Saturday, October 31, 2009

Movie Remakes Currently in the Works

Some of the movie successes of the past are going to be put to the test once more as there are works in progress for most of them to reprise their stories in the near future. Without delay, here are a few notables already in the helm...

P.S>: Stay tuned for more movie updates to come

Russell Brand is reportedly in the early stages of developing a remake of Dudley Moore’s famous, and Oscar-winning, comedy. Thus far, he’s believed to be meeting with writers on the project, and Larry Brezner is attached to produce (he previously produced Good Morning Vietnam, and the US take on Little Britain). No release date clues yet.

They Live
Given that much of the John Carpenter back catalogue has already been remade, or is the process of being redone, the recent report that They Live was getting the treatment too was little surprise. The firm who remade Dawn Of The Dead, Strike Entertainment, are trying to get the rights, and it’s the same company that’s also working on the remake of The Thing. Very early stages for this one, though.

Romancing The Stone
Fox has raided its back catalogue and chosen the cracking Michael Douglas-Kathleen Turner adventure for the remake treatment. Thus far, it’s found a writer for the project, with Eagle Eye scribe Daniel McDermott hauled in to pen a script. No news yet on casting, director (although it’s safe to say that original director Robert Zemeckis wouldn’t give it another go) or release date…

The Incredible Shrinking Man
The 1950s movie, with a title that leaves few clues as to what it’s about, is being redeveloped as an Eddie Murphy vehicle. Brett Ratner had been in talks to direct, but a helmer isn’t yet attached to the project, and Murphy has Beverly Hills Cop 4 coming up anyway. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (who penned Night At The Museum) have written the script. It was originally down for 2010 release, but that may be a little optimistic now…

The Illustrated Man
Once he’s done and dusted with Watchmen, Zach Snyder has a plethora of projects he’s linked with, and the remake of The Illustrated Man has been on the table for a while. Originally made in 1969, and based on a collection of Ray Bradbury short stories, Alex Tse (who scribed the Watchmen movie) is on script duties. 2011 would be a good shout for this one, should Snyder get to it next.

When Worlds Collide
Originally brought to the screen in 1951, and picking up a special effects Oscar for its troubles, director Stephen Sommers is now linked to a remake of the film. The story of Alpha Centauri being on a collision course with the Earth currently has Sommers reportedly working on a script. He’s currently in post-production on G.I. Joe, but has also been linked with the new Tarzan movie. Still, this is a project believed to be live and kicking, and one heading for the screen in 2010/2011.

Fantastic Voyage
The 1966 classic about a submarine that’s shrunk and injected into a man’s bloodstream to try and stop a potentially fatal blood clot is on director Roland Emmerich’s slate. Cormac and Marianne Wibberley – who wrote the National Treasure movies, among others – are on script duties. Emmerich is still in the midst of making 2012, however, so don’t expect this one for a couple of years yet.

Back To School
The original was a hit for the late Rodney Dangerfield. But the 80s comedy is now in development again as a vehicle for Cedric The Entertainer. David Ronn and Jay Scherick are penning the new script, and the project is currently stuck in development pending a formal green light. That may be in time to get it to the screen in 2010, though.

The original: directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Bill Murray. The proposed remake: potentially to be directed by John Whitesell, he who gave us Big Momma’s House 2 and Deck The Halls. Hmmm... Expect it in 2010 at the very earliest.

The Dirty Dozen
Robert Aldrich’s late-60s classic is on producer Joel Silver’s slate for a remake. An assortment of writers are attached to the project, although there’s no director or casting news yet. The film is pencilled in for a 2012 release.

It looks like the third big screen Conan adventure will be heading back to the source material and doing a bit of a ‘reimagining’. And while we’re not averse to the idea of Conan coming back – with Arnie apparently having his arm twisted to try and get him to do a cameo – the likelihood is that Mr Brett Ratner will be directing, once he’s done with Beverly Hills Cop 4. A 2010/11 release window is likely.

