Anyone who knows me would know that one of my favorite movies is the Disney Channel film, Phantom of the Megaplex. In fact, this movie has had a great influence on my life, as it showed me that the world of film and the movie-going experience could be fun. Because its milestone 20th birthday was on November 10th, I decided to use my entry for my blogathon, A Blogathon to be Thankful For, to celebrate this special occasion. A lot has changed since 2000, especially the movie-going experience. With that said, this editorial will highlight how different a trip to the theater is now compared to its depiction in Phantom of the Megaplex. The actual birthday itself looked very different than expected, due to the months-long Coronavirus pandemic. For the sake of this editorial, I will be discussing today’s theater-going experience as if 2020 were a typical year. Also, all of the photos are screenshots I took, unless stated otherwise.
Purchasing a Ticket
In Phantom of the Megaplex, Karen, the younger sister of the film’s protagonist, Pete, plans on arriving at the theater at 7:30 in order to catch a 7:50 showing of a movie called ‘University of Death’. When she and her younger brother, Brian, get to the theater, they are stuck waiting in a long line. This is the result of Movie Mason, a patron of the theater, spending more time persuading guests to see better films than taking their tickets. Fortunately, Karen isn’t late to her film. But, when she meets her friend outside the auditorium’s door, Karen and her friend briefly discuss the idea of their other friend saving seats for them. The example I just described shows how movie-goers in 2000 used to arrive much earlier than their movie’s run-time to not only purchase a ticket, but to also claim their seat of choice. In addition, movie-goers arrived early to the theater to avoid any unexpected hiccups like the one I mentioned. Twenty years later, it’s still encouraged to show up early to the theater so you’re not late to your film. However, buying tickets and choosing seats are not an issue like they were before. Thanks to the internet, movie-goers can purchase their tickets on their local theater’s website or from a third-party site like Fandango or Atom Tickets. Movie-goers are given an opportunity to reserve their seats as well. Had the story of Phantom of the Megaplex taken place now, all Karen and Brian would have to do is show an employee their pre-paid, printed out ticket and avoid a line like the one Movie Mason created.
Several scenes in Phantom of the Megaplex show the auditoriums inside the theater. All of the chairs featured are covered in a red material with a folding seat. Theater-goers in 2000 would have this style of chair as their only option. But since then, more cinemas have adopted recliners. There are even theaters that have chosen other forms of seating, such as couches and lounge chairs. However, if you would like to sit in a theater chair from twenty years ago, there is one theater chain that has put these chairs to good use. Two Emagine theaters in Minnesota offer “retro seating”. According to the theater’s website, these are “retro auditoriums that don’t feature recliners, but have throwback seats with throwback prices”.
Because Phantom of the Megaplex is a family friendly film, bars would not be found at the cinema. However, theaters have added bars to their facilities within the past two decades. One example is AMC Theaters’ MacGuffins Bar. AMC’s official website states “the term “macguffin,” coined by Alfred Hitchcock, refers to a plot device that propels a movie forward”. The website, Run Pee (a site that informs audience members of the best times to take bathroom breaks during a movie), shares that MacGuffins Bar sometimes correlates drinks with the movies shown at the theater. One example is “a dino-themed bevvie when Jurassic World 2 was showing”.
Movie’s Poster at the Door
Throughout the Cotton Hills Megaplex, the theater where Phantom of the Megaplex takes place, a movie’s poster is located in front of the auditorium the movie will be playing. In a scene where the “Phantom” causes mischief, a poster for a movie titled ‘Glimpses of Genevieve’ is located right next to the theater’s twenty third auditorium. The film’s title is also electronically shown above the poster. Personally, I have never seen this particular set-up at any theater I’ve attended. Also, theaters today will either not have any indicator (besides the ticket itself) of what movie is playing in the auditorium or the film’s title will be electronically shown above the auditorium’s door. The poster itself will be located in another area of the theater, such as near the main entrance.
One of the characters in Phantom of the Megaplex is a “cinema sitter”, an elderly woman who walks around the premises and makes sure the theater’s patrons are on their best behavior. Her role is similar to that of a hall monitor, reprimanding guests who wander the halls of the Cotton Hills Megaplex. This is another concept that I have never seen or heard of at any theater I’ve attended. I’m also not aware of “cinema sitters” being an official component of movie theaters prior to the release of Phantom of the Megaplex. The only thing closest to a “cinema sitter” in real life is Harkins Theatres’ PlayCenter. This space, located in select Harkins Theatres, is dedicated to looking after children while their parents are seeing a movie. The PlayCenter itself would be compared to a typical day care center, a place where children can be occupied while their parents are away. According to the official Harkins Theatres website, “PlayCenter staff members are trained professionals who work exclusively in the PlayCenter. They are background checked and fingerprinted.”
A row of payphones can be occasionally seen throughout Phantom of the Megaplex. From Pete calling his mom to one of Pete’s co-workers, Lacy, putting a phone back in the payphone holder, these payphones are used to scare Julie, Pete’s mom, and George, Julie’s boyfriend, into going to the cinema to check on Julie’s children. While I’m not denying the existence of payphones in movie theaters, I personally don’t remember seeing payphones in the cinema. Since the film’s release, cellphones, particularly the smart phone variety, have become more common in society. This modern advancement has ultimately led payphones to become more obsolete.
The Projection Booth
The projection booth in Phantom of the Megaplex is operated by Merle, the head projectionist at the Cotton Hills Megaplex. When Pete and Brian ask Merle to resolve one of the “Phantom’s” shenanigans, Merle inspects the projector equipment to show Pete and Brian what likely happened. He even pulls a piece of film strip, proving that the movie itself had not been tampered with. In 2000, movie theaters were not utilizing digital cinema like they are today. Instead of using a digitized film reel or hard drives and internet links, theaters used film reels with strips of film. The closest thing to “state of the art” film projection cinemas had in 2000 was IMAX. Today, theaters are developing their own versions of this projecting concept. One example is Cinemark XD, found at Cinemark Theatres. According to the official website, Cinemark XD uses a “state-of-the-art projector capable of 35 trillion colors”.
In an effort to figure out the “Phantom’s” next scheme, Brian visits a movie spoiler website to discover the plot of an upcoming movie called “Midnight Mayhem”. The idea of spoilers has not changed in twenty years. However, the reveal of movie details has expanded beyond websites devoted to the concept. Spoilers can be found everywhere. Social media platforms have been avoided when big blockbusters are released. Warnings for spoilers can be featured toward the beginning of film reviews. Causal word of mouth may slip a major plot point into the conversation. With recent technological progress and the ability to connect with people from across the globe, it has actually become harder to prevent surprises in movies from being spoiled.
Change is inevitable, especially when it comes to the movie-going experience. Through the lens of film, we are given an opportunity to glimpse the past, even if it is only for a few hours. Phantom of the Megaplex captures how the cinema operated in the beginning of the millennium. It serves as a time capsule for those who remember that specific place in time. The movie is also a reminder of how far cinematic technology and the cinema itself has come. As of November 2020, it is unclear to determine what the landscape of movie theaters will look like by the time Phantom of the Megaplex turns twenty-five. While technology in film has made tremendous strides, there is still a lot that can be done. But will there be a facility to showcase these discoveries? There is no straightforward answer that can be given right now. However, we can still celebrate a movie’s milestone birthday through home entertainment and the internet. Like Movie Mason once said, “tell my theater that even when I’m not here, its magic is never far from my heart”.
