We’re Gonna Need A Bigger MEME…!

Oh, why hello there, Bloggers.

So, suppose you have a job at Disney, and the name of the job is “development”.  And just you never mind knowing about things you don’t need to know, but we’re going to make a movie THIS YEAR, understand?  And it’s got to be good, it’s got to be a hit.  An unexpected indie hit.  And it can’t be a movie involving our highlight characters, it’s got to be something we don’t have to officially care about, but listen lemme tellya kid…but it’s gotta be a goddamn HIT, right?

Because let’s get this IP Bank moving, if you know what I mean.

By which I mean:  give me a summer hit, out of the Marvel properties we’ve just acquired, that isn’t something we’re going to want for one of these goddamned AVENGERS movies that are going to cost us an arm and a leg.  And I don’t wanna hear from any FF or Spider-Man either, get me?

Just give me something quick, fast, dirty, excellent, that we can put the banner “A Marvel Movie” on top of, something to build the brand while we’re waiting for Peter Jackson to say yes to Dr. Strange.

So okay.  You say it’s a rich field for characters.  Let’s see a couple.

Hand over the movie.

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35 responses to “We’re Gonna Need A Bigger MEME…!

  1. Bit different from what it would be if it was DC, isn’t it?

    I’ll chime in with my idea once you guys have done five

  2. Okay, I’ll let mine in…

    Micronauts.

    “But Mr. Disney, what if we can’t get the rights to the Microna…”

    SILENCE, TINY WRITER! THIS IS NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER’S LARGE MEDIA COMPANY! ALL IS AVAILABLE! NOTHING IS FORBIDDEN! NOTHING IS FORGIVEN! AVAILABILITY IS ALL! MAKE THE MOVIE, AND WORRY ABOUT IT LATER!

  3. Well, I think the first thing you’d have to try would be Power Pack, don’t you? And no special tricks; just do a Power Pack movie where you adapt whatever their basic story was in the comics.

  4. Micronauts is kind of the Marvel version of Atari Force, isn’t it? Micronauts or ROM. That might make a good crossover; either one of those with Atari Force.

  5. it’s been tried, of course (but not very hard): Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. There is a huge gaping Bond/Bourne/Austin Powers vacuum right now just waiting to be filled by some hairy chested love god with a laser pistol and a flying car.

  6. Sleepwalker.

    Nobody cares about him, so you’re not tied down to anything but ‘every time this dude falls asleep, a horrific-looking thing in his head comes out to pursue its own agenda.’ That there is a pitch.

    Get someone with indie cred who looks good sleepless. That Donnie Darko guy. No franchise crap – give it a real ending – but have a sneaky back door for a sequel or two.

  7. I dig all these for various reasons: I like Al’s simple “well whatever, get that Donnie Darko guy or something” approach — that is the approach that gets movies made, by gum! But, not necessarily that gets hit movies made. Cormac‘s idea is a bit better, just because it’d be hard to go wrong: super-spy, eyepatch, Old Indy. Naturally Matthew‘s idea is best of all: just take the first twenty issues of Power Pack and make a movie out of it. Although maybe the market’s a bit saturated with “Superpowered Kids” at this point…?

    Hmm…all good ideas…

  8. Maybe I’d go Skull The Slayer…apparently cast back in time, dude saves a bunch of people by putting on an alien belt, is an asshole who gradually learns to do good…first uses belt to protect himself, realizes he can fuck off out of there, then has his Grinch moment…

    Meanwhile the U.S. Air Force, under the command of a pretty big asshole, is planning to rescue all those people: swoop in and scoop ’em out.

  9. Still like Micronauts because once you get past the name you’ve already bought in…and it doesn’t have to make any fucking sense, then…

  10. I’ve never understood why Marvel hasn’t been pushing a lot harder to get a Luke Cage, Hero for Hire movie made. Times Square today isn’t the Times Square where Luke once operated…but you could put his office above an art movie revival house downtown, or make it a period piece to go the Black Dynamite route. Either way, keep the basic original premise intact, and don’t stray from it: wrongly convicted man, medical experiment in prison for a chance at parole, experiment goes wrong and convict breaks out of prison with superpowers, and he sets himself up in New York under an assumed name. The powers that be have always underrated the simple conceptual beauty of a super-powered champion who can be hired for the day by an ordinary person. Come on, that’s mythic! (I also mourn the loss of the private detective story, and the elevation of police stories in their place.)

    Next up, Iron Fist and the Immortal Weapons. Just focus on the core story of the Brubaker/Fraction issues, leaving out all the prior superhero angle to make it a self-contained film about wealthy Danny Rand being summoned back to K’un L’un to compete in the Tournament of Seven Champions, where he learns his inherited wealth came from evil deeds, and also is now being used in a plot to destroy the hidden city.

    Also going with the Nick Fury idea, but only if it’s the completely insane and incoherent Steranko psychedelic version. Anything realistic or earnest or boring is right out.

  11. Ok, hows about we hire John Woo, give him a shit load of money and tell him to make something coherent out of either Iron Fist or Shang-Chi. Then we just leave him alone to do his thing and hopefully he delivers something as good as Red Cliff, only in English.

    Yep, that works for me. Sure fire hit.

  12. Okay chief, it’s the Beach Boys versus Death Metal; it’s One Teen Werewolf versus the fucking Nazgul. We call it Werewolf by Night.

    This is going to address the YA Urban Fantasy slot, and we know the slot is there because Twilight and Anita Blake — the whole girl class of 2002-06 went misty over vampires and werewolves but those were romances, heroine-centered. We make our hero a young, fit, good-looking, and let me stress this, normal and optimistic fellow, no emo cringe at all. With a great chest. On the cusp of manhood, wistfully taking his surfboard up to the attic because his parents have passed on, he’s got a house he can’t pay off and a little sister to take care of and can’t afford to go to college. But he’s handling all this like a mensch. Are we getting to girl bait you think?

    When wham. Parents died because grandpa was the last guardian of the Necronomicon back in Romania. The Book of Sins. Satan’s Testament. And basically Voldemort is after this book because then he can bring the Black Sabbath Ages back again. Kid gets the book, but the instructions are all in Latin. Whoops. Now he becomes the Wolfman, three nights every month. It would complicate your life.

    Well it’s a bit more light-hearted than I’m making it sound. We bend the plot so that when he gets hairy, he’s either on the run or else he’s facing Cardinal Fang and his Death Metal Zombie Vikings. He’s scaring the living daylights out of people by the full moon, rips some shirts but he doesn’t get any actual deaths on his conscience. And in between full moons he’s keeping it together, keeping the California Dream alive while he’s, I dunno, scouting locations and scrounging props for TV commercials, oh yeah and band videos, getting the bills paid.

    And also there is this one Death Metal girl who comes with the Cardinal Fang deal, and she’s blonde and ethereal and has healing powers, see you have to have read too much Harry Potter fanfic but then you’ll know that the schoolgirl population of the whole country are all writing themselves as this girl. And sainthood is wasted on her, which is how they’re writing her too. And you can see she’s purely fated for the Pit and the Pendulum or something, except it’s the Night of the Wolfman and she is the one beauty who can soothe the savage beast. No I’ve got no shame, I can safely say I have no shame at all.

    What I want for this is the California locations, a bit cleaned up so we can shoot in old Spanish villas, and the beach scenes are throwbacks to Frankie Avalon and Gidget, except updated and racially diverse and the young folk are all having a good time. Bikini bonfire party thrown into panic by fucking werewolf, is a must. And the other thing I want is to commission a good long playlist from a lot of contemporary bands, especially surf metal revivalists and serious metal bands who know how to set Gregorian chant off from power guitar. Dead Can Dance, are they still around?

    Now Jack’s werewolf suit has to be done well, but the other spooky effects don’t have to be Peter Jackson, in fact it helps if they’re just a little bit shitty. The impact has to be physical, I want football players and stuntmen for the Nazgul, and anybody with a theatre-trained voice for Voldemort.

    And aww, look, if it’s humanly possible at this point, I’d like to commission Mike Ploog for some nice drawings for the credits.

  13. I’m not saying this would be a *good* film, but what they could probably make money on is a remake of Howard The Duck, with a CGI wisecracking duck and, I don’t know, Owen Wilson or someone in it. Cheap family comedy a la Marmaduke or Garfield.

