a whole has not been looking too hot either. 

Dunkirk

Dunkirk

Box office earnings for this summer are at an all time low and it way too late to turn anything around. With numerous under preforming films over the past few months, it has put Hollywood in a very sticky situation. But what caused this? What struck a chord with the general audience for them to stay home instead of heading to the movie theaters this summer? While these questions seem complicated, the answer is a lot more simple than you think.


What Movies Under Preformed?

The word under preform does not even describe how badly some of these movies straight up fell on their faces at the box office this summer. To start off, we had King Arthur: Legend of the Sword the movie that everyone asked for! King Arthur released in mid-May and in total grossed a measly $145 million worldwide. For some weird reason, Warner Bros. (Who distributed the film ) gave this movie a $175 million dollar production budget. On top of that, you always want to multiply a production budget by 2 as the production budget you see does not include merchandising, advertising and payment of the actors/actresses. So, with a production budget of $350 million and a return of $145 million King Arthur went down as the Summers first bomb, with many more to come.

Promo Poster for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Promo Poster for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Later that month was Alien: Covenant which had a $97 million budget and went on to only gross $74 million in the US and $232 million worldwide. While it looks like 20th Century Fox made a small return, it was not the return they were expecting.

Throughout the rest of the summer there would be more disappointments such as Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Baywatch, The Mummy, Cars 3, War for the Planet of the Apes, Valerian and The Dark Tower.

But no movie stung worse than the under performance of Transformers: The Last Knight. The Transformers franchise has always been pandered for the quality of their films. But the reason Paramount continued with the franchise was simply because it made money. The most recent Transformers flick before The Last Knight, Age of Extinction went on to gross over $1 billion dollars worldwide. No matter the quality of the films it seemed the franchise would always be a box office powerhouse. That was until The Last Knight arrived. With a $217 million budget and only grossing $600 million worldwide and only $130 million of that coming from the US, it looks like the general audience has caught on and that now leaves a once box office powerhouse franchise in the dust. This not only hurt companies such as Regal and AMC, but this was a severe sting to Paramount who has struggled to must out a hit for some time now. 


How Badly Does This Hurt Movie Theaters?

It hurts them just as bad as you think. If nobody is seeing movies, they are not making money. 

Lets take Regal Cinemas, one of the largest theater chains in America. Currently as of the writing of this article they are currently at only $15.49 a share on the stock market. That is absolutely abysmal. While that is up from $14.37 a share last week, it is no where near the above $25.00 a share that they should be at around this time of the year.

The same goes for movie theater giant AMC who has been hit just as hard. They are currently at a very low $14.15 a share which is even worse than what Regal was at last week. To make matters worse, at this point last year AMC was at a much better $30.30 a share. With August not able to produce any box office hits, this had made it a very bad month for both AMC and Regal.


What Caused This?

The short and simple answer is RottenTomatoes.com. If you are somehow not familiar with this website, what Rotten Tomatoes does is it puts together every movie critic review for a film and forms a total consensuses of what the critics said about it. The reviews are classified as "fresh" if they liked it and "rotten" if they did not. Then those reviews are combined and the movie is given a score, just like a test grade.

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant

While this website has been around for some time now, it has been in the past year or so that it has exploded in popularity. The general audience will now go on rotten tomatoes to see if the newest movie out is worth the price of admission or not. While this format sounds great for the general consumer, it is now a make or break for a movie studio. 

So lets take all the movies that I claimed under preformed earlier and check their rotten tomatoes score. 

  • War for the Planet of the Apes - 93%
  • Alien: Covenant - 71%
  • Cars 3 - 68%
  • Valerian - 51%
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - 29%
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword - 28%
  • Baywatch - 19%
  • The Mummy - 16%
  • The Dark Tower - 16%
  • Transformers: The Last Knight - 15%

The only movie on that list that remains a mystery as to why it under preformed is Apes, but that is a topic for another day. But as you can see, these movies are not preforming well with the critics, therefore they are not gonna fare well with audiences anymore. The era of a movie studio slapping a random blockbuster with amazing SFX in the middle of summer and having flocks of people run up and pay full price to see it is now over. The general audience is more careful now thanks to Rotten Tomatoes and word of mouth. 

