Spider-Man

Worst: Spider-Man 4 Are We To Expect 4 Villains?

Black Cat (comics) Image via Wikipedia

How can I be expected to get excited about someone playing The Black Cat or that even The Black Cat will be in the next Spider-Man movie?

There is a lot of buzz going on speculating on the casting and expectations for Spider-Man 4.  Currently everyone is wondering who will play the Black Cat.  For me the question is what can Sam Rami do to assure us that we will not be subjected to torment that was Spider-Man 3?

I Need to Know

  • That there will be one consistent story
  • 1 lead hero
  • 1 lead villain (prove the ability to do these before attempting more)
  • He will make me care about the lead Hero and Villain

A Tale of Too Much in the Soup

Spider-Man 3 was like the inverse of the tale of the mother who was making soup for her family.  In that tale the mother is making a soup.  She is approached by the first child who told her about his distaste of onions so the mother took the onions out.  The next child announced his distaste of potatoes so the mother took it out.  This repeated with each family member in turn until she was left with just broth, flavorless and unsatisfying.

In Spider-Man 3 Sam Rami kept putting things in.  I want to dance, so we have a weird Spider-Man emo dance scene.  I want to sing, we have MJ solo inserted into the film.  I want this villain or that villain and we had multiple villains put into the film.  Before we knew it there was so much that it became flavorless and unsatisfying.

I love the idea of a Spider-Man Movie

I want to get excited about Spider-Man 4.  I love the idea of enjoying a Spider-Man movie but I have been too let down to many times get excited about the next one.

Black Cat, Newsman unmasked Villain… not a good sign

Production begins in 2010 I can only hope that Sam Rami will be able to assuage those concerns.

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DVD Releases: March 17th, 2009

Out this week we have six DVD’s to feature: Sword Masters: The Duel of the Century, Ghost Hunters: Season 4, Pt. 2, Twilight, Punisher: War Zone, The Spectacular Spider-Man.

  • Sword Masters: The Duel of the Century: a Shaw Brothers film.  Liu Yung and Sun Chien team to investigate the martial-art murders of a supposedly mortally wounded swordsman, only to find deception, death, double-dealings, imposters and one deadly duel after another.  I’m very curious about this film it makes me think of The Duel which rocked, plus it’s a Shaw Brothers film which any wuxia fan can appreciate.
  • Ghost Hunters: Season 4, Pt. 2:  they travel from a sanitarium which has placed 911 calls to the police -- but there is no phone in the building! -- to the most haunted ship in the U.S. Navy. Then go to a tavern in a TAPS member's own hometown where customers are heard enjoying a game of pool but the hall is closed and empty, and a home where a small child hears voices and has unexplainable scratches on his body. TAPS even goes to the plantation seen in "Interview with a Vampire" where 35 tourists all witnessed the same paranormal activity at the same instant!
  • Twilight:  I will probably rent this one I love vampire movies but i’m concerned about this one.  Read the full review here Twilight - The Movie.
  • Punisher: War Zone:  I doubt that I will see this movie.  I like Punisher and would love to see a good Punisher movie but I have little hope that this will be one.  Read the full review here Punisher: War Zone Review.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 2:  these are not the show from the 90’s its a 90 minute single disc featuring the rise of the super-villains.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 3:  these are not the show from the 90’s its a 90 minute single disc in which the goblin strikes

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Vision of a Fan Based Economy

Ira Rubenstein is the Executive Vice President of Marvel Comics' Global Digital Media Group.  Dave Roman is associate editor of Nickelodeon Magazine and a cartoonist.  Stuart Levy is the chief executive of Tokyopop.

This is a conversation they had at ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference:

Rubenstein: But Dave, I think there’s a difference. No one can write about Spider-Man or X-Men except for us.

Roman: I disagree.

Levy: Totally.

Rubenstein: Those are our characters. How could someone else write another Spider-Man story?

Roman: Because fan fiction is becoming so powerful. I’ve seen the power of fan fiction. Working at Nickelodeon, there are people out there doing ‘Avatar’ comics that are soooooo much better…

Rubenstein: But that’s like saying YouTube is a real entertainment channel. It’s not.

Roman/Levy/like five people in the audience: It is (THE BEAT).

They just don't get it.

Caretakers of Legends

As I said in What makes a fan a fan, studios and publishers have to stop thinking of themselves as copyright holders and more as caretakers of the franchises we love.  The good and the bad of the dialogue above is that Dave Roman and Stuart Levy seem to understand, but Ira Rubenstein still doesn't.

I have a feeling that many companies will go out of business before their leaders who do not understand the changes in the marketplace are replaced by people who do understand.  If there is a future, then we have to change the economic model from the owner/consumer model to a new fan based model.  Here are some of suggestions for a possible way forward.

Studio/Publisher Side

Producers of media have to come to terms with the fact the days of closely controlled monopolies they once held over the franchises in their care are over, and that they have to open up to accept new methods of distribution and a new relationship with their fans.

National Borders are meaningless

The first lesson may be the hardest.  We have believed for so long that National Borders were meant to limit trade.  Where media is concerned this is a recipe for piracy.

With the advent of digital downloads, online streaming, and print on demand, it is easier than ever for any and every release to be global.  Distribution models have to built that will allow for a studio/publisher to monetize their work in every country simultaneously.

