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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
warner bros has harmed the franchise
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book Gandalf
Rohan


Feb 14 2014, 10:45am

Post #1 of 52 (1878 views)
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warner bros has harmed the franchise Can't Post

theres been some very odd decisions made about marketing and certain film elements that i think stems from the studios influence that has IMO harmed the making of a tolkien film and its integrity.

the way they like to present themselves on social media, and through packaging etc etc heres a few of the ones i can think of now.

taylor swift? bad call

FB hobbit quote 'It's February 14th, so here's a Valentine's treat for the eyes! Elegant elves, dashing dwarves and a handsome hobbit...' seriously?

$100 bluray set for fans, who will have to buy it all again when th eEE comes out.

bad packaging decisions, and completely utterly confusing blur ray/dvd releases

tauriel love story!! studio decision?

did they influence the casting of the non dwarf looking dwarves?

This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party.


Arannir
Valinor


Feb 14 2014, 11:32am

Post #2 of 52 (871 views)
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Hm [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I found the media campaigns by New Line with LotR better - and certainly more successful - I already had the same complaints about certain stuff back then as well (EEs than SEE etc)... one can be critical of that hyper-merchandising, but it would imho be wrong to say that back in LotR days things were that much better. Unfortunately, I doubt franchises will go without that kind of merchandising anymore in the future... with all the rather cheap stuff that comes with it. SOme stuff, however, just as the Valentine thing, should imho not be taken too seriously, just as the Taylor Swift performance which seems to be highly biased by your personal opinion when it comes to that performer.

Re Tauriel and Kili relationship (I find the term "love story" misleading and often used to make it sound as ridiculous as possible) and the look of the dwarves - I have no reason to believe it wasn't a PJ & Co plan. They talked about their ideas, designs and decisions with great passion up until now and despite the community-dividing decisions reviews and audience reactions do not indicate that Tauriel or the looks of the dwarves have "harmed the franchise".

There are also many Tolkien lovers who are d'accord with these changes. I find them to be a breeze of fresh air the Hobbit as a story adapted to screen does profit from and in a lot of ways being full of the spirit behind Tolkien's work.


Other than that I do share your skepticism when it comes to WB and its understanding for franchises... what they did to the only game so far that made it really possible to dive into Middle-earth (LotRO) is abysmal. As said before, I also do not understand how they marketed the movie. Thank God the status of these movies is high enough (and seems to remain pretty high) to sustain a certain public reaction and appreciation.


ďAll good stories deserve embellishment."

Praise is subjective. And so is criticism.

"I am afraid it is only too likely to be true what you say about the critics and the public. I am dreading the publication for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at."


TheHutt
Gondor


Feb 14 2014, 12:14pm

Post #3 of 52 (826 views)
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Well, Warner's way of marketing the films is... [In reply to] Can't Post

...to do nothing at all. The fans will go in nevertheless. Why invest?

Russian LOTR & Hobbit Site: Henneth-Annun.ru


QuackingTroll
Valinor


Feb 14 2014, 12:56pm

Post #4 of 52 (821 views)
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I've come to hate WB [In reply to] Can't Post

The marketing for The Hobbit has been terrible (although I don't think WB had anything to do with Tauriel or hot dwarves) But they really don't seem to understand the tone of the franchise, and just seem to be flaunting it as an element of pop culture for teens. (I also think Ed Sheeran was a choice made by PJ so that his daughter could meet her favourite singer. Unsure)

Another thing I hate is their blu-rays. Besides the terrible packaging, they're very strict about their interactive menus following the same layout on all films. So their release of Lord of the Rings EE, which is supposed to have the beautiful book layout, now has this crummy bottom bar over the top of the old menu? It doesn't make sense and looks awful. (Although it's not as bad as Universal's standard layout, which is all icons and no text, so you have to guess what all the symbols mean!)

I've also been playing Batman on PS3 (a WB game) and it's full of bugs and glitches, I mean really bad, and WB announced recently that they won't be fixing any of the problems because they are focusing on other things. They seem to have no respect for their customers interests at all.

It seems to me like WB think there is one audience for all products and they don't change their strategies for each release, instead they try to get everything to appeal to everyone, rather than targeting specific demographics.


Shagrat
Gondor

Feb 14 2014, 1:20pm

Post #5 of 52 (755 views)
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More like the other way round [In reply to] Can't Post

Katie Jackson had already met Sheeran and introduced him to her parents, months before he was approached to do the song.

I'm only speculating at these events, but just saying that she had already met Sheeran as far as I recall.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 14 2014, 2:09pm

Post #6 of 52 (740 views)
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Romance [In reply to] Can't Post

Elements of a romance were there right from the beginning, in the original casting call for Itaril (although the document might have been deliberately deceptive; substitute Dwarf-prince for Elf-lord of Rivendell). So, no, I don't believe that Warner Bros. had much--if anything--to do with that.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


tsmith675
Gondor


Feb 14 2014, 2:15pm

Post #7 of 52 (737 views)
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Who cares? [In reply to] Can't Post

Really, why do you even care about marketing, social media, packaging, etc. The only thing that I can see that actually warrants being upset is any story changes that were influenced by the studio, which we don't know if there even was any.

The marketing shouldn't matter to anyone on this website because we all know exactly when and what things are going to be released. The social media, why even bother caring about what they post? If you don't like it, don't follow their pages. And DVD/Bluray packaging, this one really doesn't make sense to me. You never even see the packaging, unless you display your Blurays like trophies.

And, about the $100 Bluray set, don't buy it! It's only for those that want to buy it. Certainly people will buy it, but those that don't can just buy the $20 regular version. I don't understand this complaint. And it's not like you're getting ripped off at $100. It's a limited edition pack with the 3D Bluray and limited edition bookends/statues. That easily adds up to $100 in my book, but even if it's not worth that in your mind... DON'T BUY IT.

If you have problems with the story, that's totally understandable. But saying that the studio harmed the franchise seems like you're complaining just to complain. None of this harmed the franchise, as they did all of this exactly the same last year, and AUJ still made $1 billion.

"This day we FIGHT!"


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 14 2014, 2:37pm

Post #8 of 52 (721 views)
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It's not only the Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

WB has gutted Turbine and the Lord of the Rings Online game. They just laid off virtually all of the development staff and long term employees. What was once a great game and a lot of fun has become boring and useless. When WB took over they just did not understand the fandom, nor the whole concept. They saw it as a cow to squeeze cash out of and get rid of, which is what they are doing. I have absolutely no love for WB at all. They can suck eggs. Typical heartless American Corporation.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


TheSexyBeard
Lorien


Feb 14 2014, 4:54pm

Post #9 of 52 (652 views)
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Taylor Swift [In reply to] Can't Post

I doubt Warner Bros had much to do with Taylor Swift and Sheeran's rendition of "I See Fire". She probably liked it and just wanted to sing it with him. I feel the only major way Warner Bros has harmed this franchise is failing when it comes to advertising the films.

Yes, my username is terrible.


Avandel
Valinor

Feb 14 2014, 5:47pm

Post #10 of 52 (578 views)
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the loss of hard copy anything [In reply to] Can't Post

"WB announced recently that they won't be fixing any of the problems because they are focusing on other things. They seem to have no respect for their customers interests at all."

It's been said before but this statement brings to mind media companies putting less into hard copy and more into serving online - including what I think is the offensive digital releases of films online several days ahead of the BR/DVD. Why should I be punished for not wanting to watch a film via a computer?

Like the companies are doing me a favor. I LIKE having hard copy in hand - several of them. Even if I get friends and family to set up a TV to watch from a computer, I still have to learn enough to handle any glitches that come up watching stuff online, worry about security, deal w. a network going down. I don't WANT to depend on some "cloud" to serve up my movies. I don't want to have any more passwords. I don't want to become an IT specialist. I don't want to send some code or whatever to friends/family when I send a movie as a present - and they shouldn't be expected to have to watch films on a computer either, or have a computer hooked to the TV.

For me having an online copy is simply an accessory to the DVD/BRs. So while media companies figure BR/DVD sales are dropping, there is still a real market out there that is not going away any time soon. Tho maybe I'd be wise to learn about burning my own BRs and getting a great big drive I can load entire movies into ): And I can do my own artwork.


