Whatever Happened To The Here And Now?

You know what would be nice? Not knowing what movies were scheduled for three years from now. Am I really alone in thinking that there’s something depressing about things being planned that far in advance?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not necessarily one for thinking ahead if it can possibly be avoided (Well, apart from when it is food-related; for some reason, I can think very far in advance when it comes to meals. For example, I am already planning tomorrow’s breakfast as I type these words, and man, will it be tasty), but that’s not what’s behind my reluctance to embrace the news that release dates have been penciled in for Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2nd, 2014, and yes, that’s a sequel for a movie that won’t even be released until next summer), Catching Fire (November 22nd, 2013; it’s the second Hunger Games movie, and again, the first one isn’t out until March next year), as well as Disney’s three dates for mystery movies (May 16th 2014 and June 27th, 2014 – both of which are for Marvel movies – as well as May 30th, 2014, for some unnamed Pixar movie) in addition to another untitled movie (October 4th, 2013, but this one at least has a director attached: Henry Selick) and The Odd Life of Timothy Green‘s August 15th, 2012 date announcement. I mean, sure: There’s something to be said for thinking ahead, but… announcing release dates more than two years in advance for movies that don’t even have titles yet? It’s not just me that thinks that you can plan a little too far in advance, right?

Of course, these aren’t final release dates. Such dates change all the time, even up to the very month of release, which kind of makes these announcements pointless. Well, even more pointless than they already are, considering the Disney news is essentially “We’re making some movies! They’ll come out years from now!” What’s crazy – well, crazier than announcing a sequel to a movie that is itself almost a year away from release, and in no way guaranteed to be successful enough to warrant a sequel (Hey, remember all that talk about The Golden Compass being the first movie in a trilogy? Exactly) – is that these movies don’t exist yet. In fact, it’s fair to assume that these movies don’t exist in any form other than intent at this point. There’s probably not a script for Amazing Spider-Man 2 and, while whatever mystery Marvel projects are being worked on for release three years from now (Most likely choosing between Runaways, Ant-Man or Doctor Strange) probably has a script in existence, it’s not a final draft, ready to shoot… because there hasn’t been a choice of director yet to help make that decision.

So what’s the point of talking about these dates, for what are essentially vaporware projects? To get some buzz going, probably. It’s this weird cultural thing that’s happened, the need to have expectation and people taking sides over whether they’re fans or not ahead of time; Spoiler thinking taken to a stupid degree. By announcing a Marvel project, but not saying which one, Disney and Marvel get fans speculating and taking about how exciting it is and how well everything is planned and that translates into positive PR in the lull between Captain America‘s release and next summer’s Avengers. By talking about Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony implies a vote of confidence in just how awesome Amazing Spider-Man 1 is going to be, and makes fans even more anxious to see Andrew Garfield hope that no-one’s going to throw Emma Stone off a bridge.

But it’s just exhausting. When we started getting trailers for movies that are a year away, it felt like we were overstretching our anticipation muscles, and now this is just… weird, and uncomfortable, and unnecessary. Pushing this kind of thinking is cynical and defensive. Why can’t we just be left to live in the now, and appreciate what we can actually see and (hypothetically) enjoy today? Are studios really that uncomfortable with their own work? And if that’s the case, surely the solution is to make better movies than try and get people excited for things they’ll have to wait even longer to see?

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Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    When Spider-Man came out and was a hit, do you really think that they didn’t immediately grab the date for the sequel? When Star Wars came out, do you think they didn’t set the date for part 2? I really think this has been practice for a long time (especially when they intend to franchise a movie), just that it’s been happening behind the scenes.

  • Willinger13

    Yes, studios used to grab up the date for sequels when the first one raked in the big bucks. Note that’s AFTER the initial film’s release. Producing sequels on the merits of the film. Planning for the future of a franchise is part of their job, but releasing information about sequels and/or films that don’t even have a creative team assembled is ridiculous, there isn’t reason to be excited yet. The more this trend continues, the more obvious it is that the studios are only worried about lasting brands but they are taking their eyes off the ball, aka the film at hand. Case in point: Green Lantern..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    Green Lantern had more problems than them wanting to franchise it. That was going to happen no matter what, simply because of the nature of the source material. Releasing this information is… excessive (the article itself gives a very good reason for why it’s not ridiculous), but I’m willing to bet that even before Spider-Man came out they had their eyes set on a date for the sequel.

  • JeffgibsonOSU

    TRhis has been a problem with the  reporting of anything in the comics industry…..  grab any issue of Wizard from the past 10 years… most telling would be  their incessant reporting on movies and comics that were just announced  or  barely started… and yet there would hardly report on current comics …[ in fact some comics didn't get press but wizard would resort to  making "dream team" articles almost every 3-4 months  ... many titles got almost no reporting  because of this... and based on the  comics press that is around today these are the same "kids" that think that is how "news"  for the industry is reported ... instead of  reporting on the item that is currently in front of them or around the block... they  try and make  articles about things that are 4-5 mountains away...  so much so that sometimes there is NOTHING to report except reaction to things they have already reported about it.....[ and this is the same way  with missing projects... ]

  • RunnerX13

    When Spider-Man came out and was a hit, do you really think that they didn’t immediately grab the date for the sequel?
    —————–
    That’s not what he’s talking about.  He’s talking about not only announcing release dates years in advance, but for a movie that is almost a year away itself from being released.  Sure, these studios need to plan in advance, but it seems pointless to be press releasing movies that are years away.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    I used two movies to illustrate my point. A modern one and a classic one. Star Wars, most likely, perfectly applies here. I wouldn’t believe it if I was told that they didn’t have the date set for Return of the Jedi before Empire Strikes Back came out.

    And, clearly, since it’s building hype for the upcoming movie, it’s not pointless. Not even a bit. He mentions that in the article. Necessary, sure. But it serves a purpose.