Clash Of The Titans
A remake of the 1981 movie, this is set to start filming in the Spring, with The Incredible Hulk’s Louis Leterrier set to direct. Sam Worthington is the only known casting so far, and the film is set for release in 2010.

The film that kickstarted anime cinema’s assault on Western audiences, 1988’s Akira has been mooted for remake for some time. The current status is that a final draft of the script is still to be forthcoming (Gary Whitta is on scribing duties), with Ruairi Robinson – the 3D animator on Breakfast On Pluto – down to direct. Leonardo di Caprio is producing but not appearing in what will be a live action remake. 2011 is the earliest you’ll see it.

The Karate Kid
The 80s classic is heading back to cinemas, possibly as early as the end of next year, with Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith attached to the film in the title role. Stephen Chow, the original director linked with the project, is likely to find his Green Hornet commitments count him out, so expect news on a helmer shortly. In the meantime, the script is being polished off, and filming is set for next year.

The latest news on the planned Footloose remake is that High School Musical’s Zac Efron is in line to star. HSM’s director Kenny Ortega is down to direct, for a 2010 release.

The Last House On The Left
The remake of Wes Craven’s 70s horror is in the can, set for release in 2009. Dennis Illiadis has directed, and the cast features Monica Potter and Sara Paxton. Craven is attached as producer.

Red Dawn
The 1984 hit is being remade, with Dan Bradley behind the camera, and Disturbia scriber Carl Ellsworth penning the screenplay. Bradley was the second unit director on Quantum Of Solace, incidentally. The film is due out in 2010, but a start date for filming hasn’t been confirmed.

Short Circuit
This one’s still on for 2010, although a director and cast are still to be announced. David Foster is producing though, and he was one of the string-pullers behind the 2005 remake of The Fog. He also produced the original Short Circuit. And he’s attached to…

The Thing
This one’s still in the script stages, where we hope it gets stuck. The original is a flat-out classic, but given how many John Carpenter movies are getting the remake treatment, we suspect it’ll get to the screen in the next three years.

The Birds
The Hitchcock classic is up to be remade, and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell is still believed to be involved. A 2011 release date is mooted, and both Naomi Watts and George Clooney have been linked to the project. No word on a filming start date, though.

Clive Barker’s classic is coming back to the big screen, this time in the hands of writer/director Pascal Laugier. However, it’s still some way from getting to the screen, given Laugier’s commitment to another project first. 2011 would, therefore, be a good guess for a new Hellraiser project.

No studio seems as committed to pillaging its back catalogue as MGM is, and Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist is currently on its slate as well. The 1982 original, produced by Spielberg, will be remade by Vadim Perelman. He previously directed House Of Sand And Fog, and the new Poltergeist may make it out for next year.

Steven Spielberg is bringing a new take to Oldboy than the 2003 Korean corker, with Will Smith attached to the project too. Smith has said that the film will be based on the original manga, rather than the film itself. Not strictly a remake, then, but you can bet that the overlap will be noticeable…

It’s been an on-off project for so long, that we hope that the late Michael Crichton’s terrific original will be allowed to stand. However, a rampaging robot around a theme park is just the kind of thing Hollywood likes, and the project is still believed to be in the scripting process.

Logan’s Run
It’s been caught in development hell for a while, but the planned remake of Logan’s Run is believed to be back on the burner. Joseph Kosinski, who’s currently working on TR2N (or Tron 2, as we prefer to call it), currently has it lined up as his next project, for a 2010/11 release.

Child’s Play
Chucky is coming back to the big screen, potentially with Brad Dourif involved in the project. Seed Of Chucky director and original writer Don Mancini is down to write and direct this remake, which is set for release in 2010.

Rosemary’s Baby
The original: a 70s classic, that still pull its punches now. Directed by Roman Polanski, it’s regarded as one of the best movies of that decade. The remake? It’s being produced by Michael Bay. It’s due out in 2010.