Avandel
Valinor

Feb 14 2014, 6:15pm

Post #11 of 52 (571 views)
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I care - it's part of the entire experience of a world created [In reply to] Can't Post

Different strokes for different folks - some people (I guess) have a perfectly clean desk w. a sleek Apple and are delighted to not have to have a shelf of DVDs - no clutter. As for BR/DVD packaging, like a beautifully produced book, that's part of the experience of the fan community that WB is making so much money off of. And if the packaging if great I am also going to assume that the DVD/BR itself is beautifully produced and a joy to watch and work through the menus.

Others like myself who do a lot of hand work appreciate the richness of packaging, specialty items put out in association with a movie, beautifully done movie posters. Used to be that album art was a signature field in itself, w. much iconic artwork that is still cherished as ART. I personally consider a good movie poster the same way, and my favorites end up on a wall as decor.

An image speaks a thousand words and a good image can draw people to a film, set an entire tone for a film, along with a good tag line (e.g. "in space, no one can hear you scream" etc.) Notice any time the Hobbit released images they go around the world within minutes, hours, any and every publication that deals w. movies puts the pictures up - so all that marketing is setting up expectations for the film - it's critical re audiences.

Overall, too, if a studio isn't putting a lot into marketing a film to me they are often telegraphing low expectations for a film re the industry. Don't think that's true of the Hobbit which is obviously making WB $$$$$, but WB IMO did take advantage of the fan community and cut corners to improve its bottom line. I shudder to think what PR there might have been without PJ being mindful of the fans and willing to share.


book Gandalf
Rohan


Feb 14 2014, 6:16pm

Post #12 of 52 (561 views)
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games [In reply to] Can't Post

dont get me started on that mordor computer game, it is th e most insulting piece of tolkien adaptation into anything i ve ever seen! what is it, wraithe sense or something, influence orcs? very odd.

sure i could just ignore it, which i probably will, but if that was my franchise, my ideas my lifes work, id be sick to th e stomach of 'handsome hobbits' and the like, they dont understand this world at all!

This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party.


tsmith675
Gondor


Feb 14 2014, 6:45pm

Post #13 of 52 (538 views)
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It's not like the packaging is crap though [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course it matters what it looks like to an extent, but people make it out to seem like it looks like crap. It still looks nice and put together well. I take pride in my Bluray collection, but I care about the movie more than I care about the packaging it comes in. I still have all my Blurays on a shelf and all you can see is the side and they all look beautiful.

When it comes to posters, of course that matters. That's a completely different subject. And I think the Hobbit has done fine with it's posters so far, nothing spectacular or anything. I have plenty of movie posters up, and not one from LotR or the Hobbit, but that doesn't stop them from being on my list of favorite films.

"This day we FIGHT!"

(This post was edited by tsmith675 on Feb 14 2014, 6:46pm)


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 14 2014, 6:49pm

Post #14 of 52 (530 views)
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I care too [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the fan experience. I like the various and sundry items I can buy, I enjoy it as art as fun and having a great time within the context of the film genre and also the other ancillary stuff. I have not bought hardly any Hobbit stuff. I did not buy the AUJ EE, I probably will not buy the DoS EE partly because I don't like the packaging but also because I would rather wait and buy something when they put all 3 out as one set. With LOTR I bought all of it because New Line made if fun, they were involved and I felt like I was getting quality stuff for my money. Not so much with WB who throws slop on the plate and wants me to open my wallet.

New Line sent a rep to every theatre showing RoTK with the film frame collectibles, worked with the fan groups for Trilogy Tuesday and made it a totally fun experience. WB sees this as any other film and all they care about it me forking over my $$ without having to provide much in return.

And so right about PJ. I shudder to think what would have happened had PJ not been involved with the films. I for one am glad DelToro bowed out. It would have been a hot mess.

As for Lord of the Rings Online, a game which has stayed very faithful to Tolkien's works and was very creative, it's been gutted as I said above and no new content on the horizon with layoffs. They are mothballing it. It was a super game. Shadows of Angmar was one of the best games I ever played online and the Mines of Moria expansions (which was before WB bought Turbine) was some of the best content and so faithful to the story. It was tremendous. The worlds built in that game like Carn Dum, Urugarth, Angmar etc. were absolutely outstanding for feel and depth of story. The epic story which was alongside the LOTR story in the game was brilliant. WB bought Turbine, laid off staff, started putting out crappy and under develped content (Southern Mirkwood, Eastern Rohan and now Western Rohan) and basically gutted the game. It's a shame. It was a solid, solid game and totally Tolkien faithful. I loved it. I have 4 lifetime subscriptions.

