Do you want franchise with that?

Just a few minutes ago while I finished my lunch I caught the last ten minutes of Shrek 2 on HBO. I chuckled knowingly at the ‘adult’ jokes and cringed as I always do at the Fat Bastard brogue Mike Myers used for Shrek. I always wondered if the movie and the franchise that blossomed from it would have been nearly as popular if the producers had used the original Chris Farley voice track. I greatly dislike Myers as Shrek but I’m certainly in the minority.

I read somewhere that Antonio Banderas said he was headed into the studio to record his dialogue for Shrek 3 and possibly for a Puss In Boots spin-off. Do we need a Shrek 3? I didn’t think we needed an Ice Age 2, but I didn’t anticipate last weekend’s 70 million dollar opening. Is there a team of story people and artists cooking up Ice Age 3 even as I type this? Undoubtably.

It’s easy to chuff churlishly at the studios, but they’re only doing what they’ve been taught by Disney, Schulz, Lucas and the others.

Last night I read myself to sleep with Chip Kidd’s ‘Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz’ book and was reminded what a talented designer Kidd is and what a whore Schultz was.

Krikey! Was there anything that the man didn’t agree to put Snoopy and the gang on? The Peanuts strip itself remains a marvel and was almost always entertaining. In my mind it stands alone and is above reproach, if you don’t count Schulz’s periodic lapses into churchliness, but it wouldn’t shock me if Charles M. wasn’t making money under the table on Peanuts Tijuana bibles and piƱatas.

From what I’ve read of the man he didn’t have a heroin problem or like to play the ponies, so why the compulsion to be such a major sell-out? Of course I could see the reasoning behind the reprint books, but did he really think a Charlie Brown inflatable Bop-em punching bag, or a Woodstock pencil eraser was going to bring that much joy into the hearts of children?

I haven’t gotten to the part in the book where Kidd explains that it was all United Features Syndicate’s fault, that Charles M. Schulz had just as much moral fortitude as Bill Watterson, and that Schulz signed a sucker contract as was forced to sell-out. I hope I get to that part.

The pay off to all of this is that if I had major print success with a project or if a film studio optioned something, I would be soaking up the money as fast as they could throw it at me. I’d license my characters to anything they’d stick to. (Except for rectal thermometers. That would be just plain tacky.)

So, as always, I’m not complaining about the problem—I just want to get in on it.


Tony Akins said...

You know...when I was a child I had a terrible fever. I also had a phobia about thermometers. In fact the only way my temp could be taken was rectally, sir. My fever was so high that I was delusional and combative against care. My mother was able to finally take my temperature only after she coerced me into recieving the rectal reading once she placed a Woodstock eraser on the protuding end the thermometer to distract me. This saved my young life. Although I developed a fetish for Woodstock Underoos that reigns over me to this day, I would not be here if not for this fortunate, inspired convergence of licensed merchandise from this "whore" you say Schultz is, science and my butt. Your words sting me, sir; in ways that you can probably imagine.
Good day!

Fred Schiller said...

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but because of your encounter with Woodstock, your childhood story is owned in full by the Schulz estate, which plans to make a TV movie based upon it. The good news is that you're being portrayed by Fred Savage, who is good in everything.

Good day to you as well.