Mike Nichols reported dead

November 22, 2014

Mike Nichols reported dead

When I was in high school, I took a film analysis class.

The movie that really made the subject work for me was director Mike Nichols‘ The Graduate.

That was a case where the deliberate symbology was effective, but not intrusive. It worked wonderfully well as a movie on the surface…which is where they should work. You can get completely caught up in it, pay no attention to the technique, and have an amazing experience.

If you do look at the technique, though, it gives it a deeper value. There is a repeated symbol used that, once pointed out to you, will be obvious. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you by telling it to you (that’s the danger of film analysis) because you’ll notice it every time it happens and be pulled out of the story.

Trust me, it’s there. :)

There are very few filmmakers who can pull that off: give you great story-telling without screaming about the font you used. ;)

While Nichols will always rightfully be known best as a mainstream director (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, Silkwood), there are a few stand-out geek friendly works in the filmography.

One reason for that is that the biggest stars would go geek for Mike Nichols when that wasn’t cool. That’s changed over the decades: it’s possible (no jinx!) that Julianne Moore, a four-time nominee, will win an Oscar in 2015 while still having a movie which is the third in a Young Adult science fiction series in theatres. In fact, every acting Oscar winner from 2014 either has a significant geek-friendly movie out, announced, or rumored:

Why would George C. Scott star in a talking dolphin movie in 1973 or Jack Nicholson topline a werewolf movie in 1994 for Mike Nichols? While not every auteur is seen as a strong actor’s director, Nichols was. This was a cinematic master with a background in being on stage…actors weren’t just a tool to use to achieve a vision.

  • The Day of the Dolphin
  • Wolf
  • What Planet Are You From? (Gary Shandling alien comedy, 2000)
  • Angels in America (TV mini-series, 2003)

Mike Nichols wasn’t just a director, as in the cases above. He was a significant movie producer, but also worked in comedy (Nichols and May) and on Broadway (Annie, Spamalot). He was one of those rare  EGOT (Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony) winners.

Good-bye, Mike Nichols: no one else has used more intelligence to produce more emotional response.

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What is a superhero?

November 20, 2014

What is a superhero?

I recently wrote about upcoming superhero movies and TV shows.

It was harder than I thought.

Not because it was difficult to find them…there are many!

It was more a case of deciding what to include.

What makes a character a superhero?

It seems like it would be a pretty simple question. It’s a compound word: “super” and “hero”.

Sure, there can be some debate about the two words.

I’ve always taken “super” in this case to mean “superhuman”. The superhero has abilities that aren’t part of the human spectrum: you can’t just train yourself up to be a superhero.

“Hero” also has some debate, but everybody would agree that a hero helps other people (whether that’s individuals or society at large). Some would argue that being a hero requires risking or sacrificing something of yours, and others might argue that a hero has to fight evil (I would not be in the latter camp).

However…

There are some characters who are pretty universally thought of as superheroes who aren’t super, and there are others that aren’t called superheroes, but seem to fit the bill quite well.

Let’s start with one where we won’t get much argument.

Superman.

Superman has “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men”, especially as the character has evolved. No matter how hard you work out, you aren’t going to be able to fly or have heat vision.

Superman definitely helps people in need. He sacrifices a personal life, and despite invulnerability, does have risks (from kryptonite and magic, to name two things).

Spider-Man? Yep, you can’t train yourself to have spider powers. If you don’t get bitten by a radioactive spider, Spider-Man is superior to you, physically.

Spidey risks a lot (and gets injured), and again, helps people.

Those two are pretty clear: they are superheroes.

However…

If I asked people to name superheroes, I would guess Batman and Iron Man would both come up pretty quickly on the list.

In neither case, though, is the person inherently superhuman.

They both have superior technology, and they both have extraordinary (but not superhuman) personalities.

What’s the hard and fast difference between, say, Airwolf and Iron Man?

They both have great technology, and they both fight evil.

I don’t think Stringfellow Hawke would come up in the top 100 if most people started listing superheroes.

You could argue that one difference is that Tony Stark built the Iron Man suit…but does that make Richard Gatling (of the Gatling Gun) a superhero?

