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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Friday, November 21, 2008

That's All, Folks!

I should be furious right now.

I should be starting a petition, picking up a pitchfork and catching a Red-eye to Los Angeles. I should be attempting to burn down every building, set and studio that the Warner Brothers corporation owns. I should be out for vengeance and not rest until the I am holding Bugs Bunny's life-less head and am covered in CEO Alan Horn's blood.

Maybe I should backtrack a little bit.

I am a Harry Potter fan. Like... a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I pride myself in knowing everything there is to know about the book series. I am a frequent visitor of I listen to The Leaky Cauldron's Pottercast. I have a Wizard Rock band's website saved on my web browser. What's Chapter 12 of The Deathly Hallows called, you ask? Magic is Might, in which Harry, Ron and Hermione infiltrate the Voldemort-controlled Ministy of Magic Headquarters. I'm THAT kind of fan.

Anyway, the sixth installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was originally scheduled to be released this very day. Right now, I would have been in bed, my brain happily swimming with images of the film that I had just seen at a midnight showing. But it didn't quite work out that way. Alan Horn and the decision-makers at Warner Brothers decided to push the film back about eight months to July 17th, 2009. In a press release they said that due to the Writer's Strike that took place earlier this year, they do not have a viable juggernaut film to earn them kaboodles of money in the summer of 2009. So they decided to push the completed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film back to the summer so they have a proven commodity in the scary box-office days of summer. Also, it doesn't take a genius to realize that thanks to a little film known as The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers has already made more than enough money this year.

In short, Warner Brothers made the smartest financial decision that a corporation can be expected to make. The problem is....folk like me exist; people that are so dedicated to the Harry Potter story that they seriously considered performing some of the atrocities described above.
But the thing is: I am not really mad.

Sure, I am a little peeved. I would much rather be going to see Half-Blood Prince right now than *shudders* Twilight. But I get it. I get that Warner Brothers made a financially sound decision and can't really expected to be handcuffed by rabid fans of literature every time they try to make a business decision. There is something else in play for me as well.

As far as I am concerned, the Warner Brothers film division has earned at least a decade's long pardon. Meaning that Warner Brothers can do whatever it wants for the next ten years and I won't raise a stink. Want my first born, Warner Brothers? It's yours! Killed my dog, Warner Brothers? No biggie; I will get a new one. Wanna remake Giligan's Island as a serious science fiction trilogy written by George Lucas? I'll buy some tickets now.

Whatever Warner Brothers wants, Warner Brothers gets. Why is that? Because Warner Brothers let The Dark Knight happen.

To those who don't know much about the entertainment industry, let me explain to you how much of a miracle The Dark Knight is. 99% of movie-making is business. Movie studios greenlight movies that make money. And movies that make money aren't always necessarily good. Movies that make money are movies that appeal to a demographic, that teenagers will go see on a Friday night, or parents will go see when the get the money to buy a babysitter, or toddlers will want to see when a poster has bright colors and fuzzy animals. Movies like The Dark Knight don't happen, they just don't. But Warner Brothers found the stones somewhere to let this film see the light of day.

Warner Brothers released this film with its two and a half hour running time, a psychotic clown killing indiscriminately, acts of terrorism, complex moral issues, a man with a dissociative identity and only half a face and a vigilante that struggles to uphold law against an agent of chaos. Not only did Warner Brothers movie let this movie be released, they gave complete creative control to a brilliant, yet dangerous artistic mind (Director Christopher Nolan), sunk over $200 million into his dark vision and mounted one of the most creative and successful marketing campaign of all time.

Do you have any idea how dangerous that is, financially speaking? Who gives $200 million to an artist to make a dark masterpiece that possesses the potential to alienate every single audience demographic in America? Warner Brothers did. And keep in mind, that they didn't have only their own image to protect, they had the image of Batman to protect as well. Batman has to sell: action figures, lunchboxes, Happy Meal toys, pajamas, videogames, comic books, cartoon VHS tapes and DVDs and other memorabilia. Warner Brothers had a billion dollar industry to protect and it gave the reigns to an artist: the most volatile and unpredictable of all God's creatures.

And surely, you know how it ended. Warner Brothers now owns the second highest grossing film of all-time, near-universal critical praise and potentially Oscar gold. Warner Brothers made the riskiest decision it possibly could have made. It trusted an artist over economics.

So no, I am not mad at Warner Brothers. And yes, I will wait eight more months to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Because I can stand eight more months of no Harry Potter.

But I can't stand countless more years of pre-packaged, by the numbers, "safe" movies.


Cassie The Venomous said...

I'm THAT kind of fan.
Oh, I was right there with you, friend. I read "Goblet of Fire" 21 times, used to be able to recite the first three pages of every book, and -my God- you should see the posters in my bedroom. 0_0. It was bad. In middle school, some kids even called me "Potter."

I, not wholly regretfully, saw "Twilight" and the trailer for the new HP film was shown prior to the feature, and -though I had seen it online already- it made me squeal a little bit (on the inside).

You know what? In the Harry Potter downtime, you could always just head to New York and see Daniel Radcliffe get naked onstage and all. *shrug*


A.G.B said...

I would be go to see Daniel Radcliffe naked onstage in a New York minute if I could afford it and lock down a totally non-gay way.

Alas, I will just have to read Deathly Hallows again.