The Jetsons
The animated movie is getting a live action remake, clearly inspired by the stunning pair of Flintstones movies. Ahem. Robert Rodriguez was in talks to be involved in the project, but no formal confirmation has since been forthcoming. Expect it in 2011 at the earliest…

The 1984 cult hit The Last Starfighter could be heading back, with original director Nick Castle at the helm, presumably with a more bountiful budget to play with. It’s still in development, though, with a 2010 release window the earliest we’d get to see it.

Forbidden Planet
The main reason to be interested here is the involvement of Babylon 5’s J Michael Stracyznski. He’s attached to the script for the remake of the 1956 classic, although it doesn’t appear yet that a screenplay has been finalised. Joel Silver is producing, with a 2010 release date planned, but looking unlikely.

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance
Charlize Theron is loosely attached to the planned remake here. Chan-woo Park, the writer/director of the Korean original, is not believed to be involved. Theron is currently linked as producer, but may star when the film gets to the screen, probably in 2010.

Near Dark
Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes company is behind the remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 vampire flick. Attached to direct is Samuel Bayer, whose CV is filled primarily with musical videos to date. The film seems a little lost in development hell right now, however, and the release date is at best a few years away.

Grindhouse’s Rose McGowan is attached to the lead role in this planned new take on the source material that inspired the Jane Fonda movie of the same name. Robert Rodriguez will be directing, although the film is reportedly having trouble getting its finances together. Don’t expect a release anytime soon…

Red Sonja
Rose McGowan again, although this one’s closer to getting to the screen, giving that the new take on Red Sonja is currently in pre-production. Directing is Douglas Aarniokosoki, who has previously done second unit directing work on Taken, Once Upon A Time In Mexico and Resident Evil Extinction. Presented by Robert Rodriguez (in the words of the poster, anyway), the film will be out in 2010.

Last Tango In Paris
Believe the rumour mill, and Tom Cruise is potentially circling the Marlon Brando classic as fodder for himself and his wife, Katie Holmes. Nothing is in pencil, yet alone ink, but the mere suggestion of it brings us out in the shivers.

Angel Heart
The Robert De Niro/Mickey Rourke horror, originally directed by Alan Parker, has been picked up by the man who used to run New Line Cinema, Michael De Luca. Along with this co-producers, he’s now believed to be in the early stages of putting a new film together based around the book Fallen Angel, which provided the foundation for Parker’s film. It’s a good few years away, though.

My Fair Lady
A film that many of us have a soft spot for, but perhaps not if Keira Knightley, as planned, gets her paws on the role of Eliza Doolittle. Musicals are big business right now, though, and while Knightley isn’t believed as of yet to have committed to the role, the film is likely to go ahead.

The rights have been picked up to do a new take on the Blake Edwards/Dudley Moore/Bo Derek comedy 10. Edwards is apparently on board as an executive producer, although a new cast and director is yet to be announced. Expect a 2010 release, though, would be our guess. It’s too easy a poster to pass up.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creative Music Marketing for the Unemployed

An innovative way to turn people's pitfalls into something positive. This piece of marketing gives a crossover audience, the unemployed professional, a new look at music and gives the musician an untapped market - one that seems to be unfortunately increasing. Also a great way to drive audience to video and song website.

Ryan Star's 'Breathe' Is Helping Job-Seekers Attract Employers by Sharing Their True Stories
by Judann Pollack
Published: October 27, 2009

Ryan Star, a rocker/musician, knows about being unemployed -- but what he didn't know was that he'd create a new model for music marketing.

This rocker is working on an album release, has a reality TV show under his belt and just wrapped up a gig as the opening act for "American Idol's" David Cook. Being unemployed, he states, "I know what it is like to be down and have nothing and now I can reach out a hand to help."

