|Savalas as Kojak|
Universal is sold on the idea and has aims of developing 'Kojak' into a franchise with Diesel, which will add to his 'Fast and Furious' and, to a lesser degree, 'Riddick' franchises. Diesel will have some say as to who will direct the first movie - his first choice is Ang Lee. However, a script still needs to be written and approved so it will be awhile before we can see 'Kojak' on the big screen. "We love ya, baby".
Light and Magic
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) the pre-eminent special effects company founded by George Lucas and now owned by Disney Studios is about to set on a mission to develop a virtual reality experience for movies.
Lucas originally developed ILM (which has 16 Oscars to its credit) to create the then state-of-the-art special effects for the 'Star Wars' films. ILM is now the go-to company for any movie director looking for the best in effects.
ILMxLab is the new name of the entity that will combine the technical skills of ILM, with Skywalker Sound, and LucasFilms to create immersive experiences that will allow users to participate in their favorite movie worlds. Although video games take a step to a virtual reality experience ILM's new technology will be different - the experience will be non-competitive and will use photo-realism rather than animation.
"It's the new frontier. Technology is looking for content. We can bring an emotional experience to that technology. The bar needs to moved up as the current movie-making technology is available anywhere in the world", says Lucas.
The ILM technology will be another way of viewing films. Whether or not the masses will go for it is something else. Surely it will be used but, to me, this technology offers much more value in being able to delve into more useful realities than movies. Lets wait and see.
|Peter Jackson in doorway of his Hobbit House - 'Bag Ends'|
Speaking of virtual reality - how about living in your fantasy. Well, that's exactly what Peter Jackson, the director of Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' franchise movies has done.
Jackson has built an exact replica of Bilbo Baggins' Hobbit house, which is part of his residence in New Zealand. The house is exact in every detail, but unlike the movie house, this one is livable - it is a real home.
Jackson purchased a 1930s built mansion in Masterton, NZ and employed the same team which worked on the films to turn part of the residence into the Hobbit House (called Bag End). According to Jackson, "other directors and friends have come and stayed at Bag End, including Spielberg and Lucas, it is a playhouse but for real".
From Russia To Hollywood - No More Free Lunch
The Russian Minister of Culture, Vlad Medinsky, is calling for a new tax on cinema admissions to U.S. films screened at Russian cinemas. The money generated by the tax to be used to promote and fund local movie production. The tax would add 100 roubles ($1.80) per admission.
|'Viy' - Biggest grossing Russian film of last year|
The problem is that 80% of the Russian box office is from U.S. made films and that reality will continue to be the case. Now, many developed countries subsidize their national film industry but with very limited success - Russia will not be different. However, it should support local movie-making for films that depict Russia in a positive light and be inspirational. Thing is, moviegoers, worldwide, crave the mega-budget, Hollywood produced high-impact, action, superhero, and fantasy films. The highest grossing film in Russia last year was 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' The highest grossing Russian film was 'Viy- 3D', a fantasy, special effects driven film, and very well made, it grossed $34 million. 'Transformers' generated $45 million.
If Russia wants to compete it will have to subsidize more films like 'Viy' because the average Joe knows all to well when they are being shown 'fluff' and they will not support it.