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C'mon Hollywood: Get your big-budget movies under control!

06.26.2012

Since the news of a date push, reshoots, and 3D conversion of G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, it seems that even more big-budget pics have followed suit, leaving most of us to wonder just what the hell is going on in Hollywood that all these movies are in such disarray?
The issue with G.I. JOE: RETALIATION has been beaten to death, but it’s still no less baffling. Reshoots, 3D conversion, and stalling release nearly a year? It’s hard to believe none of this came up in pre-production.

The Brad Pitt starrer WORLD WAR Z seemed to be a no-brainer. Based on the book by Max Brooks, which already had a massive following, and helmed by Marc Forster, who lent his hand to both James Bond and Halle Berry’s naked boobies, the zombie apocalypse flick seemed to be on course. Then, news came that scripter Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the third act and two months of reshoots were scheduled to squeeze some blood out of the orange it had become.

Now, Disney’s THE LONE RANGER is falling out of the saddle, with the budget jumping back to the original cost that stalled it’s production initially (from a trimmed $215 mil back up to $250 mil), shooting delays, and more rewrites.

Lastly, we found out that Michael Bay’s TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES reboot was essentially put on pause in order to trim the budget by reworking the script, pushing it back from it’s initial Christmas 2013 release date to summer 2014.

So, what’s the problem here? Is this just business as usual or is Hollywood (and, particularly Paramount Pictures) forgetting how to build a film from the ground up? It’s not that hard (or easy). Everything starts with an idea, which is then forged into a script, and finally scrutinized and reworked in order to fit a budget. Then, and only then, should pre-production begin. However, it seems the nature of the business has changed. Who needs a pesky script when you have an all-star cast and a prop department already hard at work? Half the work is done, right?
Obviously, the gamble has paid off enough times to become a trend.

MEN IN BLACK 3 had the script being written as they filmed. IRON MAN was in a similar boat, with the script materializing as they shot it. Talk about a tremendous risk. It seems that today’s big-budget pics are mostly about making a date rather than making a quality film. It’s not an impossibility that the film could be a hit, but how many times do you want to bet on that horse?

Rewrites and script doctoring isn’t a new thing. It’s been around forever. Films are rewritten and reworked as they’re shot all the time, but most have a solid foundation to work from.
There was a phrase we used in the Army called the Seven P’s. It was something we lived by, in a sense. It stood for; Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. It’s a catchy little thing, like most sayings in the Army, and doesn’t always resonate like it should, but it exemplifies a very simple truth; If you don’t have a proper plan then you’re going to fail. Failing in the Army could mean death. With Hollywood, it’s just losing some money and making a shitty movie.

Now, sometimes our best-laid plans went to shit. The same could be said for Hollywood. Sometimes their best efforts can go to hell with no explanation. After all, a well-constructed movie still has to sell itself to an audience. However, I’m not here to discuss the how and why of a movie being a hit. I’m talking about the simple principle of planning and preparing a movie before it gets underway.

Why would you shoot, edit, and market a movie and then decide one month before its release that you want to convert it to 3D and shoot more scenes with a specific actor? Why would you complete production on a film, only to rewrite the third act with a new writer? And why in the f*ck do you need $250 million dollars to shoot a movie about cowboys and Indians? The stalling of the TMNT movie may actually be Hollywood reawakening to the notion of planning a film before rushing it behind cameras. Let’s hope that’s the case.

Like most movie geeks, I am kind of baffled that production on such big-budget flicks begins (and sometimes ends) without any type of plan to see the project through. I liken this notion to the two scientists who signed up for the mission onboard the PROMETHEUS, with no idea of what they got themselves into. They awaken to find out what it is and completely lose their shit once they see an alien. No one thought to prepare these guys for what was coming to ensure they were up to task? It made no sense in the movie and it makes no sense in Hollywood. Why start something so massive without making sure it’s ready to go?

I’m hoping this trend of beginning without an end in mind dies a horrible death, much like the esteemed scientists of PROMETHEUS, but it’s likely they’ll continue to act as erratic as David, with reckless abandon in one hand and blind hope in the other. Hell of a way to run a business…

Extra Tidbit: Would you rather see a bloated Lone Ranger like the one we're going to get or a modestly budgeted one, say, directed by Walter Hill? I'm just dreamin' here...
Source: JoBlo.com

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