Monday, April 2, 2007

a movie poster that could use fewer generalities

Similar to those posters for 2005's Waiting... and Just Friends that said, "From a producer of American Pie," the poster for Are We Done Yet? says, "From the studio that brought you Are We There Yet?" Okay, so the director of the first film in this franchise didn't come back, and neither did the writers, but Ice Cube, the star of both films, and Matt Alvarez are back as producers, so it wouldn't be out of the question for the poster to say "From the producers of Are We There Yet?"

The problem I have here is that studios make and/or distribute dozens of movies a year, so there isn't any kind of pedigree for a potential moviegoer to admire or trust in this situation. ("You mean the random executives who green-lighted Are We There Yet? also green-lighted Are We Done Yet? to plug a hole in their spring schedule? Quel genius!") Of course, it's hard to tell if the studio in question on the poster is the distributor, Columbia Pictures, or the production company, Revolution Studios, which is pretty cocky calling itself a studio and even cockier for pluralizing the word, but it does put up most of the production money for its movies. Still, it ain't a studio.

I would actually respect the poster for Are We Done Yet? if, instead of mentioning Are We There Yet?, it said, "From the studio that brought you Lawrence of Arabia." Make that leap! I dare ya! It wouldn't be a lie, after all. But if the (mini) studio in question is Revolution, then how about "From the studio that brought you White Chicks"? Yep, that's more like it. (Revolution also financed Gigli, but it's not as bad as you've heard. Sure, it's bad, but not criminally so.)

I realize I'm the only one who cares about this sort of thing. I doubt anyone who's trying to decide whether or not to see this movie on opening weekend
really cares if the brain trust behind 2005's Are We There Yet? is back for the next adventure. Eight-year-olds generally don't make statements like "Yeah, I skipped X-Men 3. I mean, Brett Ratner taking over for Bryan Singer? Are you kidding? F**k you, Hollywood."

But does Are We There Yet? even need to be mentioned on the poster? Even if sequels don't put a number after the title these days to let you know which installment you're going to see, the titles of sequels are usually close enough to the original's title to let you know what's being sequelized. We've come a long way (or not) since the days of Magnum Force, Sudden Impact, etc. being the names of Dirty Harry's sequels. Even the recent Star Wars trilogy put the episode numbers and the Star Wars brand name in the title of each prequel.

Are We Done Yet? is both a sequel and a remake. No, not a sequel to a remake, like Ocean's Twelve and Thirteen. Are We Done Yet? is based on the 1948 Cary Grant vehicle Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Will the eight-year-olds in the audience care? No. But will they be upset if Ice Cube makes it through the entire movie without once being hit in the nuts with some sort of projectile? Absolutely. Since Columbia Pictures included at least two crotch-thwacking sequences in Lawrence of Arabia (Sir Alec Guinness suffered with such elegance), then they owe at least one to Mr. Cube. Maintain the legacy, Columbia.

No comments:

Post a Comment