Tag Archives: Warner Bros.

“The Flintstones” to get the big-screen treatment (and *not* by Seth MacFarlane)

flintstonesNews came earlier this week that “The Flintstones” will be revived as a (presumably CGI) big-screen animated film.

Unlike the earlier proposed “Flintstones” revival that would’ve been spearheaded by Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy” fame (which fortunately fell through), this film will be co-produced by comedian Will Ferrell. No indication what the film will be like or what its plot will consist of, but it will be animated.

This is presumably tied to the recent announcement of a revival of Warner Bros. Animation’s cinematic efforts, per the success of “The Lego Movie.”

Hopefully this film will revive the “modern Stone Age family” in modern 21st century eyes, as for too long Time-Warner’s ignored the vast library of Hanna-Barbera characters in favor of a narrow-minded focus on Scooby-Doo. I suspect the current animation trend in only focusing on child or teenage protagonists might be why: most of the classic Hanna-Barbera characters were adults or older teenagers. Still, “The Lego Movie,” with all of its characters save one being adults, might indicate to someone at Warners that kids will see a film about adult characters who aren’t just superheroes, though Lego-Batman was hilarious. I suppose there’s always the option of aging up Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm to being grade-schoolers or teenagers, which’d allow the use of the now-all-but-mandatory celebrity voice actors in their roles/give the kids a bigger part in the plot.

A week of media racism, sexism, and homophobia: from superheroes to “Duck Dynasty”

While it’s not all about comics/animation, the previous week’s seen plenty of racist, sexist, and homophobic stuff in the media that I feel’s worth remarking on anyway, especially since I’m tired of repeating myself in various online forums. To wit:

Scott Lobdell mistreats fellow comic creator MariNaomi

Last week, a comic creator named MariNaomi wrote a blog post about sexist and racist remarks that Scott Lobdell (the same Hemingway who gave us “sexy fun time” Starfire in DC’s New 52 reboot) told her in front of a large comic-con panel and crowd. While MariNaomi didn’t name names, I suspect it was soon apparent his identity was going to be revealed, leading Lobdell to given an apology (somewhat). It’s revived discussion over the problems with sexism, etc. in the comic industry, though I’m not sure what it’ll take to change things. Perhaps it might help if stories like this made it to mainstream media, where DC and Marvel’s valuable movie, toy, etc. intellectual properties’ images were threatened with being embarrassed by their comic staff’s crude behavior.

Yes, I left out comics—DC and Marvel only have value to Time-Warner/Disney as an “IP farm” to create stuff for their toys, movies, etc. I suspect they’d consider cutting back or shutting down the comics side entirely if/when they could figure out how, or if some accountant deems it truly worth doing so. There’s also the low opinion and stereotypes the general public has of superhero comics. The public likes superheroes, and they like comics, but (with few exceptions) not the two together, judging from sales of comics outside of comic book shops. There’s also the stereotype of superhero comic fans as akin to the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” or the Comic Book Guy on “The Simpsons”: as social skills/empathy-challenged Neanderthal meatheads living under a rock or in their parents’ basements. The lack of apparent concern DC and Marvel’s head honchos have about fixing their business model’s image also seems quite sad. At least, I assume they (or their fans) must be aware that such an image of their products/fanbase exists, unless they don’t read magazines, watch TV, go to the movies, or know anyone who isn’t a fan.

One would think DC and Marvel’s comic staff would be more concerned about not adding yet another reason that might justify shutting their business down altogether, given the lack of mainstream appeal (and stagnant readership base, occasional sales spikes from reboots, etc. aside). Or at least reducing it to a shadow of its former self save whatever’s needed for trademark/”IP farm” reasons—say, just publishing a handful of digital-only comics and keeping the better-selling trade paperbacks (“Watchmen,” “Dark Knight Returns”) in print. (The fact two of their best-selling trade paperbacks date from the Reagan administration 30 years ago might be quite telling.) DC’s planned move of its headquarters to join its digital division/DC Entertainment parent out west makes me think it’ll be DC that goes this route first over Marvel, if it does ever happen…

 

Paul Dini notes TV execs don’t want superhero cartoons to have female viewers

Speaking of sexist attitudes, a recent interview with Paul Dini (of various 90s Warner Bros. animated cartoons fame) has him note that TV executives don’t want large female audiences of their superhero cartoons, since they supposedly don’t buy toys. For more details on this head-scratching notion, see here.

Apparently Warner Bros. executives forgot that their first successful modern TV cartoon is “Tiny Toon Adventures,” a show that had goofy absurd humor and a female character as one of its two co-stars: Babs Bunny.

“Duck Dynasty” star makes racist and homophobic remarks

Speaking of fans rushing to defend entertainers for dubious reasons, reality show “Duck Dynasty” had one of its stars recently make crude homophobic and racist remarks in an interview with “GQ” magazine. See this Gawker article for a summary of the situation to date, as well as (if you’re like me and don’t watch reality shows, save “The Amazing Race”) an explanation  of what the heck’s a “Duck Dynasty.”

Again, have to wonder if people are desperate to see a favorite piece of entertainment stay on the air that they’ll defend such remarks. There’s also confusion about the nature of freedom of speech, based on items I see in my social media feeds being passed around. The US Constitution’s first amendment only applies to the government putting restrictions on freedom of speech. It has nothing to do with private parties, such as my blog or A&E, doing whatever they want—which’d also fall under freedom of speech. A&E doesn’t owe the “Duck Dynasty” folk airtime anymore than I’d owe someone racist or homophobic an opportunity to write a blog post about such here, and it’s within both our rights to do whatever we want with our respective media spaces. If the “Duck” folk wanted, they could go create a reality show on their own (via the Internet, etc.) and sell merchandise of that, if making crude comparisons about gay men’s interests or insisting my ancestors were happy in the Jim Crow South are deemed that important.

Marvel announces a new comic about a Muslim teenaged girl; DC announces a TV show about Hourman

Ms. Marvel #1 (2014)The comic book “Big Two” made two separate announcements today that couldn’t possibly be more different from each other.

Marvel

Marvel announced a new book coming out early next year about a new Ms. Marvel. (The former Ms. Marvel’s nowadays going by the code-name “Captain Marvel,” per Marvel’s trademark on the term.) The new Ms. Marvel will be one Kamala Khan, a teenage girl who’s Muslim, and tries to balance her new superhero career with her conservative family and religious beliefs. The series will be written by G. Willow Wilson.

The announcement’s noteworthy enough that it earned an article in the New York Times. Marvel’s been making some attempts at increased diversity of late (“Mighty Avengers,” Captain Marvel’s own book, the ongoing success of Miles Morales’ book), so this new Ms. Marvel book should fit in well. It’s also giving a prominent profile to a Muslim character. Hopefully Marvel will give Kamala a more positive introduction than DC gave its Black Muslim superhero, Simon Baz; his first cover had him…wielding a gun, despite being a Green Lantern.

Speaking of the Distinguished Competition…

DC

Showcase #56DC and Warner Bros. has announced they’re working on yet another live-action superhero show, this one focusing on… minor 40s superhero Hourman.

For those who’ve forgotten, Hourman was traditionally chemist Rex “Tick-Tock” Tyler, who discovered a drug named “Miraclo” that when taken would give him superpowers (strength, speed, and stamina) for exactly one hour. With said powers, Rex eventually joined the Justice Society, and served with them for years. Stories involving Hourman tended to show him dealing with the threat in question before his “Hour of Power” ran out.

Modern comics introduced the idea that Miraclo was addictive/problematic (per modern attitudes toward steroid/drug usage). Also typical of modern comics, several replacements were introduced for Rex, including his own son (whose powers included seeing glimpses of the future) and a time-traveling robot.

Anyway, the above doesn’t matter, since this show’s Hourman in pretty much name only: the series is about a chemist who gets fleeting glimpses of the future (in some odd mix of Rex and his son’s backstories), which he uses to prevent disasters, while also trying to reconcile with his estranged wife and son. Basically, it’s the same premise as the old TV show “Early Edition.”

Given how little it seems it’ll have in common with the original superhero, I’d have to wonder why bother using Hourman at all, when it seems they wanted an “Early Edition”-like show instead. There’s also that they’ve opted to make a show about a superhero the general public hasn’t heard of, nor a hero that’s very popular even among comic fans. I also doubt Rex’s Justice Society pals will be seen in this series. I liked Hourman well enough (and his beach towel-like cape), but he’s definitely one of the last people I’d imagine giving his own TV show. Which brings up the last point: that DC/Warner Bros. opted to make a TV show about Hourman while deeming Wonder Woman as “tricky.” Pretty good example of Hollywood sexism at work…

 

The return of “Warner Communications?”: Time Warner to spin off Time, Inc.

Tiny Toon Adventures' Warners logosSome might recall the big merger between Warner Communications (owners of Warner Bros. studios) and Time, Inc. (publishers of “Time,” “Life,” and other magazines) back in the late 80s. After almost 25 years of “matrimony,” it looks like Time Warner is looking to spin off its Time, Inc. side, in the name of pushing its TV/video/motion picture side of things as future money-makers versus, well, print media like “Time.” Despite that Time wasn’t losing money, apparently the “print media is dead” meme, general corporate profit-mindedness, and a proposed previous sell-off deal falling through have prompted Time Warner’s decision.

There’s no indication what the now-Time-less Time Warner will rename the remaining company, if anything. I presume “Warner Communications” might be an option; it’s the name used between the early 70s and the late 80s for the Warner side of things. However, given media types aren’t particularly nostalgic/emphasize youth at extreme lengths (and that it’s been almost 25 years since they used “Warner Communications”), they’ll probably go for something more “2013.” “Warner?” “Warner Corporation?” Just plain “Warner Brothers, Inc.?”

On the comics and animation side of things, expect status quo. For animation fans, the animation studios, cable TV networks, and film libraries are all exclusively on the Turner and Warner Bros. side of the company. For DC Comics fans, it’s been under the Warner side of the company (and corporate cousins of Bugs Bunny) since Warner Communications’ predecessor “Kinney National Company” bought DC in 1967.

(Useless trivia: “Kinney” was a former cleaning services/parking garage company that for some reason expanded into media ownership. Warner Bros. until 1967 was run by the actual Warner siblings it was founded by/named after, though by 1967, only Jack L. Warner (the “J.L.” that Daffy Duck refers to in the Looney Tunes short “The Scarlet Pumpernickel”) was left. With the death of the old-school studio system, etc., Jack L. Warner sold the company to Seven Arts Productions in 1967, and retired a few years later. The merged company (briefly named “Warner Bros.-Seven Arts”) was bought by Kinney in 1969, and eventually renamed “Warner Communications” in 1972.)

Cartoon collectibles: Wakko Warner toy

This week’s cartoon collectible is another oldie-but-goody, especially for “Animaniacs” fans: a Wakko Warner beanbag toy:

Wakko Warner toy (front)

I bought Wakko at the Warner Bros. Store back around 2000, when I lived in Indianapolis. It wasn’t long after that that the store (like the whole WB Store chain) shut down, which is a shame, as I liked the WB Store. Also available were beanbag toys of the other “Silver Age” (90s-era) Warner Bros. characters—Yakko, Dot, Pinky and the Brain, etc.—as well as classic characters like Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny, etc. At the time, money was a bit tight, so I wasn’t able to buy Yakko or Dot.

Here’s some more pictures of Wakko:

Wakko Warner toy (back) Wakko Warner toy (left side) Wakko Warner toy (right side)

 

More Hollywood hijinks: Netflix to delay Warner Bros. DVDs by a month

Warner Bros. and Netflix have reached an agreement of some sort: in exchange for more streaming-video access to its material, Netflix will delay releasing new Warner Bros. videos (DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and apparently even streaming video feeds) by 28 days, enabling Warner Bros. to supposedly boost its new DVD/Blu-ray sales:

Warner Bros props up decaying DVD market with Netflix pact

Um, yeah. Not sure how this will slow down file-sharing (if anything, imagine such a delay might help *increase* it) or encourage (force) more new DVD sales (the whole point of renting the DVD being that people *don’t* want to buy it…at least not right away). Just feels like another Hollywood cash-grab attempt, or an attempt to prop up falling DVD sales (never mind the recession, other competing entertainment formats, DVDs now being quite cheap, and everyone having already finished rebuying their old VHS stuff on DVD as possible reasons for lessened DVD sales).

Looney Tunes to return to Cartoon Network (not a hoax, dream or imaginary story)!

After looking through online TV guide Zap2It.com, I’ve discovered that after several years’ absence from American TV airwaves, Looney Tunes is finally coming back to Cartoon Network. Not only are we getting a six-hour marathon of the shorts on Sunday, November 15 (from 1 PM to 7 PM EST), but they’re also being aired on a weekday morning slot from 11 AM to noon EST starting Monday, November 16.

I have no idea if this is permanent, or just a one-week affair. Still, the return of Bugs and company to TV is long overdue, and greatly welcomed (given I never cared much for “Tom and Jerry”, the sole old-time cartoon besides Scooby-Doo that’s still a fixture on non-digital cable TV). Perhaps somebody at Time-Warner is trying to build up excitement for the new Looney Tunes series being aired on TV next fall, or Turner and Warner Bros. have settled whatever money/rights squabbles they’ve had that prevented the shorts from airing (from what I’ve read online; what an idiotic way to run a conglomerate…), or maybe the ratings from airing the occasional LT compilation movie or the “Howl-oween Special” last week were better than expected.

Either way, good move, Cartoon Network—now if it could just get rid of those reality shows…