A Fool's Utopia 10.12.13: The Other Lucasfilm Franchise
Posted by Ron Martin on 10.12.2013
This week in one man's utopia we take a look at what Disney can do with the other Lucasfilm franchise, talk skinny Adam Richman, McDonalds Trick-or-Treat gift certificates and girls getting all telekinetic in coffee shops.
Obviously this column is coming out on a strange day and it's the first one in a couple of weeks. There's a reason for that. My schedule has completely changed with a new job, the podcast and new living arrangements. I've been at this column for the last 6 1/2 years, but it's not fair to the readers and staff of 411mania to keep the sporadic column schedule, so I'm announcing here today that as of the end of 2013, A Fool's Utopia will be going into hibernation. I'll get more into my time here and all the thanks and stuff in the last column, for now enjoy the last two and a half months of the column!
Now back to our regularly scheduled progams...
Last year, one of the big news stories involved the purchasing of Lucasfilms by Disney. While all the news (and rightfully so) has concentrated on the continuing of the Star Wars franchise, there were other valuable assets involved in the purchase.
First, two movies that Disney acquired that they could make money off of merchandising or new DVD releases are Labyrinth and Willow. No one is better at getting the most money out of each character they own than Disney. It's not out of the realm of possibility that one or both of these movies could be re-released or new merchandise created.
With that said, the obvious 300 poun Crystal Skull in this column is the Indiana Jones franchise. What can Disney do with it? Let's take a look.
While everyone loves an Indiana Jones movie, there's one problem with making more movies in the franchise. It's not like Star Wars where the spotlight can be shifted to other characters and the storylines are top dog. In the Indiana Jones franchise, there is only one character that matters -- Indiana Jones. A movie in the franchise without Harrison Ford is not advisable and I hope Disney knows this. I believe the franchise stops at the four films we have. Harrison Ford is too old to reprise the character and everyone in the free world would literally take shits on theater chair if Shia Lebouf become the focal point of the franchise.
This is real possibility. The franchise has had some success on TV in the early 90s with the show The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. There's no reason a second show couldn't be produced. A teen Indiana might be an interesting take on the series, though I have no faith that TV execs wouldn't fill the show up with pretty people to look at and as many sex scenes as possible instead of the fun adventure that we want to see in our Indiana Jones-related media.
The good news for Disney is that they no longer have to pay for rights to the franchise for their Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show at Disney World or the Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye attraction at Disneyland. That's always nice. With talk of expanding Star Wars presence in the Disney Studios theme park in Orlando (including a Mos Eisley bar!), it stand to reason that a new Indiana Jones attraction or themed restaurant/shop will pop up.
You better believe it. I'm willing to be that Indiana Jones merchandise has already multiplied at the theme parks. The Indiana Jones franchise has a uniqueness about it in that it always sells no matter how long it has been since the last movie. Indy will always be cool and cool always sells. Board games, video games, t-shirts, playsets, Legos -- whatever.
We can take one thing for sure away from this event -- Disney will get your money one way or another. You can hate Mickey and his crew, you can despise animation and family friendly entertainment, but somehow, some way -- Disney will get your money.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
1. TV THOUGHTS
a. Have you seen Adam Richman lately? The Man vs. Food guy was getting bigger and bigger by the season and it made sense. The guy was sitting down to a meal and by the time he stood up, he was 2-5 pounds heavier. The show had a makeover because of what I always (and still do) assumed was health reasons for Richman. It turns out we don't like watching people who aren't Adam Richman eat as much as we liked watching him eat. The Travel Channel tried to squeeze him into some other TV shows that we didn't like nearly as much, but he's still around and he's lost a bunch of weight! I thought Richman was crazy when I first starting watching Man vs. Food, but give the guy credit. He got himself on TV, showed his charisma and has made a brand out of himself. Kudos to him!
b. James Spader is the second coming of Christopher Walken. He's going to so whatever he wants to do, he's going to deliver his lines in a very easily imitated manner and in the same way for every role. And we will be utterly fascinated. Blacklist (as I predicted) has been amazing so far. James Spader is playing virtually the same role he played on The Office, only this time he isn't jumping on a dead horse, he manage to find his way on a horse at the beginning of what will be a strong run. So far, The Blacklist has hit on all cylinders, but even if it begins to falter, Spader will be worth the watch.
c. Is there a luckier guy in TV right now than Greg Garcia? Garcia has made a name for himself by presenting us with white trash TV (My Name is Earl and Raising Hope) got perhaps the most coveted timeslot for a sitcom on TV for his new project The Millers. He found his new show slotted between The Big Bang Theory and the new Robin Williams/Sarah Michelle Gellar project. This is a movie that probably gives Thursday nights to CBS by default.
2. For some reason, I've been listening to a lot of Prince this week. I have decided that "Darling Nikki" off of Purple Rain is his most underrated song.
