What’s more important to a movie studio executive than creating a movie franchise? Keeping a successful franchise going.
That’s been the reality of Hollywood for decades, and we’ve seen the results with the utter lack of creativity with respect to new titles.
So, when Matt Damon didn’t want to continue the Bourne franchise after three monster hits, the producers had to improvise.
Enter Jeremy Renner and a new character, Aaron Cross. Renner was an ascending star at the time, so casting him in the lead role made sense. But while the film did fairly well at the box office, it suffered a significant drop off from the previous installment.
The movie isn’t bad, and it delivers the frenetic actions sequences we’ve come to expect from the Bourne films. The movie takes place concurrently with the events of “The Bourne Ultimatum” and follows Cross, a member of Operation Outcome, an offshoot of the CIA’s black ops program Treadstone which created Jason Bourne. The writers add a new wrinkle to the story, as Outcome agents are genetically enhanced through a series of pills known as “chems” that improve their physical and mental abilities.
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The Bourne Legacy
After the first three “Bourne” movies grossed a combined $945 million worldwide, Universal Studios wasn’t going to let something as “petty” as the series’ star, Matt Damon, walking away stop the cash from flowing in. Even though “The Bourne Legacy” will likely break an impressive pattern—that each of the trilogy’s installments was more successful than the last in terms of both opening and cumulative grosses (“The Bourne Identity” debuted to $27.1 million and had a domestic total gross of nearly $122 million, “Supremacy” made $52.5 million in its opening weekend, winding up with $176 million, while “Ultimatum” opened to $69.3 million and had $227 million to its name when things were all said and done)—the studio can still expect to make a pretty penny. Plus, given that “The Dark Knight Rises” was last week’s top earner with just shy of $36 million in its third week, Universal can expect to own the nation’s number one movie, as “Legacy” will have no problem clearing $30 million over its first three days at the box office.
Anyway, let’s talk about the film itself, shall we? With Damon gone, writer/director Tony Gilroy, who also wrote the screenplays for the first three “Bourne” movies, had to come up with some way to introduce a new main character. As we find out from the trailer, “There was never just one… Jason Bourne was the tip of the iceberg.” Enter Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker,” “The Avengers“) as Aaron Cross, who’s essentially another Jason Bourne.
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It’s quite late, or quite early, here on the west coast, so this edition will be swift.
* Captain America has got his girlfriend, and I’ve never heard of her! However, those of you who keep up with your TV may know Hayley Atwell, who’ll be playing Peggy Carter, Cap’s WWII era love interest. Among other shows, she was featured on the not-so well received AMC redo of “The Prisoner.”
* The folks over at Dreamworks have been busy beavers. First, they began the roll out of their “Kung Fu Panda” “virtual theme park” — basically a collection of Panda-based games for kids. Also, their gearing up for the May release “Shrek Forever After.” Today, CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) confab about, naturally, 3-D conversions on the first three “Shrek” productions and how they won’t suck like certain live-action 3-D conversions.
Still, there was a fly in the family-friendly ointment, and that was a photo spread that’s coming out in the glossy Vman Magazine that apparently caused some unhappiness at Dreamworks Animation. I could explain why, and you may definitely read the Paul Bond’s THR article about it. On the other hand, I don’t have to tell you how many words a picture is worth.
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