More than ever, Hollywood’s $100 million extravaganzas are made by committee. Producers, researchers and marketers debate the unknowns: Are the explosions big enough? Do Russians like Ryan Reynolds? To see how these monsters are made, Brooks Barnes pitched a fanciful idea to industry insiders: “Red, White and Blood” features sexy car thieves, a president with a past and a terrorist plot. Could it be a hit? Read the pitch and see what the experts say.
Imagine trying to put a fitted sheet on a too-big mattress. You tuck in one corner only to have another come undone. Eventually, it works — all the bases have been covered — but it can be a frustrating experience.
Creating a summer blockbuster can feel a lot like making that bed.
Hollywood’s popcorn season has long meant superheroes, destroyed cities, epic explosions and animation. Bigger! Louder! Faster! More! Especially more: From May 1 to July 4, studios will have released 13 movies costing $100 million and up (sometimes way up), 44 percent more than in the same period last year.
Because these pictures need to attract the biggest global audience possible, theyare increasingly manufactured by committees who tug this way and pull that way: marketing needs this, international distribution needs that.
The all-too-common result is a Frankenfilm, a lumbering behemoth composed of misfit parts.
When they work, there is a box office bonanza. Studios this year have rejoiced over “The Hangover Part III,” “World War Z” and“Iron Man 3.” When they don’t — well, it’s “After Earth” or “John Carter.” (The next big-budget movies to face judgment are “The Lone Ranger” with Johnny Depp and “Pacific Rim,” a robots-versus-monsters movie from Guillermo del Toro.)
To understand the forces that come to bear in the making of these movies, The New York Times conducted a lighthearted experiment. Working with Jordan Roberts, a veteran Hollywood script doctor, we came up with a pitch for a fake summer movie. We wanted it to be silly, but also not out of the realm of possibility.
Then we sought out experts in various Hollywood disciplines — producing, marketing, screenwriting — and asked, What would make our movie more sellable? Their input could be anything, except for the obvious: “Don’t make this film.”
If you think this movie idea is too ridiculous, remember two things. Disney is making a live-action film out of Ant-Man, a comic book character who can change his size and control bugs with a helmet. And “Turbo,” set for release by 20th Century Fox on July 17, started with the pitch, “‘Fast & Furious’ except with snails and animated.”
For complete article: