Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
September 19, 2012

Wait, did you just say that you're a New Orleans Saints fan?

Hasn't he found that fish yet?

Kim Hollis: The 3D re-release of Finding Nemo earned $17.5 million. Should Disney be satisfied with this result given the frugal $5 million it costs to convert the film to 3D?

Matthew Huntley: Yes, Disney should be satisfied, but they look at this number with caution. After all, Finding Nemo is one of the most beloved (and successful) computer animated features to come out in the last 10 years, and for its re-release to earn this "little" is surprising. It's definitely a success, but because it's not as large a one, the Mouse House may not be making the effort in the future to convert their catalog titles to 3D, at least not for a theatrical release. Kim mentioned it "only" cost $5 million to convert it, but the prints/advertising were probably three times that. Still, it will probably show decent legs over its limited engagement and, in the end, be worthwhile for the studio. Perhaps The Lion King was an aberration last year by grossing nearly $100 million with its re-release.

Edwin Davies: They should definitely be happy with this since it's as close to found money as you're going to get at the box office. They should comfortably cover their outlay for the conversion and the release before it leaves theaters, and this will act as a nice big ad for the Blu-ray release of the film. That's more than enough to be a satisfying result, though it might be a stretch to say it's a great one. If I were to pin down why this didn't do as well as The Lion King, I'd probably echo what Kim and David said in the wrap-up by saying that The Lion King had been out of theaters for nearly 20 years when it was re-released, so many of the kids who saw it the first time around would now be adults with kids of their own and would want to share the theatrical experience with them. Finding Nemo was only released nine years ago, so there wasn't the same nostalgic drive for people to see it again. Also, Finding Nemo is one of the best selling DVDs of all time (in fact it was THE biggest selling DVD of all time at one point), so saturation probably deflated the desire for people to check it out this weekend.

Having said that, I think it'd be disingenuous to characterise this result as disappointing, since it achieved pretty much everything that it needed to. But it also has the shadow of The Lion King looming over it at all times, which casts it in perhaps a harsher light than the result actually deserves.

Bruce Hall: When The Lion King so successfully returned to theaters last year, I think we all understood that there would be more of this, and that the trend would continue until it stopped making money. We may already be nearing the point of diminishing returns. Consider that just this year, Beauty and the Beast, Phantom Menace and Titanic all opened in 3D re-release to an average of around $19 million, and you have to wonder whether The Lion King really was an anomaly or if people have just grown wise to the cash-grab. I consider Finding Nemo superior to the last three re-issues, and you'd think it would benefit from 3D conversion much more than The Lion King (which was good, but not an extra $100 million good). I'm mildly surprised at the soft opening but still expect Finding Nemo 2.0 to finish somewhere in the low $40 million range. That would certainly be a success, and Disney is publicly patting themselves on the back, but I have to believe they were expecting more.

Tim Briody: We all know that rereleases are just found money, and Finding Nemo was a fine choice for the 3D treatment, being the most successful Pixar entry that's not part of the Toy Story franchise. This is absolutely fine. There's nothing else left that I can think of off the top of my head that could pull a Lion King.

Jason Barney: I am not a fan of the "re-release" trend, and find it annoying that studios are doing this. The only ones I have been to were the original three Star Wars films back in the 1990s, and that was because I didn't remember seeing them on the big screen as a kid. I don't like 3D movies in general. I find them overpriced, over hyped, and not very impressive. Avatar was the only one that was worth it, in my opinion. Every other film I have seen that was in 3D was money poorly spent on my part.

That said, doing this is smart for the studios involved. Many Americans see 3D a bit differently than I do, I suppose, and they are willing to spend the money on the product. Finding Nemo is a beloved film, and having it back in the theaters will only make money for Disney. However much the marketing costs were it will still make money, and that is why these 3D releases happen. Money. Despite the dollar signs here, I wish studios would put their money behind new projects.

Reagen Sulewski: I sort of wonder what a hypothetical Snow White and the Seven Dwarves 3D re-release might do, or whether that might finally get purists up to the barricades. With the rate that they're burning through recent potential films, they might get to it faster than we'd think. ("The Rescuers Down Under! In 3D!")

Felix Quinonez: I think they should be satisfied but I expect that they are a bit let down by this number. I was thinking it would do more and that it would encourage more studios to continue this annoying trend. (like the Lion King did) But hopefully this will discourage them from turning old movies into 3D and selling them like they're new.

David Mumpower: I would add that much like we're seeing with IMAX and 3D in general, once an idea gets run into the ground, each new attempt at the format must distinguish itself enough to justify the cinematic experience for the consumer. The ad campaign for Finding Nemo's 3D re-release reminded me of that Simpsons joke about Malibu Stacy: "She's got a new hat!" There is a small core group of consumers who will be perfectly satisfied by this turn of events. The rest of us need some additional motivation. The box office tally is representative of the fact that Disney didn't entice enough of the less obsessive Pixar fans. There is a animation fanatic in my house and I remember how excited she was to watch The Lion King last year. With regards to Finding Nemo, we ordered the 3D Blu-Ray off of Amazon that will be released the first week of December. That solution worked perfectly for us and actually costs about $5 less than buying a pair of movie tickets would have, something I will discuss again in a later topic.

Sometimes we watch TV, too.

Kim Hollis: As the fall television season begins, which new series will you give a chance? Which returning series are you most excited about?

Jason Barney: We don't watch much regular TV. I am a SNL fan, and I always hope that does well. As far as the cable shows, we are hooked on Breaking Bad.