Let’s go in a little bit of a different direction.

Superman is an alien with advantageous differences from humans. He helps people.

You know who else fits that description?

Spock.

Again, I doubt that even most geeks would list Spock as a superhero, but why not? The Vulcan mind meld, the nerve pinch…even clearly physical differences make Spock superhuman. He sacrifices to help others. He fights evil.

Is it because being a “superhero” isn’t Spock’s job?

Remember, Clark Kent probably spends a lot more time being a reporter than being on patrol.

Despite the brilliant monologue in Kill Bill 2, I think Clark Kent wakes up thinking he is Clark Kent. That’s how he grew up: that was his identity. He didn’t just say, “Hey, I need something to hide who I am, so I’ll make up this glasses-wearing dude”. He may not actually need the glasses, but he is that guy. Clark Kent is not a costume…it’s who Kal-El is, even though Clark has the secret of being Superman.

Many superheroes have “day jobs”. I would even guess that Bruce Wayne spends more time on Wayne Foundation business (and his social life) than he does as the Dark Knight.

So, why isn’t Spock considered a superhero?

What about Doctor Who? He clearly seems to work like a superhero. Again, physical (and mental) superiority, helps people, sacrificed a lot.

He even has regular “supervillains”. Of course, if you want that for Spock, you have Khan and Harry Mudd to consider.

Is Doc Savage a superhero? If so, is Harry Bosch? What about Stephanie Plum?

Is a secret identity necessary?

If so, that lets out Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, who was part of the Justice League.

Does a superhero have to be human?

Clearly not…Superman isn’t.

Can a superhero be a machine, though? Is Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation a superhero? What about the Red Tornado? Brainiac 5 is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes…and a machine (well, at least 95%…depends a bit on your choice of continuity, but clearly not human).

What about Krypto, the superdog?

No, this is a lot more complicated than I thought at first.

I’d list Tarzan, Batman, and Zorro as superheroes, even though they aren’t super…but I’m not sure why that doesn’t extend to the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Lone Ranger, or does it?

Maybe it’s that they have to be defined as superheroes by the works in which they appear? That doesn’t seem like a very scientific classification system: “It’s a superhero when we tell you it is.” ;)

I don’t have an answer on this. If you’d like to share your opinion, feel free to comment on this post.

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Glen A. Larson reported dead

November 16, 2014

Glen A. Larson reported dead

TV series don’t happen without producers.

Even the general public knows that now, with names like Shonda Rhimes being as well known as those of the stars of the shows.

Geeks have always known it.

We’re very interested in what happens behind the camera…even when it’s across the hall from the shooting stage.

We’ll watch a show because of producers like Irwin Allen, Gene Roddenberry, or Ronald D. Moore.

Another name on that list?

Glen A. Larson

Sure, Larson also wrote and did music (including working on the themes for Larson shows Knight Rider,Battlestar Galactica, and The Fall Guy), but it was Larson’s ability to get high concept shows on the air that got the producer the most geek cred.

The shows tended to be high concept, adventurous, and funny. It didn’t take a lot of work to watch a Glen A. Larson show:  you just sat back and enjoyed it.

Geek friendly credits include:

  • It Takes a Thief (with Robert Wagner)
  • Two of The Six Million Dollar Man movies that led to the series
  • The original Battlestar Galactica
  • Get Christie Love!
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • Manimal
  • Automan
  • Knight Rider
  • NightMan
  • Millennium Man

From being a member of The Four Preps (the band appeared in Gidget) to bringing us a talking car and a morphing professor, Glen A. Larson was a part of American pop culture.

Good-bye, Glen A. Larson…the world is less outlandish without you.

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The future is super(hero)

November 3, 2014

The future is super(hero)

Tired of seeing superheroes on the screen?

Get over it! ;)

In an unusual move, both Marvel and DC movies for the next several years have been announced. Those are, of course, not the only superhero movies out on the horizon.

We also know about ongoing and upcoming TV series.

Here’s a rundown…we’ll definitely see some other things added (after all, we are looking at half a decade of pop culture here). There is also some flexibility in the definition of “superhero”. After all, no one would question putting Batman in that category…despite a lack of superhuman abilities. However, would you put the Taken movies in this group? Most people wouldn’t…but how much objective difference is there between Bryan Mills and Bruce Wayne? Does a superhero need a secret identity? We would say no (Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, is know to everybody). Do they need being a “hero” to be their main occupation? Superman probably spends as much time being Clark Kent as you do at your job.

So, there will be some subjective calls here…feel free to comment if you think we’ve included someone we shouldn’t, or left something out.

TV series:

Ongoing

  • Beware the Batman, animated, DC
  • Gotham, DC
  • Arrow, DC
  • The Flash, DC
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel
  • Doctor Who (we can argue about whether or not the Doctor is a superhero later) ;)
  • Constantine
  • Lost Girl (is Bo  superhero? Arguable…)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Lab Rats
  • The Thundermans
  • Mighty Med
  • Henry Danger
  • Sailor Moon Crystal
  • Bravest Warriors
  • Nightwing: Escalation, DC

Upcoming

  • Daredevil, Marvel
  • Powers
  • Supergirl, DC
  • LEGO: Batman Be-Leagured, DC
  • Luke Cage, Marvel
  • Iron Fist, Marvel
  • The Good Fight
  • Agent Carter, Marvel
  • Power Rangers Dino Charge

November 7 2014

Big Hero 6, movie, Marvel: this is a Disney (they own Marvel) 3-D animated movie, which will likely play well with kids

May 1, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron, movie, Marvel

July 17, 2015

Ant-Man, movie, Marvel

August 7, 2015

The Fantastic Four, movie, Marvel

2016 undated

X-Force, movie, Marvel

February 12, 2016

Deadpool, movie, Marvel

March 25, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, movie, DC

May 6, 2016

Captain America: Civil War, movie, Marvel

May 22, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse, movie, marvel

June 3, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, movie

July 1, 2016

Tarzan, movie

July 22, 2016

Power Rangers, movie

August 5, 2016

Suicide Squad, movie, D

November 4, 2016

Doctor Strange, movie, Marvel

November 11, 2016

The Sinister Six, movie, Marvel

2017 undated

Female superhero Spider-Man movie, movie, Marvel

March 3, 2017

The Wolverine 3, movie, Marvel

May 5, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy 2, movie, Marvel

May 26, 2017

The LEGO Batman Movie, movie, DC

June 23, 2017

Wonder Woman, movie, DC

July 14, 2017

The Fantastic Four 2, movie, Marvel

July 28, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok, movie, Marvel

November 3, 2017

Black Panther, movie, Marvel

November 17, 2017

Justice League Part One, movie, DC

2018 undated

The Amazing Spider-Man 3, movie,  Marvel

March 23, 2018

The Flash, movie, DC

May 4, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, movie, Marvel

May 25, 2018

The LEGO Movie 2, movie

July 6, 2018

Captain Marvel, movie, Marvel

July 13, 2018

Untitled Fox Marvel movie, movie, Marvel

July 27, 2018

Aquaman, movie, DC

November 2, 2018

Inhumans, movie, Marvel

April 5, 2019

SHAZAM, movie, DC

May 3, 2019

Avengers: Infinity War Part II, movie, Marvel

May 24, 2019

Untitled LEGO Movie, movie

June 14, 2019

Justice League Part Two, movie, DC

April 3, 2020

Cyborg, movie, DC

June 19, 2020

Green Lantern, movie, DC

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Is it swarm in here? The Navy announces autonomous swarm boats

October 15, 2014

Is it swarm in here? The Navy announces autonomous swarm boats

“You sunk my battleship!”

Well, technically, you didn’t sink it…robotic ships you unleashed surrounded it and sank it.

In this

media release by David Smalley

the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, proudly says, “The Future Is Now”.

We geeks know that isn’t always a good thing. ;)

In this case, the Navy can retrofit boats with CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing), enabling them to (on their own) coordinate a “swarming attack” on an enemy vessel. They can surround it and just hold it there, or (under human direction), destroy it. The Navy says they can “…deter or destroy attacking adversaries. Any weapons fire from the USVs would need to be initiated by a Sailor supervising the mission.”

There is a video linked on that page, and somehow, it reminded me of the M-5 drill from the original Star Trek’s The Ultimate Computer episode*.

This was kind of a mirror universe version. In the Trek episode, a robotically controlled Enterprise is swarmed by human-controlled starships in a war game.

In this case, a human-controlled vessel was swarmed by robotically-controlled vessels in a war game.

Generally, robots in war are designed to reduce unintended collateral damage. A gun doesn’t have to be “smart” to kill people: it’s made smart so it knows who not to kill.  A smart land mine would choose whether or not to explode, as opposed to current land mines, which maim  indiscriminately.

Even as an advocate of robot rights, we at the Measured Circle have to admit feeling a bit…weirded out by this one.

It certainly seems as though military vessels could be sailing along with this fleet of fast boats zooming along side, like dolphins following a fishing boat. The USVs (Unmanned Surface Vessels) detect that a kayaker has entered the area, and immediately surround it…at their own discretion. They won’t shoot unless told to do so…if everything goes according to plan (and it always does, right?). ;)

Okay, feeling fine with that? What if we throw drones into the mix? Yep, the media release (which shows this is forward thinking…it isn’t a “press release”) specifically mentions that this system could be expanded to include UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). It suggests it could also be used for tanks and such.

There is just something about the way they’ve written the press release and done the video that makes it sound like one of those weapons demonstrations we see in the movies…just before everything goes wrong.

On the other hand, maybe it’s the demo from Short Circuit…one of these vessels gets hit by lightning, becomes self aware, and sets off on a wacky but peaceful boat trip with Zach Galifinakis and Zooey Deschanel on a madcap comedy, while being pursued by Colonel Nick Offerman as it seeks its designer, Jim Parsons.

If that’s the case, carry on…

* I rewatched that episode in preparation for this post, and it is worth noting that there is a “self-driving” spaceship in it…and it seems to be accepted as routine that an ore freighter would be driving itself around. Yet another case where Star Trek preceded reality…

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Today is to the Beatles as the Beatles are to…

October 3, 2014

Today is to the Beatles as the Beatles are to…

As I’ve pointed out before

You’re showing your age when you say, “You’re showing your age”

It’s very different in the modern era, when pop culture of the past is alive and well. If you want to listen to music from the 1960s, or see movies from the 1920s, you can do it with no problem.

In the past, though, that wasn’t the case. Something that was old seemed, well, distant.

Let me illustrate.

The Beatles really became international superstars in 1964…fifty years ago. Today, a kid can listen to the “fab four” (although they probably don’t call them that), and still be thought of as cool.

Imagine that you were a teenager in 1964…no internet, and really, not much credence given to pop culture of the past. Sure, the Universal horror movies might be on TV, and the “monster kids” were into them…but not so much for the mainstream, popular clique.

What would a leap back fifty years look like for a kid in 1964?

It was World War I…and nothing was burning up the airwaves, because there really wasn’t radio for music.

Who was popular in music?

Irving Berlin’s first stage musical, Watch Your Step, included Play a Simple Melody.

So, today is to the Beatles as the Beatles are to World War I.

How about another?

The Judy Garland Wizard of Oz was released in 1939. It really became popular when it was shown on television in the 1950s, but we can fairly use its original theatrical release year.

1939 was 75 years ago.

Jump back another 75 years from then…and it is 1864: the Civil War was coming to a close.

Today is to the Judy Garland Wizard of Oz as the Judy Garland Wizard of Oz is to the Civil War.

Back too far for you?

The TV series Friends debuted in 1994…twenty years ago.

Twenty years earlier than that is 1974…the year Little House on the Prairie debuted.

Today is to Friends as Friends is to Little House on the Prairie.

How about toys and games?

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in America in 1985, twenty-nine years ago.

1956 was twenty-nine years before that.

A nifty, “high tech” gadget for kids in 1956 was a portable Mickey Mouse club record player. It ran off batteries! You didn’t even need to plug it in…I guess we could say it was an early wireless gadget. ;)

If you tried to show off that record player in 1985, it probably wouldn’t go well for you socially. A kid with an NES in 2014? Retro, but awesome.

Today is to the NES as the NES is to the Mickey Mouse Club record player.

In 2014, the past is nearby…in a way that it wasn’t not so long ago.

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The new TV season in geek

September 21, 2014

The new TV season in geek

We know…you don’t watch TV shows when they are first on anyway. ;)

However, we’ve been seeing a renaissance in geek shows on the networks.

They start new shows in September (and October), and there are quite a few offerings this year that might be worth watching live…or recorded..or streamed “week of”.

Let’s take a look on a day of the week basis. Note that these are just highlights, focusing on shows debuting/returning during this period, and scheduled for prime time. There are other geek-friendly shows which will be on during this timeframe, but they may already be running their current seasons. Dates and times are, of course, subject to change without notice.

Mondays

8:00 PM

  • The Big Bang Theory season 8 on CBS (returning September 22)
  • Gotham (new…Gotham City pre-Batman) on Fox (September 22)
  • The Originals season 2 on the CW (returning October 6)

9:00 PM

  • Scorpion (new…team of geniuses) on CBS (September 22)
  • Sleepy Hollow season 2 on Fox (returning September 22)
  • Ascension (new…Earth ship on a colony mission) on Syfy (November 24)

10:00 PM

  • Castle season 7 on ABC (returning September 29)

Tuesdays

8:00 PM

  • Selfie (new…Karen Gillan) on ABC (September 30)
  • The Flash (new…Arrow spin-off) on the CW (October 7)

9:00 PM

  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 on ABC (returning September 23)
  • Supernatural season 10 (!) on the CW (returning October 7)

10:00 PM

  • Forever (new…immortal medical examiner) on ABC (September 23)
  • Person of Interest season 4 on CBS (returning September 23)

10:30 PM

  • Brickleberry season 3 on Comedy Central (returned September 16)
  • Town of the Living Dead (new…reality about a town trying to make a zombie movie) (October 7)

Wednesdays

8:00 PM

  • Arrow season 3 on the CW (returning October 8)
  • Lucha Underground on El Rey (new…Mexican wrestling drama (?) series) (October 8)

9:00 PM

  • The 100 season 2 on the CW (returning October 22)
  • Ghost Hunters season 10 (!) on Syfy (returning October 8)

10:00 PM

  • South Park season 18 (!) on Comedy Central (returning September 24)
  • Key & Peele season 4 on Comedy Central (returning September 24)
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show on FX (returning October 8)

Thursdays

8:00 PM

  • The Big Bang Theory season 8 on CBS (returning October 30)
  • Bones season 10 (!) on Fox (returning September 25)
  • The Vampire Diaries season 6 on the CW (returning October 2)

10:00 PM

  • Elementary season 3 on CBS (returning October 30)

Fridays

9:00 PM

  • Grimm season 4 on NBC (October 24)
  • Gotham reruns on Fox (starts September 26th, rerunning Monday’s ep)
  • Alaska Monsters (new…cryptid reality show) on Destination America (started September 12)
  • Dog with a Blog season 2 on the Disney channel

10:00 PM

  • Constantine (new…based on DC Comics H*llblazer) on NBC (October 24)
  • Z Nation (new…zombies) on Syfy (started September 12)

Sundays

8:00 PM

  • Once Upon a Time season 4 on ABC (returning September 28)
  • The Simpsons season 26 on Fox (returning September 28)

9:00 PM

  • Resurrection season 2 on ABC (returning September 28)
  • The Walking Dead season 5 on AMC (returning October 12)
  • Halloween Wars season 4 on The Food Network (returning October 5)

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Richard Kiel reported dead

September 13, 2014

Richard Kiel reported dead

Richard Kiel was an actor.

That might not be the first thing that came to mind when people saw him. At 7′ 2″ (almost 2.2 meters), his height might have overwhelmed everything else in person.

Not on the screen, though.

It wasn’t just about being big. Richard Kiel was funny, and could be…I think sweet is the best word.

Even in his most famous part, as the “villain” Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, he wasn’t just a towering hulk. He was perhaps the best thing in Moonraker.

That wasn’t just a fluke. If you saw him in Gilligan’s Island (Ghost-a-Go-Go), you might have had no idea just how big he was. It’s not like it was Shakespeare, however, he was simply cast because he was going to be good as a Russian agent.

Kiel had many geek-friendly roles, but I think Eegah (as the title character in a teen caveman comedy) and the Twilight Zone (as the Kanamit in the classic To Serve Man episode) stand out.

Other geek-friendly roles include:

  • Boris Karloff’s Thriller
  • The Phantom Planet as the Solarite
  • The Phantom (TV movie with Lon Chaney, Jr.)
  • House of the Damned (as The Giant)
  • The Nutty Professor (the original)
  • The Nasty Rabbit
  • Two on a Guillotine
  • The Human Duplicators
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Brainstorm (1965 movie with Jeffrey Hunter, Dana Andrews, and Anne Francis)
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Honey West
  • My Mother the Car
  • The Monkees
  • I Spy
  • The Wild Wild West (three appearances as Voltaire, and another appearance)
  • On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Barbary Coast (recurring role as Moose Moran on this William Shatner series)
  • Land of the Lost as Malak
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
  • The Incredible Hulk tv series (one scene as the Hulk, uncredited)
  • The Humanoid
  • Hysterical
  • Phoenix
  • Pale Rider
  • Out of This World TV series
  • Superboy
  • The Princess and the Dwarf
  • The Giant of Thunder Mountain
  • Inspector Gadget (the live action version with Matthew Broderick…Kiel basically played Jawsl)
  • James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (voice as Jaws)
  • Tangled (the Disney animated movie, as Vlad)
  • Bloodhound, Inc. TV series

Good-bye, Richard Kiel…in more ways than one, the world is smaller without you.

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Who is really winning the box office?

September 4, 2014

Who is really winning the box office?

You have probably seen all those stories touting Guardians of the Galaxy as the biggest money making movie of the year so far.

You may even have thought to yourself, “I wish I’d had a piece of that!”

Well, while a profit (production budget versus domestic gross) of $111 million is certainly impressive (and there is more to come), it only puts it fifth so far on our list of most profitable movies of 2014:

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls059776125/?

Yes, it’s beaten by the following:

  1. The Lego Movie ($198 million profit)
  2. 22 Jump Street ($141m profit)
  3. Neighbors ($132m profit)
  4. The Fault in Our Stars ($113m profit)

It is likely to pass $300 million dogro. Last year, there were four movies that did…and three of them went over $400m.

If we go back to the idea of investing, though, even these numbers don’t show you the whole picture.

Let’s pretend that you had a million dollars to invest in the production of a movie.

It’s just going to be the production budget: the studio will take care of marketing (and will get any merchandising money).

This is strictly an American deal…domestic box office only.

For your one million, you’ll split a share of the profit.

If a movie costs $100 million to make (so there were 100 one million dollar shares out there), and it dogroed (had a domestic gross of) $200 million, you’d get $1 million back for your investment.

Looking at it that way, Guardians is way down on the list…it cost so much to make!

You would have made a lot more money investing in Tammy, for example, which I’ve seen described elsewhere inexplicably as having “tanked”.

Tammy cost $20 million to make, and has dogroed to date $83.8 million…you would have gotten $3.19 million back for your investment of $1 million.

How much would you get back from Guardians so far?

$650,000.

Tammy would have been nearly five times as profitable for you.

Looking at movies that dogroed at least $40 million, here are the ones that would have made a profit for you, with what your return would have been:

  1. God’s Not Dead $29.4 million
  2. The Fault in Our Stars $9.42 million
  3. Neighbors $7.33 million
  4. The Purge: Anarchy $6.90 million
  5. Heaven Is for Real $6.62 million
  6. Ride Along $4.36 million
  7. The Lego Movie $3.3 million
  8. Tammy $3.19 million
  9. About Last Night $2.88 million
  10. 22 Jump Street $2.82 million
  11. Let’s Be Cops $2.5 million
  12. Lucy $1.98 million
  13. Think Like a Man Too $1.72 million
  14. The Other Woman $1.1 million
  15. The Hundred-Foot Journey $880,000
  16. Non-Stop $830,000
  17. Divergent $776,000
  18. Guardians of the Galaxy $650,000
  19. The Nut Job $530,000
  20. Captain America: The Winter Soldier $530,000
  21. Maleficent $330,000
  22. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $330,000
  23. Rio 2 $280,000
  24. Godzilla $250,000
  25. Transformers: Age of Extinction $220,000
  26. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes $210,000
  27. How to Train Your Dragon 2 $200,000
  28. X-Men: Days of Future Past $170,000
  29. Jersey Boys $170,000
  30. Planes: Fire & Rescue: $160,000
  31. Blended $160,000
  32. The Monuments Men $110,000
  33. A Million Ways to Die in the West $70,000
  34. Muppets Most Wanted $20,000

Let’s also say that they take your $1 million as an investment…but don’t make you responsible for any more than that. In other words, if a movie isn’t at break even, you don’t have to make up the difference.

The following movies that dogroed at least $40 million have not made up their production budgets yet:

  • 300: Rise of an Empire 96%
  • Into the Storm 85.4%
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 84%
  • Noah 81%
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman 77%
  • Hercules 71%
  • Need for Speed 66%
  • Robocop 59%
  • Edge of Tomorrow 56%

For this last group that made it on our list by having a dogro of at least $40 million, we don’t have reported budgets.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 dogro=$203 million
  • Son of God $59.7 million
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel $59.1 million

Clearly, some of these are going to still make significant money, and there are big money makers yet to come in the year.

Looking at this list, though, the message is clear: the biggest budget movies would not always be the best return on your investment…even if they also make the most money.

Join more than a thousand readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Robin Williams has reportedly died

August 11, 2014

Robin Williams has reportedly died

We will update this later with more information but it is with great sadness that we report that Robin Williams has reportedly died.

Not only did he have many geek friendly roles himself, including Mork from Ork and the Genie from Aladdin, he promoted Jonathan Winters, one of the great absurdist comedians.

Update…

There was nobody like Robin Williams

Robin Williams, on the other hand, was like everybody…even you…at least for a few seconds.

That was part of the genius of Robin Williams…the ability to bounce from personality to personality, at lightning speed.

In fact, the improv artist was so fast that a sibling of mine accidentally played

Reality…What a Concept (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

on the wrong speed for a few minutes without realizing it.

Williams shot to fame with a guest spot on Happy Days as the alien, Mork from Ork. The wacky Mork was such a hit that Williams was given the series Mork & Mindy (and also played the character on Out of the Blue, and voiced a cartoon version).

Recognition as a serious actor would come later, with an Oscar for Good Will Hunting and three other lead nominations (Good Morning, Vietnam; Dead Poets Society; and The Fisher King), but we geeks can proudly count Robin Williams as one of our own.

I was also impressed with how he took steps to further the career of one of his idols, the equally unique Jonathan Winters.

Geek friendly roles include:

  • Popeye (in Robert Altman’s live action movie)
  • Faerie Tale Theatre (as the frog prince)
  • Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (as the King of the Moon)
  • Dead Again (directed and starring Kenneth Branagh)
  • Shakes the Clown (a Bobcat Goldthwait vehicle)
  • Hook (as Peter Pan, opposite Dustin Hoffman’s Captain Hook and Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell)
  • Ferngully: The Last Rainforest
  • Toys
  • Being Human
  • In Search of Dr. Seuss
  • Jumanji
  • Jack
  • Flubber
  • Bicentennial Man
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • Insomnia
  • Robots
  • Happy Feet (and sequel)
  • Night at the Museum (playing Teddy Roosevelt…Williams would return to the role in sequels)
  • Wilfred

Post production work on Absolutely Anything, directed and co-written by Terry Jones, and starring Kate Beckinsale, Simon Pegg,  Joanna Lumley, Rob Riggle, Eddie Izzard, and the Monty Python (Gilliam, Cleese, Idle, Palin, and Jones) is in process.

Good-bye, Robin Williams…the world is less frenetic (and less creative) without you.

Join more than a thousand readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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