On the Circumference #4: Keep on Rowling, more than twice as many Americans believe UFOs could be ETs than believe in non-divine evolution?

On the Circumference #4: Keep on Rowling, more than twice as many Americans believe UFOs could be ETs than believe in non-divine evolution?*

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Everything old is new again

Despite our analysis showing that original movies may actually be less risky (you can get a higher percentage return on your dollar) than sequels, sidequels, and remakes, we will continue to see them.


For one thing, they can make gross more, even if the risk is higher. When we look at movies based on their dogro (domestic gross), every single one of them over $200 million so far this year is a non-original. That’s attractive to investors, and is great for ancillary sales, like toys and video streaming rights. A higher gross means more people see it (and know about it), so if you think of the movie as marketing for the ancillaries, big is better.

For another, some of the best, most beloved movies have been non-originals. Rebooting/reimagining can be just as artistically satisfying as doing something original.

So, what is some of the news in S/PSR (Sequels/Prequels Sidequels Remakes)?

  • The fourth Jurassic Park movie (Jurassic World) now has a release date of June 12, 2015.  Don’t be too quick to dismiss this one, in terms of geek values. The director is Colin Trevorrow of Safety Not Guaranteed, which is one of the movies I’ve recommended to people a few times in the last couple of years. Even though it was imperfect, it was interesting and had a deft hand and a geeky perspective
  • From Jurassic World to a Westorld remake…HBO has ordered a pilot from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, to be written and directed by Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest, The Dark Knight)
  • There are some ways to judge the extent of fandom for something. Does it have a Wikia? How many page views is it getting on Wikipedia? (http://stats.grok.se/) How much is there about it at FanFiction.net? None of those would suggest that The Fall Guy with Lee Majors is especially ripe for a big screen remake, but according to this Hollywood Reporter article by Borys Kit, Tatiana Siegel, McG and Dwayne Johnson might be making one

J.K. Rowling and the Potterless Screenplay

Harry Potter fans can look forward to a sidequel based on Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, according to this

The Hollywood Reporter article by Andy Lewis

The movie will actually be written by Rowling, and should feature magizoologist Newt Scamander’s treks to observe and record magical beasts, which could certainly have some interesting cryptozoological allusions. The movie will reportedly take place 70 years before the Harry Potter books (before the first one, I presume) so you won’t see the familiar characters…except, perhaps, a young Dumbledore. The book (which  benefited  charity) included marginalia from the Potter kids, so we might get some sort of commentary from them…I’m thinking that might be fun on the DVD, where they could use the original actors without worrying about aging or requiring too much of their time.

HuffPo: “48 Percent Of Americans Believe UFOs Could Be ET Visitations”

This Huffington Post article by Lee Spiegel

reports a new poll conducted by the HuffPo and YouGov which indicates that 48% of American respondents at least slightly agree that “some people have witnessed UFOs that have an extraterrestrial origin.”

It’s an odd wording that allows for a lot of flexibility in interpretation.

For example, some people have apparently identified Mars, Venus, and even the moon as UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects). If you have heard those stories, you would agree with the statement in the poll…it doesn’t say that these are extraterrestrial craft.

On the other hand, you could believe that people have seen something in the sky outside our current paradigm and not believe it was extraterrestrial: it could have been a time traveler, extradimensional, from the hollow Earth, a psychic projection, or simply truly unidentified by you. In all of those cases (and there are others), you would not agree with them having an extraterrestrial origin.

They didn’t put it in the headline, but they also asked a question about ghosts…and that one came out with 60% agreeing that people have experienced ghosts. That’s considerably higher than the UFO positive responses.

I would probably have answered “not sure” to both questions, since saying that you are “sure” indicates a belief in something to me, and I like to keep an open mind.

TV: Heroes of Cosplay

I have been watching Heroes of Cosplay on Syfy, although it is a bit unusual.

It’s been sort of paired with Face Off, but they even the same kind of show.

Face Off is a competition elimination reality show…the contestants are given challenges, and the weakest result goes home each week.

Heroes of Cosplay is more of a documentary. The cosplayers (people who dress in costumes which, in this case, they make, and act like the characters they represent…costumed play) go from con to con to compete in the convention’s costume contests.

It’s a bit weird: it’s entirely possible that none of the people we have been following will win.

Seeing their personalities and some about how they build the costumes has it’s attractions. However, thinking of it as a story doesn’t really work. It’s sort of like…following all the characters from the Avengers, and then when something happens, the police just show up and arrest the crook.

I can appreciate the artistry, but the cosplayers can be quite…unpleasant to each other. They clearly can’t be making money just on the contests, since the top prize I’ve heard announced is $1,000, and it is likely to cost more than that to make the costume (I’m guessing $500 in some cases) and travel to the con and stay in the hotel room and such.

Of course, the producers of the show may be helping with expenses…and no question that there is an observer effect in play here. We aren’t exactly watching the cosplayers as they would normally behave: they know the cameras are there, and I think they have been trying things that are atypical for them because they think it makes better TV.

I want to be clear that I admire their art. I’ve done some fun Halloween costumes, and I did watch all 5 Planet of the Apes movies in a movie theatre…in an ape suit. I used to do some special effects make up (nothing as fancy as you see nowadays). It’s just that, for the most part, it seems like they aren’t having a lot of fun…and that’s kind of the point, right?

* My headline is a bit of an overstatement, as I explained above, concerning the origin of UFOs…that’s why the question mark is there. According to another YouGov poll, only 21% (less than half of the 48% cited in the UFO poll) believe human beings evolved in a non-God-guided process

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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