Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Media Mashup: Twilight gets new director, release date, Isaiah Washington defects, and nobody drinks anymore.

An update to the story of Catherine Hardwicke getting dismissed from the Twilight franchise, Summit has found a new director, Chris Weitz. This is the guy who drove the last "next Harry Potter" would-be franchise, 2007's dead-duck The Golden Compass, into the ground. So, you know - good choice. And now they've announced the release date for New Moon - November 20th. Of next year. Which is pretty ambitious considering they haven't yet finalized the script or cast (it's still up in the air whether Taylor Lautner will reprise his role of Jacob, who has a much larger role in the sequel and is supposed to be at least a foot and a half taller than Lautner), or even started filming. The date is probably not the best choice, either. Richie Fay, of Summit's distribution department, told THR: "Same time, same place. If it's also the same gross, we'll be very pleased. Hopefully, we'll have even better results." That's all fine and well, but they seem to be forgetting a few things. Like how Twilight dominated its release largely because its only competition was Bolt, since Twilight assumed Harry Potter's abandoned release date. Proven-performer Harry Potter had already done all the work of scaring off the competition, leaving that date wide open. 2009 is a different story. That date is already occupied by the Guy Ritchie-directed, shirtless-Robert Downey Jr.-starring Sherlock Holmes, which might siphon off some eyeballs from Twilight. (Hell, Holmes has already got my opening night ten-spot.) And something tells me the rushed sequel schedule isn't exactly going to improve upon the laughable effects of the first movie. But, hey, if I had a successful franchise with a built-in audience, I'd probably do everything in my power to run it off the rails, too!

In other movie news, AFI has announced their Top 10 films of 2008, and I was happy to see that Iron Man made the list. The rest of their picks are pretty predictable, but it was nice to see Man getting some love.

Fall Out Boy did an a capella performance in Washington Square Park yesterday, to help promote their new album Folie à Deux, which drops today.

Isaiah Washington has gained dual citizenship with Sierra Leone. His ex-Grey's Anatomy castmate T.R. Knight, who was effectively outed by Washington a couple of years ago and who is possibly eyeballing his own Anatomy escape, would probably love to see Washington full-out defect to Africa.

Some production company has tired of reality shows about (relatively) poor people acting stupid and is now casting for a show about rich people acting stupid.

The potential SAG strike is still looming on the horizon. Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and other SAG members are speaking out against a strike. The Writer's Guild strike earlier this year crippled the industry, and we weren't even in the throes of a recessidepression at the time. Another strike could be devestating for all the below-the-liners who count on steady employment to avoid becoming, you know, homeless.

And in real world, non-media news: did you know nobody in New York drinks anymore? Funny, I seem to recall witnessing a whole room full of people drinking just last week. Then again, maybe we're cutting back because we now have to pay for our own drinks, or because we're all on medications that are contraindicated for alcohol. (I'd venture that the former is more of a deterrent than the latter. I'm sure nothing bad can come of mixing Adderall with Red Bull and vodka.)

Finally, in the grand (yawn) tradition of end-of-the-year listicles, enjoy this Time magazine round-up of 10 Oddball Stories from 2008. Nothing like reading "Night of the Corpse Skull Bong" to make you feel better about yourself. Hey, maybe you're unemployed, uncreative, unchallenged at your job, unpantsed, whatever - at least you don't snort coke out of baby skulls! Just don't celebrate your restraint by having a drink, because goodness knows that's just gauche these days.

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