TL:DR: It's about having fun. WB is just no fun, interested only in profit and doesn't produce quality products. As a result I don't feel compelled or want to buy their low quality crap.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


Elessar
Valinor


Feb 14 2014, 7:01pm

Post #15 of 52 (534 views)
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Its not that bad [In reply to] Can't Post

Has WB been as good as NL? No I don't think so, but I don't think they've been awful either. I haven't cared a lot for the covers of the BR so far but in the end I'm getting it for the movie. If they do a gift set item with the TE I'll get it because I like what I see. If they do something similar with the EE and I like it I'll get it.



Avandel
Valinor

Feb 14 2014, 7:07pm

Post #16 of 52 (516 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

"WB is just no fun, interested only in profit."

The best I can say about WB is that they did seem to have a hands-off policy re PJ (as long as he stayed in budget I guess and made them money) - e.g. PJ was able to cast and direct and tell the story the way he wanted, host his vblogs, opt out of Comic Con over work (and good for him on that one!) and I guess WB had to fund and set up the fan event (which was admittedly awesome except for the *sigh* re-use of the all-elf spam).

The issue w. the LOTR game sux! Another example of while it's fine and even necessary to make a profit, where is the PRIDE in your work? And you can't tell me, watching the Appendices re WETA staff putting in 24 hour days at times to get stuff ready, that doesn't come from just plain love for what you are doing - what WB doesn't get, like many companies, is that passion for what you do can equal profits in the long run, including customer trust and loyalty. But customers can leave fast enough if they feel betrayed - trouble is re the Hobbit, WB has fans over a barrel (no pun intended) and they know it.

PS. Agree tho about del Toro -what was it about the "spiky armadillo wargs" or whatever he had come up with? Think no-one professionally wants to say so, but while del Toro can be great and was obviously enthusiastic about the project, think the way things worked out was for the best.



Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Feb 14 2014, 8:22pm

Post #17 of 52 (508 views)
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Didn't Philippa Boyens cop to the "romance" angle? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm pretty sure that she all but admitted that the Kili/Tauriel thing was mostly her idea (or maybe in tandem with Fran Walsh).


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Feb 14 2014, 8:35pm

Post #18 of 52 (483 views)
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You wouldn't happen to be talking about that "Shadows of Mordor" game, would you? [In reply to] Can't Post

I started to read about it in Game Informer, and was so appalled that I stopped reading by about the third paragraph.

I love video games, and I love Tolkien, but it's things like this "Shadows of Mordor" game that has me thinking that all of this has gone too far.


Avandel
Valinor

Feb 14 2014, 8:36pm

Post #19 of 52 (491 views)
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Dwarf statue gift set [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't care what I have to buy - tho it looks like happily for me Thorin may be the cover art - I want the dwarf guard sculptures. I love what's been done fleshing out the dwarf aesthetic and the work that was done re that section of the Appendices, and the richness of an entire culture that was able to be achieved when there wasn't necessarily that much to work with. It's amazing - the dwarf clothing details, the tattooing, the architecture. Love the flowing lines of the elf culture as well, but I think PJ's team successfully HAS given dwarves back their status in popular culture.

I'll never be able to look at a depiction of cute little dwarves again without frowning and missing PJ's vision. Sadly this dwarf sculpture gift set isn't on Amazon yet (in the U.S. anyway). Don't know if I should be nervous about that or not seems it seems to have appeared, and then vanished as a mistake since this was the EE which won't be out until later. I think.


glor
Rohan

Feb 14 2014, 9:27pm

Post #20 of 52 (453 views)
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New Line versus Warner or... [In reply to] Can't Post

a simple case of a massive risk versus a dead cert in terms of profit?


Quote

New Line sent a rep to every theatre showing RoTK with the film frame collectibles, worked with the fan groups for Trilogy Tuesday and made it a totally fun experience. WB sees this as any other film and all they care about it me forking over my $$ without having to provide much in return.