    Thunderbolts vs Sub-Mariner – what could be better than an action movie about a team of villains, recruited by the CIA or equivalent to go on high-risk suicide missions, fighting the Prince of Atlantis, who’s leading a terrorist attack on the surface world? I’ll tell you what could be better, messing up DC’s chances of doing Suicide Squad or Aquaman without looking like rip-off merchants to the general public, that’s what could be better…

  14. I’d love to see Pixar tackle something like Rocket Raccoon or Pet Avengers. But for something that could possibly work the way Blade somehow did in building a franchise? Keep aiming for underrepresented super-hero niches. Luke Cage, Shang-Chi, Agents of ATLAS, Wasp or Dazzler. But really I want to see more of Erik Lenscher: Nazi Hunter because that was some of the best bits in X-Men: First Class

  15. I’d do Adam Warlock. Not the now-he’s-dead-now-he’s-alive part-time-Magus Infinity Gauntlet version,but the Roy Thomas New Testament allegory from years ago. The blond bloke from Glee is Warlock. Hugh Jackman as the Man-Beast. Someone posh as the High Evolutionary. And Natasha Bedingfield as Astrella, but only because I fancy her. Counter-earth is dissimilar enough from us to be used for comparison and mockery.

    CGI could do a great ‘return to the cocoon’ scene. And there’s Thanos waiting if they ever did a sequel.

  16. I’ve got another one. Skrull Kill Krew! I’d make only one change for summer blockbuster purposes. Instead of using Reed Richards, you just establish at the start that these shape-shifting aliens took the form of cows and were hypnotized to believe it in order to be sleeper agents. The Skrulls simply didn’t realize Terrans would kill and grind up these useless animals as a food source…why would a race even DO that, it makes no sense! You waste more biomass feeding the cows than you get out of them! How were they to know?

  17. We don’t really need a whole space invasion to do Strikeforce Morituri, do we?

    Luke Cage should be developed as a major property. If you get the green light for the concept it means you’re Disney’s answer to Christopher Nolan.

  18. Okay, boss, so we’ve seen from Warners’ Green Lantern that spending a ton of money on a superhero movie doesn’t guarantee success — and playing through “origin story plus perfunctory character arc for lead character” might not be enough to get asses in seats.

    So here’s some ideas I think we can work with.

    This is kind of an X-Men thing, but we can divorce it from that context entirely, never even MENTION the X-Men or mutants or anything. We take the prettiest, broodiest actor we have between the ages of twenty-one and thirty, and we have the Feds pick him up after a string of cool, high-profile thefts — real 60s and 70s heist movie stuff. He calls himself GAMBIT, and he’s got these weird black eyes and the power to “charge up” objects (usually playing cards) and make them explode. Should be a cool special effect; there’s a lot you can do with it, but it shouldn’t cost a whole lot to do. Anyway, Gambit’s case gets assigned to a young, female agent, and you see where this is headed. Turns out he’s on the run — he used to be part of something called the Thieves’ Guild down in New Orleans, who have been at war ever since anybody can remember with a group called the Assassin’s Guild. To bring peace, the Thieves married him off to an Assassin named Bella Donna, but Gambit takes off to make his own way in the world, haunted by the terrible burden of his past. The Thieves are after him, the Assassins are after him, Bella Donna’s after him, Interpol is after him. Big chase scenes and set pieces leading up to Gambit and the female agent going down to post-Katrina New Orleans for a final showdown with Bella Donna. You can do as many sequels as you want of Gambit and his rogue (boss, you don’t see what I did here, but somebody might) Ex-Fed girlfriend going all over the world stealing stuff and being romantic and tragic and glamorous.

    Or perhaps I can interest you in a raunchy, violent, R-rated action-comedy called SCOURGE OF THE UNDERWORLD. Jason Statham is Scourge, a one-man army traumatized by a supervillain attack and dedicated to killing supervillains that the goody two-shoes superheroes of his world are too soft to put down. But the thing is, Scourge doesn’t have a ton of resources, so he can’t go after the big Dr. Doom type of villains, he’s going after whoever he can get his hands on, which is largely the losers. These are guys who will never be in a big-budget superhero movie — guys like the Ringer and the Porcupine. And they’re in full costume, and it’s okay if they look ridiculous because they’re supposed to look ridiculous, and these loser supervillains are played by comedic actors. We can get some of the Apatow players, maybe — Seth Rogen can be somebody, Jonah Hill can be Leapfrog. We might need some “proper” superheroes to play off of, but of course we don’t really want to waste any of our potentially lucrative properties on it. We could make up some guys, of course, but there’s another possibility. The fans would KILL me if they knew I suggested it, but there’s a property that’s NEVER going to be made into a movie called SQUADRON SUPREME, and they’re loosely based on DC/Warners’ superheroes, so there’s sort of a parody aspect to it anyway we could play with.

    But, if we don’t want to stray TOO FAR from the template, if we just want to TWEAK the formula a bit, we’ve got the story of an out-of-work actor named Simon Williams. Kind of a well-meaning lunk. It’s really a shame Bruce Campbell is too old for this, but whoever we get has to be just as magnetic as Robert Downey Jr — we have to come to this movie for HIM, because we can’t bank on the superhero name-recognition. Anyway, this supervillain called Baron Zemo experiments on him for mysterious reasons, and by the end of it, he gets out and it turns out he has superpowers — strength, speed, invulnerability, that sort of thing. So he becomes a superhero called WONDER MAN, but JUST for publicity so that he can go on to become a movie star. But fame turns out to be hollow, and of course he ends up leaving his old out-of-work-actor buddies behind because he’s “changed.” But then we find out Wonder Man was only a prototype, and Zemo let him escape to see if he would survive, if he could learn to control his powers, and so on. Now Zemo’s got his REAL human weapon, a guy called Erik Josten, to undergo the same process, and Josten’s first assignment is to track down and kill Wonder Man, both to get rid of the competition, and to make a show of power. Trash Hollywood while you’re at it; it’ll look good on the news. Josten figures it shouldn’t be too hard — this Wonder Man’s a total buffoon, a self-serving ass. But when trouble strikes, Simon discovers he’s capable of playing the hero he was only pretending to be before now.

    Anyway, I figure we could do all of these on a modest budget. Nothing’s stopping any of them from becoming a hit, and Gambit has real franchise potential, I think. You might not be able to stick any of ’em on a Burger King cup, but that’s what we’ve got this Avengers merchandising juggernaut for, right? Here’s some films you can aim at the 18-to-34s.

  19. Bruce Campbell as Simon Williams. That’s sheer genius.

    But why pass up that opportunity? Go with Campbell and write Williams as a long-suffering bit player who sees his last chance as a leading man slipping away due to his age, and soon he’ll have to settle for old man parts. So the Zemo thing happens and Williams gets this new superhero identity, one last shot at fame…and the joke is, people keep recognizing him from his parts in b-movies. “I know you, you played the FBI agent in Flight of the Banshee! I saw that on MST3K!” Or at the start of the film, we could see Simon Williams signing autographs at a genre movie con, for a little Galaxy Quest-like self-referentiality…

  20. I think I’d rank those just a bit differently, Justin: Scourge would work TODAY, quick quick before something already existing in comics that looks like it gets made! You could pull an “Incredibles cape joke” trick there, steal a march: Jonah Hill as Leap-Frog, the sad-sack supervillain bar where everyone’s sitting around in costume, and Jason Statham goes through tragedy at the beginning, Adagio For Strings stuff, and then it gets weird as he just starts pointlessly killing small fry. You can see Jonah Hill protesting, telling him he’s just a guy in springy shoes, how does this count as revenge? It’s like you turned Mystery Men inside-out like a glove and stuck Clint Eastwood in it, you could make it very film-informed, many clever shout-outs, touching, satiric. I do believe it writes itself.

    Next I think I’d place the Wonder Man idea, skating very close to something that’s already been done a couple times in movies but never too well: “if you were a superhero you’d be a fuck-up”. There’s gold in them hills, I think: of course the tougher, better, more worthy antagonist and you being the wannabe, and a big flashy property-destroying fight in Hollywood, and then final victory…familiar themes, but also room to move…

    And Gambit last, because aren’t you basically describing those “Underworld” movies? But I think you’d want to flesh out the Thief/Assassin “world” and that sounds an awful lot like work, to me. Still, that very connection to The Vampire Stuff maybe makes you righter and me wronger, and you could certainly just keep spinning the damn thing off…

    Ha! I like ’em!

    Okay, first a coffee, then more comment…

  21. Sorry, Richard, didn’t see you there…

    Hey, yeah…why not Bruce Campbell?

    Oddly that one now looks faintly Eastwoodian to me as well…

    It’s funny how that works, or maybe it isn’t. The Western stuff…in my head, Leap-Frog begging Scourge for his life is right out of Miller’s CRossing, right?

  22. Nate, ha, I can’t believe they haven’t already done the “superpowered bail-bondsman” thing, actually…but I think Richard and Jonathan are right about the bigger potential there…hmm…

    Also, Matthew: point taken!

    Okay, I gotta think of another one, now…

  23. That was EXACTLY what I was going for with the Scourge pitch, right down to Mystery Men being in the back of my mind. “I don’t understand! That jewelry store I knocked over was insured for the loss! I checked, I mean, I’m not a bad guy!”

    The idea with GAMBIT was indeed to go unashamedly for that Underworld/Twilight thing, but to cross it with superheroes and heist movies. The one twist I think it has to offer is that unlike these other movies, it’s not Romeo and Juliet, it’s Romeo going, “Hey, Juliet is a psychopath and both the Montagues and the Capulets are going to kill me now — GET ME OUT OF HERE.”

    The pitches weren’t ranked best to worst; my thought was to lead off with my baldest “hitch your wagon to a trend” idea and ease into the other ones. That’s my pitching strategy, anyway

  24. Ha, Justin! You’ve sold me on Gambit, now! Some of the better vampire-mob-family shows of the last TWENTY YEARS (oh, dear God) have been better because they kept Michael Corleone in it, the sympathetic vampire son who just wants out (shades of Thor, eh?)…and so this would be like that, eh? Which means it’d be worth a try for sure…

    …Except now I’m thinking TV show, build up the base and make a movie later!

    And damn you, Matthew, a Pixar Longshot‘s a bloody BRILLIANT idea…! But again it’d work real well on TV too — as anime, obviously. Movie first or second, I don’t think it matters? Because oh my, that’s a nice one.

    Some damn good capitalizing on genre-combinations in here, and that’s what hooks me most, personally…but I have to love the cutthroat business Andrew cooks up with Thunderbolts, since we’re probably not making too many more FF movies for a while…so keep it no-name and sell Namor, the sexy fish-man, that’s exactly what he’s got over Aquaman, right? Rocket Raccoon and Pet Avengers are great too, Pet Avengers is basically Power Pack with dogs and cats, I’d like to see Pixar do Rocket Raccoon like you wouldn’t believe, ha! And then Agents Of Atlas pretty much writes itself, although I’m not entirely certain the “nostalgia for what never was” thing is even deader than “superhero school”, at this point…

    Although we’ve never exactly seen it played straight, have we? And Gorilla-Man is sure as shootin’ an awesome viewpoint character…so…

    Hell, it could work!

    But the more I think about it the more Skrull Kill Krew really grabs me, you know? Because it’s another genre mash-up/inversion, it’s a Romero zombie movie where the zombies are looking at the people shuffling around in the mall and saying “oh Christ, that’s disturbing”, it’s alien-eco-zombie-pop-satire, or something? Whatever it is, it’s beautifully positioned between Metalocalypse and Starman and American Pie, or something…?

    Though that may be the wine talking.

  25. Kid Colt Outlaw: The wrongly accused hero pursued by (A) the law – including the grizzled bounty hunter Sam Hawk the Man-Hunter and his plucky and overly cocky young ward – and (B) the Man In the Iron Mask, who moves slowly but inexorably and uses agents of distraction – An evil circus (acrobats, trained Bar, fat dude with a killer boomerang), trees made of skeletons, the Ghost Rider as a train and the like – to trip the Kid up before he can rescue his (likewise wrongly accused lady love) from hanging at dawn.

  26. “Fantasy Western”? Little bit of Ray Bradbury in there? Journey to the depths of the unconscious?

    You’re hired! But I dunno why you’re calling yourself “Spooky”.

    (psst, avatar is the same)

  27. Lately I’ve imagined a parodic blaxploitation take on Heroes for Hire, only with Real Actors/movie stars as Power Man and Iron Fist, to be retained for the later Serious Superhero Movie outings for each character. So you have an Inglourious Basterds-style flashcard origin for Cage, “Iron Fist” is only mentioned in reference to Rand’s superpower, and all else is fighting and gags.

    Ryan Gosling as Danny (not mine but so, so perfect) and… well, Cage is harder. I’ve thought of the Rock a few times, but I’d understand objections to him.

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