Scream 2008 Awards are a sign of the times

Oct. 20, 2008 | 2:48 p.m.

George_lucas_at_scream_awards_2008I went to the Spike TV Scream 2008 Awards and have plenty of things to report back from it. First off, here’s a story I wrote that was published on the front page of the Los Angeles Times this morning.

The Oscars present Hollywood as it wishes to be — refined, glamorous and high-minded — but on Saturday night at the Greek Theatre, the Spike TV Scream 2008 Awards showed the movie industry as it truly is in 2008: obsessed with superheroes, overflowing with fake blood and relentless in its pursuit to sell popcorn to teenagers. And despite a name that sounds like a B-movie convention, the Scream Awards turned out to be so of-the-moment in their target audience that top studio executives, major stars and A-list directors not only attended, they talked backstage about the show as a sign of the times.

“There’s a feeling that film and comic books and all these genres that didn’t used to get respect are having this truly dynamic moment right now,” said Zack Snyder, director of “300” and the upcoming R-Christopher_nolan_accepting_at_spik rated superhero epic “Watchmen.” “Just look around tonight and you get this feeling things are going into interesting places.”

The Scream Awards, which will air Tuesday night on the Spike TV cable channel, are hardly a ratings powerhouse, but you wouldn’t have known that from the celebrity turnout. Anthony Hopkins, Samuel L. Jackson, Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman appeared to present or receive awards, and two of the most successful filmmakers alive arrived on stage in dramatic fashion — “Sweeney Todd” director Tim Burton floated in via hot-air balloon like the Wizard into Oz, and “Star Wars” mogul George Lucas entered accompanied by a marching regiment of stormtroopers.

Marilyn_manson_at_spike_tv_scream_2Backstage, Lucas, standing not far from black-clad rock star Marilyn Manson and comic-book industry icon Stan Lee, seemed a bit dazed by the strange confluence of pop culture streams. “This,” he muttered, “is something.”

These are lean times for corporations that routinely gamble more than $100 million on major films. Last week, Paramount, citing financial constraints, pushed back the release of “The Soloist,” which was considered to be a strong Oscar contender.

At the same time, studios are scrambling to buy the rights to obscure superheroes, and there are no fewer than two dozen projects based on comic-book characters or video games that are in various stages of production. The reason is simple: This summer, “The Dark Knight,” the latest Batman film, racked up $527 million at the box office in the U.S. alone, making it second only to “Titanic” as the highest-grossing film in history.

Iron Man,” “Hancock,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “The Incredible Hulk” were other major hits in a season that might be remembered as the Summer of Glove. More than Tim_burtons_big_entrance_spike_tv_s that, you have to go back to 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan” to find a year when the top movie wasn’t a hero movie or an animated film.

The Scream Awards presented a pop-culture environment where filmmakers like “Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan shared the same stage as comic-book writers such as Mike Mignola, creator of “Hellboy,” who said that in the old days Hollywood would strip-mine comics and scoff at the creators. Now, they walk on the same red carpet, which on Saturday night had giant posters of the Green Lantern and Spider-Man above it.

“Comic books have given birth to all of this,” Mignola said. “Comic books are the baby that gave birth to a giant. And sometimes it was a difficult delivery.

“After this summer, everything is getting green-lit in Hollywood; there are so many projects in the pipeline that they won’t all fit into the summer release schedules,” he added. “So you’re going to see summer last all year long. Comic-book movies are going to be year-round. It’s the center of entertainment right now.”

Casey Patterson, executive producer of the award show, said the event began three years ago with an emphasis on horror, a genre that was surging at that time thanks to movies such as the “Saw” films and “Hostel.” But in subsequent years, the show widened to embrace comic books and fantasy.

Burton, Lucas and horror icon Wes Craven were handed career awards on Saturday night, underlining the range of Scream constituencies. The biggest winner was “The Dark Knight,” with 12 awards.

The_spirit_crew_at_spike_tv_scream_The winners for the Scream Awards are determined by fans who vote at the network’s website; nominations are influenced by an advisory board that includes author Stephen King, filmmaker Kevin Smith and graphic novel writer Neil Gaiman. The categories picked by the Viacom-owned Spike aren’t especially staid — there’s a trophy for most memorable mutilation, for example.

It will be interesting to see whether Nolan and the late Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in “Dark Knight,” will be in the running for Oscars, Patterson said. Traditionally, old Hollywood ignores superhero fare in the marquee categories.

“It’s not that comic-book movies are coming to the mainstream; it’s that the mainstream is coming to comic-book movies,” Patterson said.

This summer, Comic-Con International in San Diego drew 130,000 fans, and Japan’s Comiket, a mass gathering for comics fans, quadrupled that number. Science fiction is a hot genre on prime-time television, and many shows, such as “Heroes,” reflect the comic-book ethos.

Wes_craven_acknowledges_crowd_at_sp On Broadway, Tony-winning director Julie Taymor is working with U2’s Bono and Edge to put together a Spider-Man musical that will reportedly be the most expensive production in the history of theater. Then there are video games — such as “Spider-Man: Web of Shadows,” one of this year’s most anticipated new releases — which stir even more interest among Hollywood executives who know that film franchises such as “Harry Potter” and “X-Men” can pay off big in games, toys and other merchandise sales long after a movie’s final weekend at theaters.

In other words, prepare for a steady parade of masked men in the seasons to come. Right now Warner Bros. has a string of superhero projects underway (another Batman film, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern and possible Green Arrow and Flash movies among them) and “Watchmen” due in theaters in March. Lionsgate has “Punisher: War Zone” due Dec. 5 and Frank Miller’s “The Spirit” on Christmas Day.

Sony has “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in May, and there’s talk about a fourth movie for “Spider-Man,” a franchise that racked up a staggering $1.1 billion at the U.S. box office since its launch in 2002. Hollywood newcomer Marvel Studios, meanwhile, has announced plans to make four more movies (another Iron Man movie and then Avengers, Captain America and Thor) after releasing two of this year’s top 10 hits, “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

Kerli_performs_at_spikes_tv_scream_Taking the long view on all this was Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, Hulk, the Fantastic Four and most of the other signature Marvel Comics characters. The 85-year-old got some of the loudest cheers of the night when he went on stage, showing that the audience knew comic-book history.

Afterward, backstage, Lee was giddy.

“It’s hard to believe how far everything has come. Who would have expected all this when we were sitting there thinking up superhero stories and just hoping kids would like them?” he said. “I don’t see any end in sight for all this either. There are so many stories, and there’s a huge appetite for them. It reminds me of when Hollywood was making westerns. There was always another one you could do, another cowboy story and another way to tell it.”

Perhaps, but in 1959 there were 26 westerns on American prime-time television and now there are none, which suggests that superhero saturation may have consequences down the road.

Anthony_hopkins_at_spike_tv_scream_ For the moment, though, there is no end in sight, and Gerard Way, lead singer of the rock band My Chemical Romance, said the sector would thrive not only because of its commercial viability but also because of the nature of its creative community right now. Way writes “The Umbrella Academy,” an acclaimed graphic-novel series for Dark Horse Comics, which he says has been approved by Universal to be a film as soon as 2010.

“The people that are making these movies are coming to it with a love of the comics and a respect for them, and I think that’s why the fans are so passionate about these movies,” Way said. “It comes down to the fact that for the first time, it’s fans who are making these movies, and that makes all the difference in the world. It’s not just capes that people like, it’s watching movies made with great ideas and imagination. That’s what makes them fly.”

– Geoff Boucher

All photos by Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

Caption info:

1. George Lucas and friends at the Spike TV Scream 2008 Awards. 2. Christopher Nolan accepts one of the 12 trophies for “The Dark Knight.” 3. Marilyn Manson owns a lot of black clothes. 4. Tim Burton makes his way to the stage beneath ballons. 5. Frank Miller is flanked by two of the actresses from “The Spirit,” Paz Vega on the left and Jaime King on the right. 6. Wes Craven was given a career excellence award. 7. Kerli performed, as did the Smashing Pumpkins. 8. Anothony Hopkins was honored with a Legend Award.

More in: Uncategorized, George Lucas, Gerard Way, Tim Burton, Zack Snyder

Comments


27 Responses to Scream 2008 Awards are a sign of the times

  1. Robert says:

    I think all the attention paid to comics by the film and television industry is a good thing.
    I sit back and chat with friends about how these are good times to be a comics fan. That being said… there was a kind of access to your favorite comics creators as a fan not so long ago. Now, many of these creators are Über-stars. I'm glad they are becoming household names, but I get the sense that this matter of so many comics becoming big movie properties takes the focus off the art of simply making good comic books.
    My hope is that all of this brings more new readers.