What he's done to help is feature real unemployed professionals in the music video for his new single "Breathe," and in the process he's blended music marketing with recruiting. The website,, is clearly there to sell the single, but it also acts as a very public posting board for a dozen real job-seekers, from software consultant and restaurant manager to balloon artist and digital-marketing specialist. People viewing the video who are interested in hiring them can send an e-mail through the site, which has already drawn a nibble for at least one hopeful less than a week since its posting.

"Touring around the country with David Cook, I've met a lot of people after shows," Mr. Star said. "Going to Detroit, and all these cities, I've seen the good, the bad, the ugly and the sad. I've seen what it's all about. These are people who want to work."

He's had some success -- his song "Brand New Day" is the theme song for Fox's "Lie to Me," he's appeared on Mark Burnett's reality program "Rock Star: Supernova" and his album, "11:59," is due early next year -- and he decided he wanted to give back when it came time to do the video.

"The purpose is to make you look good -- you are selling a product at the end of the day -- but it didn't sit right with me to spend a lot of money on something to make me look good knowing what [not having a job] means to these people. There were a million visuals I could put to it ... but I wanted to find an idea that would mean something in the bigger picture," Mr. Star said.

The lyrics to "Breathe" fit that purpose -- "Breathe, just breathe, take the world off your shoulders, put it on me" -- but the singer was also wary of looking crass with the finished product. "You don't want to do something cheesy that looks like you are trying [simply] to sell something," he said.

But so far, it's been well-received and has generated some publicity from CNN, NBC's local L.A. affiliate and ABC Radio, as well as a Twitter plug from none other than @aplusk, Ashton Kutcher, who spread the word to his 3.89 million (and counting) followers. "I don't even know him," said Mr. Star, himself an indefatigable Twitterer (@ryanstar). "It's not like I said 'Hey man, do me a favor,' it's just spreading."

That's good news for Trey Pitts, billed in the video as a digital-marketing specialist and retail manager. Mr. Pitts, a self-taught digital expert, is actually a friend of Mr. Star's who helped shape his Facebook and MySpace pages. He's been out of work for about six months after being laid off as a manager for TJX Cos. and has also worked as a racetrack manager, a video-store supervisor and sold real estate.

His contribution to the video has generated a couple of e-mails for more information and Mr. Pitts, whose dream job is to create digital marketing for a music or movie company, is hopeful.
So is Mr. Star, who is pumped up by the video hitting 181,000 tweets in a day and becoming a trending topic. "People underestimate the masses," he said, tossing away his apple core. "You and I are the masses."

(Source: AdAge Daily 10/28/2009)

Monday, October 26, 2009

How to Handle ''Badvocates'' as a Company Marketer

GM, American Airlines and others try to win over critics on the Web.

During General Motors' financial meltdown this year, politicians, corporate executives and journalists piled on to gripe about the auto-maker's business. Most were expected, but what was surprising was the number of bloggers and social media hounds who chimed in to grouse about the car-maker and its vehicles.

GM is one of many companies trying to manage a slew of online critics, particularly since the economic downturn has made so many bloggers--and their followers--distrustful and critical of big companies. The musings and grumbles of these "badvocates," as they are called, can now be transmitted around the globe. These powerful critics represent 20% of the world's adult population online and they reach an estimated 14 people with their opinions, according to New York public relations firm Weber Shandwick.

Muzzling them is impossible. So how do GM and other companies handle such criticisms? At GM, a social media team of six employees troll the Web, tweeting, updating Facebook and occasionally commenting on personal blogs. In the case of on "badvocate" who has 29,000 followers on Twitter, GM invited him to Detroit and encouraged him to log the details of his trip and post video clips of interviews with executives. Other companies are also setting up meetings with bloggers to try and establish better relationships with them. Some even hope to drown out critics by getting brand fans to write positive blogs.

GM's executives say they can't invite every blogger to the company, but they plan on reaching out occasionally to make sure that influential writers are equipped with correct information about the car maker. In July the Detroit company also launched, a site where consumers can leave their gripes or ask questions and actually get comments from a GM executive. The site helped GM respond to critics who might otherwise be splattering comments elsewhere on the Web.

Airlines have experienced a lot of brand bashing on the Web in recent years, particularly on trip-planning sites and, more recently, on Twitter. When consumers miss connecting flights or experience delays, they reach down for their mobile phones and Tweet or blog about it.

American Airlines of Fort Worth is reaching out to people on social networking sites, says Roger Frizzell, vice president of corporate communications, brand and advertising. In August, when New York's LaGuardia Airport closed a terminal due to a bomb threat, American Airlines posted notices on its Web site and sent a Tweet to its followers on Twitter. It leaves general information on lost baggage and canceled flights on its Facebook site. Getting the word out before consumers run into problems at the airport is one way to avoid criticism, says Frizzell.

That’s key, agrees Jack Leslie, chairman of Weber Shandwick. Companies should check out what's being said about their brands and figure out if they should react or comment. Worst case scenario, says Leslie, is to have a viral video like the one United Airlines experienced this past July, when country singer Dave Carroll wrote a song about the airline's failure to replace the guitar the airline supposedly smashed in transport.

Some of GM's watchers say they still feel comfortable speaking out against companies, but they're more likely to talk to them first to get information and comments. Some recommend that big corporations should respond to bloggers who bash their brands.

**Source: Forbes Online Magazine/CrisisOnline/October232009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Video Games + Music = Still a Great Marketing Combo

Video games, especially the music game genre, got a good jump to the holidays back in September on the backs of new releases "The Beatles: Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero 5."

MTV's Beatles videogame, released September 9, sold 595,000 units, according to the NPD Group, making it the third-best selling game of the month overall behind "Halo 3: ODST" and "Madden NFL 10." Activision's "Guitar Hero 5," released September 1, ranked fourth overall for the month with 499,000 in unit sales.

Both totals are on par with that of first-month sales for the flagship music offerings from both companies last year. Activision's "Guitar Hero World Tour" had first-month sales of 534,000 units last year, while "Rock Band 2" sold just over 238,000 copies its first month.

Combined, however, both "The Beatles: Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero 5" drove a 72 percent increase in revenue for the music game genre over September 2008. From both a revenue and unit sales standpoint, the results represent good news for a music industry with vested interest in the continued popularity of the music game genre.

Year-over-year revenue for the genre had fallen 46 percent this year through August, sparking speculation that the category was a passing fad. But that decline was likely more a function of fewer and cheaper music games hitting the market this year, compared with 2008, until September's dual high-profile releases.

Music and video games have always been dancing toe-to-toe year in and year and year out with overall good results. Bands, such as Yellowcard, have seen album or singles sales go up thru their presence in video games. As most in the industry think, its a fad, most will say that the odd couple makes for a great marketing tool. With the advent of digital downloads, the music industry has been trying to find good ways to keep music in the forefront of whats popular - MTV, ring-tones, mp3 players, download cards, etc. Video games is just another avenue. Now, not all music would be a welcome fit to the gamers market, but for the edgy, musician, its a great starting point. Video games have also seen its successes by using popular, edgy music. Just take a look at the success of video game soundtracks like Grand Theft Auto Series or Soundtracks to Final Fantasy.

Both industries depend on creativity to strike their audience's appeal. Now the audience is just waiting for the next lightning from the combo to strike.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bleak Look at Black Friday - Or is the Glass Half Full?

A survey focused on consumer's 2009 holiday spending outlook by Burst Media finds that 62.8% of consumers plan to spend the same or cut back on their holiday purchases compared to 2008. Although most consumers plan to hold on tight to their spending this holiday season, 85.3% of respondents will be doing their shopping online. This number is on the rise from year to year.

Only 14.6% of respondents expect to spend more this holiday season than they did in 2008, while 32.7% expect to spend less and 30.1% expect to spend about the same as they did last year. Interestingly, this year finds that women will be more frugal than men this holiday season with 38.1% planning to spend less on gifts and entertainment, compared to 27.3% of all men. But you can look to this as slightly behind because the study was before the announcement of some solid gaming releases. Also, there were more newer gadgets last year, with the new i-phone 3g, than this year.