Welcome to A Blogathon to be Thankful For, the second blogathon hosted on 18 Cinema Lane! From November 19th to the 22nd, participants will share posts about movies, people, and subjects related to Thanksgiving! This post will host the list of participates and their articles of choice, separated by the categories that were set up in May. Each participant put time and effort into their entry/entries, so please check out as many posts as you’d like!
Within the blogging community, it’s impossible not to bring up the Coronavirus at one point or another. Some plans were forced to change and anticipated events were either cancelled or rescheduled. A situation like this can make it easy to lose sight of what’s really important. I can only speak for myself, but in times like these, I try to think about things that I’m thankful for. Originally, I was going to host this blogathon in 2021. But, due to the global pandemic, I thought this year would be a better time to host it. Hallmark is one area of film I cover on 18 Cinema Lane. Over the years, I’ve noticed the network’s diminishing recognition toward Thanksgiving. It’s not just a Hallmark related issue, as I’ve seen this happen in stores and other retail establishments. So, because of that, I chose to dedicate this year’s blogathon to Thanksgiving! It will take place from November 19th to November 22nd. If you want to participate, you can sign up in one of the following categories:
Write about a movie or television show episode that either revolves around Thanksgiving or features, at least, one scene taking place on Thanksgiving
Talk about something movie related you’re thankful for (can be about people, places, props, memorabilia, etc.)
Write about a movie or television show episode that has premiered in November (any genre and year is acceptable)
Talk about someone who has a birthday in November (can be about an actor/actress, director, producer, screenwriter, costume designer, etc. If you have a family member or friend with a November birthday, you are allowed to talk about them in your post.)
The Official Blogathon Rules
Please be respectful toward other bloggers and the subject you are writing about.
If you plan on publishing your post(s) earlier or later than the allotted time-frame (November 19th to the 22nd), please let me know in advance.
New posts are required.
Because this subject is so broad, no duplicates are allowed
Each participant is allowed to publish a maximum of three entries.
All entries must be original work and creativity is encouraged.
If you’re interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
Pick one of the four banners and spread the word about A Blogathon to be Thankful For!
Rob from MovieRob — (Review) The Myth of Fingerprints (1997), The Object of My Affection (1998), The Daytrippers (1997), The Vicious Kind (2009)
Neil from Neil “The Musical Man” Powell — (Review) The Gold Rush
Ruth from Silver Screenings — (Review) The Thanksgiving Visitor
Rebecca from Taking Up Room — (Review) Episode of ‘Christy’ titled “Sweetest Gift”
Tiffany from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society — (Review) The Plymouth Adventure
Janis from themomshiediaries — Don’t You Love New York in the Fall?
A You’ve Got Mail Review
Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy — (Review) Rocky (1976)
Moviecriticqueen from Movies Meet Their Match — (Review) Holiday Inn (1942)
Tiffany from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society — Thankful for The Breen Code
Le from Critica Retro — Thankful for the comedies of Marcel Perez
Kristen from KN Winiarski Writes — Thankful for ‘Singin in the Rain’
Sally from 18 Cinema Lane — (Editorial) ‘Phantom of the Megaplex’ at 20: A Reflection on the Movie-Going Experience
Heidi from Along the Brandywine — (Review) Pride & Prejudice (2005)
J-Dub from Dubsism — (Editorial) “Sports Analogies Hidden in Classic Movies: Why I’m Thankful For The Comedy of Jonathan Winters.”
Last week, AMC and Regal theaters made the bold decision to ban movies from Universal Studios. This came on the heels of an unexpected, yet successful, VOD (video on demand) run of Trolls: World Tour. Since this announcement, a debate over which side made the right choice has started on the internet. After some consideration, I thought I’d join this debate by expressing my perspectives through this editorial. As you read in the title, I have sided with Universal Studios. In my editorial, I will highlight three reasons why I think Universal is in the right when it comes to this situation. Before I begin, I would like to point out that this post is not meant to be mean-spirited and negative toward anyone. This article is created to simply express my opinion.
Universal Has More Mouths to Feed
It’s no secret that the Coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on the economy. Many industries have lost their finances as well as their employees. Because of the orders to “social-distance” and self-quarantine, businesses that attract large crowds have been forced to temporarily close their doors. Movie theaters are just one of them, with studios postponing some of their theatrical releases until it is safe for everyone to enjoy their films. Even though movie theaters have a legitimate place in communities around the world, they only offer one service: showing movies. The employees that work for any movie theater play an important role. But every job at that theater comes back to making the movie-going experience the best it can be. AMC Theatres offers a video on demand service, which means they have some more employees than a typical theater. However, Universal has different key components to their company. Besides the movie division, Universal also has a television department, with the ownership of NBC and other affiliated networks. Comcast is owned by Universal as well and they have four theme parks. Movie theaters have been financially impacted by the Coronavirus, but Universal Studios is also in the same boat.
Universal Had Always Planned on Releasing Films Theatrically
When the CEOs of Regal and AMC Theaters have been asked about their decision to ban Universal’s movies, they have made it seem like Universal intentionally tried to hurt the movie theaters. Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of Regal’s parent company, Cineworld, said “not only did Universal provide no commitment for the future window – but Universal was the only studio that tried to take advantage of the current crisis and provide a ‘day-and-date’ release of a movie that was not yet released”. Meanwhile, Adam Aron, AMC’s CEO, said “this radical change by Universal to the business model that currently exists between our two companies represents nothing but downside for us and is categorically unacceptable to AMC Entertainment”. Despite AMC and Regal’s animosity toward Universal, Universal claims they never intended to shut the theaters out. The studio said in a response to AMC that “we expect to release future films directly to theatres, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense”. Their recent actions seem to match these words. One of the first films that was rescheduled due to the Coronavirus was the latest James Bond installment, No Time to Die. It will get a theatrical release, but not until November 25th. Fast and Furious9 was also postponed, receiving a theatrical date next April. While Universal has released some of their titles on VOD, most of them were smaller films. One of these films was the 2020 remake of Jane Austin’s Emma. Similar to Trolls: World Tour, this movie was released around the “eye of the storm”. To make up for financial losses, Universal adapted to the global situation the best they could and tried to keep their business afloat.
The Movie Theaters Have Weak Arguments
Before writing this editorial, I read several articles and watched several videos about this subject. I have come to the conclusion that the arguments presented by the movie theaters are very weak. In an article from the website, Pirates & Princesses, Kambrea reports that John Fithian, the President and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, stated “Universal heavily marketed the title as a theatrical release, in theaters and elsewhere, for weeks on end”. As I mentioned before in this editorial, Trolls: World Tour was released around the Coronavirus’ “eye of the storm”. Universal, or any other company, did not know how bad the Coronavirus was going to get. If this had never happened and things had gone according to plan, Universal would have continued to release Trolls: World Tour in theaters. Earlier in this editorial, I also mentioned that AMC Theatres has a video on demand service. If they offered Trolls: World Tour on this service, wouldn’t AMC and Universal benefit from that decision? Even though AMC and Regal have banned Universal’s projects, the studio is not the only one to put their upcoming movies on VOD. Kambrea, from Pirates & Princesses, reported how Disney’s Artemis Fowl, which had a May 29th theatrical release, will now receive a June 12th release date on Disney+. In theory, Disney did the exact same thing Universal did. However, AMC and Regal have not announced any plans to ban Disney’s films from being shown at their theaters. This makes the theaters look hypocritical.
The 21st century has never experienced a medical situation of this magnitude before. Because of this, all divisions of the economy were forced to respond the best they could. This includes Universal, who have multiple components to their company. I don’t believe they did anything wrong by releasing Trolls: World Tour on VOD. If anything, the movie theaters’ reaction to this choice has made them appear out-of-touch with not only the digital consumer landscape, but also with how this virus has affected the financial health of the economy. I understand that movie theaters need to make money to keep the lights on. But intentionally hurting another business is not going to make the Coronavirus go away any sooner. This kind of mindset is what makes companies regress, reminding me a lot of Blockbuster’s demise. Just because we are “social-distancing” doesn’t mean we have to push each other away.
On WordPress, I’ve gained a reputation among fellow bloggers as being the “Hallmark expert”. While I personally don’t see myself as an expert in this blogging space, I do appreciate people’s high regard toward my knowledge of Hallmark productions. During my years of watching Hallmark films, I’ve learned that a good number of movies are filmed in Canada. Also, every scripted television show from the network either currently films in Canada or has filmed in Canada before. Production websites like What’s Filming and Creative B.C. continually feature Hallmark titles on their websites, with productions for movies usually taking place within a month’s time. Others have taken notice of this particular creative choice, with publications like Refinery29 bringing it up in one of their Hallmark related articles. But what causes the company to choose Canada as a prime filming destination over other locations? How beneficial is it anyway? This editorial will explore some reasons why Hallmark has chosen Canada as their best friend when it comes to movie and television production. Negative results that could be caused by Hallmark’s choice will also be discussed. Hallmark has filmed their movies in a variety of locations, but Canada seems to be their favorite.
Saving Money in Order to Spend It
Every movie or television show has a budget that a creative team is required to work within. If there is an opportunity to save money, any creative team is likely to take advantage of it. With the creation of tax incentives, certain states or countries can appear more viable to companies and studios than other locations. Canada first introduced their tax incentives for the television and film industry in 1995, with more tax incentives coming into existence two years later. While it’s unclear when Hallmark started to film their programs in Canada, recent trends would indicate the company first made this decision sometime around 2010. In the past few years, Hallmark has created more than fifty movies a year. These projects, according to Shane Snoke and Kays Alatrakchi from quora.com, can carry a price tag between $300,000 to $2 million. To figure out how much Hallmark would likely pay annually for their films, let’s look at the amount of films the company created for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries last year. On the first network, Hallmark released 64 films. The second network aired 41 films. Let’s say that each movie cost $1 million to make. In total, Hallmark would end up spending $105,000,000 each year among both channels. With this big of a price tag, it makes sense for the company to look for ways to save any amount of money they can.
Because every province of Canada has their own tax incentives for the film and television industry, it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of money Hallmark saves on each Canadian filmed production. But there is no denying that wherever a movie or television show is created, Hallmark ends up saving a significant amount of money. The company can apply those savings toward other programs. One example of how this money could have been used is for the creation of Hallmark Drama. Coordinating a television channel is a time-consuming and costly endeavor. Because Hallmark’s third channel first aired in late 2017, it’s likely that Hallmark collected these funds over time in order to fund that project. Another time-consuming and costly endeavor are television shows. A deciding factor for a show’s renewal is whether its respective network can afford to keep it going. With three continuing series on Hallmark Channel, Hallmark needs all the money they can get to keep these shows running. All three series have chosen Canada for their filming needs. This makes Hallmark’s financial goals more attainable.
Creating a Unique Experience
The longest running and one of the most popular television shows in Hallmark history is When Calls the Heart. Ever since the show about the Canadian Frontier first premiered in 2014, it has cultivated a loyal and devoted fanbase famously known as the “Hearties”. The success of the series has inspired fans to create a special event called “Hearties Family Reunion”. Started in 2016, this event gives “hearties” an opportunity to celebrate their favorite show. It has also given them a chance to travel to the show’s Canadian roots. Some of the activities that took place at last year’s event include a Q&A segment with the cast, a tour of the Hope Valley set, and even a special movie night. While “Hallmark isn’t officially involved” with the formation of the “Hearties Family Reunion”, according to Meghan Overdeep from Southern Living, Crown Media was one of the sponsors for the 2019 event.
One of the reasons why When Calls the Heart has lasted as long as it has is because of the community that formed among the fans. The “Hearties Family Reunion” official website acknowledges this by stating, “Hearties are a community”. To recognize this sentiment, regional mini-parties were a part of the schedule at last year’s event. These parties were intended to help fans connect with other fans from their geographical location. One example is a regional party dedicated to the fans who live in the Southern and/or Midwest regions of the United States. Based on the website’s photos and the continuation of the event, it seems like it has been met with positive responses. One testimonial comes from Ruth, who is the creator of the blog, My Devotional Thoughts. She attended the event in 2017 and even wrote an article about her experience. The focus of that blog post was to highlight her interviews during the event. By reading Ruth’s article, you can hear the enthusiasm in her writing. In fact, when recounting her time at the “Hearties Family Reunion”, she says, “I am forever grateful to everyone who worked to make this a weekend I shall never forget”. With responses like Ruth’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if this event returned in 2020!
Making Careers for Canadian Stars
Actors and actresses come from various locations of the world. When a state or country has tax incentives that benefit the film and television industry, performers from those locations can sometimes find success with the companies that film there. Hallmark’s decision to film in Canada has helped several actors and actresses grow their careers through their involvement in Hallmark’s productions. Andrew Francis is an actor from Vancouver, British Columbia. He made his Hallmark debut in the 2011 movie, Trading Christmas. In that nine-year time frame, Andrew starred in twelve Hallmark movies, had a recurring role on Cedar Cove, and is a regular cast member on Chesapeake Shores. Another British Columbia native, Pascale Hutton, has also achieved success through Hallmark. After her first Hallmark movie, A Family Thanksgiving from 2010, she has gone on to star in a total of twelve Hallmark films. Similar to Andrew, Pascale became a regular cast member on the aforementioned show, When Calls the Heart. She also made a guest appearance on Hallmark’s first spin-off, When Hope Calls.
Canadian actors are not the only talents that have developed on-going careers through Hallmark. Crew members who work behind the camera have also benefited from Hallmark’s partnership with Canada. Michael Robison is a director from Toronto, Ontario. According to his filmography on IMDB, he has been directing since the late ‘80s. Despite working with Hallmark for only three years, Michael has directed thirteen movies, including the upcoming Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film, Mystery 101: An Education in Murder. These opportunities have allowed him to grow his career as a director. Another Ontario talent whose career has excelled with Hallmark is Ivan Hayden, who is from the London area. A multi-talented individual, Ivan currently has twenty-six producing credits on IMDB. Fifteen of these credits are for Hallmark films, including the 2020 “Spring Fever” film, Just My Type. Like Michael Robison, Ivan has been working on Hallmark projects since 2017. Also, like Michael, Ivan accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.
Missed Opportunities for Other States and Countries
As I have been mentioning in this editorial, states and countries besides Canada may have tax incentives. This factor can encourage companies and studios to work in those locations. By Hallmark continually choosing to work with Canada, it means that other states and countries with tax incentives miss out on beautiful business partnerships. Michigan is just one example. On Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s official website, an entire division of the state’s economy is shown to be dedicated to the film industry. Hallmark rarely creates their programs in the Great Lakes state. Because of this, the state isn’t able to work with a well-known client like Hallmark. Hallmark’s decision also denies the company the chance to take advantage of Michigan’s tax incentives. This situation causes both parties to lose out on great business opportunities.
Hallmark’s Channels aren’t Available in Canada
Even though Hallmark films a lot of their programs in Canada, there are few opportunities for Canadians to see these programs. That’s because all three of Hallmark’s channels are shown exclusively in the United States. Despite Canadian fans asking Hallmark’s business leaders on social media for access to their networks, nothing has been done about this specific situation as of March 2020. There have been some solutions made to alleviate this problem. Released in 2007, the Super Channel is a Canadian network that has given its viewers an opportunity to watch some of Hallmark’s programs. This is made possible through one of their divisions; Super Channel Heart & Home. Another current solution has been the invention of the streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now. This service can be accessed on various devices and through different media outlets.
Limited Recognition Toward Canadian Businesses
As I just mentioned, Hallmark’s channels are shown exclusively in the United States. This means that businesses based in the United States have an advantage when it comes to product placement and sponsorships. One of Hallmark’s sponsors has been the coffee company, Folgers. Even though this particular product is available in both the United States and Canada, the company is headquartered in Ohio and was founded in California. This makes Folgers a United States based business. It also provides more opportunities for Folgers to advertise with Hallmark. Canadian stores like Chapters/Indigo and services like Pizza Pizza haven’t had commercials featured on any of Hallmark’s channels or their products showcased in any of Hallmark’s programs, as of March 2020. Hallmark’s partnership with Canada seems to have overlooked Canadian businesses.
There is no such thing as a perfect business. The decisions that any business makes are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Even when a business does make a good choice, it can sometimes lead to undesirable results. This is the case with Hallmark and their partnership with Canada. There have been positives that have come from this choice where both parties have benefited. Canada’s tax incentives have the power to fund the country’s economy and help Hallmark save money. But, after evaluating the pros and cons of Hallmark’s business decision, it appears somewhat one sided. So many of Hallmark’s programs are filmed in a variety of Canadian locations. Yet, Canadians are not able to watch most of the programs that are created in their home country. As I mentioned in this editorial, there are ways for Canadians to watch Hallmark’s movies and shows. However, they aren’t able to watch the newer productions from Hallmark, especially the mystery films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Hopefully, as time goes on, Hallmark will recognize Canada as more than just a pretty filming location.
Now that the first day of November has finally arrived, it’s time for me to reflect on my participation in this year’s ‘31 Spooks of October’. First of all, I’d like to thank K, from K at the Movies, for allowing me to contribute to their event. I enjoyed reading their thoughts on various short stories and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s line-up. As I look at the collection of articles that I’ve published, I can honestly say that I’m proud of what I accomplished. While I didn’t complete everything I wanted to, I did create a variety of posts that are interesting and, hopefully, entertaining. These articles are:
What disappoints me is how I wasn’t able to complete my reading goal. But this experience has taught me a lesson. Before the month of October started, I thought that I would be able to read five books in one month. However, several blog related projects prevented this from happening. I did read more for this year’s Spookathon readathon by reading two books instead of just one! Also, this was my first year taking part in the Sbooktober readathon! After this experience, I think it would be better to focus on reading two books a month. As for the books I didn’t read? I’ll read them this November, especially since I have started Murder on Ice. If I were to participate in ‘31 Spooks of October’ again, I think publishing a post a week is a good idea. That way, I can contribute to the event and complete others projects that I want to publish.
Are you a fan of ‘31 Spooks of October’? Do you have any suggestions for future Halloween themed articles? Please tell me in the comment section!
This is a question that I asked when I saw Queen of the Damned for the first-time last year. I was curious how this particular character was able to afford his lavish lifestyle while balancing his endeavors as a rock-star. The more I thought about my question, the more I thought about the wealth of the other characters from this movie. How did they acquire their wealth? What is their net worth? Since I haven’t seen a post like this on WordPress before, I decided to write an editorial where I attempt to figure out these characters’ net worth. I’m not a historical or financial expert, so my information will be based on guesses and assumptions. I haven’t read any of the source material that Queen of the Damned is based on, so I turned to Vampire Chronicles Wiki only to determine birth dates and the years when these characters became vampires. However, I didn’t rely too much on this site because the film and the source material share more differences than similarities. To determine net worth, I looked at items from the auction website, Sotheby’s, that correlated with these significant years of the characters. All of the items’ prices will be included with its United States Dollar value. Because we don’t know the year when the film takes place, we will assume it takes place around Halloween of 2002, especially since Marius was seen reading a magazine where the back cover says “All Hallow’s Eve”. I also turned to Jen, from the blog, Bookworm, because she has read the books and seen the movie. This means that she would know these characters better than me. Here’s the link to Jen’s blog if you want to check it out!
This post is not only created for the Gothic Horror Blogathon, it also corelates with ‘31 Spooks of October’ and my recent achievement of publishing 125 movie reviews! Before we begin, I just want to let you know that this is probably the longest editorial I’ve ever written. Also, all of the pictures that are featured in this editorial are screenshots that I took with my cellphone.
In the Queen of the Damned film, Khayman is one of members of the Ancients group. According to Vampire Chronicles Wiki, Khayman was Akasha’s chief steward. But this detail was not brought up in the film, so we will assume that this was his occupation before he became a vampire. The reason for Khayman’s negative feelings toward Akasha is unknown in the movie, but it seems like she made a decision that did not sit well with Khayman. On Sothebys, I found three items that shared the date of or around 4,000 B.C.; the approximate date when Khayman was born and became a vampire. The first item, An Anatolian Figure, was sold in 2001 for $6,600. For the sake of this discussion, we will assume that if Khayman owned this item, the aforementioned price will be the worth of the item. Another item that sold in 2001 was a set of Three Stone Mace-heads. This set had a final price tag of $2,700, so this will the worth of the set for this conversation. The last item, an Egyptian Hardstone Jar, has an approximate worth somewhere between $8,000 and $12,000, so we’ll just say that it’s worth $12,000. If we add these prices up, it totals to $21,300. Remember when I mentioned that Khayman was Akasha’s chief steward? Well, let’s say that throughout his career, he received a third of her finances, which would be approximately $11,944. When we include that number with the prices of the previously stated items, Khayman’s net worth totals to the amount of $33,244.
Before starting this project, I had assumed that Akasha would be one of the film’s more wealthier vampires. But Jen, from Bookworm, brought up an excellent point that changed my perspective on Akasha’s net worth. Jen told me that Akasha wouldn’t have any money due to Marius taking care of her while she was in her semi-comatose, statuesque state. In the film, Akasha was seen in this state and stayed that way for the majority of the story. For this editorial, however, we’re going to assume that she was able to keep at least three possessions before she turned into a statue. The first possession would be an Egyptian Cosmetic Case, which sold for $1,693 in 2002. One year earlier, in 2001, a Stone Figure from the 6th Millennium sold for $19,150. An Egyptian Porphyritic Diorite Vase, which has a date of around the time when Akasha became a vampire, is worth $10,000 to $15,000. For this project, we will guess that this vase is worth $15,000. Adding up those numbers together, the total worth of these items would be $35,843. This means that this number represents Akasha’s total net worth.
For the first vampire ever created, this financial amount seems low. But, in the movie, Akasha spent more time in a semi-comatose, statuesque state than she did ruling over Egypt. Because she broke out of this state in 2002 after thousands of years, she probably wouldn’t be able to access the money she had as easily as the other vampires. In fact, she probably squatted the California house that she took Lestat to after taking him from his concert. Jen, from Bookworm, brought up another good point that puts Akasha’s financial situation into an interesting perspective. Even though, in the film, she doesn’t have any known family or children in existence, we would assume that she had a will. But if she did have a will, it wouldn’t be effective when she eventually died at the end of the film. Akasha traveled to Death Valley, California to take Lestat from his concert and she later died in Maharet’s house in the Sonoma area. As Jen told me, there’s a good chance that Akasha did not have any sort of legal U.S. citizenship, so any legal documents relating to finances would likely not be accounted for.
Not much is known about this particular character. Even in the movie, the only information that’s shared about him is that he’s an Ancient. But, according to Vampire Chronicles Wiki, Mael was born and became a vampire in 10 A.D. By taking a look at three items from this time period, we can guess his potential net worth. Two of these items are manuscripts. One of them is a Collection of Large Papyrus Documents, which has a worth of about $4,908 to $8,180. For this discussion, this collection will be worth $8,180. The other one, a Collection of Egyptian Papyrus Manuscripts, is worth $31,034 to $46,551. We’ll just say that if Mael owned this collection, it would have a worth of $46,551. The last item is a Roman Black-ware Miniature Amphora. For the sake of this project, let’s just say that this one item is worth $1,200. When these numbers are added up, Mael’s total net worth would be $55,931.
On the Vampire Chronicles Wiki website, it says that David was born in the 20th Century. Since his age is never mentioned in the movie, we are going to guess that David is 43 years old during the course of the film. The reason for choosing this age is because that’s how old Paul McGann, the actor who portrayed David, was in the year when the movie was released. As we can see in the film, David has a prominent position in a detective agency known as Talamasca. In fact, the Vampire Chronicles Wiki website clarifies his position is a “superior general”. Because salary was never brought up in the film, we’re going to assume that it would mirror the typical salary of an investigator. Since David’s standing in the Talamasca is pretty respectable, the assumption is that his salary is on the higher end of the spectrum. According to the website, SalaryList, this would be $189,592. Over his 43 years, David would probably have collected family heirlooms. For this project, we will highlight three items that could belong to him. The first item would be a Set of Danish Silver Dinner Plates. This collection is worth $12,000 to $18,000, so we’ll just say that the worth on the plates is $18,000. The next item is a Heriz Carpet, which has the exact same worth as the aforementioned dinner plates. Again, we’ll assume that this particular item is also worth $18,000. The final item is a Library Table, which has a worth of $20,000 to $30,000. Let’s make a guess that if David inherited this item, it would be worth $30,000. All of this means that David’s net worth is likely $255,592.
The Queen of the Damned movie reveals very little about Pandora. Even the Vampire Chronicles Wiki website doesn’t clearly state when she was born or when she became a vampire. After doing the necessary math based on what was written on the previously mentioned website, I assume that Pandora was born in 10 B.C. and that she became a vampire in 21 A.D. Though not mentioned in the film, the Vampire Chronicles Wiki website shares that her father was a Roman Senator, who happened to be wealthy. We’re going to assume that, after Pandora’s father died, she inherited $1,000,000. We’re also going to assume that she was able to hold on to some possessions she might have had before she became a vampire. One of these items would likely be a Conch Pearl Necklace. According to an article from Sotheby’s, “the Romans prized pearls as the ultimate status symbol”, so Pandora having pearls in her collection of heirlooms would make sense. This particular necklace has a worth of $305,784 to $407,712, so we’ll say that it’s worth the latter for this project. Speaking of jewelry, the next item would be a set of Lazuli, Beads, and Pendants from the 1st Millennium, when Pandora was born. This collection’s worth is between $3,000 and $5,000, so we’ll guess that it’s worth $5,000. The final item would be a Roman Marble Fragment, which has a worth of $19,288 to $32,147. In this discussion, we’ll just say that this item is worth $32,147. When we add these values, Pandora’s net worth ends up being $1,444,859.
As Pandora indicated in a deleted scene for the Queen of the Damned film, Armand was taken under Marius’ wing and became his vampire son. Because of this, there’s a chance that he would receive at least half of Marius’ net worth, which would be $3,959,059. Before becoming a member of Marius’ vampire family, Armand was born in 1480. After Armand was taken in by Marius, he became a vampire in 1497. Because we know very little about Armand’s biological family, we will guess that Armand was able to keep at least one item from them. This item, for the sake of this project, will be a Northern European Brass Pot. The brass pot is worth $2,000 to $3,000, so we’ll say that it’s worth $3,000.
In the film adaptation of Queen of the Damned’s predecessor, Interview with the Vampire, Armand owned the building where Theatre des Vampires, a group of performers who are also vampires, hosted shows. Armand was also the leader of this group. To determine the revenue that the theater possibly generated, I searched for theaters that had a similar date and location to Armand’s. The one I chose for this editorial is Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique, which, ironically, faced a similar fate to Armand’s theater. Before we talk about that, let’s go back to the discussion of revenue. In the 1800s, when Armand’s part of the story takes place, the cost of a theater ticket was around 30 cents. If there were 1,250 seats in Armand’s theater, the same number of seats that Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique had at one point, that means that the total sale of tickets for one show would be $375. If Armand’s theater hosted 36 shows throughout a single year, the total revenue would be $13,500. In the Interview with the Vampire film, Armand’s theater burns down and Armand becomes the only survivor of that situation. He even references this event in the aforementioned deleted scene. Because insurance has been around since the 2nd to 3rd millennia B.C. and because accident insurance existed in the 19th century, we’ll assume that Armand received an insurance settlement of $1,000,000. After all this is said, Armand’s net worth is revealed to be $4,975,559.
