The Highest Grossing Movie Franchises of All-Time

James Bond, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jason Bourne, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tolkien Saga, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spider-Man, Indiana Jones, Twilight, Jaws, Rocky, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Transformers, Aliens, Predator, Mission Impossible, Fast and the Furious, X-Men, Matrix, Men in Black, Terminator, Die Hard, Back to the Future, Narnia, Godfather, The Mummy, Lethal Weapon, Planet of the Apes, Rambo

The folks at BuzzFeed have put together a fascinating graphic on just which of the franchises in the franchise-mad cinematic world in which we live, have made the most money. With more films than any other franchise in history, James Bond being atop the list is no surprise. However, Star Trek is second with 12 films and is far down the list in Rocky territory. Star Wars should blow past Bond when the future film cycle starts, but look how high the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just one film into Phase 2. Disney may just have themselves the two highest-grossing franchises of all-time five years from now.

Microsoft Caves to Community Demands for XBOX One

Xbox One

Another dramatic shift looks like it’s coming from the chastened Microsoft.  The pre-E3 M$ had pretty much given indie game developers the finger, which is absurd since the games developed for and distributed across XBOX Live have been some of the best of the generation.  One of them (Walking Dead) just won Game of the Year!  Once again, the folks at Xbox360achievements.org are on the trail:

Microsoft may be preparing for another turn-around, this time in regards to self-publishing.

When the Xbox One was announced, Microsoft said that it would not allow developers to publish their own games on the console, a move which disappointed many independent studios. As a result, the developers of exciting titles like DayZ and Fez II responded by saying they would not bring their games to Xbox One.

However, if the latest rumours are to be believed, that may be about to change.

This Wednesday, Microsoft will be holding its Build Conference in San Francisco. It’s an annual shindig aimed at software developers working with the company’s tech. And it’s here that some are speculating a second change of policy in as many weeks may take place.

Internet sleuth Superannuation tweeted last night, “Some people seem to think Microsoft will announce some self-publishing/indie Xbox One stuff this week at their Build Developer Conference.”

Meanwhile, on the same subject, Markus “Notch” Persson tweeted “I know something about this, but I’m not allowed to say. :(“ The tweet has since been deleted.

Adding a little weight to this speculation is the fact that when invitations were sent out pre-E3 2013, gaming press were assured the event was PC and mobile only. However, now the event has expanded to encompass the Xbox platforms.

It’s worth re-stating that this is currently all speculation. Indeed, if it wasn’t for Notch’s deleted tweet and Microsoft’s recent dramatic turnaround regarding DRM on Xbox One, we wouldn’t have given it much weight.

Fingers crossed. A larger selection of games for Xbox One is always good news.

 

Movie Review: Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University, Mike, Disney, PixarIt’s not Cars 2.  Relax.  Peace out (drops the mic and walks off the keyboard).

More?  So needy, you people.  Pixar delivers a solid double with it’s 14th animated effort.  For any other studio this is incredibly, but it’s lumped in the middle pack of really good movies, below the classics, above the abomination.  It’s a fun expansion of the Monster world, clever, cute and fun for kids of all ages.

The film tells how Mike and Sully met at Monsters University roughly 10 years before the events of Monsters Inc.  Rather than destroy any affection you had for the characters like Cars 2 did, MU enhances the world in which they inhabit and give insight and depth to characters (especially Randall Boggs).

The animation is just astounding.  When you think Pixar could not possibly make something more gorgeous, they turn around and up themselves.  The vibrancy and diversity of the literally hundreds of monsters populating the screen at some points is incredible.  When you look at Boo in Monsters Inc and compare her to the kids in this film, the strides in complexity are night and day.

No Pixar film is complete without a short film (usually worth the price of admission alone) and MU’s is called The Blue Umbrella.  It takes its place amongst the other wonderful shorts, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that this is THE best computer animation I have ever seen anywhere.  It’s astounding.  I could not believe it wasn’t live action.

Pixar is beginning to erase my ire (and as a notorious grudge holder that’s saying something) over Cars 2 with two fun outings in Brave and Monsters University.  Next year is The Good Dinosaur and 2015 will have both Pete Docter‘s Inside Out and Finding Dory, so the future looks bright once more for the best name in family entertainment.
8.25/10
Monsters University, Sully, Mike, Pixar, Disney

My Favorite Scene: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) “The Job Interview”

To cleanse our mental palates of After Earth, in which M. Night Shaymalan managed to leech the personality out of two of the most charismatic people on Earth: Will & Jaden Smith, let’s look back at Jaden’s debut in The Pursuit of Happyness.  I don’t think this film gets enough recognition on Smith’s resume (possibly because three of his last four films have been notorious bombs and this  was just before that string began.  It’s one of the best turns of his career and from the moment you see Jaden, you know this kid is going to be something special, which he went on to prove when he carried a movie in The Karate Kid.

There’s a scene in this that destroys me.  At their very lowest, when father and son are living on the street, they spend the night in a public restroom in a subway station and Will Smith is bracing himself against the door against thugs trying to bust in, giving everything he has to try to carve out just this little space of safety for his son.  It’s heartbreaking.  This is one of the best dads in film history.  My favorite scene though, it one of the streaks of levity that pepper the film making it inspirational and not a dolorous slog.  Will Smith is painting a house, covered with paint, and gets arrested for delinquent parking tickets.  He’s released just in time for the interview that will literally make or break his life and he sprints from the police station just in time to walk into a Wall Street conference room, filthy and covered in paint.  It’s earnest and funny, but desperate.  Will Smith needs to stop doing Men in Blacks and start acting again, because when he tries, he’s about the best there is.Will Smith, Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

Top 5: Movies That Are Better Than Their Books

Top 5 Movies Better Than The Books

“Yeah, but the book was better.”  How many times have you said that coming out of a movie?  I say it nearly all the time because I read everything and then everyone tells me to shut up and throws something at me.  There are times; however, when the movie manages to outpace its source material.  I’m not talking about great books that are even better movies (The Godfather, The Princess Bride, The Shawshank Redemption, etc.).  I’m talking about books that are utter crap and that somehow, someone managed to drag a good story out of the dreck.  I’m going to just include Forrest Gump as an emeritus member of the list because I hate the movie (yes, I’m the one) and anyone I’ve ever talked to who has read the book, thinks it killed fine trees for no purpose.  The Social Network nearly made the list, but the book by Ben Mezrich isn’t really bad; it’s just the movie is so SO much better.  I’m also making this an all fiction list, but if I were doing non-fiction, at the top of the list would be A Beautiful Mind.  I defy you to try to slog through that (highly inaccurate) bio of John Nash and then not go running into the arms of one of the best movies of the last decade.

1. Jaws
Jaws, Peter Benchley

2. The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, Robert Ludlum

3. The Prestige
The Prestige, Christopher Priest, Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlet Johanssen

4. LA Confidential
LA Confidential, James Ellroy, Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey

5. Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorcese, Shutter Island, Dennis LeHane