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Slashfilm’s Sciretta and Collider’s Weintraub react to WB’s Tarzan Presentation at Cinemacon


For those who don’t know, Peter Sciretta of /Film and Steve Weintraub of Collider are two movie writers who are pretty far up the buzz chain.  This is the reaction video blog after watching the Warner Bros presentation at Cinemacon.  The Legend of Tarzan piece is at 9:18.  This s a pretty mixed bag. The good news is, they like what they saw. The bad news is, Weintraub claims that he’s been hearing a lot of “bad buzz” about Tarzan — so his point is that he’s surprised at how good it seems to be.   He’s not specific about what he’s been hearing, and frankly it sounds like he hasn’t been paying much attention. But what he has to say is a good indication of what LOT is up against, expectation wise.  “Does anyone really want a Tarzan movie?”


  • It seems to me ,that Weintraub heard most of his bad buzz from Matt Goldberg who wrote the reviews for Collider on both LOT trailers. He was less than enthusiastic in his review of trailer 1 but in his review fir trainee 2 he said LOT” reeked of a flop” and was hoping to be the ” Pan of 2016″. He gave no reasons for his prognostications aluding getting this ” vibe” instead. When you check out the comment section no one is agreeing with him. They pretty much just ignore his comments.

  • Well, Weintraub says he hasn’t seen any of the previous trailers so it’s likely he hasn’t noticed the reaction they got, so at a guess, I’d say he’s talking about that Kim Masters article in The Hollywood Reporter last year.

    • Emcube and Maggie – both good points. This is actually a pretty good microcosm of what we hope is happening more broadly out there as skeptics rethink their initial low expectations, as Weintraub does in this piece. Still …. what a steep hill to climb for LOT . . . .

      • It is a microcosm. I’m a little irked that as someone who works at covering the industry he’d not bothered to look at the trailer and didn’t really know anything past that HR article. But, 4 1/2 months after the first trailer, he finally saw footage and was pleasantly surprised. Much like many who had been doubtful and then saw the trailer.
        Tom&Lorenzo, a snarky fashion blog, had several posts on CinemaCon’s red carpet fashion, and had one on Alex and Margot. TLo were dismissive of the entire concept of the movie, as were many of the commenters. However, they, nor many of those dismissive, seemed to have actually seen the trailer. So they’re just dismissive of the concept, and some seemed to be of the mindset it was some sort of Weissmuller/Disney thing.
        I think there is a small core of moviegoers that just isn’t going to be interested in LOT, in fact rather hostile to it, for whatever reason. But I do think there’s a very large group that could go either way, once they see more. So yes, WB does have steep hill to climb. I have hope that they can do so.

        • I honestly detect a certain glee among these people when they’re dismissing it outright like that. They *want* it to fail. I’ve been posting on the Box Office Theory forums and in the Tarzan thread there, despite people posting lots of positive reactions and whatnot, I even posted that Variety “BuzzMeter” from CinemaCon which said this movie was quite “hot” and that people were impressed by it, yet the responses I got were:

          This movie has been surrounded by bad buzz since it was announced, so that is not surprising in the least (this was in response to the video above).

          the film looks like shit it’s going to bomb

          This was shot almost two years ago. I’m guessing the studio thinks (or knows) they have a troubled film on their hands.

          I corrected them on all of their assumptions (especially that last one – WB had set the 2016 date back in 2014 and haven’t moved it since, despite THR suggesting last year they might do it because of the “troubles” behind the scenes), but again, is it willful ignorance, or what?

          Another person responded, regarding Weintraub hearing “bad buzz” that we should trust him because “he has his sources.”

          They’re right, I suppose… but I would like to know that he hasn’t ignored the overall positive response, especially from people within the industry itself, like this for example:

          • Ah…the Schadenfreud kicking in already. I don’t think he necessarily has good sources–not when he’s not paying attention. I think Maggie’s right — his sidekick there at Collider has been giving it a hard time, and he read the Kim Masters piece . . . . .that may be all he’s basing it on. Hey, there was plenty of negativity surrounding Avatar at this point — it can be overcome. I think WB is doing a good job of trying to turn it around without trying too hard, hence without becoming a target for the real blast of schadenfreude that will come if they put it up on a pedestal. With John Carter — what caused all of this to go completely nuts was in August of 2011 when Disney put a hold on Lone Ranger because it was too expensive . . . and in talking about it, some Disney exec let slip for the first time that JC’s budget was 250m, making it the most expensive film to date at that point. That was like putting a giant target on its back ….. “Disney will have to do 600m to break even . . . how could anyone be so stoooopid . . . . ” At least LOT doesn’t have that going on. Yet. And the product is better, at least at this stage — the trailer, the cast, etc.

          • There’s definitely some glee. We all are, in some form, Judgy McJudgy, from the simple to the serious. In entertainment, especially movies we go with our initial reactions: They’re making a movie out of a Disney ride? How many Spiderman reboots do you need in a decade? A Monopoly movie? And so on.
            We also make snap judgments based on movie trailers: Guardians of the Galaxy looked great, Gods of Egypt looked horrible and didn’t help its already damaged image.
            I make the snap judgment, but if a movie idea sounds stupid to me (POTC) but ends up being good/fun I’m not going to deny myself a fun movie based on an earlier snap judgment.
            But people who are griping about it just to gripe, and without bother to really know anything about a movie that they’re griping about, ugh.
            I’ll add that I’ve seen the occasional theory that WB put this HR article out themselves as something to use as an excuse if they rescheduled the release date or to create the image of an underdog. I could almost buy into the first one (Except there’s been no actual followup on the HR article). As for the second theory, they already had pushback when it was announced, never mind after it got greenlit. They didn’t need to dig themselves a deeper hole.

  • There are those who get a sense of power from spreading negativity on the internet via various social forums. They have all kinds of different rationales but one thing they all have in common is that they get a charge out of it. When a new potential blockbuster/ franchise or major feature film is announced ,they flock to IMDb and other sites to spout doom and gloom which they continue doing even in the face of opposing opinions/ evidence. If there is some negative article they can spin off of,such as the one by THR then they use that as the basis for their negativity. If there is nothing but their own desire to be destructive then they use that. Unfortunately, they are prone to attack anyone with a positive response and so discourage people who may want to go do so. They love to start spats and engage in hit and run behavior etc.

    As a result,it’s difficult to get an accurate feel for what the majority of the public is feeling about one of these film unless it’s an already proven winner like Star Wars,Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurrassic Park etc.

    • Well, for what it’s worth — this negativity is nothing compared to John Carter. But it still is daunting. It really helps that the trailers are good; the cast is good with two leads who have buzz and others with cachet — and it just looks inviting . . . . . but it still is painful to listen to reflex negativity.

      • I think the “haters” are a small minority but as is usual with such groups, they’re quite vocal. Empty vessels make the most noise, as they say. So far, the Box Office Theory forums is the one place I’ve encountered where the reaction has been largely negative (that forum is mostly for people to make box office predictions and almost everyone has been predicting it will be a flop). IMDb, Reddit, Facebook, etc., the reaction has been largely positive. YouTube, reaction has been positive, but with a lot of the usual “CGI is trash” whining. Oh, WhatCulture recently put out an article where they said this movie looks atrocious:

        That’s all the negativity I’ve seen. Oh yeah, there’s Matt Goldberg of Collider who did a 180 after the second trailer and gave no reason for it, but some of his other Collider colleagues definitely loved the first trailer:

        • I just read the What Culture article. It’s sounds like it was written by one of the juveniles that posts at IMDB or you tube who whine about no one asking for this film to be made. He sites that as one of his reasons why this film is ” terrible looking.” Forget for a minute the fact that whether or not anyone asked for the film or not has nothing to do with how it looks,. How it looks has to do with the cinematography,setting and CGI. Also ,with how the actors look and how the brief glimpses of action look. It’s the heighth of illogical fragmented thinking to cite such a reason as having anything to do with the look of a film.

          Next up,let’s get back to the idea of people asking for specific films to be made. Everytime I hear this complaint I am mystified anew. What world are these people living in that they think the public at large orders up movies and Hollywood obediently makes ithem.?Certainly not one I’ve been living in. If it does indeed exist as these people seem so sure that it does, I want to know how to find it,since I have a wish list I’m dying to submit. This author sounds like he has the understanding of a twelve year old or maybe he thinks he’s writing for 12 year olds.

          Then he goes on to his next big reason the film looks terrible.. He says it’s because it looks like a mess and the CGI is terrible. This is not a reason. It’s just a repeat of his point minus a reason. It’s looks like a mess is synonymous with it looks terrible and his statement that the CVS looks terrible is like saying ” it looks terrible because it looks terrible. This type of circular logic I found very common in with my 9th and 10th students when I instructed them to write a persuasive essay along with reasons to support a given position. Allthey could do was restate their position using other words or just repeat it using the same words ordered differently. This type of circular logic is prevalent in yellow journalism as well. Maybe I was giving too much credit to the writer by calling him juvenile. He may just be a cheap hack of a yellow journalist instead.

          Lastly, he recirculates the info about the film being in trouble because Yates hadn’t had time to edit it properly since he’s been tied up with Fantastic Beasts .Of course, he hasn’t seen the film to know of it is well edited or not and no one can tell any such thing from a trailer. He is now engaging in rumor mongering,another device used in yellow journalism.

          So, we either have an immature hack of a writer who is using the techniques of yellow journalism unwittingly or we have a dyed in the wool yellow journalist who is deliberately trying to ospread negativity in a way that appeals to his readers who are themselves immature thinkers. Unfortunately, there are too many people who have untrained and uneducated minds who thrive on this type of idle speculation and rumor mongering.

          • Ha, Maggie — I hadn’t seen this when I did a post on this article. My main takeaway was that it was one of those articles that tell you more about the writer than what they’re writing about . . . . but also, in the end, it gives appropriately high marks to the Skarsgard/Robbie buzz factor and says that that, plus some value it ascribes to the Tarzan brand, will put it over the top and make it profitable. Hey, in the midst of all the “it will flop” trolling, let’s enjoy this one for predicting profitability even if it’s kind of goofy in its logic.

  • There’s a schoesknow Summer 2016 preview video posted on April the 14th. It’s more than two hours long and Legend of Tarzan was spoken about… for 2 minutes and 20 seconds! It’s easily the least spoken of movie of the show, even if Kristian Harloff said that it could be a surprise hit… before the stupid girl next to him dishes the movie as another George of the Jungle. It’s fair to say it’s not on anybody’s radar right now.

    The Legend of Tarzan stuff is from 1:18:40.

    • Just watched the Video. I caught the BFG part and the Tarzan part. I timed the BFF part and it was as long as tge Tarzan part if you allow for the brief digression of the panel into a brief discussion of Mark Rylance and Mira Servino. When Kristisn Harloff transitioned from BFF into discussing Tarzan he did not identify the film by name but simply talked about his memories when he was a kid of a man swinging through the jungle. The rather dense and scattered blond panelist interrupted him and guessed ” you mean George?” And Kritian quickly said ” no, Tarzan”. The rest of the comments were positive, after commentary that they hadn’t been excited at first but after seeing the trailer they had changed their minds. One panelist said he didn’t like the second trailer because it told the whole story as seemed to be the new trend with most trailers today. He did like what he saw,however and was interested in seeing tge film. None of the panelists were what I’d call enthusiastic but at least they didn’t pan it outright. They weren’t enthusiastic about BFG either. They spent most of their commentary talking about what a great actor Mark Rylznce was. I should go back and watch the Independence .day part and see if they are enthusiastic about it,since the main competition for LOT is Independence Day and maybe BFG.

      • The blonde woman, Sasha I believe, later said she thinks Tarzan looks like shit. The other three were positive still about it.

        • Yeah, I went back and watched the part directly after LOT when they discussed The Purge. When asked if she even cared about the Purge she said no and also she didn’t care for the George of the Jungle, gay Tarzsn movie. Shesentvon to say it looked like a shit cracker to her. Apparently the guys and other female panelist had shut her down when they were discussing LOT earlier after she interrupted the opening statement with her ” you mean George?” comment and she wanted to make sure to get back to LOT and put it down hard. She seems ,of all of them ,to react emotionally and thoughtlessly. I listened to their discussions about 3-4 other movies and her comments were always said in a loud obnoxious way whether positive ones or negativel. She called one movie ” a turd in a platter”.

  • I have never heard of this podcast/YT series but here’s what the tagline in IMDB says of it:
    “Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis are just two regular schmoes talking about movies the way you and your pals do. ”
    If the transcriptions provided are any indication, no, that’s not how my friends, in real life or online, talk about movies, or anything, really. Not trying to sound like an elitist snob, but we usually have more coherent thoughts, and while we swear a lot, we swear with purpose. I know you have to appeal to a certain demographic, but this group, at least the woman, sound like ignorant twits.

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