When he makes his debut in the Queen of the Damned film, Marius tells Lestat that he’s “a noble by nature”. Since we don’t exactly know what he meant by this statement, we’ll just assume that he was a literal noble before he became a vampire. If this were the case, it would make sense. One of the benefits of being a noble is having access to at least one estate. Through Lestat’s journalistic flashbacks, we see that Marius has a very large home on a private island. This estate would likely be valuable. In fact, I looked toward another structure that was built around the time when Marius became a vampire; 10 A.D., in order to determine the house’s worth. This structure is ‘Pyramid of the Sun’ from Mexico. One of the materials that was used to build this pyramid was limestone, so we’re going to assume that this material was also used to build Marius’s island home. In an article from History Channel, limestone was used to cover the pyramid’s walls. Also, according to Sotheby’s, a Limestone Head is worth somewhere between $6,706 to $10,730. Because one side of the pyramid is 733.2 feet, we’re going to multiply this number with the higher end of the price spectrum of the Limestone Head, which equals $7,867,236. This is the value that we will put on Marius’s island home for the sake of this discussion.
Marius’s house is not the only thing he owns that would be worth a lot of money. One of these items is likely be a pair of Egyptian Glass Eye Inlays, which is worth $7,715 to $10,287. For this project, we will say that this pair is worth the latter amount. Throughout the movie, we see Marius as an artist, creating a few paintings at various moments. Because of his status as an Ancient, let’s just guess that Marius is the Michelangelo of the vampire world. One work of Michelangelo’s, “Profile of a Man” has a worth of $1,504 to $2,257. Let’s say that Marius sold ten paintings for $1,504 each. This means that he collected a total of $15,040. Remember when I talked about Akasha’s net worth? Well, when she and Lestat got “married”, that marriage was not made legitimate. This is because their marriage was based on “he said, she said”. In one of Lestat’s flashbacks, Marius explains that he keeps Akasha and her husband in their statuesque states in his house. After she died, it would make sense for Marius to receive Akasha’s net worth. So, overall, Marius’s net worth rounds out to $7,918,119.
Another wealthy Ancient is Jesse’s aunt, Maharet. On the Vampire Chronicles Wiki website, she lived around the time of Akasha, becoming a vampire in 4,000 B.C. I found three items that share this date that we’re going to guess Maharet would own. The first item is a Porphyritic Diorite Vase that is similar to Akasha’s. Because I already talked about this vase’s worth, we’re going to restate that it’s worth $15,000. The next item is a Stone Figure, which is worth $15,000 to $25,000. For this article, we are going to say that it’s worth $25,000. The last item is a Basalt House Figure, which is worth six to nine thousand dollars. But because this item sold in 2001 for $19,150, let’s say that this is the worth of this figure.
The Queen of the Damned film never reveals how Maharet acquired her wealth. But the Vampire Chronicles Wiki website shares that she “could communicate with spirits”. I’m guessing that this is the equivalent to a “medium”. So let’s say, before she became a vampire, Maharet ran a business where she used her talents to help others. We’re going to assume that the price of these “communication sessions” cost a total of $10. If she conducted four of these sessions throughout a month, she would make $40. Now if she ran this business for a year, she would make $480. If she ran her business for 2,000 years, her total revenue would be $960,000. In the movie, the climax takes place at Marahet’s house, which is located in California. On realtor.com, there’s a listing for a house in a location and with a style similar to the one in the film. It’s listed at $6,700,000. If this was the worth of Maharet’s house, it would be included in her net worth of $7,719,150.
Shortly after meeting Marius for the first time, Lestat tells him that he’s the “lord of a great man”. Like what Marius said about being a “noble”, we’ll just assume that Lestat was being literal about being a lord. On the website, Prestige Property Group, I found two houses that look like a property that Lestat’s family could have owned. One of them has a price tag of $984,500 and the other one has a price tag of $2,267,100. For my editorial, we will guess that Lestat’s family home would be worth $3,251,600. Toward the beginning of the film, we see that Lestat has a run-down house in New Orleans, where his soon-to-be band mates are seen practicing. I found a listing for a house on realtor.com that could resemble the house in the film. In this listing, the New Orleans house is listed for $4,995,000. For the sake of this project, we will assume that this price is the worth of Lestat’s house. We’ll also assume that Lestat held on to three personal possessions from before he became a vampire. The first of these items is a Louis XV Giltwood Mirror, which is worth $3,000 to $5,000. We will say that this mirror has a worth of $5,000. A Louis XVI Tapestry is the next item, with an approximate worth of twelve to eighteen thousand dollars. In this discussion, we’ll just assume that the tapestry is worth $18,000. With a worth of $12,000 to $18,000, a George I Cabinet on Chest is the last item. Like I said about the tapestry, we’ll say that the worth of the cabinet is also $18,000. Because, in the film, Marius turned Lestat into a vampire, he could receive half of Marius’ net worth of $3,959,059.
One of the biggest factors of the Queen of the Damned film is Lestat being a rock star. This definitely plays into Lestat’s total net worth, even though he is a member of a five-person group. In the film, the band’s concert took place in Death Valley, California. The layout was different from that of a typical stadium, which sets separate prices based to where the seats are located. Also, this was the only concert that band was hosting, because Lestat didn’t want to repeat his performance. This means that tickets for this concert might have been very valuable. In an article from Princeton University, it was reported that “in 2001, the average concert ticket price was about $40, with the average high-end cost close to $60”. But because of what I just said about the aforementioned concert, we’re going to make a guess that the range of prices for this concert’s tickets were $50 and $100. Now, let’s say that 1,000 people attended the concert. Half of them bought the $50 tickets, while the other half purchased the $100. When we multiply the first half, we get a total of $25,000. The total of the other half would be $50,000. While the overall revenue would end up being $75,000, it’s important to figure out what Lestat’s piece of the pie would be. Not only do we see at least one music video from this band, we also see several pieces of advertising about the concert. Let’s say that some of the concert revenue went towards paying the music video’s filming team and covering the cost of marketing, which we’ll keep at 10% each. Divide this number with $75,000, this payment would be $7,500 each. This leaves the $60,000 to split between five people, which now means that Lestat would walk away with $12,000. If you think this is a low number, consider that Lestat’s band also made at least one CD. Based on an article from Electronic Musician, which reported in early 2002 that CD prices could be lowered to $9.99, we’ll assume that in the Queen of the Damned film, a typical CD costs $10. We’re also going to assume that a million copies of this CD were sold. When those numbers are multiplied, we get a total of $10,000,000. But remember, there’s five members in this band, so Lestat would end up receiving $2,000,000. After all of this information is accounted for, Lestat’s total net worth is likely $14,258,659.