I agree with your observation but LOTR was never the 99% guaranteed box office 'smash' that TH is, there was a strategy to have TTT and ROTK go straight to video if FOTR flopped, that's not the actions of a film company confident they had a box office money maker on their hands.

If one wishes to look at New Lines LOTR promotion with a critical if not cynical eye, they were out to gain the approval of Tolkien fans, the fun and quality element is a marketing ploy one I thought of a clever a decade ago, a way of ensuring the LOTR trilogy wasn't perceived as another cheaply made, hammy acting fantasy like almost every fantasy film that proceded it. This was a marketing tactic designed to challenge both the Tolkien fanbase and public's notions of fantasy film making as the lowest of the low by ensuring that (almost) everything surrounding the LOTR trilogy screamed quality. It worked and it pleased fans too.

I am not keen on Warners strategy for marketing the Hobbit but it's a standard method used by most film companies, if anything I feel that they have under-promoted the film, there seems to be far fewer Tv slots, print and internet adverts for any of The Hobbit films than there are for comparable films. I also feel that they have missed the one thing that this trilogy has been almost universally praised for, the acting, instead they seem to be treating the Hobbit like a comic book franchise assuming a similar fanbase in terms of attitude, demographics and a willingness to accept lower standards of merchandise( sorry comic book fans here at TORn but there is an overabundance of tacky film merchandise available for most comic book franchises, so someone is buying them, even if it's not you).

The thing is WB still had a billion dollar movie with AUJ with the marketing that they provided which means from their POV the strategy worked.Frown




Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 14 2014, 9:39pm

Post #21 of 52 (438 views)
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no doubt [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with your assessment in regards to it being a sure thing or not. Still by the time RotK aired it was a dead banv success anx new line never took their foot off the gas. I think a lot of that was Odesky.

I agree entirely also about the under marketing of TH and you are spot on about the lack of emphasis on the acting. Sad because they have Freeman, McKellan, Armitage not to mention the other outstanding actors and chose to rely (as has PJ) on VFX instead of the relationships. I sfill very much love the movies but I really have not cared for WB's marketing.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


glor
Rohan

Feb 14 2014, 10:25pm

Post #22 of 52 (408 views)
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well, the marketing will be forgotten... [In reply to] Can't Post

..but the movies will remain.


Avandel
Valinor

Feb 14 2014, 10:31pm

Post #23 of 52 (415 views)
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unhappily think this is completely accurate [In reply to] Can't Post

"there seems to be far fewer Tv slots, print and internet adverts for any of The Hobbit films than there are for comparable films. "

That's for sure - meanwhile I can't get away from the ads for the "300" sequel - or Walter Mitty weeks ago.Mad

"there seems to be far fewer Tv slots, print and internet adverts for any of The Hobbit films than there are for comparable films. I also feel that they have missed the one thing that this trilogy has been almost universally praised for, the acting.....
The thing is WB still had a billion dollar movie with AUJ with the marketing that they provided which means from their POV the strategy worked.Frown"

All too true - there were enough articles about what a great year WB had $$$ w. a lot of credit going to PJ's work. Still, from purely GRAPHICS standpoint, the sloppiness I saw re timelines and work just would have taken the person or team doing the work a few minutes extra effort to check things - wouldn't affect cost. Just like you can shop around and bid jobs for printing DVD/BR covers etc. Just takes someone who cares enough AND for the customer to complain (this is all info from some friends in the printing/graphic industry, who explained re production work, there's the concept of the "good enough" job as most customers won't notice some sliding here and there.). But the sad thing is WB is the customer for this kind of work and nobody there cares - but if I'd been working at WB I would have complaining about the weird Bilbo images, the messed up timelines, all it!

Or maybe that is the issue - some graphics firm won a bid and is doing cheap work because they bid w. a cheap budget in mind - slap some images together, get 'em on the web. May explain too why there are so few images of Thranduil, and really not that many of anyone else.


TheRealBeren
Rivendell

Feb 14 2014, 10:51pm

Post #24 of 52 (403 views)
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yes, well [In reply to] Can't Post

It's called capitalism.


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 14 2014, 10:53pm

Post #25 of 52 (396 views)
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Not really [In reply to] Can't Post

We don't have capitalism. We have Crony cap. But that's another discussion..

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13

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