21 Movie Headlines That Don’t Belong on a Front Page

Joe Don Baker. Mitchell

Fun trivia: Googling “Joe Don Baker Mitchell remake” yields negative-3,000 results.

I brake for far fewer movie-news articles than the average geek. I still like movies, but what passes for movie “news” nowadays generally doesn’t merit my time or clicking because the majority doesn’t meet my minimum specifications for “news”. I have no vested interest in following the full life cycle of every production from germination-of-idea to perennial-AMC-airings.

I can think of numerous examples off the top of my head for most steps of the filmmaking process and marketing campaign. To illustrate my apathy, let me walk you through the vantage point of internet news outlets — not official sources such as The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, or Nikki Finke, but the other guys. Pretty much all the other guys.

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend the following examples revolve around a remake of the 1975 police drama Mitchell, which starred Joe Don Baker as Oscar Madison from The Odd Couple, plus a gun, minus friends. Let’s pretend we’re in a near-future dystopia in which Hollywood used up its first 5,000 ideas and the only things standing between us and the bottom of the barrel are Mitchell and The Snorks. And James Cameron already has plans for the Snorks.

Every movie news cycle begins with someone allegedly having an idea that, 90% of the time, is a reboot of someone else’s idea.

“Sleepy Hollow” Producers Circling Possible “Mitchell” Remake

This could mean anything from “They’ve had multiple meetings about it” to “One of them joked about it in an Access Hollywood interview.” Either way: a personality plus a property equals a five-paragraph story, even if it’s meaningless within 24 hours and never referenced by mankind again.

“Mitchell” Remake Could Promise Grim-‘n’-Gritty Approach

During phase one, sometimes a producer or writer will freely offer a three-sentence pitch to a rolling camera if a TV host asks nicely. That doesn’t mean the pitch has been greenlit, or has been offered to a single studio executive. They might not even have an appointment to pitch yet. It’s basically their pipe dream. The journalist of today will believe he now knows the complete three-act structure of the screenplay, about which the only truly concrete fact at this point is that, should said screenplay ever manifest, it will contain most of the alphabet.

“Sleepy Hollow” Producers to Pitch “Mitchell” Remake to Sony on Tuesday

Last summer several newshounds seemed very interested in following Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis through his daily itinerary, and we began seeing announcements such as this, which amount to nothing. An entire website called “Today’s Hollywood Pitches” could keep an entire staff busy running this sort of non-content full-time, albeit without benefits.

Sony Passes on “Mitchell” Remake Pitch, Citing “Not Gonzo Enough”

And aren’t we glad we followed the entire lifespan from conception to abject failure. I know my human experience was enriched for having journeyed alongside such engrossing, You-Are-There verisimilitude.

But while we’re in this despondent pit full of Mitchell anyway, let’s assume another well-known company recovers that fumbled idea and runs with it:

Happy Madison Productions Options “Mitchell” Remake on a Dare

This is marginally more promising, but some perspective is in order: studios and production companies option intellectual properties by the metric ton. If you’ve created something with an audience of 5,000 or more readers/viewers, chances are good in this idea-impoverished climate that someone somewhere will option it for a few minutes.

Yes, it is a legal contract, which states that, should everything fall in place within a certain time frame, the signers thereof will indeed make a movie together. Such options are allowed to lapse fruitlessly all the time. Most optioned properties never make it to screen. The success rate is low and discouraging, even for large corporations with thousands of IPs in their catalog. If you think anything optioned is as good as real, ask John Woo how his He-Man movie is coming along.

But let’s say our new Mitchell is green-lit, because the studio execs needed more tax writeoffs, or were drunk during the pitch, or think they have the next Transporter on their hands. Questioning their decision will not change the fact that this is now a Thing. Now my interest might be piqued.

“Mitchell” Budget Set, Vancouver Locations Scouted, CG Effects Houses Hired, Etc., Etc.

I like confirmation that a movie is genuinely moving forward into a reality of post-option legal contracts, but only to a certain extent. Hardcore film geeks might enjoy collecting all the nuts and bolts that a green-light sets in motion. To me, pre-production play-by-play is like reading a dishwasher maintenance manual cover-to-cover for fun.

New Line Schedules “Mitchell” Release: May 26, 2017

Show of hands: who plans their theater visits years in advance? Anyone? No? You’re sure it won’t interfere with your Memorial Day plans? You should probably pencil that in, and maybe check Fandango for advance tickets. If you preorder and prepay now, you can rest easy that your Mitchell appointment is guaranteed even if you lose your job, home, family, and legs sometime in the next three years.

Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch Contending for “Mitchell” Role

Casting rumors drive me up the wall. If the first guess of every casting rumor article ever written were accurate, Johnny Depp alone would be starring in thirty-six movies per year instead of only eight. I don’t want to know who’s thinking about auditioning, who’s actually auditioning, who received callbacks, who the last three lucky applicants are, or who their agents are. Again, let me know when contracts are signed. Being “in talks” for a role is unequivocally not the same thing as being hired and signing a contract for the role. It can lead to signing, but without signatures, the actor reserves the right to walk away or be rejected at any moment without notice.

I don’t want to know who “might” be in it or who “could” be in it. The more your headlines deal in theoreticals, the less it qualifies as actual, happening news. If I want to read an ambitious what-if? site prone to off-the-mark exaggerations or bad calls, I’d rather bookmark your amateur competition down here in the blogging mines, where banner ads have a harder time reaching us.

New Line Moves “Mitchell” to September 2017 to Avoid “Smurfs 5”

Still not caring. Shuffle the deck as many times as you’d like. I’m not making plans till two to three weeks before showtime.

Unknown Model-Turned-Actress to Costar in “Mitchell”

Kudos to her, but when an actor’s resumé is a single sentence, an entire article about them is a stretch.

“Mitchell” Villain Role Offered to Ben Kingsley

Roles are “offered” to all the A-list actors all the time. Not every motion a studio makes is an accepted success or a thrilling, need-to-know development. Again: if the article doesn’t mention signed contracts, as far as I’m concerned it’s as good as fake.

Blurry Photos from Day 5 on the “Mitchell” Set

Actors drinking coffee! Electricians milling about! Maybe a blurry glimpse of a costume that looks wretched in person but will be modified in post-production with CG, color-timing, and lens flares! Yeah, I skip those sideline slideshows.

And so the non-announcements keeps going:

“Mitchell” Stuntman Breaks Own Foot with Dropped 24-Pack of Beer

Execs Express Boring Concerns About “Mitchell” Budget

“Mitchell” Director Throws Tantrum After 79th Botched Take

1st Teaser for 1st Teaser for 1st “Mitchell” Teaser to Air During “American Dad”

“Mitchell” Remake vs. “Friday” Remake: Who Will Win Weekend Box Office?

Critic with 20 Twitter Followers Declares “Mitchell” Year’s Best Film

“Mitchell” Special Edition DVD to Include Seventeen Commentaries

Five Seconds Trimmed from “Mitchell” for China Release

“Mitchell” Tops AFI List of 100 Most Forgettable Films

…yeah, I stopped reading several lines ago, too. Incessant, empty hype like this is why I follow so few entertainment news outlets, and why I have to stay out of most online movie discussions. I don’t mix well with crowds that take every headline as gospel.

Unless they’re about Sleepy Hollow. But that’s, y’know, different.

What do you, The Viewers at Home, think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: