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Topic: The First Black Superhero at The Movies? (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 June 2017 at 1:08pm | IP Logged | 1  

The only thought I have to add to the mix is that Blade -- in my opinion -- counts as a big budget film. It wasn't a tentpole summer flick and it wasn't among the bigger budgeted films that year, but I would say that the traditional distinction is between low and big budget, and Blade was not a low budget film. It was a major release with an established movie star.

By way of comparison, compare it to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. They were both made by New Line Cinema and they both came out at a similar time. The Austin Powers movie was a sequel to a film that had proven a reasonable hit and was therefore given a decent budget upgrade. The original film cost under $20m and The Spy Who Shagged Me was given a budget of $33m. Blade cost $45 million.

So, I say Blade was big budget by virtue of not being low budget.
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 27 June 2017 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 2  

Peter Blade was not a big budget film. 

Comparing it to other films that came out that year. Blade doesn't event come close to being big budget. Moderate to decent at best.

Godzilla 125 Million
Lost in Space 80 Million
Deep Impact 80 Million
The Horse Whisper 60 Million 
Armageddon 140 Million
Lethal Weapon 4  140 Million
Mulan 90 Million 

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 27 June 2017 at 5:31pm | IP Logged | 3  

Not only was "Blade" not big budget -- It was a major motion picture, but it was not considered big budget by the studio's standards -- It was made and released during the period after "Batman and Robin", when studios were reluctant to put a lot of money into a comic book related film. 

I believe that on the DVD commentary for "Blade," it's mentioned that they didn't have a big budget.

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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 27 June 2017 at 6:32pm | IP Logged | 4  

For a New Lines film, they had a quite generous budget compared to most other major release NL films (with the exception of Lost In Space) of that year.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 27 June 2017 at 7:56pm | IP Logged | 5  

I'm not sure what Blade's budget relative to other movies has to do with anything. It was a major studio film that had a wide release in over 2300 theaters. It was the #1 movie the weekend it opened. We're not talking about some obscure indie film that opened in LA and NYC only. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 June 2017 at 9:44pm | IP Logged | 6  

Yes, Michael that was the point I was making.

Anthony, when I wrote "It wasn't a tentpole summer flick and it wasn't among the bigger budgeted films that year", your list just agrees with that. 

At the risk of discussing at some length how long is a piece of string:

Moderate or decent budget films are not terms I've heard bandied around. As I said in my previous post, traditionally there has tended to be a binary distinction of low budget and big budget*. Though of course there is no clear cut definitions or parameters, the distinction is really one of whether a studio has put some some welly behind the film. Blade would tend to fall into the latter category with an established star, a wide release, plenty of marketing, etc.

Yes, the Black Panther has a much bigger budget. No arguments on that. But so what?

Certainly for the point of the discussion of firsts, it would seem extremely strange to discount Blade in favour of Black Panther as a big budget film given the very sensible points Michael makes above. 

It's like saying Michael Keaton's first appearance in a big budget Batman film was Batman Returns, because Batman cost less than half of Batman Returns and therefore is only a moderate-to-decent budget film in comparison.

By the by, Batman -- one of the more expensive films back in the summer of 89 -- cost about the same as Blade in inflation-linked terms and was released on fewer screens. The exact comparisons aren't relevant though. They were both major releases.

No matter how colossal the Black Panther's budget, he isn't the first black superhero in a major studio flick.

*We also have the more recent term of microbudget films for the likes of Blair Witch and El Mariachi
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 4:56am | IP Logged | 7  


Anthony, when I wrote "It wasn't a tentpole summer flick and it wasn't among the bigger budgeted films that year", your list just agrees with that. 
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Peter, my post was in response to this comment from you

"So, I say Blade was big budget by virtue of not being low budget."

