Speaking of Warner Bros, we’re been seeing a lot of articles that state that 300, the CGI-beefcake-palooza film, has a lot resting on its mighty-thewed shoulders. After the floperoos of ALEXANDER and TROY, it’s seen as the last gasp for sword-and-sandal epics. (A smaller budget, in great part due to the lack of stars and sets, may help.) WB is also putting a lot of marketing muscle into the movie, much of it viral, such as promotions on MySpace and early screenings. (They may not be throwing money at it, however, as they passed on a Super Bowl spot, which would have seemed a natural.)
Now, Anne Thompson looks at Mark Canton and 300, explaining how it’s the studio veteran’s big chance at a Hollywood comeback. Along the way she talks more about the films Hollywood journey and says Frank Miller is working on a SEQUEL movie script.
Even after Warners’ experience on the inflated megabudget disappointments “Troy” and “Alexander,” Canton was able to sell his more modest period epic — which had been gestating for five years — to Warners execs Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov. Canton wowed them with Snyder’s 90-second test of the movie. In turn, Warners brought in Legendary Pictures and Virtual Studios to co-finance the R-rated, violent and sexy $64 million period battle epic. “We live in a world in which we’re at war,” Canton says. “There’s so much chaos and distress. This is the story of this battle, which is a real case where the few stood up against the many, united in recognizing that it really was for the greater good. Maybe people would like to think that the world is that simple now.”
Warners is launching “300” in the pre-spring break March slot that worked well in the past for “The Matrix” and “Lethal Weapon.” Footage from “300” stunned comic book fans at July’s Comic-Con, where they demanded to see the teaser three times. “300” seamlessly blends CG environments and live-action shot against bluescreens (in Montreal), much like Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s black, white and red “Sin City.” But the new movie is in full color and offers a much grander scale. Instead of a series of vignettes, “300” is “one epic story shot like pop art,” Canton says. “It’s educational, wild. There’s nothing like it.”
This hugely entertaining, over-the-top action adventure uses the latest technology to bring a comic book to visceral life — from Butler’s star-making role as the heroic (and half-naked) Leonidas to bloody, hacking swordplay, a grossly deformed hunchback and a deadly shower of arrows that blots out the sky. This highly stylized graphic technique inevitably will be widely imitated. (Miller already is plotting a follow-up screenplay set a few years after “300,” involving the Spartans and the ancient Greeks.)