Ads, Subscriptions, Purchases and Give-aways

Studios and Publishers have to realize that they will never again be able to rely on a single method to monetize their works.  There are four main ways businesses make money on the net:

  1. Ads: Not too many or it turns people off, but the opportunity to direct targeted ads to reader and viewers.
  1. Subscriptions: Allow readers/viewers access to ad free versions of your content that they pay a regular recurring fee.  There are two major subscription models:
      1. All you can eat:  Allow your subscribers to full access to your content library so long as they pay the subscription fee.
      2. Ala carte:  Allow your subscribers the right to own so many files a month based on subscription level.
      3. Purchases:  Allow your readers/viewer to purchase copies of your work.
      4. Give-aways:  Sometimes you have to give your work away to find an audience and make your money some other way.  For example: give away the streaming, but sell the file.

      Platform Independence

      Don't tie your work to one platform.  Give your readers/viewers options.

      Let us stream with ads or subscribe by the season or purchase outright.  You offer every method, we chose the one we want.

      Don't tie our purchases to a single player or device.  If I want to watch my DVD on my AppleTV, let me.  If I want to watch my digital files at a friend's house, let me.  If I want to watch my iTunes purchases through Boxee, let me.

      The more restrictions you place on your files, the more you encourage piracy.  The more freedom you allow you readers/viewers, the more money you will make.  You cannot expect to be respected by your reader/viewers, if you do not treat them with respect.  If you treat them like pirates, don't be surprised when they act like pirates.

      Our Media

      You have to understand that you do not own this media.  If you allow your fans to have a sense of ownership over franchises under your care, they will feel a greater sense of responsibility for the future of the franchise.

      Next time we will discuss the Fan Side of the new marketplace.

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      Speculative Fiction BOX Sets Limited Time Deals

      OMG I love Christmas, and Amazon made it even easier to give this year.  They have put out some excellent must own SF box sets at prices that are practically a give away.  The only catch is that the deals are limited time only so if you are thinking on doing this don’t procrastinate!

      • get your copy of sg-1 Stargate SG-1 - The Complete Series Collection $99.99:  This show rules!  I have the first three seasons but had to get this one when I saw the deal imagine paying less than $2 per DVD full of Stargate goodness!.  Stargate SG-1 Season 1, Season 2,  Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7, Season 8, Season 9, Season 10,  Disc 51 includes: Ark of Truth Promo, Continuum Promo, "Stargate SG-1: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 7)", From Stargate to Atlantis: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1), Behind the Stargate: Secrets Revealed (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1), Disc 52 includes: "Sci Fi Inside: Stargate SG-1's 200th Episode (SG-1 Season 10)", "Behind the Mythology of Stargate SG-1 (SG-1 Seasons 1-10)", Stargate SG-1: True Science, Disc 53 includes: **Season Three, Timeline to the Future, Part 1: Legacy of the Gate, Part II: Secrets of the Gate, Part III: Beyond the Gate, **Season Four, SG-1 Video Diary: Teryl Rothery, "Stargate SG-1 Season 5: Gateway to Adventure ", Stargate SG-1: The 100th Episode, **Season Five: SG-1 Video Diary: Don S. Davis, **Season Six: SG-1 Directors Series: Smoke and Mirrors", SG-1 Directors Series: The Changeling, SG-1 Directors Series: Memento, SG-1 Directors Series: Prophecy, SG-1 Video Diary: Richard Dean Anderson Paradise Lost", Disc 54: **Season Seven: SG-1 Directors Series: Revisions, SG-1 Directors Series: Heroes, SG-1 Directors Series: Resurrection, "Behind the Scenes: Journey Inside Lost City", The Storyboard Process, "Bra'tac vs. Ronan: Designing the Fight", Stargate Magic: Inside the Lab, Richard Dean Anderson: "My Life as a Mime", **Season Eight: Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Amanda Tapping" "Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Michael Shanks" SG-1 Directors Series: Threads, Profile On: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, The Last Day of Teal'C, SG-1 Directors Series: Moebius, “Stargate SG-1 Alliance: The Making of The Video Game"
      • Battlestar Galactica Franchise Collection: $99.99 (Season One | Season 2.0 | Season 2.5 | Season 3.0 | BSG Razor)
      • The Ultimate Matrix Collection$24.49 (The Matrix/ The Matrix Reloaded/ The Matrix Revolutions/ The Animatrix)
      • The Mel Brooks Collection: $38.99 (Blazing Saddles / Young Frankenstein / Silent Movie / Robin Hood: Men in Tights / To Be or Not to Be / History of the World, Part 1 / The Twelve Chairs / High Anxiety)
      • Planet of the Apes - The Legacy Collection$26.99 (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)
      • The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection$22.99 8 Disc Collection
      • Alien Quadrilogy$32.99 (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection)
      • Jim Henson's Fantasy Film Collection$20.49 (Labyrinth / MirrorMask / The Dark Crystal)
      • Godzilla DVD Collection 7-Pack$64.99 (Godzilla (1998) / Godzilla 2000 / vs. King Ghidora / and Mothra The Battle for Earth / vs. Destoroyah / vs. Space Godzilla / vs. Mechagodzilla / Giant Monsters All Out Attack / vs. Megaguirus)

      Tobey Magire in Spider-man 4 and 5

      Tobey Maguire and "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi plan to reunite for the fourth and fifth installments of Columia Pictures' comic book franchise, dispelling speculation that a new actor would play the crime-fighter (Reuters)

      I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing after Spider-man 3...  I want to believe that the next films will be better, but I find it increasingly difficult.  The dancing and the singing still scar my mind.  May the series improve.