Thursday, March 31, 2011

S.W.O.T Analysis Revamped

            Hello ladies and gents, this final week BP4 brings you our new and improved re-vamped S.W.O.T analysis plan for the official Birds of Prey movie:


• A female-dominated franchise, which is rare in today’s film industry
• Appeals to a variety of audiences: females because the characters are empowering, males because the characters are attractive but also strong, and older generations because the film brings in some personalities from other stories to create nostalgia (Batman, Wonderwoman)
Birds of Prey is part of the DC comic family, a well known and successful comic book franchise
• This is a known product/comic (the comic has over 127 issues) (DC Comics, n.d). and there are more books coming out this summer (DC Universe, n.d).



• It’s our first film so we lack the experience of established companies and filmmakers
• Canadian-produced films don’t have the best reputation (but we will be using Hollywood stars and director)
• “Chick flicks” don’t always have the best reputation for being girly and fluffy
• Nostalgic aspect may not be enough to bring older viewers to the theatre.

• Cultural industries, including film, have brought in $56.8 billion to the economy in 2008.  That’s an increase of 39 percentage points from 1999 (Culture and Leisure, 2009). This means the film industry is growing and contributing more and more to the economy.
• Many other female empowerment films have seen great success. For example, Charlie’s Angels.
• The superhero genre is in for the next few years (Coming Soon, n.d). in its revisionist stage, where the conventions are pre-established and the audience has certain expectation for the genre, but is still ready for surprises (Louis & Leach, 2001).


• A lot of competitors are working on other films of the same genre
• There are a lot of superhero releases coming out in summer 2012
• A lot of people are watching pirated movies online (this has led to 12,600 full-time jobs lost in the film economy and 4,900 directly related to the industry) (Film Theft, 2011). Furthermore, members of the Motion Picture Association or America say they lose $25-billion a year to illegal copiers (Lacey, 2011).

           Finally, since this is our last blog post we would like to thank anyone who has read our blogs, we hope you enjoyed it…and are getting ready for the biggest female-lead action film yet----coming to a theatre near you! JJ


Giannetti, Louis D. & Jim Leach. (2001). Understanding Movies-2nd Ed. Toronto, ON : Prentice Hall.

Lacey, L. (March 4, 2011). Piracy: The Downside of the Oscar Bounce. In The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 20, 2011 from

N.A. (n.d). Birds of Prey. In DC Universe. Retrieved March 20th, 2011 from

N.A (2009). Culture and Leisure. In Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 20th, 2011 from

N.A. (February 17, 2011). Film Theft. In Oxford Economics Report. Retrieved March 20, 2011 from

N.A. (n.d). Birds of Prey. In DC Comics. Retrieved March 20th, 2011, from

N.A. (n.d). Coming Soon. In The-Numbers. Retrieved March 20th, 2011 from

Friday, March 25, 2011

Okay, So what's next?

Our brand will embody the dark side of female superheroes, something that likely hasn’t been seen since the days of Catwoman. The strength and skill of the women in our film will be the differentiating factor between us, and our predecessors. The sex appeal will only be a small factor in the fleshing out of the characters, it will be used to draw in the viewer (particularly male) – they’ll be hooked by the power these women hold. Since the idea of our film is somewhat novel – it hasn’t been seen in recent years – it has the potential for branching off into ancillary markets such as video games, which was discussed in an earlier post.
This adds value to our franchise, as creating a fresh and new initiative will allow for the creation marketable products that will range from fierce action figures directed younger girls, to video games and posters for older males.

One of the most important things we want/need to address in all stages of our venture, is that it be of the utmost and superior quality work and presentation. The creation of this project was done so under the notion that it would carry an appearance that would be taken seriously. One of the main features of our mission statement is that a female franchise be viewed with a dark and unsympathetic tone. The quality of our production will reflect these ideals.
            In addition, because the Birds of Prey story has links to other generations of graphic novels and other characters and storylines, our film will carry these out. This allows for a wider audience, using nostalgic iconography to draw in more viewership. There are options with characters such as Batman and Wonder Woman, and storylines involving the Justice League (and Society) of America. With this in mind, the connectivity must be highlighted in our advertising endeavours in order to maximize its advantages.
            Within the industry, film franchises such as Charlie’s Angels have shown us that the empowered female genre subtype can be extremely successful. This, combined with the superhero film trend we’ve seen in the last few years, highlight a major opportunity for success.