3. SPORTS THOUGHTS:
a. I had the Colts at 8-8 this year with a slow start since the schedule seemed front heavy for them. Never did I expect a 4-1 record with wins over San Fransisco and Seattle. I'm not silly enough to think they can stop Denver (even if it is at home), but another game with Jacksonville, two with an all of the sudden not so tough Houston plus out of division games that includes Arizona and St. Louis, I have to think they are set up for a 9-10 win season and a possible playoff appearance. Not knowing how Denver will react in the playoffs, the AFC seems wide open at the moment. Why not the Colts? Especially if they get some of their defensive starters back from injury.
b. I find it very interesting that ESPN pulled out of the PBS project League of Denial that highlights the NFL and their strategy against concussions dating back to the late 90s. ESPN had pledged to help the documentarians at first, but mysteriously pulled out as the project got going. Could it have something to do with not wanting to be scolded by their meal ticket, the NFL? I think we know the answer to that.
c. The first real threat of an Indianapolis Colt making into the Hall of Fame comes up with the next vote. Marvin Harrison is one of many wide receivers that are logjammed at the door to the Hall, all with similar numbers. I don't think Marvin will make the Final Fifteen this season, though I'd like to see him advance in the coming years. I wonder if the success of Reggie Wayne after Harrison left the game is going to hurt him as a lot of voters wouldn't want to consider two wide receivers from the same team during the same era.
d. I don't understand everyone's rush to make fun of Jerry Jones for owning a flip phone. The dude didn't come to be a billionaire by spending $700 on a phone. If I were Jerry Jones, I'd point to the largest TV in the world hanging from the ceiling of his football stadium and say "When you have one of those, you can make fun of my phone."
4. While I loathe the fact that it's for a third remake of a classic film, I love the viral advertising for the upcoming Carrie flick. Apparently, actors planted in restaurants around New York got into heated arguments until the lady in the group got so angry that her "telekenesis" got out of control and started moving things in the restaurant. While I think it's a very cool idea, I have to question how effective it is. You have to figure that the marketing costs hundreds (if not over a thousand) to set up to entertain two to three dozen customers in the restaurant. Is that worth it? Even if everyone in the restaurant bought a ticket (I'm assuming a price around $13 in New York for a new release) -- assuming a full three dozen people, that's only $468 in sales. It's creative and I enjoy the creativity, but the practicality leaves a lot to be desired.
5. HALLOWEEN THOUGHTS:
a. Went to my first haunted attraction in a couple of seasons. It was okay. $20 is probably a little on high side for what we got. The going trend in haunted attractions seems to be to have several attractions in one area, make each attraction ridiculously priced on their own but offer a "combo" ticket that's much more reasonably priced. For example, an attraction may consist of a hayride, a corn maze and a haunted house at $15 each -- but if you purchase the combo ticket, it's only $27 for all three!! What a deal! What a way to make me spend $12 more bucks!
b. I missed the first viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I hope there is another one coming up. I have it on DVD and will be more than happy to watch the DVD, however, there's nothing quite like watching it on TV.
c. If you're looking for some Halloween viewing and are a streaming subscriber on Netflix, let me recommend House of Fears from 2007. It's a solid haunted house (as in kids stuck in a haunted house attraction) film that I think you will enjoy. If you don't want to watch it, download my podcast from last week -- it's one of the two films we covered -- and listen to us talk about it.
USELESS TRIVIA AND SHAMELESS PLUGGING
THIS WEEK'S USELESS TRIVIA
What was Indiana Jones name in the original script?
THIS WEEK'S SHAMELESS PLUGGING
If you really need my witticisms and snarkiness, you can always find me on my Podcast, The Resurrection of Zombie 7. We cover horror movie franchises, one movie at a time. This week was our "in between" podcast where we have a One Night Stand with a one off horror movie. Since we'll be covering Universal's Wolfman movies through the rest of October, this week is our special Halloween episode. We cover two "Halloween" movies. One is Trick R Treat, which if you haven't seen it – what are you waiting for?! The other is the aforementioned House of Fears, a solid independent horror movie streaming currently on Netflix. If you have an hour to kill on your commute or at work – we'll kill it for you! Check us out!
THIS WEEK IN RETRO
In the interest of full disclosure, I have most definitely written about McDonald Halloween coupons before. In fact, it may have been my first Halloween oriented column. It was either that or the McDonalds McPails. Either way, I talked about these a long, long time ago and I am 100% that no one currently reading this one read that one – so here we go.
I was a fool to believe that this promotion was in the mid-80s. Also, I was incorrect in calling them coupons. They were most definitely gift certificates. For some reason in my head, I have myself as a toddler in 1985 when I would actually have been nine years old. My memory fails me. Of course I would have gotten these gift certificates because they were popular during my prime trick-or-treating years. For those of you under 35, as the ad above read, potential trick-or-treat all-star houses could purchase 20 certificates for a dollar. Five bucks and you got 100. That should have comfortably have been enough.
I'm not saying that Mickey Ds would be silly enough to sell 20 for a buck these days, but you can't get enough candy for 100 trick-or-treaters for five bucks. Trust me – one of these certificates per kid was more than enough. If a kid was trick-or-treating and a gift certificate fell into his bag, that house was in contention for best house of the night. We didn't even try to hit the house up twice – put of respect.
Don't let the commercial fool you. By the time I got to these gift certificates, you could nab a small drink, a small fry, a cheeseburger or even an apple pie. It doesn't sound exciting, but take a cheeseburger and put it up against a bite size Milky Way and see which one you get more excited about? Don't lie to yourself. When trick-or-treating was over and everyone settled into "store" mode – you know, trading off the stuff you didn't like for stuff you did – the gift certificates were off limits. Occasionally, a megadeal could take place in which several candy bars were traded, but gift certificates were never involved, no matter the price.