 Compared to the kind of big budget films made that year. There is no way that Blade can be considered big budget.
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Blade came out in August 21 of 98 so that would have made it a summer flick. For a studio like New Line Cinema I'd argue that Blade was indeed a tentpole movie for them.  Blade wasn't really considered a "superhero" movie. It was considered more of a thriller.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 10:59am | IP Logged | 8  

For a studio like New Line Cinema I'd argue that Blade was indeed a tentpole movie for them. 

-----

Late August isn't a tentpole for anyone, even New Line. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY's August release was viewed as a gamble by Marvel Studios, and its huge box office success in that month was unprecedented. And that was early August. 
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 11:30am | IP Logged | 9  

Late August isn't a tentpole for anyone, even New Line. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY's August release was viewed as a gamble by Marvel Studios, and its huge box office success in that month was unprecedented. And that was early August. 
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It isn't a fair comparison. GOG was had a HUGE BUDGET 232 million dollars. By any standards that is going to be a gamble. If it failed I'm sure it would have hurt Disney/Marvel Studios. But if it wouldn't have destroyed the company.

New Line Cinema would have been destroyed had Blades budget been that. But at 45 million it would have hurt it. But the studio wouldn't have gone out of business. 

Anytime a studio tries to put out a film that hasn't been done before there's going to be some kind of risk.  I seem to remember quite a bit of merchandise and movie tie ins at 7 /11 and toy stores when Blade came out. I don't know if New Line was hoping for the profits from the film to cover the studio for the year. But the film was a big deal when it came out. So I'd say that it qualifies as a tentpole summer movie. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 11:39am | IP Logged | 10  

I'm not comparing BLADE to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. I'm pointing out that studios didn't place tentpoles in August. Prior to the success of GUARDIANS, it was largely viewed as a dump month. 
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 12:17pm | IP Logged | 11  

If we're talking budgets, Captain EO's was reportedly around $23M. For a film that's around 15 minutes in length and given this was 1986, I'm sticking it back in the mix for first black superhero big budget film!
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Tim O'Neill
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 12:42pm | IP Logged | 12  



I cannot see how a movie's budget would impact this discussion.

The focus on box office and budget over the last twenty years has turned movies into this weird competitive sport. Does a movie's production budget and box office measure its creative value?

Warren Beatty said it best when there was the big budget news that accompanied the release of ISHTAR became a news item - he said the movie did indeed cost more than other movies, but the ticket price was the same.



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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 3:39pm | IP Logged | 13  

The budget seems to be a factor for some fans who are excited about this being the first "big" movie starring a black superhero. It certainly is a part of the equation in why so many fans are excited. After all, if it were just about a black writer and director, with a mostly black cast playing a superhero, well... "Meteor Man" had that first.

I didn't come to the conclusion that it's the combination of a big budget, mostly black cast, with a black director and writer that has made this film an important event for many black fans. I've watched many of the trailer reactions and discussions on YouTube:

Here are some reactions"

LINK!

LINK!

LINK!


LINK!


LINK!

LINK!

LINK!


"The Black Panther" film is touching a nerve with black fans (and with all colors of fans of the character), and it's plain that many of them are giving it some sort of prominence over the other black superhero films that have come before. Budget DOES impact on this, as if this were some small "B" film it wouldn't have the stature to be as culturally significant as it appears "Black Panther" will be.




Edited by Matt Hawes on 28 June 2017 at 3:54pm
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 14  

 Tim wrote:
...I cannot see how a movie's budget would impact this discussion....

...Warren Beatty said it best when there was the big budget news that accompanied the release of ISHTAR became a news item...



The second part kind of explains the first part: Big budget becomes news.


Edited by Matt Hawes on 28 June 2017 at 4:11pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 5:42pm | IP Logged | 15  

No one is arguing against the significance of BLACK PANTHER. 
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Mario Ribeiro
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Posted: 28 June 2017 at 7:36pm | IP Logged | 16  

Tim O'Neill: "The focus on box office and budget over the last twenty years has turned movies into this weird competitive sport. Does a movie's production budget and box office measure its creative value?"

