Thursday Morning Coffee — 3/5/20

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Is the world in love with dinosaurs?

Jurassic World (2015) made $1.672 billion on a $150 million budget.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) made $1.309 billion in a $180 million budget.

Now that is a license to print money! And so, Chris Pratt says that Jurassic World 3 will soon begin production. When last we left the series, velociraptors were now roaming the continental United states. They seem to multiply quickly. Is Ohio in danger? Besides Bryce Dallas Howard, expect to see Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum on June 11 2021!

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I will to my best to un-confuse you!

When we think of The Iron Mask, we think of the French novel by Alexander Dumas, an imprisoned brother of King Louis XIV, The Three Musketeers, and revenge. To my great surprise, The Iron Mask now includes such non-French luminaries as Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Made by the Russians and the Chinese, this version follows an English cartographer on a supernatural journey to China. Also known as The Journey To China: The Mystery of the Iron Mask and Viy 2, it is set for release April 10 as a fantasy-adventure film. The promo says to expect “breathtaking discoveries, bizarre creatures, Chinese Princesses, deadly martial arts masters, and the Dragon King.”

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More billions . . .

The public liked Aladdin, the critics not so much. Similar to Jurassic World 2, this one cost $183 million and made $1.05 billion. Not only is Disney in the process of making a sequel, it is considering a spin-off, likely for Disney+. While they can afford Will Smith as The Genie for the sequel, expect a new genie for the spin-off. It seems Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott will be receiving residuals for well into their retirement. Good for them!

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While on the subject of Disney sequels . . .

Am I the only person never to have seen Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Released in 1989, it grossed $222 million (on a budget of $18 million) which for the next five years was the highest grossing live-action Disney movie to date. In the re-boot, Rick Moranis will return as the “mad” scientist. Brilliant casting brings Josh Gad as his grown son who shrinks his own kids. Now entitled Shrunk, this one is set for release in 2021.

Do you need a Minions fix?

Is Gru (Steve Carell) despicable enough to join the supervillain supergroup Vicious 6? Maybe, if the Minions don’t get in his way. To prove he is evil enough, Gru steals their “stone,” only to have Otto trade it for a pet rock. Creative as ever, will Minions 2: The Rise of Gru be as successful as its predecessor? Minions (2015) did rather well making $1.159 billion on a $74 million budget. We will see on July 3rd. (Spoiler: Don’t miss Jean-Claude Van Damme as evil lobster-clawed Jean Clawed. Who else could he be?)

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Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?

After going to the dogs in Call of the Wild and The Secret Life of Pets 2, is Harrison Ford ready to return to the snakes? Guess who owns the rights to Indiana Jones 5? If you guessed Disney, proceed to Go and collect your Lost Ark. The newest version should be ready by mid-2021 if all goes well. The first four earned Lucasfilms nearly $2 billion and seven Oscars. Not bad for a Raider from the University of Chicago!

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Who are they and why do we care?

In June 2019, The New York Times did a story on the “biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” In 2008, The Universal Music Group reported that 118,000 original music recordings were lost in a fire. But, as UMG now seeks to go public in an IPO, it must disclose potential liabilities. It seems that they now call their original report a “definitively wrong estimate.” Artists filed a class action seeking damages recovered by UMG from litigation and insurance coverage. After a federal judge ordered disclosure of all artists who had recordings damaged or lost, UMG disclosed only 19. Plaintiffs are hollering “gamesmanship” since previously UMG indicated 17,000 artists were involved.

The expense of litigation is highlighted by the fact that UMG claims 19 people are working full-time at a cost of $1.4 million to answer interrogatories. Did cases settle or insurers pay based upon “definitively wrong estimates?” If the fire occurred in 2008, why weren’t artists paid long ago? Nothing makes much sense here, but something certainly is malodorous.

Schedule of upcoming reviews:

Friday March 6 — Onward

Saturday March 7 — Emma

Tuesday March 10 — The Way Back

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