Now that the awards season is history, mainstream Hollywood can refocus on what really matters: the care and feeding of tentpoles. Fawning over “The Artist” can get tiresome when there are $200 million franchises rolling off the assembly line.
Not that Hollywood needs a wakeup call, but the arrival Friday of “John Carter” dramatizes how a primetime release can seem at once delicious and daunting.
“The summer release corridor is paved in gold, complete with gold potholes,” warns the veteran distribution chief of one studio. And this summer may prove to be especially stressful.
Here are some of the challenges confronting Hollywood’s marketing soldiers of summer:
• Since some franchises are disappearing (“Harry Potter”) and others winding down (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), can new franchises be created with mega-advertising blitzkriegs (“John Carter” or “The Hunger Games”)?
• Despite formidable time lags, can franchises be retooled and rebooted like “Men in Black” after 10 years, “Spider-Man” after five or “Alien” (via “Prometheus”) after 33? (The “Alien” series dates back to 1979.)
• How many reiterations can billion-dollar animated franchises survive? Consider “Madagascar” or “Ice Age.”
• While novels can serve as reliable source material for future hits (think “Hunger Games”), will games (think “Battleship”) provide a solid foundation for the sequels business?