But of course you can not hide the fact that streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are also another major reason as to why the general audience is holding back on movies. Why go see a movie that you have already seen is disliked by the critics when you can just stay home and have a huge assortment of choices from TV and film without even leaving your house?


What Can Turn This Around?

The answer here is actually quite simple, make your movies good and make them movies that people want to see. Nobody wants to see a King Arthur movie, so do not give it a $175 million budget. Nobody wanted a Mummy reboot, nobody wanted a fifth Transformers, nobody wanted a fifth Pirates film and surely nobody wanted a Cars 3.

Artwork for Transformers: The Last Knight

Artwork for Transformers: The Last Knight

But not all was grim at the box office this summer. We had HUGE successes like Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Despicable Me 3, Girls Trip and Dunkirk. 

All of these movies blew the competition out of the water. Wonder Woman grossed $400+ in the United States ALONE. Guardians was not far behind with $389 million, Spider-Man swung in with about $315 million, Despicable Me 3 while not outperforming its predecessors still wound up with a great $250 million, Girls Trip grossed over $100 million and finally Dunkirk with over $160 million and counting.

So what made these movies huge box office successes? Well, they were movies people wanted. They were either from beloved franchises, high-praised directors or they were original ideas that were actually very intriguing.

On top of that, they had great Rotten Tomatoes scores.

  • Dunkirk - 93%
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming - 92%
  • Wonder Woman - 92%
  • Girls Trip - 88%
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2 - 82%
  • Despicable Me 3 - 61%

Out of all those movies mentioned, I saw 5 out of the 6 of them, Girls Trip being the one out. I saw them because they were films that I heard lived up to their true quality and they were simply movies that I and many other people would die to see. The first live-action Wonder Woman film? Hell yes. The second Spider-Man reboot that ended up being the best Spider-Man film yet? Of course. Guardians 2, Despicable Me 3 and Dunkirk? Yes, Yes and YES. I can also guarantee that more of the movies that I just listed intrigue you a lot more than any of the films that were listed that under preformed.

So yes, it is that simple Hollywood, make what the audiences want, not what you want.


What Does The Future Hold?

Thankfully, in my opinion, the future does indeed look very bright for the rest of the year. This weekend we are getting the highly anticipated IT, which is tracking to rack in over $50-$70 million this weekend. Looking forward we have highly anticipated films such as Kingsman 2, Jigsaw, Thor: Ragnarok, Daddy's Home 2, Justice League, Coco and a little movie called Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

Image of Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok 

Image of Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok 

Looking even further forward to next year we will see huge releases such as Deadpool 2, the Han Solo film, The Incredibles 2, Fantastic Beasts 2, Black Panther, Jurassic World 2, Ant-Man 2, Aquaman, Mission Impossible 6, Pacific Rim 2, and the ever so highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War.

The only thing that can really hold back any of those films is a lack of quality, but as long as these films stay true to their predecessors and remain just as great, I honestly can really see Hollywood getting back on its feet in 2018. 

-Paul

 

UPDATED: Ranking The Spider-Man Films

Spider-Man: Homecoming has finally been released to the public and Lee and I are still feeling the Spidey fever! Last week I ranked my least to favorite Spider-Man films, but today I applied my ranking for Homecoming. This article is an updated version of last week's article with some very few changes. Hopefully we can all get along with where I have placed these films (especially #4) and without further ado, here is number 6!

Credits: Lee Angerstein 

Credits: Lee Angerstein 

6.) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Oh, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, what an out of place film you are. While I personally do not believe the entire film is a mess, the majority of it is all buildup for a franchise that never came to be. Which is what makes it so weird, cause now we have this film that laid all this groundwork for all these films that never happened. I have many complaints about this movie but the main thing that really bothers me with this film is the Harry Osborn and Peter Parker relationship. Their relationship is meant to be a slow buildup, starting off as best friends, into rivals, than enemies. This film pretty much skips the whole friends and rivals aspect and goes right into Harry hating Spider-Man and going after him. It just does not mesh well.