Of course, with the positives, must come the analysis of any disadvantages that may present themselves. Some of the drawbacks our group will be keeping in mind are as follows.
            Being first time filmmakers, there is an obvious lack of experience that could play a role in the creation of the films. This must be counterbalanced by thorough research and working alongside co-creators with more experience in the industry.            
Similarly, Canadian produced films are often not taken as seriously as high-budget, American made films. The A-list stars being cast and the well-known director will be crucial in the reputation we’re trying to create.
            In addition, the recent rise in Superhero films hitting the market means that our franchise must draw attention to itself, keeping up with strategic marketing that will keep our name at the top of the list. The category of superhero film we’re putting forth will hopefully set it apart somewhat from the slew of similar films that will be being released parallel.
            Perhaps the most important threat to not only our film franchise, but any film being released in present day, is the ability of viewers to watch even brand new releases from their computers – for free, and in the comfort of their own homes. Piracy is an enormous issue facing media today, and the counterfire is only recently being created and tested. Online trailers and advertising are the beginnings of the effort to, perhaps, co-exist with the potentially detrimental world-wide-web. Our marketing must subtly illustrate the importance of viewing our film on a big screen with a giant sound system – as any action movie is better viewed on a giant screen than on a laptop.

Keeping all of these important things in mind, we can move forward with the research elements to create our franchise. Understanding your strengths is a valuable way to generate a profitable venture – but even more importantly – being aware of your difficulties can keep you on the right path to achieving success.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Girl Power!

           In this weeks blog, we will be why we think the Birds of Prey will make a successful blockbuster hit and basically in this day and age.  The idea we really want to focus on and don’t think has been talked about enough, is women’s roles in movies. Last class there was discussion about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One could say that this show is about vampires, Satanism, stakes, garlic (etc…) and this is perhaps the reason for its popularity. But in another light, one can say this show was popular because it had a kick-ass female lead who wasn’t afraid to do mid-air drop kicks and throw punches to vanquish her enemies. In the history of movies female characters have very often been put into various stereotypes. We all know them : the damsel in distress, the dumb blonde, the femme fatale, the cheerleader, the evil corporate climber, the sex kitten, the supermom (etc…). To say the least, we have not been portrayed in the most empowering light. Empowered women did/do, however, exist in the realm of comic books, a medium that although certainly has its dedicated followers and talented writers/artists, but I don’t think many would consider “mainstream”. Not to say that women in comics don’t face their own stereotypes and sexual objectification…... *cough* *cough* hyper-sexualized costumes.

What is more significant is that the common stereotype most seen in the media is women’s dependency upon men. But there is some good news on the horizon. Lately in the past couple decades, there have been successful mainstream movies and television programs that have challenged female stereotypes and proven to moviemakers that these are the kinds of movies people will pay to see. Movies and shows like Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill Vol. 1 + 2, Thelma and Louise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alien, the recent movie Salt and even the animated film Chicken Run amongst many many more. What’s even more encouraging is that this trend seems to be on a roll with upcoming movies such as Sucker Punch (which comes out on March 25) and a television reboot of Wonder Woman starring Adrienne Palicki.
            The article by Daniel Frankel titled, “ The Female-Driven Blockbuster is on the Rise” speaks directly to this long-awaited and much-needed change. ( Frankel talks about the female audiences who have driven blockbusters like “Dear John” for example, whose audience comprised of 84% women, 64% of which were under the age of 25. Ok so maybe “Dear John” isn’t the most empowering movie for women but this shows that it is not just young teenage boys who have the power to make a movie a hit, but women as well. And its seems that executives have caught on to this trend and for that reason and increasingly making more “female-friendly” movies portraying strong female leads because they have proof that women will pay to see it. It seems the term “chick-flick” is being re-defined.
         In the Birds of Prey, female characters will take center stage. The Birds of Prey hopes to follow in this vein of strong female characters that aren’t afraid to show the villain who’s boss but who are also, more importantly, real women… not stereotypes.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"There's No Business Like Show Business"

Meehan’s article “Holy Commodity Fetish, Batman!” gives some important insight into the world of ancillary markets. Creating a film is undoubtedly taking a chance on establishing a profitable franchise – drawing attention to your film, your story and your product is key. The article makes clear that show business is a profit driven enterprise, which comes as no surprise as it’s called show business for a reason. Though some may argue that culture, creativity, art and inspiration are the driving force of the film industry, this is an optimistic and naïve view. Without profit, films would cease to exist, and there would be no more show in show business.
            This means that as project creators, we must strive to create a rewarding and lucrative venture, exploring the options of ancillary markets. Meehan’s second important point indicates that ancillaries aim to generate revenue from many different streams.

