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I raise you a Wonder Bug. (I can’t believe I remember this.)



Wanda Boss Signals Retreat From Hollywood Dealmaking

A little less than a year ago, Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin said he planned to pour billions into all six of Hollywood’s major studios.Now he’s unlikely to sign a sizable deal with any of them.

Addressing the swift regulatory crackdown that has engulfed his Dalian Wanda Group in recent weeks, Wang said his new international investment strategy would essentially be a retreat from the world stage.

“Wanda will respond to the state’s call and has decided to keep its main investment within China,” Wang told Caixin, a leading Chinese business news outlet, over the weekend.

Wang’s statements were followed Sunday by reports that Beijing’s recent clampdown on Wanda’s international dealmaking was approved by Chinese president Xi Jinping himself. The news suggests that Beijing’s about-face on the topic of outbound investment — from previously encouraging Chinese companies to go global to aggressively reining them in — is a priority that stretches to the very top of the Chinese leadership.

The government’s stern handling of Wanda, one of the country’s preeminent and most politically connected firms, is sending a strong signal across the Chinese corporate landscape, which could put a damper on any major Chinese investment in Hollywood.

“It feels like an avalanche,” Jingzhou Tao, a lawyer at Dechert LLP in Beijing specializing in mergers and acquisitions, told The Wall Street Journal. “This is sending a shock wave through the business community.”


Responding to the shifting regulatory winds, Wang has curtailed his ambitions with the same boldness he became known for in expansion. After boasting last year that he would drive Disney out of China’s theme park sector, the billionaire recently beat a surprise retreat, unveiling a $6.5 billion sell-off of 13 major theme park projects, as well as a $3 billion sale of 77 Wanda hotels (the deal was mysteriously reworked a week after it was announced, with Wanda upping the price tag by $200 million but receiving additional investor scrutiny for the change-up).

Asked by Caixin on Saturday to explain the background to the asset sale, Wang suggested that a key driver was a recent high-level economic policy conference convened by Xi Jinping, which called for a reduction in corporate indebtedness.



Smart move by China. The big studios were dumb for not jumping on this guy immediately.



Wow…holy damn.

I’m glad pretty much every loose end was closed up in this one, despite Besson’s intent for a trilogy.


I get that the promise of another Star Wars for a new generation is tempting, but this is just the result of awful decision after awful decision, ultimately coming down the the problem with having one guy in charge who’s not James Cameron. There were warning signs everywhere in this picture, so everyone who lost money did so with their eyes wide open.

I don’t think it kills this kind of investment, there’s too much easy money in movies if you get it right and with so many dying franchises there’s lots of spots for new franchises to take over. You just can’t rely on the creative mind alone to lead the thing. You need a clear headed businessman, which this venture clearly didn’t have.


Right, I like this movie (probably a lot) but I keep hearing John Carter comparisons about the marketing and the overall advertising direction.


It’s really hard to make a indie comic into a successful movie. You need to change quite alot, and then the fans get annoyed. Wanted wouldn’t have worked as a comic (though the loon is an example of screenwriters not knowing what to do instead). Kick Ass 2 needed to change as what you show in a comic doesn’t work on the big screen. Kingsman got it right by changing significantly, just keeping the core of the idea.

Pretty much every indie comic has been optioned, studios have enough rights to make these movies for the next 20 years (though options often expire after a few years and the studio has to rebuy them again to hold onto the property).

Marvel and DC make comic adaptions look really tempting, but hardly any can make more than $200mil domestic, $400 mil worldwide. And most need big budgets to compete with Marvel and DC. It’s a tough needle to thread.


I also think it’s what I said initially, French sci-fi BD is kind of its own thing, I anticipated the crux of most of the reviews, it looks amazing, the ideas are great but the plot leaves something to be desired. That is basically true of all the genre. Most mainland European comics are way better drawn than written, something we saw recently with reviews here of Corto Maltese translations, you can see how it has influenced Miller and Mignola visually but nobody much was moved by the writing.

I love looking at The Incal, it’s one amazing visual after another but there’s not much to the story outside that. That has a limited appeal and hard to justify a massive budget, although I admire how Besson gathered it.

I haven’t seen it yet but will find the time as I have more tolerance for that than most.


The plot is very simple, but it’s not the weakest part. The dialogue is - and there are some ADR moments where they changed punchlines in post to (arguably better) jokes, so they noticed as well.

Honestly, the plot being very simple allowed the movie to never really stop its momentum. Which is good because if it had stopped it’d have fallen apart. I thought it was lots of fun, but a lot of reviews I think wanted something with more depth.


Yeah and to be fair Tom I haven’t seen it yet but it does seem a variation on the same idea, a simplistic plot or a meandering one, it is how these things tend to be approached. That it takes a more secondary role compared to how English speaking creators tend to approach things.


Most definitely. It’s exactly the same style > (barest amount of) substance as the Fifth Element.
Which is what puzzles me when people say that the Fifth Element was 1000x better than this.

The only worse thing is the dialogue. Not exactly the intent of the dialogue though - as it is enough to keep the movie and the characters flowing through the movie. Just the content is pretty stilted haha.

Meandering is the farthest word away I’d place this, and it’s definitely to its benefit. It’s dumb, but it ain’t boring.


That makes me want to see it even more.


The dialogue really needed a second go through, but yeah…it’s just set-piece after set-piece and I guess people found that tiring.

I didn’t though, outside of two scenes one near the middle and one near the end.


The dialogue didn’t put people off - no-one went to see it. It simply didn’t appeal as a concept and the lead actors were truly awful, unappealing leads. The trailer failed too. It’s just a mess of not understanding mass appeal.


Oh, yeah, no disagreements there.
I was just giving my takes on it to Gar and Todd since they seemed interested in seeing it.


Ah, but not interested enough to actually go see it. Most people rejected this movie based on the advanced marketing. Some by reviews, but most movie attendance plans are made in advance of reviews. This was just a movie no-one wanted.


Oh definitely, if I wasn’t interested in both the director and the genre, with the genre conventions therein, there’d be absolutely nothing alluring about how they presented this movie.

Especially with that title. First impressions are key and that title is…well, they tried to go for branding purposes but fell way short of the mark. And I was literally hearing after the movie that they didn’t know what the movie was about due to the trailers.

And all of that classic mismanaged mass appeal stuff.

Plus, everything about it was niche everything. Especially Dane - I like him, but the last thing he headlined was another niche genre movie.


Oh I’ll go and see it , I was just on holiday the last week, but I admit that I know my interest is a minority one. I wouldn’t invest in it.