The income segments that will trim holiday spending this year looks like this:
• 29.5% of respondents reporting household income (HHI) of less than $35,000 cutting holiday spending,
• 46.3% of households reporting HHI of $35,000-$75,000
• 31.3% of households reporting HHI of $75,000 or more

The Internet has become a go-to holiday shopping resource. Despite the fact that 63% of consumers express concern over credit card security when making an online purchase, seven out of ten still plan to make an online holiday purchase on the Internet. Consumers will also use the Internet to "window shop". The most popular online window-shopping activities are comparing different retailers to find the best price (56.8%), and comparing the features of different brands (55.3%).

The Burst study also found that there does not seem to be a clear start to the holiday shopping season as only 13.6% respondents consider "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving) to be the official kick-off.

Many experts feel that with such uncertainty to when the actual shopping season will begin, advertisers should take advantage of creating awareness now.

(Source: Center for Media Research)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Twitter Activity Slowing Down - Whats Causing the Buzz Kill?

Twitter growth appears to be slowing. Even with cable news, reality TV personalities, and internet and social media marketers all widely embracing Twitter, the diffusion beyond this core set of supporters, at least compared to the historical adoption curves of MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, appears to have hit a buzz kill.
The Sysomos study on Twitter usage, in the beginning of summer 2009, found that 85% of Twitter users posted less than once a day; that 21% had never posted, that 94% had fewer than 100 followers, and -- perhaps most telling -- 5% of users generate 75% of the tweets (Ashton Kutcher and comScore Executive Chairman Gian Fulgoni, I'm looking at you...) Of course, a persuasive argument may be made that following is as important to Twitter as tweeting is, and in that context we should be careful not to evaluate Twitter traction merely by the creation of content, but also by its consumption.
Professional outlooks toward Twitter may be distinctly binary. On one hand, the more elder hand, they just do not get the point; the other, more younger professionals are entirely energized by this new, cutting-edge technique for engaging into the real-time zeitgeist of human consciousness a la the Matrix. No one seems to be neutral about Twitter, and that in itself is interesting.
ComScore's U.S. Media Metrix shows that in December 2008, only 1% of U.S. Internet users visited; by June 2009 that penetration had ballooned to 10.4% -- but, at least with respect to Web site reach, the data show that Twitter penetration has slowed. In July, reach was up a comparatively modest half a point, to 10.9%; and in August, it dipped slightly to 10.6%.
However, Sysomos reported that half of Twitter activity originates offsite through applications such as Tweetdeck -- the reach figures quoted are the share of the online population who hit the site at least once from a computer in a month. Even the most avid Tweetdeck users are likely to make at least one visit to the site in a month. (For comparison, Facebook had a reach in Media Metrix of 46.7% of U.S. Internet users in August.) Facebook also shows 22 monthly visits per visitor, and Twitter with 5. Again, that frequency will understate the true Twitter activity because of posting from off site.
A noteworthy report is time spent. In August, accrued 533 million total minutes of usage; web users spend twenty-four times as much time with MySpace, and thirty-two times as much time with Facebook. Twitter is probably more like Google than like Facebook with respect to engagement, lending itself to very short interactions as opposed to deeper dives. Most of the avid tweeters do much of their tweeting from their phone, and mobile traffic is thus far excluded from Media Metrix. It will be interesting to see what the impact is on Twitter usage (and indeed, on Facebook and MySpace, both with aps on my iPhone) when we can look at the total Twitter universe, including mobile access, via Media Metrix 360. Thus far, at least in the U.S., incremental traffic accruing from mobile devices remains quite small for many publishers. Twitter may well be the first significant exception to that rule.

Clearly, Twitter has become indispensable for its avid users. It will be interesting to see how the same avid users tweet in the years to come.