            Since our pitch was presented so late in the game, we haven’t quite made it to the specifics of the ancillary market stages, however we think our stylistic adaptation of the Birds of Prey will make for excellent promotional outlets. Since the film will be set in a dark tone, it will likely be geared towards a slightly older crowd, like teens and adults. With this in mind, things such as the soundtrack would perhaps make more money than toys or souvenirs would. Not to exclude toys completely – Meehan makes a point that with a higher film rating, toys serve as a profitable venture for children who are under the age limit to see the film itself. A video game would be an interesting and suitable choice as an offshoot to our movie; a dark game to match the film, complete with captivating characters could certainly find popularity. The video game would also be an opportunity to bring female players into the male-dominated video game world. As we mentioned in our pitch, the film is empowering because of the strength of the female characters. This empowerment would be furthered in the video game, when the players actually have control of the characters’ actions.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Will the Comic Books Please Stand up!!?!

This week, our blog speaks directly to the weeks reading, “Will the Real Wolverine Please Stand Up?” by Derek Johnson.
First of all, in his article, Johnson talks about the relationship between marvel comics and the movies that are being based on them and equates this, more or less, to being a negative thing (especially in circles with dedicated comic fans who see their favorite comics getting used only has “secondary consideration” in a movie or television adaptation). In accordance with Johnson, we would definitely agree that comics are probably not as popular as they once were perhaps due in part to the great advances in other forms of media (like movies, television and video games) that give people who would potentially be interested in comic books, a much more intense and sensory experience then just reading pictures and text off a paper. It seems that imagination has become undervalued with these media forms, since they don’t leave much for viewers to imagine anymore.
BUT, we have another argument/perspective to add to the mix. We would argue that comic book adaptation into movies has also increased interest in comic books, at least from our personal experience. After seeing Watchmen the movie for the first time (outside of class) we became curious to find out what it was based on. As this relates to our Birds of Prey project, we believe that if people went to go see the movie it would have this effect on audiences as well. A movie version of Birds of Prey might actually bring more fans to the original comic book series... especially if they want to find out what other situations the characters get themselves into!

 Clearly with all the new Hollywood adaptations and comic movies coming out  like they were on a conveyor belt, comic books seem to be having their chance to be “cool”. This is a definite shift we are noticing. To get more attention to comic books though, we think that the fans and writers need to be more open-minded if they want to attract more crowds. Perhaps re-vamping or modernizing their comics, for a modern audience. In other words, with a bit of modernizing (maybe some new heroes, updating text, more relatable yet still keeping the elements of what makes marvel marvel) who knows?…the reading of comic books could make a comeback! That is slightly off topic...But in the end, we believe that the comic book people have to understand Hollywood movies can’t please everyone, with every adaptation whether it is a just a novel, play or comic book…they can’t be exactly transferred to the screen exactly how it is. That is a rare thing. Hollywood needs to sell and, basically, you can’t please everyone. They should focus more of getting newer younger readers.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

kickin' the superhero genre in the ass

Yes, “Kick-Ass” does have weapons, tight leather costumes, a villain and bad-ass stunts. So it’s a superhero film, right? But it makes fun of itself – and the superhero genre as a whole – so perhaps it’s a comedy.
In fact, “Kick-Ass” is part of the superhero genre, but that sort of film has been done so many times in recent years that “Kick-Ass” kicks the genre in the ass by creating a parody. We can compare this to romantic comedies by looking at a recent timeline.
2003: “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”
          “Love Actually”
2004: “50 First Dates”
2005: “Hitch”          
          “Just Friends”
          “The Wedding Date”
2006:  “Date Movie”
“Date Movie” was a spoof on the romantic comedy genre that had been so overused in recent years. At this time it begins to make fun of the genre and the audience is aware of that.
That’s where we get the temporary end of the genre cycle. After the genre has its heyday, the parodic period enters. Then the genre leaves the big screen for a while until it makes a return in later years.
The parodic stage blatantly makes fun of the genre’s conventions. It does so by using clichés that the audience recognizes and accepts through comedic presentation (Giannetti & Leach, 58-59). Through Giannetti and Leach's definition of the parodic stage, we can explore why "Kick-Ass" fits into this category.