Thank you, Tim! I find it maddening. Yes, it's news, but also the least interesting aspect of a movie, at least for those of us who don't own a share of it.

That said, yes, some films are more influential than others, and they have to be seen to be influential. They have to find their audience. But it doesn't have to be the biggest audience.


Edited by Mario Ribeiro on 28 June 2017 at 7:40pm
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Tim O'Neill
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 9:04am | IP Logged | 17  



Matt H:  "The second part kind of explains the first part: Big budget becomes news."

*****

I agree that a film's budget makes news, but that is not the point I was making.  I would appreciate it if you did not chop up my post that way -  you are changing the context of what I was saying.



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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 9:54am | IP Logged | 18  

I honestly couldn't care any less about budgets. Having the right people in place makes all the difference. The right people could take a 40 million dollar budget and make it look like 100 million. The wrong people can make a 100 million dollar budget look like something the SYFY channel made.

Black Panther is by no means the first black Superhero movie. But it just might be the most important one. 

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vishard chandool
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 10:41am | IP Logged | 19  

I think Blade should be considered the 1st Black superhero at the movies.

Since a half vampire half human character qualifies as "super" perhaps 100% vampire Blacula is in contention for the first black supervillain at the movies?

Those two in the same movie would be cool.
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 11:05am | IP Logged | 20  

Interesting point about Blade and vampires. He is unquestionably a comic book character,  but is he really a superhero? "Tomb of Dracula" was considered a horror comic, after all. Regardless,  Blade still wouldn't be the 1st black superhero in film history, as pointed out several times in this thread.
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 11:12am | IP Logged | 21  

Tim, regarding chopping up text: No offense meant. It has been generally frowned upon to quote an entire body of text on the board when referencing only a specific portion. Your original post still shows in the thread, so I didn't see an issue with how I used the quote, but I understand your complaint. 


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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 11:33am | IP Logged | 22  


I think Blade should be considered the 1st Black superhero at the movies.

Since a half vampire half human character qualifies as "super" perhaps 100% vampire Blacula is in contention for the first black supervillain at the movies?

Those two in the same movie would be cool.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
I was thinking about Blacula this morning. But I don't think we can include him. We don't consider other vampires as Superheroes or Supervillain. So Blacula shouldn't be considered one either.

 Blade exists within the Marvel Universe. So I think a different set of rules apply. If Dracula shows up in the MCU that version would be a Supervillain. But we wouldn't consider Bela Lugosi's Dracula as one.

`````````

Editted to fix some typos and make it more coherent.


Edited by Anthony J Lombardi on 29 June 2017 at 12:15pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 23  

Edited. 

Nevermind. Got what you were saying. 

Edited by Michael Roberts on 29 June 2017 at 12:01pm
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Tim O'Neill
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 2:16pm | IP Logged | 24  


Matt H: "Tim, regarding chopping up text: No offense meant. It has been generally frowned upon to quote an entire body of text on the board when referencing only a specific portion. Your original post still shows in the thread, so I didn't see an issue with how I used the quote, but I understand your complaint"

***

Thanks, Matt - in this case, you aren't just taking relevant text, you're removing the context from two different points to make your own point.

I'm hampered by the fact that I am not sure about the point you are making. Even if a film's budget/production cost is news, it doesn't impact the cultural and creative significance of the content.

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 29 June 2017 at 10:09pm | IP Logged | 25  

I'm not arguing that a big budget makes a movie better. I am pointing out, however, that to a great many black fans I've seen online who are very excited about the film, one of the things that makes this special for them is that the film is being given the big budget treatment. That appears to be one of the reasons why they are placing such significance on this film, as opposed to, say, "Blade," or the other movies that came before.


So, let's focus this differently so as to not get all mired in talk about what constitutes a big budget and so forth: The real discussion I was hoping would result in this thread is WHY is this film apparently more important than any other film with a black superhero to a good many fans out there? I stated what I think based on what I have watched on videos and read in articles and blogs, etc. What do YOU think is driving this feeling for the fans?

 
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