“Let’s face it, I had a bad script,” director Michael Bay said on the commentary track of his debut feature film, Bad Boys. Bay isn’t wrong. Bad Boys relies on buddy comedy tropes already established in 1974’s Freebie and the Bean and 1982’s 48 Hrs., complete with nonsense plot points. “But I had real comic […]

The post Bad Boys Originally Had Two Wildly Different Stars Who Would Have Changed the Movie appeared first on Den of Geek.

“Nothing lasts forever.” There’s something deeply ironic about that line of dialogue being dropped by Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in only the second Avengers movie from almost 10 years ago. While Johansson’s tenure in the superhero genre is apparently over, with the Oscar-nominated star more recently focusing on films like Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, the MCU is still going strong with the latest whispers about Avengers 5 getting the rumor mills spinning again. Hence one of the reasons Steve Carell and Illumination Entertainment’s new marketing for Despicable Me 4 is so biting.

Carell—who, by the by, was also in Asteroid City—took time to promote not only Despicable Me 4 in a new viral marketing video, but an entire supposed “Mega Minions” shared universe that will outlive us all and see the 22nd century.

Despicable Me 4 is just the beginning,” Carell promises (warns?) with the optimism of a Hall H MC. “Presenting Illumination’s ‘MegaVerse,’ 50-interconnected Mega-Minion stories shared across a variety of mediums on an irregular basis for the next 100 years.” He goes on to promise there will be sequels, prequels, TV shows, and even a Broadway musical—that will eventually be reworked as an ice show for Jacksonville, Florida. “Excited? You should be,” Carell intones with a hint of menace.

The comedic spiel is obviously modeled after Kevin Feige and other Marvel Studios executives’ famed presentations at San Diego Comic-Con and D23. However, it isn’t a phenomenon unique to Marvel. In 2014, Warner Bros. ambitiously announced 11 DC superhero movies that would be released over the next decade, including such classics as 2019’s Justice League: Part Two and 2020’s well-remembered Cyborg movie. Meanwhile Channing Tatum stood on stage with Stan Lee, Hugh Jackman, and Jennifer Lawrence in 2015 to crow about the extended X-Men shared universe in which his version of Gambit would have a solo movie that might one day interconnect with the next generation of X-Men movies and that year’s Fantastic Four reboot. And of course there was a time when Lucasfilm was confident we’d have a Boba Fett movie directed by Josh Trank, plus Rian Johnson’s perpetually upcoming original Star Wars trilogy.

So obviously Illumination is having fun at the expense of certain studios’ superhero film slates, which ever increasingly take on the appearance of long-term fiscal planning promises to shareholders. And Illumination took the gag even further on a Despicable Me website, which charts, film by film, and musical by musical, the next century’s worth of Minions content.

By going right here, you can read a description for how “Mega Minions 3” will find those scrappy, superpowered yellow guys fighting “superhero fatigue by experimenting with new suits and surprising emotional complexity.” 2036’s Mega Minions: Legacy, meanwhile, will see the critters “return to the spotlight after the Anti-Villain League’s quarterly earnings dramatically miss estimates.” In fact almost all of them are titled and confidently planned out in 2024, save perhaps for 2064’s “Untitled Mega minion Spin-off,” which has a story “to be determined based on rigorous market testing and ad hoc decision-making.”

The gag is amusing but at the same time, possibly telling. No one of course would dare consider Illumination innocent of long-term corporate strategy or making careful calibrations based on market testing. They are the studio, after all, who made a Super Mario Bros. Movie with the voice of Chris Pratt in between a franchise that currently consists of four Despicable Me flicks and three Minions spin-offs. However, what’s interesting is that this family-targeted movie is appealing to suburban parents and media-savvy children by… making fun of the way superhero movies have been doing business for the last 16 or so years.

While it’s amusing that a title like “Bello: A Mega Minions Story” appears to be taking aim at Solo: A Star Wars Story’s form of SEO-targeted branding, and “Mega Minions: The Tax Write Off” is a sharp dig at Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslov, who shelved the nearly completed Batgirl for that oh, so coveted write-off, it’s the fact that these once industry-insider details about movies getting made and unmade has become fodder for children’s entertainment that is so striking. Not to sound like an old-timer,

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