LESSON #1: BRETT RATNER IS FULL OF SUGAR-HONEY-ICED-TEA— Formerly prolific film director Brett Ratner, who’s been cleaning it up as a producer of Ratpac Entertainment, stepped out late last week to pontificate to Entertainment Weekly that “the worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes” and added “I think it’s the destruction of our business.” You can read his full thoughts, but I don’t buy his logic. Rotten Tomatoes is too big and combines too many diverse critics for a film to be held down. If you want better RT scores, make better movies. It’s that easy. Brett is full of it and, if you’ve seen his films, as I have, you probably already knew that.
LESSON #2: WARNER BROS. IS GOING ALL-IN WITH POTENTIAL COURSE CORRECTION ON THE DC EXTENDED UNIVERSE— Pack your bags when you’re done with “Justice League,” Zach Snyder. New talent is coming. Warner Bros. already poached James Wan of “The Conjuring/Insidious/Saw” fame for “Aquaman” two years ago and last month Chris McKay of “The LEGO Batman Movie” was tabbed to direct a solo “Nightwing” movie, joining “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” helmer Matt Reeves jumping on “The Batman.” This week, news broke Thursday that “Avengers” and “Firefly” mastermind Joss Whedon has crossed party lines to direct a standalone “Batgirl” movie for Warner Bros. Now that is the coup of coups and a perfect director to deliver a legitimate female superhero film. When “Kingsman” and “X-Men: First Class” director Matthew Vaughn puts ink to paper for “Man of Steel 2,” the shift from Total Snyder will be complete and it looks outstanding.
LESSON #3: IF YOU THINK THE “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” RE-IMAGINING IS HUGE, JUST WAIT FOR “THE LION KING” ONE IN A FEW YEARS— Unlike the opinions of many skeptical haters, “Beauty and the Beast” destined to be a smash. Bill Condon was a different class of director and the casting was incredible before the cameras ever rolled. Sure enough, it has raked over $750 million worldwide in just two weeks and should cross the $1 billion mark with ease before it’s run is done. Watch “The Lion King” do even better in a few years. Jon Favreau nailed “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” has an ever larger following than “Beauty and the Beast,” and the rumors of potentially casting Beyonce as Nala to join Donald Glover’s Simba and a returning James Earl Jones as Mufasa would be colossal. Place that bet right now that “The Lion King” will make even more money.
LESSON #4: WATCH FEWER TRAILERS THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED— A conga line of trailers for 2017 wannabe blockbusters arrived in the last two weeks and, I, for one, wish I didn’t see a single one of them. Trailers these days are showing too much. Between “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Justice League” to “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Alien: Covenant” and more, I felt like I was inundated with too many clues and potential spoilers. Frankly, I’m beginning to avoid trailers altogether and have been recommending others to do the same. Why? Ask yourself this cardinal question: Do you really need to be convinced from any footage to see some of these slam-dunk-must-see films? Because I don’t. These no-doubters are getting my money regardless on resume and presence alone. Avoid the easy and rote trailers and let yourself be surprised. Even though I know this isn’t going to happen, I hope Disney doesn’t show a single second of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” They don’t need to and, in a roundabout way, not releasing a trailer would be such a huge and unprecedented “less is more” statement proving that you can sell a movie on reputation alone. A boy can dream.
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 President 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.