Archive for June, 2018

Kenneth Arnold, Flying Saucer Man

June 24, 2018

Kenneth Arnold, Flying Saucer Man

(sung to the tune of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

It was many years* ago today
Kenneth Arnold taught the world to say
“There’s a flying saucer in the air”
And it gave the people quite a scare
Now here’s another term you know
Today we just say U.F.O

Kenneth Arnold, Flying Saucer Ma-an!

What’s in the sky,
Lighted up, flying by?
Could it be a real alien craft?
Perhaps it’s a star or lights from a car
Or maybe I’m just going daft…

Oh, it’s giving me the ontological bends
Oh, I hate it when a paradigm ends

Could it beeee a delusion?
I just know there’s something there
Or an optical illusion?
I’m getting to the point I don’t care

Oh, this is one of those long-lasting trends
Mm, I don’t know just what message it sends
Message it sennnnnds!


* I think I first published this in 1994…a version I found said, “It was was forty-seven years ago…” I’ve updated it for today, the 70th anniversary of the Kenneth Arnold sighting that established the term “flying saucer” by changing it to “many years”, which will enable me to keep using it for future anniversaries. 🙂 Update for this year: yep, using it again! 😉

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When Titans Merge: Disney and Comcast are after (the) Fox

June 20, 2018

When Titans Merge: Disney and Comcast are after (the) Fox*

Comics fans are familiar with the title “When Titans Clash”! Most people associate it with Marvel in the 1960s (where it was used several times), although I believe it originated with a Superman comic in the 1940s. In that case, it was Superman versus Lex Luthor.

Well, nowadays Lex Luthor would probably stage a hostile takeover of the bottle city of Kandor, giving him control of a lot of Kryptonians to battle Supes. 😉

There are titans today…and they are companies.

The Department of Justice recently opposed a merger of AT&T and Time-Warner…and the judge shot it down definitively, even basically chastising the DoJ for bringing the case and warning them not to try to get a stay.

Shortly after that decision came down, Comcast made a bid to purchase (parts of) 21st Century Fox…challenging an existing Disney bid.

It’s easy to make a snap judgement that Fox should go with Disney…you know, I’m sure many people think of Disney as an entertainment company (like Fox), and Comcast as a service provider, but it’s not as simple as that.

Let’s frame this some different ways:

“ABC and NBC both bid for another TV network”

In August of 1995, Disney announced a $19 billion bid for ABC (the American Broadcasting Company), which also included Cap Cities.

In March 2013, Comcast bought NBC/Universal after owning part of it.

If we look at it that way, is Fox more like ABC or NBC? ABC has cultivated a family friendly reputation (though that’s not all they do, of course), while Fox was sort of the anti-ABC when it started. This isn’t clearcut…

“Battle of the theme parks: Universal Studios challenges Disneyland”

Would the Simpsons fit better at Universal Studios or at Disneyland? I’d say the former…but Fox’s Marvel assets fit better with Disney’s Marvel assets for theme park rides. An X-Men ride would work well at Disney parks…and Mickey Wolverine seems obvious…

This all reminds me of one of my favorite things: the great geeky magazine, Psychotronic Video used to have “Still not a part of AOL Time-Warner” on its cover. 😉

I think Fox ends up going with Disney (I would, even though Comcast is offering an interesting sort of insurance if the deal got quashed).

So, let’s just talk movies for now: if Disney merged with Fox, who could challenge them in terms of franchises?

What are top-grossing franchises, according to

Box Office Mojo

?

  1. Marvel Cinematic Universe [Disney]
  2. Star Wars [Disney]
  3. Harry Potter extended [Warner]
  4. Batman [Warner]
  5. X-Men (including Deadpool) [Fox]
  6. “Disney Live Action Reimaginings” [Disney]
  7. James Bond [Sony currently…formerly MGM before, and yes, WB did Never Say Never Again]
  8. Spider-Man [Sony: a deal has been worked out for Spidey to appear with Disney’s Avengers]
  9. Middle-Earth [Warner]
  10. The Avengers [Disney]
  11. DCEU [Warner]
  12. The Fast and the Furious [Universal (Comcast)]
  13. Transformers [Paramount/Dreamworks]
  14. Pirates of the Caribbean [Disney]
  15. The Hunger Games [Lionsgate]
  16. Shrek [Paramount/Dreamworks]
  17. Jurassic Park [Universal (Comcast)]
  18. Star Trek [Paramount/Dreamworks]
  19. Twilight [Summit Lionsgate]
  20. Despicable Me [Universal (Comcast)]

For movies, then, Disney-Fox would be challenged by…Universal (and Warner, among others).

Eventually, it may all become like the original Rollerball movie…where there is one giant “Energy” corporation. 😉

Oh, and this was my tweet (@bufocalvin) when Disney first announced that it was going after Fox:


My crossover: Rocket Raccoon steals the Banzai Institute’s time machine, robs Mos Eisley, accidentally creating a history where Dr. Doom is President. Link Hogthrob teams with Riff Raff, using Seth Brundle tech, to set things right. 😉


 

*This one is a bit obscure, but there is a Peter Sellers movie named “After the Fox”. I didn’t think it was a great movie…but I did love the ending. 

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