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New Riddick Movie Made Possible By Games? 160

Hugh Pickens writes "Scott Harris writes on Moviefone that the economics of Hollywood are often baffling, as DVD sales, broadcast fees and merchandising tie-ins balance against advertising costs and pay-or-play deals to form an accounting maze. The latest example is the untitled sequel to The Chronicles of Riddick, released in 2004 to a slew of negative reviews and general viewer indifference. Despite its hefty $105 million budget, most of which was spent on special effects, the film topped out at a paltry $57 million domestically. So how can a sequel be made if the movie lost money? The answer has to do with ancillary profits from revenue streams outside the box office. While the combined $116 million worldwide probably still didn't cover distribution and advertising costs, it likely brought the film close to even, meaning DVD sales and profits from the tie-in video game franchise may have put the movie in the black. In addition, Riddick itself was a sequel to Pitch Black, a modestly budgeted ($23 million) success back in 2000. Extending the franchise to a third film may help boost ancillary profits by introducing the Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick DVDs and merchandise to new audiences, meaning that the new film may not even need to break even to eventually turn a profit for the studio."
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New Riddick Movie Made Possible By Games?

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  • by PakProtector ( 115173 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {vikvec}> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:39AM (#31165848) Journal

    Maybe we could spend another 23 million on the third film, like they did on the original, and instead of all those flashy bullshit effects ADD SOME FUCKING INTERESTING, COMPELLING, WELL WRITTEN PLOT?!

  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:47AM (#31165900)
    Exactly. Does anybody remember seeing a movie called the Cube?

    Wow. Just wow. What a cool concept. Not going to spoil it for those that haven't seen it, but who would have imagined that a single set. Yes. A single set could be used to produce a compelling, edge of your seat movie plot, and on the budget of an oily rag and a used stick of gum.

    Contrast this with its sequel. Cube 2 - hypercube! High budget, and loads of crap.

    I really thought pitch black was an awesome movie, even if loosely based on the Asimov novel Nightfall. Unfortunately, the sequel didn't measure up to the first movie, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

    Call me a die hard old school kinda guy, but I miss *good* science fiction. As in science fiction that contains plausible science, and good social commentary, not this whole fantasy style Avatar kind of science fiction movie.

    Surely I don't stand alone.
  • So some people didn't like the movie? I did, and I know many people who do to. I personally am interested in a third movie for the movie's sake. If you didn't like the second one, don't pay to see the third. You don't have to see movies you don't like. Riddick rocks and anyone that doesn't think so can just ignore it.
  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@g m a> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @03:01AM (#31165972) Homepage Journal

    Chronicles of Riddick is one of the better Sci-fi movies i know. I had to search for it a long time before i got to see it in cinema and then even longer before i could get my hands on the DVD. Never once did i see any marketing at all.

    I thought this was one of those rare occasions where the sequel is much better than the original. I was pretty impressed by how they managed to squeeze a whole world out of the minimal plot in Pitch Black.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @03:11AM (#31166028)

    It helps that Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was a genuinely excellent game on both the XBox and PC. Movie adaptations usually suck, but this game had top of the line graphics, brutal hand-to-hand combat, the voice of Vin Diesel (like him or not, he is start power) and plenty of mature content. No lame PG-13 prison planet.

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @03:15AM (#31166046)

    Riddick being a badass was fine. Riddick being a Magic badass fighting other magic badasses with magic magic magic....


  • by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @03:21AM (#31166074) Journal

    Yeah I liked the film too; guess that means we have bad taste in movies :) On a more serious note, I think that the problem most people had with the film was due to the theatrical release of Chronicles of Riddick as it had a few scenes cut out that a lot of people felt left the plot incomplete.

  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @03:32AM (#31166124) Homepage
    Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! Yes, this, exactly! Riddick was a True Neutral tough guy in a gritty Aliens-esque universe. There was nothing wrong with that. Why the hell does the sequel have him as a ninja shaman fighting against quasi-zombie vampire religious goons? What made them think it was a good idea to turn him from an extremely capable ex-con into a cliche'd "last living survivor of an ancient and powerful uber-race"? Bleh.
  • Economics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @03:51AM (#31166214) Homepage

    Remember, folks: piracy is killing movies. That's why good movies like The Chronicles of Riddick didn't make money. Because of piracy. And despite the fact that the movie didn't make money, they're making a sequel, which might not make money either, which can also be blamed on piracy.

    And yet, despite the fact that both of these movies didn't make money (piracy), somehow the studio remains profitable.

    Hell, with profits like these, who needs "profitable movies"?

  • by jparker ( 105202 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @05:01AM (#31166524) Homepage

    Attention every IP holder looking to create licensed games: the reason this worked is that the game was truly excellent. (PC 90, Xbox 88 [])

    Bad games suck long-term value out of the IP and into short-term profits; great games add enduring value to the IP. I've made games with licensed IP before, and I'm almost certain to do so again, so I care about this sinking in. There are lots of reasons that movie games are usually poor, but one of the biggest is that the license holders think that the added value of the license will make up for a rushed job*. The license will sucker some people into buying, but there's a big cost to that. Please, Hollywood, find a way to work with us so that we can both make great product. There's more fun (and more money) for everyone that way.

    *Why is the job rushed you ask? That's the biggest problem with movie games - differing production cycles. Movies have a really long pre-prod with ~3 guys on it, followed by production in something like 1 yr. Games (good, big, AAA ones) want around 6 months pre-prod with ~10 (plus ideally engine dev with 10-20). Then it's 18-24 months of full production, and you can see where the problem comes in. Especially when the game usually needs to wait to design key assets/areas until they can see what the movie is doing.

  • Re:Ooh a sequel! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @05:05AM (#31166550)

    Sequels are so much better than original stories!

    Prequels are even better than sequels.

    I can't even describe how great Reboots are.

    Funny, but I do get some appreciation about seeing *more* of a character I liked, as long as they don't screw it up. But I liked Riddick so I'd love to see another movie. I feel like trilogies are usually plenty, because then things get tired and you wonder why the director is still doing the same old song (if they even use the same one), but one or two sequels can be good to further develop a story that, if good enough, needed more than a couple hours to tell.

  • by Rhaban ( 987410 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @05:49AM (#31166798)

    Seriously. Pitch Black was one of the best movies I'd seen in years.

    Pitch black was one of the only movies I'd seen in years that deserved to be labelled as Science Fiction.

  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @05:55AM (#31166846) Journal

    Go watch Moon, I think you'll like it.

  • by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <been_out_cruisin ... om ['hoo' in gap> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:00AM (#31166870) Homepage Journal

    While I agree with the general gist of your comment, I find your beef with Avatar a little ridiculous... you want *more* hard science and social commentary? Heck, 90% of the criticism of Avatar that I've heard is that the social commentary is a little heavy-handed (I disagree, but then I spent most of the movie on the edge of my seat in excitement - I barely even noticed the social aspects until afterwards, which is what I think was intended).

    "Plausible science":
    Slower-than-light starships that take 6 years to reach Alpha Centauri, and have lots of little touches like giant heat-radiation fins.
    Room-temperature superconductor (unobtanium) is the most valuable material known (one of the critical points not mentioned on-screen, but well documented in supplementary material).
    Said superconductor (including mountains largely composed of it) floats when placed in a strong magnetic field.
    Only very brief periods of full darkness on a moon orbiting a gas giant.
    Human-breathable airspaces are pressurized above the external atmosphere, limiting internal mixing of gases in the case of a breach.
    The jungle is *full* of insect life.
    Low gravity allows for huge flying lifeforms and immense trees.
    Consistent language with syntax and grammar.

    OK, some of that is largely just a "did their homework" sort of deal, but there's more. I'm not claiming that the movie required no suspension of disbelief, or that there aren't any holes in the explanations, but it's still a good cut above the majority of science fiction, especially in video.

    "Good social commentary":
    Doing the right thing for your people vs. doing the right thing as a person (patriotism vs. morality).
    Science vs. business.
    Greed as a controlling factor in behavior.
    Property rights vs. access to resources.
    How we treat those we deem primitive, savage, or alien.
    Environment vs. industrialism.

    I could go on a lot longer with this, or flesh out any of those points much more. Suffice to say, there's a lot of good reflections on humanity in there... maybe not quite as much as District 9 (as another recent example) but it certainly wasn't lacking.

  • by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @09:08AM (#31167812)

    Yeah I liked the film too; guess that means we have bad taste in movies :) On a more serious note, I think that the problem most people had with the film was due to the theatrical release of Chronicles of Riddick as it had a few scenes cut out that a lot of people felt left the plot incomplete.

    The reason I disliked Chronicles of Riddick was the transition from a sci-fi story to basically magic.

    It felt more like a new Conan movie than a sequel to Pitch Black.

  • by n4f ( 1473103 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @10:28AM (#31168684)

    There's definitely more to Riddick than a chaotic evil convict out for no one but himself. He was a protector of Jack during a good portion of the movie, especially after the reveal that Jack was a girl. Remember, Johns wanted to sacrifice Jack as bait for the monsters, and Riddick ends up shooting him.

    Riddick's gut instinct was survival, and he probably started out wanting to use the group to get himself off of the planet. However, at the end Carolyn convinces him to save the remainder of the crew, and is struck with guilt when she sacrifices herself to save them. Thought it showed great growth with Riddick's character, and made him much more interesting than just a morally gray killer.

    I dunno, I might have saw much more into the movie than I was supposed to :)

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @10:46AM (#31168962)
    Nah, if he was chaotic evil he would have taken off once he reached the ship, him going back shows he really is chaotic neutral leaning towards good. Killing alone does not evil make, it's all in your intentions and who's judging you.
  • by MBaldelli ( 808494 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @10:59AM (#31169184) Homepage

    Hollywood should stop being so focused on special effects and shoud focus more on a decent plot and make damned well sure that the actors can and will make that plot interesting.

    What else are they going to use to cover up the fact that Hollywood is filled with 95% hacks with no talent to actually write and infinite amounts of talent to ass-kiss?

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