LESSON #1: YOU’RE GOING TO LIKE WHERE THE ALIEN FRANCHISE IS GOING— Five years ago, after Prometheus, audiences were scratching their heads about the beating-around-the-bush purpose of the film and where any Alien prequels were going. For a bit there, I didn’t even think Ridley Scott knew. Alien: Covenant builds on the mythology and world-building of Prometheus in a strong and effective way to add in the horror and suspense elements that Prometheus was missing. These Scott prequels, with a few more possible installments, are planned to plug into 1979’s Alien. After Alien: Covenant, I like their trajectory and I think Alien fans like yourself will too.
LESSON #2: CONTINUE KEEPING YOUR COOL AND PATIENCE WITH WONDER WOMAN— Two weeks ago in this column, I argued for people to cool their jets on movie marketing, particularly the example of the lack of it when it comes to Wonder Woman. The first reactions are in and start inhaling for those sighs of relief. I’ll repeat my rant: The number one marketing tool that costs zero dollars for any studio is WORD OF MOUTH. Good movies sell themselves. Make a good movie and people will come, period. You’re going to thank me and yourself on June 3rd.
LESSON #3: A24 IS A BIG-TIME PLAYER WITH SMALL-SCALE FILMS— In four short years, A24 Films has gone from an indie shingle pushing Spring Breakers and The Spectacular Now to an industry leader and Oscar winner. GQ wrote an excellent piece on their history. 2016 was a banner year led by Moonlight‘s Best Picture victory and a portfolio of Swiss Army Man, The Witch, 20th Century Women, and Green Room. This year looks equally promising with A Ghost Story, The Disaster Artists, Good Time, Killing of a Sacred Deer, and more. Remember the name and the logo. You’ll be seeing them often.
LESSON #4: KEEP AN EYE ON THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL THIS WEEK— Speaking of independent studios and film acquisitions that can turn into Oscar contenders, turn your eyes to the French Riviera for the world premieres, reviews, movie buzz, and deals being made at the annual Cannes Film Festival. Execs and big-timers work hard and play hard while enjoying the finer things and patting their own backs.
DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson. He is also one of the founders and the current directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends. Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.