CARTS BEFORE HORSES & HOLLYWOOD'S NEW LOVE OF SHARED UNIVERSES Listen, I love big ass shared universes in movies, as well as huge franchises. But I'm a little worried about the numerous shared universes being planned by the studios, without having a strong base film to grow from - or in some cases, NO base film to grow from. Star Wars had the original Star Wars, the Marvel Universe had the original Iron Man, the Dark Knight series had Batman Begins, even movies like Transformers and Twilight - these were movies audiences loved, and the audiences demanded more from these characters. But these days studios are trying to grow trees without a strong seed. Execs and producers and sometimes even directors are focused on the big picture, without perfecting the task directly in front of them - making a great movie. And studios are trying to grow franchises from non-existent films or middling successes. It's like they aren't taking audiences into account at all anymore. I know George Lucas, Kevin Feige, John Favreau, etc, had ideas where their films would potentially lead in the face of success. But I don't think it ever got in the way of making that first movie count as if it was the last, of making it something wonderful that people would love whether it led to other films or not. In short, I think this new business model is flawed. I think filmmakers and studios should be prepared for the big picture, but never, ever let it get in the way of making a single great film. Be a little more experimental and see what works as opposed to trying to force success. And mostly, remember that we as an industry exist to serve the audiences, to communicate with them - they have a voice in what we create as well. We are not here to dictate what they want to see, mostly because that's simply not possible.When Gunn expresses that he is a "little worried" about numerous shared universes, he's talking about quality. We've seen movies in recent years, intended to be franchises, announced as franchises, that fizzled away into nothing because, for all the grandiose intentions, the movies just weren't that good. For example, The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones. Based on the young adult novels by Cassandra Clare, the world was rich, detailed, unique and perfect to be put on film. The books even provided a built-in audience that would flock to theaters to see the film, right? Yeah...not so much. The movie failed to bring in the revenue the studio was hoping to see and scrapped the sequels they had already announced (however the series will return in the form of a television show). James makes such a spot-on point; Jon Favreau probably suspected there would be sequels to Iron Man, but he didn't rely on those sequels to tell the story. He gave us a complete, incredible movie experience that left audiences asking for more. And that's how movies should be made; like it's the last, not the first of three. James Gunn is clearly a man who respects his audience and loves his craft. He also really likes baby platypuses, so be sure to follow him on Twitter (@JamesGunn), like him on Facebook and send him a picture of a baby platypus.
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