The most outright mockery of the superhero genre in "Kick-Ass" is when Dave Lizewski excitedly asks, "Why has no one thought of this before?!" It's ironic because the film industry had just gone through a superhero phase:

2003: "Daredevil," "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," "Hulk"
2004: "Catwoman," "Hellboy"
2005: "Batman Begins," "Fantastic Four"
2008: "Iron Man," "The Incredible Hulk"
2009: "Watchmen"

Those are just some of the superhero films from the 2000s. After so much villain-killing and leather-wearing, it was time for some comedic relief. "Kick-Ass" gives us that, and we were certainly ready for it and understood its jabs at the superhero genre. So when Dave asks that ironic question, we knew it is a sarcastic mockery.

Another important aspect of Matthew Vaughn's "Kick-Ass" is that it is self-reflexive. It's aware of itself as a movie and doesn't try to make the audience forget it's watching a fictional world. This is primarily accomplished through Dave's dialogue and narrative. He talks about his mother dying "from an aneurism in the kitchen... as opposed to a gunman in the alley." That's the kind of mother-death the audience has come to know and expect from the genre. That's how it worked in Batman, in the dark Gotham City Crime Alley. Dave knows we're expecting this and almost apologizes: "So if you were hoping for any 'I will avenge you mother!' you're out of luck." Later he even tells the audience that he's talking to us. He says we already know he'll survive "because I'm talking to you right now."

This kind of cliche narrative mocks the superhero genre in a comedic way, and puts it into the parodic stage of the genre cycle, so much so that it could be its own genre: the supercom.
Works Cited
•Giannetti, Louis D. & Jim Leach. Understanding Movies (Second Edition). Toronto, ON : Prentice Hall, 2001

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dick Tracy: Superhero or Average Joe?

In his article The Definition of the Superhero, Peter Coogan emphasizes the importance of a precise description of the characteristics that make up a “superhero”.  As with any genre, a clear and specific outline of its constituents is an important way of discerning itself from others. Coogan delineates three major points of significance that separate what we know as “superheroes” from other characters.
The first is his mission: the character must act selflessly, represent the good of mankind and make any and all attempts to do away with evil. More importantly, his (or her) cause may not in any way reflect a personal gain – these actions are purely to better society. Second, is their power. Superheroes are given immense strength, mystical qualities, or flying capabilities to name a few. These traits are what separate them from ordinary men, and allow them to take up their mission. Powers are arguably the most important part of the classification of a superhero. The third component that Coogan outlines is the superhero’s identities. They almost always carry a sense of duality – an ordinary and inconspicuous character who blends into society, and an improved, usually costume-clad superhero alter ego. Which brings about the other element to superhero identity, the costume.
            Though Coogan makes mention of other qualifying ingredients to a superhero and his story, he outlines the use of these three when testing a character to see if they fit the mold. This week’s film, Dick Tracy, does an excellent job of convoluting ones attempts to place him in the superhero mold. We can say that he is, in fact, a superhero… but how do we know?
            Firstly, his costume is a far cry from the spandex/cape combo we’re used to seeing on most of his well-known counterparts. However, Coogan makes reference to Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics, in which McCloud discusses how iconography can be amplified through simplification. The simple colours and design of the theatrical costuming in the film definitely do not go unnoticed. Tracy’s fedora and suit are a costume all their own. His one-sided identity is also somewhat confusing – he lacks the alter-ego persona we’re so used to seeing.
            Another somewhat confusing notion is that Tracy does not embody any of the specific powers of x-ray vision, flight, or superhuman strength that we’re used to seeing. He does, however, have his determination. In a strange sort of genre overlap, his “powers” are seemingly employing the use of spy-like tools to perform his detective duties. Could these be his superhero powers?
            The most appropriate of the categories is the third, his mission. Dick Tracy undoubtedly fits the man on a mission cast. His altruistic fight against evil in the city certainly rests him with his superhero foils for this portion of the classification. Giving everything he’s got, putting himself on the line, even coming close to losing the love of his life in the film, he does whatever it takes to save the day, refusing a life of normalcy and being confined to a “desk job”.
            After review of the classification of a superhero, Dick Tracy sure seems like one of a kind. Is he a “superhero” by an audiences classical standards? Perhaps not. A superhero as defined by Coogan’s definition? Slightly atypical, but definitely a man on a mission.