With that stuff, on top of the horribly played out Electro, the introduction of a bunch of characters, scattered plot lines it just makes this film an absolute mess. While you'll see later that I believe Spider-Man 3 is an enjoyable mess, this is not an enjoyable one in the slightest. But thankfully for this movie there are some silver linings, Andrew Garfield is no where near a disaster and I believe his portrayal of Spider-Man outshines Maguire by a long shot and the suit in this movie is easily my favorite live-action Spider-Man suit. Another plus is the Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker relationship. Especially, with THAT scene in the end of the film (The film is still relatively 'new' so i'll keep away from spoilers.) it makes this relationship very unique from the original trilogy, even if it is not as strong as the first.

 There is so much more I can go on about this movie, but, that is for another day. But overall, this film ranks at the bottom of my list and will most likely forever remain there.

5.) The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

This film to me is the hardest one to discuss about. This movie just makes me feel very weird. As someone who grew up watching and adoring the original trilogy, this was a little difficult to accept at first. But after seeing it a handful of times, I finally came to my conclusion. It is a Spider-Man movie that is just kind of...there. 

As said previously, Andrew Garfield is a true treat and he brings the true wit, humor and charm that we all love about Spider-Man. His Peter Parker on the other hand, is very meh. Garfield does not look like a geek and honestly does not truly act like one. It just feels out of place. Speaking of out place, there is the main villain in the film, The Lizard. From his portrayal to his god awful sinister plan it just does not fit this type of movie. I personally feel like The Vulture could have been a great starting off point, but thankfully we will be getting that with Homecoming.

One last thing, this movie just honestly seems like a straight up remake of Spider-Man (2001). The main tagline to this film was "The Untold Story" and besides the bigger emphasis on Peter's parents, there really was not anything that was brand new and that was a bit of a shame. But, that is also what makes this movie just okay. It really does not do anything wrong, cause it just goes off the same beats as the first movie. I just criticize it because it brings nothing new overall, this film is just, okay. It is in no way a disaster. If it was not for this movie being a reboot, I feel I would have appreciated this way more. 

4.) Spider-Man 3 (2007)

This is where I seem to disagree with a lot of people. First of all, in no way is this a perfect film, or even is it a well put together one. To me, it is just a fun time. Watching this film the first few times, I just left with a very "meh" feeling. The over abundance of villains, emo Peter Parker, too many plot lines being meshed into one movie, I totally get it. But as I got older I started to appreciate it a bit more. But still, this is one of those superhero films where you just have to turn your brain off and you will find yourself enjoying it a lot more. Of course, you could do the same for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but however the more I watch that film, I still find myself with a bad taste in my mouth. But back to my point, Spider-Man 3 still involves Toby Maguire and it is still a Sam Raimi film. It still has that charm that the first two movies had, even though it was overshadowed by many plot lines. The action is fun, McGuire is still an amazing Peter Parker and it left the trilogy at a good enough spot in my opinion. So, that is why I put Spider-Man 3 in the middle of my list. 

3.) Spider-Man (2002)

Describing the importance of this film could take pages to write. The success of this movie set up the whole landscape for superhero films. While Spider-Man (2002) might not hold up fully, it is still a great time and one of the most important movies in modern day cinema.

 In my opinion, I see it as the first true superhero origin story and it is still one of the best ones ever created. One thing that I adore about this film, is Peter Parkers development as a character throughout the movie. He starts off as an awkward high school nerd who can barley even mutter out a word to a girl, but by the end of the film, he transforms into the man he never thought he could be. A man who is fearless, strong and is able to take care of the people he loves. While of course, there is many more qualities to Parker, that is something I always thought was taken care of very well. Also on the positive side, the love relationship between Mary Jane and Peter is done very well. My favorite scene between them takes place early in the film while Peter is taking out is garbage and Mary Jane walks out of her house after she got in a fight with her father. They both walk up to each other and you finally start to see Peter open up as well as Mary Jane. It is a very sweet scene and it is one of my favorites throughout the trilogy.

Finally, the villain in this film is an absolute classic. Norman Osborne/ Green Goblin who is played by William Dafoe absolutely steals the show. While his suit is a bit...dumb. His alter ego after taking the "goblin serum" stays true to the Norman Osborne character that we have all come to love. He is full of hatred, he wants full power and most importantly he wants Spider-Man dead. Also, the final action sequence between the two is a fight you wont forget.

2.) Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Here we are at number two, Spider-Man 2. This film has received nothing but praise from fans and critics alike. It is looked back on as the pinnacle of the Spider-Man films and is still talked today as one of, if not the best superhero film ever created. Now, I did not put it at number one simply because everyone else loves it, I absolutely adore this film as much as everyone else and that is why is deserves such a high spot. 