  2. Angela Bruce says:

    See what TEXAS done to me for advertising Marilyn Manson & protesting AGAINST CHILD MOLESTORS/WIFE BEATERS etc……………

  3. tiffy babe says:

    OOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
    loves marilyn manson LOL needs photo of twiggy and manson though ill give the article 2 kudos though…
    ily LA times.

  4. Margui says:

    Yeahh!!! I love Marilyn and Twiggy!!
    I too love Tim Burton :P

  5. Enrico says:

    How long will it take for this trend to become a center piece in the fashion world?
    Is it a new lifestyle, from the button up, in alternative to so many failed role models from high, down? Is this part of a parallel life that runs alongside everything from how you conduct yourself to how you prioritise all the rest? How will it effect the new Economy? Is it against all we have known? It's kind of scary, but hey you've got to deal with it.

  6. i love manson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (L)

  7. faustine says:

    the only thing that motivates me in my life you if I told you it's because the rest of the group which also has much my eyes … we do not know but I know you by heart no no do not worry I'm not a completely crazy paparazzi (ahaha) I'm just one of your biggest fan and I hope all costs you experience one day. I did not know his report too but I said is that I think … is that I want also, but maybe I dream or perhaps not … bye
    i love you Marilyn Manson and Twiggy and others (sorry for "the others" but I quickly)
    sorry my English is not perfect

  8. Crystal K!lls. says:

    i convinced mysel that one day i will marry marilyn manson <3!
    + i basically worship this dude.

  9. Patrick says:

    Wow was a great show I'm late on posting this but i look forward to the new album Marilyn Manson is going to release I enjoy them all.
    He rocks.
    One day I wouldn't mind see a real porformance and actually be in the auduince that would probbaly give me a heart attack lol
    Rock ON

  10. Manson is great, but the crowd is violent… that will make you check your notes… and who knows, maybe if he stops drinking long enough he might even stir up a frenzy again. We love hate, we hate love…

  11. Barnum says:

    Dr. Phineas Waldolf Steel of World Domination Toys should perform at the next Scream awards!

  12. psychotic_kitty says:

    i've been to a few manson concerts, its not too bad well at it wasnt when i was there maybe in the early days it was more violent.. either i love the guy

  13. zhangxiang says:

    Manson .. you are the best … I love you … Chinese fans love you, hope you can come to China to open concert! Crazy for you, my devil!!

  14. +h3*d3@d*//3$$3l says:

    When are the Hollywood "elite" going to come to their senses and start casting Marilyn with leading roles in movies? He's a great and intelligent actor, and he's fun to look at and listen to. His role itself would sell millions of tickets, at the least.
    Arm your mind…
    Get informed!!!
    @
    I N F O W A R S . C O M

  15. anja says:

    lovsesssse terror..i love you marilyn. kis

  16. anja says:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh manson is my men of dreams…. my sweet dreams……. love you manson. kiss

  17. Regina says:

    Hello Marliyn Manson i dont know what to say because i am so nervous but i hope you read this. I am so intrestead in you. I love and support in your work and i would love well everyone would love to see you in SLC Utah and i am happyyou tour the morman bible because they are dumb and maybe you had a diffrent ression but what they beleave in is wrong i love your art work hope you right back oh and i love your music….I l o v e you

  18. Supper-Girl says:

    I LOVE Marilyn Manson! ! ! ! ! ! ! Very much!! But I live in Ukraine! I love fans of Marilyn Manson! I love America! ! ! ! ! !

  19. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
    AND.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN! (MARILYN MANSON)
    I LOVE YOU!!
    GOOD BYE

  20. LOVENDA says:

    I love MARILYN MANSONS music I think he ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!! He's Hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I would love to talk to MARILYN MANSON FANS
    email is bindel57@gmail.com

  21. Caitlin says:

    Marilyn manson I love your art work and music alot I wish the best of you and your band as well hope to hear from other fans from all over the world that also love manson and the band too and oh by the way happy b-late birthday manson rock out there love your big fan caitlin

  22. caitlin says:

    rock on manson your the best in many ways love your music artwork ill always support you and the band anyways and forever iam like an huge fan of you and the band ill also support racheal wood too cause she is very beatieful in many ways wish the best of all of you rock out in 2009

  23. caitlin says:

    <3 manson forever and always

  24. Michael Oliva says:

    Marilyn manson performs oral s-e-x on horses.

  25. ELIZABETH says:

    I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. ELIZABETH says:

    I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    MARILYN MANSON FOREVER

  27. alexandra says:

    hello MM.I'm your fan.the reason for my life is only you. i don't like to speak nothing more because the words are not enough. just… i love you

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