The upcoming issue of The Hollywood Reporter features an in-depth question-and-answer session with the heads of the major studios, and it is fun to think that they’re being completely honest and not just tossing out business jargon and shareholder-pleasing rhetoric. It’s really interesting, though, to see the CEOs and chairpersons of Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount and IFC talk business with each other, because you’d think that protecting their respective strategies would be more important than rubbing elbows. However, it’s also a chance for some of them to unzip and measure their franchises, so if we could expect anything from them during this meeting, it was pure excitement for their moneymakers and blockbusters.
For example, after Disney’s Alan Horn and WB’s Kevin Tsujihara touched briefly on the success and competition of their superhero franchises, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley explained how with no caped crusaders in her studio’s library, they’re reinventing the way we look at literature’s classic monsters.
To Alan’s point, we have to mine our resources. We don’t have any capes [in our film library]. But what we do have is an incredible legacy and history with the monster characters. We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies — unsuccessfully, actually. So, we took a good, hard look at it, and we settled upon an idea, which is to take it out of the horror genre, put it more in the action-adventure genre and make it present day, bringing these incredibly rich and complex characters into present day and reimagine them and reintroduce them to a contemporary audience. (Via THR)
The word “franchise” is used a lot in this particular group interview, as it is the one proven moneymaker still working in Hollywood, specifically in a year that featured a reportedly “poor summer.” Aside from the modern rebirth of Dracula and Frankenstein, Universal still has one surefire franchise that rivals the Marvel megahits in the number of figures earned – Fast and Furious. But now, with the unfortunate passing of Paul Walker, the important business question needs to be asked.
Speaking of franchises, Furious 7 will be the last one with Paul Walker, sadly. Does the series stand without him?
LANGLEY I believe it does. We think there’s at least three more. Paul is, and always will be, an integral part of the story. But there are many other great characters, and it’s also an opportunity to introduce new characters. I think it’s still a growing franchise. We’ll see what happens with Furious 7, obviously, but our box office has grown over the past three or four films and internationally, in particular. So we think that there’s more to mine there. But we’re of course very mindful about fatigue. (Via THR)
There you have it. As of now, the plan is for at least three more Fast and Furious films. Vin Diesel, would you like to share your thoughts on that?