The Vampire Chronicles Wiki website says that in the Queen of the Damned movie, Jesse was “in her early twenties”. So, for the sake of this discussion, we’ll guess that Jesse was 25 years old. This was the age of Marguerite Moreau, the actress who portrays Jesse, in 2002, so this is why I have chosen this age for this project. As we can see in the movie, Jesse works for the same Talamasca that David is the superior general of. But, since her position is that of an “apprentice”, her salary would be on the lower end of the spectrum. Going back to the website, SalaryList, it would likely be $39,370. Remember, Jesse is Maharet’s niece, so it’s possible that she would receive half of her aunt’s net worth. This number would be $3,859,575. Receiving this money would have allowed her to live in London, travel to California, and attend Lestat’s concert. Speaking of Lestat, he was the one that turned her into a vampire toward the end of the movie. This means that she could have access to half of Lestat’s net worth, which is $5,149,800. While the exact state of the Lestat and Jesse’s relationship is unknown, it is assumed that they decided to pursue a romantic relationship at the end of the film. Jen, from Bookworm, told me that vampires do not marry, but it’s possible that Lestat and Jesse would have come up with a financial agreement if their relationship grew stronger. Overall, the grand total of Jesse’s net worth is going to be $9,048,745.
Welcome to my very first blogathon, Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon! For five days, blogathon participants will share a variety of topics related to Gene Siskel and/or Roger Ebert. All of those posts will be listed on this community post, separated by the categories that were established in the announcement post that was published back in May. Every participant worked very hard on their article, so be sure to check out as many posts as you’d like!
Found in cardboard boxes at garage sales. Seen on shelves at a used book store. Appearing on Amazon’s and Ebay’s pages. Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbooks, or sometimes known as Roger Ebert’s Movie Home/Video Companion, are records of years gone by. Showcasing movies that have already premiered, the books feature reviews and other movie related material from Roger Ebert himself. From the mid ‘80s to the early 2010s, these yearbooks provided an overview of any given movie year. They correlated with Roger and Gene Siskel’s show, At The Movies. But for the majority of the 2010s, a movie yearbook has not been published. Also, it seems like this concept is not as talked about as it once was. Is this idea that Roger created still relevant anymore? Does it still have a place in our current day and time? This editorial will explore the arguments for and against the revival of the movie yearbook. I will also share my thoughts on the argument as a whole. Since today is the first day of Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon, let the blogathon begin!
How Roger’s Movie Yearbooks Are Still Relevent
What do putting up Christmas trees, going trick or treating, and watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s have in common? All of these activities are rooted in tradition. Because these activities have become cherished for many people, they are put into practice year after year. For approximately three decades, Roger Ebert shared his thoughts, opinions, and insight about movies and other subjects related to that topic through his movie yearbooks. Throughout his career and reputation, Roger gained the likeability and respect of his audience. Because he became a cherished figure in the movie community, the publication of his movie yearbooks turned into a tradition. What helped was having continuous segments on his shows with Gene Siskel, such as episodes dedicated to the best and worst movies in a given year. Because these segments took place every year, it helped the show’s audience associate tradition with Roger Ebert.
When I think of a “yearbook”, I picture a hardcover book given at the end of a school year, filled with pictures and short, but thorough explanations about those photos. As I conducted my research about Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks, I discovered that they did not fit my definition of a “yearbook”. These books are a collection of reviews, interviews, and essays. Despite this, a traditional “yearbook” and Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks do share one major similarity: they are a collection of records and reflections. A typical school yearbook focuses on the memories and events of a particular school year, reflecting on things such as various school subjects or graduating classes. This publication is usually more visual, where photos are used to tell the story and express ideas. In Roger Ebert’s case, he chose a more verbal approach when it came to the creation of his movie yearbooks. Since movies are a visual medium and images like movie stills and award winners can be found in other publications, pictures are not necessary for these particular books of Roger’s. All of these books discuss the movie year prior to the book’s release. For example, Roger Ebert’s movie yearbook from 1999 will talk about movies from 1998. Like a school yearbook, Roger’s movie yearbooks are a singular place where his collective story can be presented.
Another important component to a yearbook, whether it be a movie yearbook or one from school, is how it creates a shared experience amongst its audience. Because the subject of movies and school is so broad, readers are able to find something in the text that they can relate to. Within the movie yearbooks, Roger Ebert reviews a variety of films that were theatrically released. Different studios and genres are represented throughout the publication. Because of the yearbook’s broad range of movies, there’s a chance that the material is appealing to almost everyone. On his shows with Gene Siskel and in his movie yearbooks, Roger would talk about whether he liked or disliked a particular film. Since they talked about movies that were theatrically released, meaning they are easily accessible for the majority of their audience, a shared experience was allowed to talk place. Just one example is when both Gene and Siskel reviewed the movie, Jurassic Park. This is a movie that a large number of people have seen, so it feels like people watching or reading their review can join a shared conversation.
During the run of Siskel and Ebert’s television shows, as well as their careers, both Gene and Roger created a legacy that outlasted their lives. By reviewing films and making those thoughts accessible to their audience, who also happen to be potential movie-goers, they helped create the concept of movie related entertainment. Gene and Roger also showed that anyone could articulate their thoughts and opinions on film. This contribution has been appreciated by fans and members of the movie community, even encouraging them to become movie critics themselves. Roger’s movie yearbooks make up a part of his legacy, proving to be an essential piece of movie related literature. This concept of looking back on a given movie year through text is something that would continue to be beneficial to movie fans and fellow critics. It may even help make the movie community a better place.
How Roger’s Movie Yearbooks Are Not Relevant Anymore
The last movie yearbook to be published was Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2013, which covers the movie years of 2010 to mid-2012. This is because Roger Ebert passed away on April 4th, 2013. Because of this, the movie community lost one of the most unique perspectives in film critic history. It also means that new movie related content from Roger can never be created, since the work would not come directly from him. Making a book called “Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook” and not having Roger involved in the project kind of defeats the purpose. Carrying on one of Roger’s long running book series without his consent also seems disrespectful. Sure, we could guess what Roger would think of movies released after April 2013. But it’s better to know than take a guess.
When Roger Ebert passed away six years ago, the world lost one of the faces of the movie community. The other face of the movie community, Gene Siskel, passed away twenty years ago. This means that the movie community currently does not have any one person that represents them. Gene and Roger earned their titles through their appearances on their television shows. Since their first show, Sneak Previews, premiered in 1975, there were not as many voices in the movie community as there are today. Because more people have joined this community, it would be difficult to choose a new representative. How would this person be chosen? What credentials would give this person the title? Who would nominate this person? So many factors would play a role when trying to make a decision like this. But the one question that should be asked is “Does the movie community really need a new representative”?
With the invention of the internet and social media, more people have been given the opportunity to share their thoughts on film. Blogs, websites, and even Youtube channels have provided platforms for more voices to be heard. These inventions helped the movie community grow, gaining more members now than when Gene and Roger first appeared on Sneak Previews. If the concept of the movie yearbook were to come back, it would be difficult to determine whose opinions get included. Do you choose the people who are associated with movie related companies or Youtubers with smaller channels? What about bloggers, would their thoughts be incorporated in the yearbook too? The website, rogerebert.com, is a place where multiple film critics can share their thoughts in one place. Would these people have a say in who’s cinematic thoughts are welcome? The very first movie yearbook from Roger Ebert, titled Roger Ebert’s Movie Home Companion, was released in 1985. Because the internet and social media weren’t big factors like they are today, the people associated with coordinating Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks didn’t have to think about these things. But the landscape of the movie community has expanded in the 21st century.
