Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Friday, September 15, 2021

Take my fondness for puns, give it an X-rated spin, and you get a 400-odd list of funny porn-flick titles, based off well-known Hollywood releases.

Among my favorites: No. 351, Aim It On Rio; and No. 358, For A Fistfull, She Hollers. (Preceding two links are safe for work, or anywhere else for that matter; I think it’s more informative to point to the actual inspirations.)

Not quite the same sensation as watching the actual porno. But fun nonetheless.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/15/2006 07:07:36 PM
Category: Movies, Comedy | Permalink | Feedback


Anyone who’s familiar with “Entourage” knows about the plotline in the show involving the release of a major motion picture based on DC Comics superhero Aquaman.

So news that Marvel’s own fish-man, The Sub-Mariner, is now slated to get the big-screen blockbuster treatment in real life naturally draws comparisons. (That’s “real life” as in it’ll be a film that shows in your local theater and show up on on DVD shelves; I don’t want to presume that this world is any more genuine than television…)

Aside from the obvious mirror-image in terms of character traits, another weird parallel: Sub-Mariner is going to be directed by Jonathan Mostow, who directed Terminator 3 and is attached to helm Terminator 4. In “Entourage”, uberdirector James Cameron, who directed the first two Terminator flicks, plays himself as director of the fictional Aquaman movie.

Could it get any weirder? I suppose if Arnie gets cast as Namor of Atlantis, that would complete the meta-fictional freakout. Unless Vincent Chase becomes available…

I’m not sure how this blends in, but the sensation that the aborted “Aquaman” WB pilot has become on iTunes Store is probably in this aquatic mix.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/15/2006 06:43:57 PM
Category: TV, Pop Culture, Movies | Permalink | Feedback

Tuesday, September 12, 2021


I know I already declared the cover blown on the whole lonelygirl15 thang. But that was only the veracity of the premise.

Now, the actual schemers have come forward, confirming that it was a stab at building audience for a proposed movie/series. It turns out that two of the creators wanted to press the viral marketing, while a third partner started having qualms, and then…

Hell, I don’t care. Read the Times article if you want the lowdown (including a cherry photo of lonelygirl15 un-Bree’d, complete with ingenue neckerchief and dangling cigarette).

Here’s another revelation: I never invested the sort of fascination that others across the Web did in this mini-phenomenon. The dynamic surrounding it was an interesting enough adventure in quirk that compelled me to post about it a month ago, but I really didn’t give it much thought. It wasn’t until I started getting mad traffic and comments — typical outcome, really, for when I publish a throwaway post — that I paid attention.

Anyway, here’s all you really need to know: The girl playing Bree is an aspiring actress named Jessica Rose, a New York Film Academy poser so raw that she apparently doesn’t even have credits listed on Internet Movie Database. Scores of geeks and online voyeurs have had their spirits (and probably other body parts) deflated as a result.

It turns out that the meta-conspiracy theory I posed in my last post on this subject doesn’t seem to have played out: There was no intent to have the ruse uncovered by the audience, thus further fueling the devotion. Still, that’s basically what happened: The scent of blood spurred interest that never would have gotten so frenzied otherwise. I’m sure plenty of marketers and other media types took note.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/12/2021 11:47:18 PM
Category: Internet, Advert./Mktg., Movies | Permalink | Feedback

Monday, September 11, 2021

scissor sister
Call it a case of unfortunate embedded mental imagery.

When most people view the television commercial for Discover Card’s “What If” campaign, they see little walking scissors, rendered cutesy by whimsical background music and images of toddlers “feeding” them credit cards to cut up.

Me? The sight of ankle-high animated blades brings to mind those creepy little Zuni dolls from my childhood movie watching.

So no, I don’t believe I’ll be signing up for a Discover Card anytime soon.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/11/2021 08:47:18 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Movies | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, August 30, 2021

Dude. Forest Whitaker is playing Ugandan dictator/cannibal Idi Amin in upcoming flick The Last King of Scotland?

I can’t think of a more inspired, dead-on casting choice. Brilliant.

And what’s with that title, considering it’s about an African despot? According to Amin’s 2003 obituary:

He praised Hitler and said the German dictator “was right to burn six million Jews.” He bizarrely offered to be king of Scotland if asked.

Good thing no one asked.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/30/2006 11:36:07 PM
Category: Movies, History | Permalink | Feedback (4)

Tuesday, August 29, 2021

i'm back, baby!
Let’s see if I can connect all the dots here:

Mark Wahlberg — all five-foot-eight-and-a-half of him — plays former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, the NFL’s answer to Rudy, in Invincible. The payoff: The movie debuts at No. 1 in this past weekend’s box office (albiet a weak one, at $17 million).

Then, on Monday, Tom Cruise — all five-foot-seven of himlands a two-year development deal that will provide money for his production company, only days after he was ignominiously dumped by Paramount.