Everything in this film works almost flawlessly. The continuing relationship between Mary Jane and Peter is still just as great as the first film. While there is not really a "relationship" between them in this film, it is a huge buildup with a great payoff at the end.

So, you thought Willaim Dafoe killed it as Green Goblin? Well, Alfred Molina takes it a step further as Doctor Octopus/ Otto Octavious. His character is slightly different from the source material as Otto is truly not a bad guy at all. He is a school professor who is passionate about what he does, he loves his wife and is very willing to teach Peter Parker the ways of Science. But the aftermath of his experiment in the film is what changes him into a true monster. Molina destroys the role as he able to balance both personalities so flawlessly. He is such a joy to have in the film and will forever be the definitive live-action Doctor Octopus.

But to me, what makes this film one of kind is Peter's story throughout the film. Balancing your life between being a normal person and being a superhero does not seem easy and Peter surely does not make it look any better. Spider-Man 2 replicates a very realistic and emotional approach to the superhero genre. It really exemplifies the true moral of the whole Raimi trilogy  "With great power comes great responsibility". It shows that just because Peter has all these cool abilities does not change the real life that he still lives. He still has to care for his aunt, he still has to go to school, he is still in love with the girl of his dreams and most importantly, he has to care for himself. Never have I seen a superhero film really focus on this subject and nail it as well as Spider-Man 2. 

(Also, that Train action sequence is one of the best choreographed scenes in modern film making. Like wow.)

1.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

No other Spidey film on this list has been able to check off all the boxes that a Spider-Man movie needs until Homecoming. It does almost everything right in every aspect that we have come to love with our favorite web-head. We finally get the true Peter Parker.  We finally see the awkwardness, the wittiness and the true heart of Peter that we have all come to love in the comics. He is also accompanied by the best supporting characters in any Spidey film yet.

His buddy Ned is a hoot, as he delivers some of funniest lines. There is Aunt May who is younger this time around, but she has not changed. She is still the Mom in Peters life and is there to support and care for him in every aspect. Also, there is Liz Allen who plays Peter's love interest who is a fine addition, that eventually develops a very interesting arc towards the 3rd act. Finally, there is Michelle and Tony Stark. Michelle is the weaker of the bunch as her character unfortunately falls on the irrelevant side even though it seems the film tries to push her as something much more. But, Tony Stark was a treat. He did not overstay his welcome as some of the trailer intended, but instead, he added a lot of depth to the film with his very few scenes and the movie could not have gone full circle without him. 

 On top of the great supporting cast, we get an amazing villain out of Michael Keaton's Vulture. While he is not fully true to his character, he is a relateable and scary villain and is easily one of the best throughout the MCU (Which in reality is not saying too much). He is a villain full of surprises and seeing him gives me hope that Marvel will be able to nail down the rest of Spidey's villains throughout the future.

Finally, Spider-Man himself is as true to his character as possible. Everything from the way he moves, to his hilarious comebacks and personality. It is done perfectly. While I could have done without all the Tech of the new suit, it was still a fine addition. But the one aspect with Spidey that is done masterfully, is how they portray him of being a kid. People have to remember, Spider-Man might be strong  and can swing through cites and do all this cool stuff. But he is only 15 years old. He is still a kid who is learning is way, is developing as a human and is learning new morals with every day of his life. Homecoming nails this to a T, especially with one scene in the 3rd act, it truly shows that Spider-Man is still a newcomer and he will have to find the true strength within himself to prevail through it all. 

I have gone on the longest about Spider-Man: Homecoming because I personally do believe that it is the pinnacle of all the Spider-Man films to date. With the true adaption of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, it's great supporting cast and a spectacular villain, this is the true Spider-Man film that we have always been wanting and that is why I am ranking Spider-Man: Homecoming as my #1 Spider-Man film.

(Also, if you have not seen Captain America: Civil War make sure you do, or else you might find yourself very confused as to what is happening throughout the beginning of the film)


So, there you have it, my least to favorite Spider-Man films. This was a lot of fun to create and I plan on doing a lot more rankings such as these in the near future. Anyway, thanks for reading and let us know what your favorite Spider-Man films are!

-Paul