Not only has the internet and social media provided a platform for more members of the movie community, they’ve also presented information in a shorter amount of time. Today, movie reviews are uploaded to the internet days, sometimes even weeks, before a movie’s premiere. Some quick searching will lead any movie fan to a wide variety of reviews and other movie related content from multiple authors. Our digital age has produced e-books, making it easier for readers to download many different stories. With these new elements that the movie community has gained, the idea of putting a movie yearbook to print comes into question. Why not just create an e-book version of this project? Wouldn’t it be easier to put all this content on a website? Another concern that needs to be addressed is whether people would pay for a collection of information when they can receive it for free in places that have internet access. When Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks were published, most of his audience didn’t have the internet. They relied on his books, articles, and television programs when they wanted to hear what he had to say. Today there’s rogerebert.com, a website that provides reviews and movie related articles at a faster pace. They give this information straight to their audience, eliminating the process of company publishing and book binding.
My Thoughts on Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbooks
There’s no denying that Roger Ebert played a huge role in the movie community’s foundation. His thoughts and opinions on film helped many people become film critics of their own, instead of simply accepting the role of movie consumer. Something that made this goal a reality was the publication of Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks. These books allowed Roger’s audience to reminiscence over films they’ve seen or heard about, as well as reflect on the topics of the featured interviews and essays. After the publication of Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2013 and Roger Ebert’s death, the world stopped receiving the wise and knowledgeable insight that could have easily been taken for granted. The concept of the movie yearbook is an interesting one, beneficial for all members of the movie community. I, as a movie blogger and member of the movie community, would love to see this concept brought back into publication. However, before this idea could be executed again, several important questions would need to be answered. From selecting the people who would contribute to the yearbook to which medium would host the project, these factors could affect the return of Roger Ebert’s long running series. A series that became a tradition because of one cherished individual. But all traditions start somewhere, and if they’re worth it, should be put into practice for many years and generations to come.
Have fun at the blogathon!
If you would like to check out this editorial’s references, here are the links:
If you’ve read my list of the Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time, you would know that Good Witch: Spellbound is in the Top 3. I disliked this movie so much, that I chose to stop watching the Good Witch television show. But something caused me to tune in to the most recent episode. What was this, you ask? Well, it was the inclusion of a royal character. This was the first time when a royal character has ever been featured on any of Hallmark’s television shows, so I was curious to see who would portray this character and what kind of subplot they would be given. However, I was hesitant about getting my hopes up. The third season of Good Witch and Good Witch: Spellbound left a bad taste in my mouth, due to the screen-writing that, in my opinion, was terrible. Still, I gave this episode a fair chance and hoped that the creative team behind this show would do something special with this particular “first” in Hallmark history. There were even factors leading up to this episode that led me to believe that this aspect of the episode would be handled with special attention. As you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering why I would talk about this, despite the fact that I no longer watch Good Witch. I feel that my experience is one that can be relatable among my readers and followers. We’ve all felt disappointed, at least once in our lives, about “wasted potential” within a creative project. This post is about just that; me being disappointed about the creative decisions found in this episode of Good Witch. Because this is not an episode re-cap, I will only talk about the subplot involving the royal character, which will include spoilers. I will also document the factors that made me believe that this specific story would be handled better than it was. Now, let’s discuss this episode and the royal disappointment it was.
Recently, when I was visiting Hallmark Channel’s website, I saw an advertisement for the latest episode of Good Witch on their main page. My level of excitement came to fruition when I saw that this episode was called “The Prince”. As I’ve already stated, this was the first time a royal character had ever been featured in any television show from Hallmark. So, I was looking forward to watching Hallmark Channel history in the making. In the commercial for this episode, the actor who was to portray the prince was nowhere to be found. I figured this was because of one of two reasons: a.) because the story would be an afterthought compared to the other stories within the episode or b.) the actor portraying the prince was such a big deal, that the creative team behind Good Witch wanted to keep his identity a secret in an attempt to surprise their audience and fans with their choice of casting. I chalked this decision up to the latter, especially considering the factors that I’m about to share. Leading up to the episode, the actor portraying Henry, who is the titular prince, was not listed on Good Witch’s IMDB cast list. This actor’s name was also not mentioned in the episode’s official synopsis that was featured on Crown Media Family Networks’ website. Speaking of the synopsis, whenever Henry was mentioned in the episode description, the statement was always brief. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:
From the official Good Witch episode guide on Hallmark Channel’s website: “Cassie plays host to Henry, a dashing stranger…”
From the Crown Media Family Networks’ website: “Cassie hosts a guest with a surprising secret”
“When shocking news emerges about the visiting royal, though, he risks hurting someone he’s grown to care for”
Based on everything I’ve just said, I predicted that Henry’s “secret” was that he was Cassie or Abigail’s long-lost brother. That way, the show could have introduced a male family member to the Merriwick family and Grace could have had a new uncle become a part of her life. If this was where the story went, it, possibly, would have encouraged me to give Good Witch a second chance. But, if you remember what I said in the introduction, I was disappointed by the “wasted potential” that was actually featured in this episode.
Because of the screen-writing associated with Good Witch’s third season and Good Witch: Spellbound, I had a feeling that the screen-writing in “The Prince” would probably be less-than-stellar. I also predicted what would likely happen on the episode. However, I was hoping that the creative team behind this show would prove me wrong. I watched this entire episode with an open mind and I gave it the fairest of chances. When Henry and his story were introduced on-screen, however, I was, unfortunately, proven right. Everything about this story was a blatant rehash of every single royal themed movie that Hallmark has ever made up until this point. You had the same generic British guy from the same generic, fictional European country that has a name ending with the letter “a”. You also had the same generic, romantic relationship between generic British guy and small-town, American woman. As for Henry’s “secret”, it was the same kind of secret that has been included in almost every Hallmark royal themed film: he’s a prince who didn’t want to be treated differently because of his royal title. There was even a part of the subplot about Henry wanting to go against tradition because he fell in love with a woman that’s not from a royal family. As disappointed as I was by this lack of creativity, I honestly can’t say that I’m surprised. This story felt lazily crafted, like the creative team behind Good Witch didn’t even try to apply any amount of creativity or imagination to this story. The entire execution of this concept was very poor, especially considering that this was a “first” in Hallmark television history.
I love Hallmark, hence the reason why I talk about it on 18 Cinema Lane. I want their movies and shows to be the best that they can be. However, when a Hallmark project doesn’t reach its full potential, I will be honest about my feelings and opinions related to that project. This was my intention for bringing up my experience of watching this episode of Good Witch. Henry and his story could have been really good, with the potential for this story to be revisited in future episodes. Unfortunately, all of the potential this particular story had was wasted on a script that was poorly written. It also doesn’t help that it was also competing with about five other subplots. This example of “wasted potential” represents a pattern that has been common among Hallmark’s various projects. It’s understandable that Hallmark has an image that they’d like to uphold. But it feels like Hallmark puts so much focus on upholding this image, that they’re afraid of taking creative risks and thinking outside the box. I’m hoping that the disappointing results of this subplot from “The Prince” encourages the various creative teams at Hallmark to go out of their way to go against the grain and move out of their comfort zone. This doesn’t have to be frequently done, but enough to keep stories on Hallmark interesting and engaging.