Cruise’s new financial backer? First and Goal, an investment consortium headed by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

What makes me think that we can expect to see a crowd-inspiring football flick starring Cruise in the near future? The formula is clear, at least to Snyder: Short guy + football = moneymoneymoney! Surely, The Doug Flutie Story beckons…

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/29/2006 08:35:07 AM
Category: Celebrity, Movies, Business | Permalink | Feedback

Sunday, August 20, 2021

The good news: Snakes on a Plane was No. 1 in this weekend’s box office (counting late Thursday night receipts — without that, it slips to No. 2).

The bad news: It made only $15.3 million, an anemic showing that says the Internet hype didn’t translate into paying customers.

And for a horror film, the $30 million movie performed respectably. But analysts say that the movie’s failure to match its hype may dispel the notion of the Internet as a wellspring of untapped moviegoers. Instead, they say, Snakes’ performance demonstrates that cyberspace is simply another place to put movie ads.

“More people saw Samuel Jackson on David Letterman than read anything about this on the Internet,” says David Poland of moviecitynews.com. “The Internet was never going to make or break this movie.”

Another example of that tricky phenomenon: Objects on the Internet may appear larger than they actually are. The same phenomenon occurred with Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential campaign. The Web, with its amplified online noise, lulls one into thinking it has more real-world heft than it really does.

In a lot of ways, there’s a distinct disconnect between what catches fire on the Web and what matters to broader pop-cultural sensibilities. Just shows you that not everyone is totally plugged in yet, and thus the Web as a medium is a long way from being truly as mainstream and ubiquitous as television.

Beyond that, this proves out the faulty reasoning behind thinking that Web cache translates to a willingness to fork over cash. Why pay for something that’s freely available from the comfort of home? In a way, Snakes‘ shortfall reminds me of the unexpected flop of The Real Cancun three years ago; the assumption that reality TV audiences would cough up for a slightly more risque edition of the usual crap didn’t hold up. The same has now held true for bits of Internet-disseminated whimsy, which is essentially what Snakes became online.

I’m scratching my head over the decision to bump up the rating from PG-13 to R. The R rating naturally constricts the potential audience pool, and in this case, I’m sure tons of teenagers would have been among the more enthusiastic participants for Snakes. (I realize kids can sneak into R movies with varying degrees of ease, but still, I’m sure it prevented more than a few kids from getting in.) I don’t think it would have added an awful lot to the box-office haul, but even a couple million more would have been welcomed. It obviously wasn’t worth it to add a few extra minutes of risque nudity and curse words, since that extra gratuitiousness was the result of Internet buzz that didn’t deliver the expected ticket sales.

In any case, tanking in the theaters doesn’t mean Snakes will ultimately wind up a failure. The DVD market for this piece of cheese should be more than respectable, providing an avenue for redemption.

Still, if nothing else, Chuck Klosterman’s mind is now at ease. As is mine, actually.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/20/2006 08:54:07 PM
Category: Internet, Pop Culture, Movies | Permalink | Feedback

Saturday, August 19, 2021

Impressed by the multimedia extras that go with The Christian Science Monitor’s “Hostage: The Jill Carroll Story”, Frank Barnako thinks all newspapers should sell podcasts, video documentaries and other enhancements to their special feature stories, seeing them as prime revenue-generating opportunities.

This approach strikes me as akin to PBS‘ repurposing of its programming into videos and books. The newspaper industry hasn’t benefited from non-profit status in the past, but its facing the same sort of funding/revenue shortfalls these days. So seeking out new revenue streams makes perfect sense.

Will people buy in? There’s a certain market for it, but I think it wouldn’t amount to more than a niche service. Advertising revenue, online and off, is still the big brass ring. Of course, such offerings wouldn’t preclude an advertising component.

Barnako should be approving of the New York Times’ decision to hire a Hollywood agency to broker its content for movie and television treatments, as it represents a potentially lucrative content repurposing for the newspaper.

The key here is to build on the great material, the great people and the great thinkers that come through the paper and to figure out ways to extend the brand intelligently and thoughtfully in the right areas and in the right circumstances,”[BWCS managing partner Chris] Silbermann said. If it makes sense to have the Times directly associated with a film or TV project, there could be credits such as “The New York Times presents” or “Based on stories in the New York Times,” Silbermann said.

Periodical content has made it to the screen before. Notable instances include the Saturday Night Fever-inspiring fake New York Magazine article and Candace Bushnell’s New York Observer columns, which morphed into “Sex and the City”. Dealing directly with the writer is straightforward, as established with book authors. Having the Times set itself up as the primary rights-holder is a bit of an unusual twist. I’d imagine this gives the paper a bigger share of the Hollywood money, while the writer has to settle for the exposure and a parlay into more multi-purposed work.

The concepts at play here are the positioning the publishers as the source hub for an expanding media universe. In one sense, it presents the originating print/text source as the entry-level bottom rung of the media ladder — i.e., those who toil there presumably aspire to move to the more lucrative levels. Which makes some sense, in that single-channel media properties can’t reasonably compete in today’s multi-channel world anyway.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/19/2006 03:40:59 PM
Category: Publishing, Movies, Business | Permalink | Feedback

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