Reagen Sulewski: This is one of the thinnest new seasons for TV in last five or so years, although I'm not too broken up about it, since I could use a bit of a breather on pop culture. "Just one night! Why won't you let me live, dammit?!" I can't think of any of the new shows that I'm actually enthused about, although I'll give Revolution and Last Resort a try. As far as returning shows, with the inevitable fallback of Community from Harmon's exit, I think this is the year that Parks & Rec becomes the funniest show on TV.

Felix Quinonez: I don't really watch a lot of Television but I am very excited about Arrow.

Edwin Davies: Last Resort is the only show that really has my interest at the moment, or at least it's the only one that I'm determined to watch through at least the first half of the season. After The Shield and Terriers, Shawn Ryan has a lot of goodwill from me, and the idea of him tackling a science fiction show with a nutty premise (not to mention one starring Andre Braugher) is too good to miss. Other than that, I'll probably check our the pilots of Revolution and a few other shows, but ultimately probably stick to the shows I know. That, or read the reviews and see if any series really distinguish themselves.

Of the returning shows, I'm hugely excited to see where Parks & Rec goes after last season, which actually made some pretty big changes, and I'm going to watch Community through to the bitter end, vainly hoping it remains great post-Harmon but still prepared to be disappointed. I'm a little more hopeful that 30 Rock will manage to deliver a good final season.

Actually, since so many of my favorites are ending, have shortened seasons or aren't currently airing, I might just catch up on shows I haven't seen for a while/ever.

David Mumpower: Generally, my process these days is to give most pilots a chance. I own several TiVos so I record everything then give the various programs a chance as the season progresses. This is an imperfect system; to wit, I still have the two aired episodes of Lone Star on my TiVo but I never got around to watching them. Believe it or not, I will at some point because I was so impressed with the grace demonstrated by Kyle Killen when his show was unceremoniously canceled. I also still have eight episodes of Running Wilde on the DVR because I loved the pilot and want to watch the rest. As you can see, everything gets a fair chance (eventually) independent of word-of-mouth. I like to make my own decisions.

We at BOP have chronicled the dominance of cable television in the 2000s with 2012 appearing to be the tipping point when networks demonstrate desperation with many of their choices. Mindy Kaling gets her own sitcom? Really? One of our webmasters didn't last until the first commercial break in Revolution. And neither Ben and Kate's nor Animal Hospital's commercials can demonstrate a single funny joke to quote. These are alarming signs for the new batch of programs.

Personally, the programs I intend to give a shot no matter what are Elementary, 666 Park Avenue, The Mob Doctor, Vegas, Arrow and Last Resort. The Mob Doctor and Vegas are on the shortest leashes but I love the leads, Jordana Spiro and Dennis Quaid, enough to give them a chance. Elementary fills the void left by House by, you know, stealing that same concept of a modern Sherlock Holmes. I fully expect Arrow to be horrible since the next DC Comics property outside of Gotham City that doesn't suck will be the first. Green Arrow is one of my favorite characters, though. I'm holding out hope of a miracle here. Six weeks from now, I will probably sound much more morose about the subject. 666 Park Avenue has one of the best premises in recent memory. Whether it cultivates this idea as effectively as Revenge managed last season remains to be seen. And Last Resort hits the mark with me because I love naval/submarine films since that was the area of my father's military service. I will also be giving Revolution a chance (later tonight, in fact); I do not hold out much hope, though. I get the vibe that the science of this is going to remind me of The Core.

Kim Hollis: I think that this year's crop of shows are fairly weak. I'll give some of them a chance, though. Like David, I like to make my own judgment calls on these things. The ones I'm for sure interested in are 666 Park Avenue (Terry O'Quinn's presence makes it interesting to me), Arrow (I loooooooooove Oliver Queen but like David, I think this will likely suck), Elementary (Eli Stone!), Go On (already several episodes in, and I'm really enjoying it), The Mob Doctor (Jordana Spiro was a delight on My Boys but I bet this show is also awful), Nashville (on a *very* short leash) and Revolution (though word-of-mouth has me discouraged).

As for returning series, my favorites are Archer (which is the *actual* funniest show on television), Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, and Don't Trust the B. There's a surprising number of comedies in there. Grimm has gotten off to an outstanding start so far this season, too. I also anxiously await the returns of Cougar Town (now on TBS) and most especially Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad.

Daron Aldridge: Reagen is spot on by describing this fall season as one of the thinnest is recent memory. A whole lotta "meh" for me. The only two new shows that I can say with certainty that I want to watch (and therefore, want to really like) are Elementary and Go On. Elementary will have to clear the hurdle of the already existing modern day Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch for BBC and the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr. films. This is one that the success or failure of the show for me will hinge almost entirely upon Jonny Lee Miller’s portrayal of Holmes. He and the writers need to show that they aren’t just doing a retread of the BBC’s or Downey’s take on the character. I am a sucker for these types of shows, so I am in…for now.

Go On is one that I didn’t watch following its heavy Olympic promotion but stumbled across the first two episodes On Demand when I was bored last week. I have since added it to my recordings because it did what a comedy is supposed to do – it made me laugh multiple times. Matthew Perry is a variation of his normal schtick, which is charming and inoffensive, and thankfully it hasn’t strayed into just being Chandler Bing-as-a-sports-talk-radio-personality. The therapy group’s motley crew gives his character enough to play off but not too much to become a caricature. It’s early and it is NBC, so I am skeptical.

I wanted to like Revolution at the time I saw the first ad for it but my interest has waned significantly. And again, it’s on NBC and I fear investing my time in a heavily serialized show on that network is like putting my hand on the hot stove again even though I know I will be burned. This is not a concern on quality because I have steered clear of reviews, so I don’t know how it is in execution but rather my willingness to commit to something that I need the network to commit to first. If the ratings prove stable to stellar, I may be setting a timer for it.