For the first time in a while we have a year without a Pixar film. I tend to put all Pixar films on my anticipated film list every year, but The Good Dinosaur was delayed until 2015. That will mean two Pixar films will be on my list for 2015, however, and I’m very excited about that. I’m pretty excited about this year’s movies, however, with the end of The Hobbit capping the a year filled with Muppets, superheroes, robots and biblical epics.
About a year ago, Disney made the ultimate purchase. One that made my dreams of seeing more Star Wars films on the big screen possible. They bought Lucasfilm. It was this purchase that has actually completed a project that I am now convinced was the plan from the time they bought the Jim Henson Company back in 2004 for an undisclosed amount somewhere around $200 million. It was actually a much longer journey as Disney had originally purchased distribution rights to all of the Jim Henson Company productions way back in 1991. It took until September of 2008 before Disney finally rebranded the Muppets Holding Company as Muppet Studios, and placed it under new leadership.
With phase one complete, it was time to begin work on phase two: the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. This was a massive purchase costing $4.24 billion. Disney needed to get control of Marvel Productions, and this was one way that they could do so. They didn’t want to have any red-tape, even though they very likely had all of the rights they needed thanks to the acquisition of the Muppets.
Lastly, they needed the final piece of the equation. They needed the footage that was used from both Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. And the best way to do that? Spend $4.06 billion on the purchase of Lucasfilm. That brought in both franchises.
With the total cost being about $8.5 billion, Disney is very close to being able to achieve their ultimate goal: the release of Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies on DVD and Blu-ray. I had been thinking about the overall purchases that Disney was making, and one day it dawned on me that all of these things were connected. And with a little bit of research, I found that I wasn’t the only one to think of this.
From what I can gather, the only thing left standing in their way is a simple licensing of some footage from Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures. Unless they plan on purchasing the rights to the Ghostbusters franchise (which I’d have no problem with, as they seem to just do everything right with the franchises they acquire). There are also bits from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which belong to Paramount, among a few other things. It seems to me that we’re as close as ever, and so is Disney.
That’s a pretty large investment so far, though, and I hope that the eventual release of this classic masterpiece of animation works out for them, and they make back the billions they’ve spent in gathering the exclusive rights to the series.
As readers of this blog may already know, I’m a pretty big fan of The Muppets. I thought the last film, 2011′s The Muppets was a return to form, and the first that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since 1999′s Muppets from Space. With the sequel The Muppets…Again! in production now, they’ve been making more appearances. It’s a great way to keep them near front of mind when the trailers for the new movie start to appear.
On April 28, 2013, at 7:30 PM ET/PT, The Muppets are going to make one of those appearances: stopping by the Duncan family’s home on Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie.
Since the announcement that Disney bought Lucasfilm, there has been a wide range of reactions to it, from the very optimistic and positive, to the stunningly negative and outrageous. There are many reasons to be optimistic though, and I feel there are no valid arguments against Disney at this point. Within the few years, Disney has made some pretty smart moves with their acquisitions. Let’s take a look at that to see why Star Wars is safe in the House of Mouse.
The sequel to 2011′s The Muppets, called Muppets…Again! (aka The Muppets 2) has begun production in London. It will be in theaters on March 21, 2014. The Muppets was one of my favorite movies of 2011, so I’m very excited for this one, even though I’m not a very big fan of the human cast members this time around.
It finds the Muppet repertory company enjoying a triumphant world tour, only to become tangled up with a criminal mastermind named Constantine, who is out to steal an enormous diamond—and who happens to be a dead ringer for Kermit.
“I always loved those classic jewel-heist capers from the ’60s and ’70s, so I was very keen to do a movie that had elements of that [genre] featuring the Muppets and comedy and songs,” says returning director James Bobin, who co-wrote the script with Nicholas Stoller.
I haven’t created a list of my anticipated films of the next year in some time. My friend Teddy posted one, though, and inspired me to do my own. (Reading through this list, you can get a pretty good idea of the type of movies I like, for the most part. You could probably predict what movies I’d see, year after year.)
10. Thor: The Dark World
Since Disney has delayed The Muppets 2 until March 2014, it made room in my top ten for Thor 2. Love the first one, and the sequel should continue that.
9. Monster’s University
Finally we have Pixar’s latest. This is a prequel to Monster’s Inc. It landed after a Dreamworks animated film on my list because of Cars 2. However, it made my list because of Toy Story 2 and 3. Brave was a definite step in the right direction for Pixar, and I’m hoping that they can bring back some of the magic of the Monster’s Inc. as they’re about to branch out again into more uncharted territory.
8. The Wolverine
This looks to be the Wolverine film we’ve been waiting for since Hugh Jackman first played him in 2000′s X-Men. Definitely looking forward to it.
7. The Lone Ranger
My brother and I used to watch the old TV series when we were really little. I can barely remember any of them, but there are pictures of us watching it. I’m a fan of the Pirates movies (more or less), and that gives me some trepidatious hope for this film. I just haven’t been a big fan of westerns.
The trailer for this totally caught me by surprise. Each time that I saw it attached to a film, the whole theater (kids and adults) was suddenly silent, just watching as it unfolded. I hope that, like Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, Dreamworks has created another film that could just as easily have come from Pixar.
5. After Earth
A potential new science fiction world. Looking forward to entering it, to see if it brings anything new to the genre. I don’t expect it to land like a new Star Wars, Star Trek or even Avatar. But I’ve been surprised before. The successful launch of a new Sci-Fi franchise could be quite a twist!
4. Iron Man 3
Shane Black brings a fresh voice to the Iron Man films. (I’m probably the only person in the world that liked IM2 better than IM. I just thought that Iron Man fighting another large Iron Mech at the end of the first film was terribly anti-climactic and somehow reminded me of Ang Lee’s Hulk.) Looks like the ante has been raised for Iron Man.
3. Star Trek Into Darkness
I only saw the first one because of J.J. Abrams. I’ll be seeing this one because I actually enjoyed that one. As a fan of Star Wars, there was a time when I wouldn’t have been caught dead watching anything Star Trek. Abrams changed all of that. I haven’t watched any other Star Trek movies, and had only seen a few episodes of various Trek shows over the years, but J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek was the first time that I wanted to continue watching.
2. Man of Steel
Love what Christopher Nolan did with Batman, for the Dark Knight trilogy. Now that creative team has worked on a Superman film. The only difference is that Zack Snyder is directing. I’ve only seen one of his films before this one, though. The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. That showed me that he could be the person to capture heroic flight in a film unlike anything we’ve seen before. From the trailer, so far I think he’s nailed it. The shot of Superman flying outside the Earth, Superman makes some very subtle movements that make him feel more like he’s actively flying, rather than just rocketing around.
#. The Muppets 2 (Delayed to March 2014)
As a big fan of the Muppets franchise, and a huge fan of The Muppets, the mere thought of another film from some of the same creative team is very exciting. I thought they brought the Jim Henson magic back to the characters in a big way, and I look forward to seeing that continued on the big screen.
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
If you know me, you know what a big fan of Tolkien I am. I’ve seen An Unexpected Journey three times (so far). I’ve been waiting for these films since the credits rolled on The Return of the King, and so far I haven’t been disappointed. Where the story goes from the end of the first one, it gets far more epic and enthralling. I have a feeling that, for much of the audience, like The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film in this trilogy will only be strengthened by the power of the next parts of the story. For better or for worse, this is all part of one single story, and that makes it impossible for me to judge the first part on its’ own, without having seen the rest.
Oz: The Great and Powerful
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire