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Green Lantern Stays In The Limelight

No one expected Green Lantern to be the number one movie this weekend.  Pixar was sending out Cars 2, one of Disney's biggest merchandising franchises, there's no way it would fail.  But with last weekend's anemic performance, everyone was crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

Cars 2 stormed to $68 mil.  Green Lantern fell to #3 with $18.4 mil, finishing behind Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz ($31 mil).  Wow.  Who knew she was still a box office draw?

For those who don't do the maths, that constitutes a 65% drop in audience for Green Lantern.  Generally, films will see a drop of 50%.  This is nearly two-thirds.  This is huge.  This is horrible.  This calls for a sequel.

No, really.

Warner Bros. has confirmed they are moving forward with Green Lantern 2, even though they are disappointed with the film's performance.  And everyone is asking why.

Actually, I think I can figure out why.  Keep in mind, we only know about the costs they put on the books.  Creative accounting and all that.  You think I jest?  The production company behind Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix claims the film hasn't turned a profit yet, even though it's made over $500 mil worldwide.

Part of what made the budget for Superman Returns so high was that the final tally included all the pre-production costs for the previously undone versions of Superman Returns, like Kevin Smith's version (a Superman without powers?  ooooOOOOkay), Tim Burton's version, etc.  The film itself wasn't so expensive, it was the add-ons.  Disney's Tangled is one of the most expensive movies ever made because they developed new animation techniques for it then discarded them for the current look and feel.

Green Lantern already has a huge amount of the heavy lifting done.  The world of Oa and such, the character models, are already done.  They aren't going to redesign any of it or spritz it up, technology has evolved as much as it needs to.  The first movie paid for the Lego bricks, the second just reuses them.  Hopefully, they can afford a decent script this time.

The Japanese do interesting things for their movies.  The Final Fantasy movie, one of my all time favorites, was actually profitable despite bombing at the box office.  This was because Sony sold off so many rights for things like action figures and such, they were in the black by the time the movie came out.  Roger Corman did this all the time, but only with movie rights, since merchandising didn't exist on the scale it does now.  Part of the reason Disney bought Marvel was not because the movies did well, but because the merchandise sold like crazy.  For all the money spent on Iron Man 2, it still pulled in more.  And Disney sees even more coming with the fan following for The Avengers gearing up for next year.  The movies are basically two hour commercials now.

There has been a ton of Green Lantern merchandise everywhere.  It looks like it has sold enough to make Warners look at a film that won't break even at the box office and won't cost them anything to show on their cable stations (they own HBO, and could probably get it on Cartoon Network where they can sell advertising) to make them look at the estimated $100 mil advertising tab and $200 mil budget and say, "Yeah, let's go around again."

The downside is this means scheduling might mean Ryan Reynolds can't do the Deadpool movie.  THAT'S the real tragedy in this.

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