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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Spider-Man

Trailer music: The sounds that marketed Spock, Spidey and more

April 8, 2012 |  5:00 am

Star Trek, Spider-Man 2 & Avatar

From the orchestra that backs the Starship Enterprise to the choirs that follow Spider-Man swinging through New York City, music for trailers has drawn a larger public spotlight in recent years with the releases of previews becoming higher-profile events.

In Sunday's Calendar section, we explore the fact that much of the music featured in advertising for movies is produced by trailer music libraries. These companies compose music (typically one- to three-minute tracks) for clients at studios and trailer editing houses, who then select pieces from the libraries’ albums to license for use in previews.

Here are the stories of how some of that music attracted fan followings for four of those libraries.

“Star Trek” (Trailer music library: Two Steps From Hell)
The third trailer for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” set records, as it was viewed more than 1.8 million times during its first 24 hours on apple.com in March 2009. Featuring the track “Freedom Fighters” by Two Steps From Hell, the preview put the Los Angeles-based trailer music library on the map.

In a deviation from most trailers that include multiple cues of music, the majestic yet ethereal track plays throughout the preview. “That gave people some time to latch onto the music,” said Thomas Bergersen, co-founder of Two Steps From Hell.

“Avatar” (Trailer music library: Audiomachine)
Later in 2009, “Avatar” broke “Star Trek’s” record with the teaser trailer for the soon-to-be box office king. It was viewed more than 4 million times during its first day on apple.com. So the rest of its marketing campaign had a lot of early hype to live up to. Twentieth Century Fox hired several trailer editing houses to try their hand at cutting advertising for the film before the studio decided on Culver City-based company Wild Card.

“When we were dealing with something that was as out of the box as 'Avatar,' it's often great to have multiple sets of eyes and different perspectives looking at it because there are many ways to attack it,” said “Avatar” producer Jon Landau. “By going out to a couple different trailer companies, we were able to see how different people looked at the material, which was very helpful.”

The first full-length trailer for “Avatar” featured the tracks “Akkadian Empire” and “Guardians at the Gate,” both by Beverly Hills-based library Audiomachine. Nick Temple, owner of Wild Card, said of the latter track, “While it was still big and felt like it was a huge ride, there was still an emotional sense to it.”

Watch the trailer below, where “Akkadian Empire” begins one minute and six seconds in, followed by “Guardians at the Gate,” which plays through the end. (The first music cue is from the score for Michael Bay’s “The Island.”)

“Spider-Man 2” (Trailer music library: Immediate Music)
In 2004, the marketing for Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2” pushed Immediate Music (one of the first trailer music libraries, founded in 1993) into a bigger public spotlight. Their track “Lacrimosa Dominae” plays from 1:50 to the end of the trailer below.

“The last 45 seconds of the trailer, they blasted the music –- there were no sound effects… no dialog, no narration,” said Yoav Goren, president of Immediate. “So it was really one of the first times you could really hear a trailer track on its own. And I think that also spurred people wanting to buy this stuff.”

The track is on one of Immediate’s public release albums, “Trailerhead.”

“How to Train Your Dragon” (Trailer music library: Future World Music)
Future World Music’s rousing and adventure-ready track “Dream Chasers” fueled the second half of the trailer for “How to Train Your Dragon.” The track runs from 1:09 to 1:57 in the video below.

“That was one of the big campaigns that I think really blew the door off for us,” said Future World owner Armen Hambar. “We just couldn’t believe how much of a response we got.”


'Amazing Spider-Man': Andrew Garfield's angst [trailer]

'Total Recall' debut trailer logs 10.8 million views in 48 hours

‘Hunger Games’ trailer music may be beginning of new trend

– Emily Rome


Photo: Trailers for J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek," "Spider-Man 2" and "Avatar" have featured music composed by trailer music libraries. Credits: (from left) Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox.

'Chronicle's' Josh Trank looks to spit some Venom

March 6, 2012 |  4:45 pm


EXCLUSIVE: With Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” looking to kick-start a Spidey resurgence this summer, the studio is taking a crack at another character associated with the superhero: Venom.

The studio is negotiating with Josh Trank, the hot director of this winter’s found-footage hit "Chronicle," to take the reins of the Spidey spin-off, said a person familiar with the project who was not authorized to talk about it publicly. Sony was not immediately available for comment.

The film would center on the gooey villain who was a mainstay of the Marvel comics and was a nemesis, incarnated by Topher Grace, in the third “Spider-Man” picture in 2007. (The character attaches himself to a human host and becomes as powerful as the web-slinging superhero.)

A Venom film has been long-gestating at the studio, dating back at least to 2008 and preceding plans for this summer's Marc Webb-Andrew Garfield take on the character. Gary Ross negotiated to direct a Venom film back in 2009 but moved on to other projects, including the upcoming “Hunger Games.”

Jacob Estes (“The Details”) wrote a draft of a “Venom” script several years ago, but producers are seeking a new writer, said the source. (The Ross version was to craft Venom as less a villain than an antihero.) The film also would be seeking a new actor; Grace is not expected to reprise the role.

With "Venom," the 27-year-old Trank would not only return to superhero territory but would also bring a flair for shoe-leather storytelling that resonates with audiences: Despite an absence of stars as well as a modest budget, “Chronicle” has grossed more than $60 million since coming out last month.


Chronicle, Betsy Sharkey's pick of the week

Box Office: Super Bowl no match for 'Chronicle' [video]

'Chronicle,' like Paranormal Activity but with superpowers

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Venom. Credit: Marvel Comics

'Amazing Spider-Man:' Andrew Garfield's angst [Trailer]

February 7, 2012 |  5:09 pm


Any lingering notion of a shoegazing Spider-Man trying to make it quietly in the halls of his high school went out the window Tuesday with the release of the full trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  Instead, in flew the action spectacle that is Sony’s superhero reboot, which comes to theaters July 3.

The trailer shows huge set pieces of the kind you wouldn’t expect from director Marc Webb -- who previously helmed the, well, shoegazing romance “(500) Days of Summer" -- as Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man flies over, into and through buildings.

The essential battle in the film -- penned by "Harry Potter" veteran Steve Kloves -- seems to be one of Garfield vs. Garfield, as Spider-Man runs amok, and possibly even into conflict with Peter Parker. “I’ve got to stop him. I created him,” Parker tells love interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), presumably referring to his webbed alter ego.

The story line also evokes elements of “The Dark Knight” and its ilk, as a “masked vigilante” flouts the law and taunts law enforcement efforts, headed by George Stacy (Denis Leary), father of Gwen. And unlike the Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire editions, there’s a key character here in one Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a scientist who had worked with Parker’s father and who seems to hold the solution to several of the film’s mysteries.

Not likely to be lost on fans of the original films is the trailer’s declaration that this is “the untold story.” In other words, disregard everything you’ve been told before.



'The Amazing Spider-Man' slings its first web

Emma Stone: Worried Spider-Man fans should have patience

The strangely logical choice of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield in 'The Amazing Spider-Man.' Credit: Sony Pictures

Producers Guild of America honors Stan Lee

November 9, 2011 | 12:01 pm

The Producers Guild of America announced Wednesday that Marvel Comics' Stan Lee, whose co-creations include "Spider-Man," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Iron Man," will receive the 2012 Vanguard Award at the 23rd Annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Lee, 88, has also executive produced such films as those of the "Spider-Man" franchise, the "Iron Man" films, "Thor" and "The X-Men" franchise.

The Vanguard Award recognizes achievements in new media and technology.

"Stan Lee's creative vision and imagination has produced some of the most beloved and visually stunning characters and adventures in history," said PGA Awards co-chairs Paula Wagner and Michael Manheim in a statement Wednesday.

Previous recipients include George Lucas, John Lasseter and YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Will Wright.


"Patt Morrison Asks: Comics genius Stan Lee"

 "'Romeo and Juliet: The War': Stan Lee's Cosmic Shakespeare"

-- Susan King  

Photo: Stan Lee. Credit: Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Emma Stone: Worried 'Spider-Man' fans should have patience

July 22, 2011 | 10:42 am


When the teaser for "The Amazing Spider-Man" leaked online this week, some fans of the web-slinging crimefighter pulled out the knives. The effects aren't convincing, they said. The tone of Marc Webb's movie feels too serious. And why do we need a new Peter Parker origin story only nine years after Tobey Maguire did pretty much the same thing in the 2002 blockbuster "Spider-Man"?

One of the film's stars, Emma Stone, said fans shouldn't jump to any conclusions. In an interview last weekend, she told 24 Frames that this movie's ambitions are vastly different than anything that came in Sam Raimi's three prior films.

"One of the great hopes of this 'Spider-Man' is it will capture the reality of Peter Parker and the small intimate moments that occur in his life," said Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy, a scientist and love interest to Parker (Andrew Garfield). "It's entirely something new and different."

Webb had promised an intimacy to the storytelling, and Stone said she believes he delivered. "It didn't feel like a big love story. It's a small love story set in this unbelievable, incredible world. It's about two teenagers falling in love." (Webb told our colleague Geoff Boucher that he feels a "responsibility to reinvent" the mythology.)

In a second interview Thursday night, Stone, who has been busy promoting three of her films this summer ("Friends with Benefits," "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and "The Help") said she had yet to hear about fan feedback on Sony's teaser.

But when told about some fans' complaints, the actress said she got the sense Sony was anxious about the film's reception at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego, where it is to get its first major publicity exposure at a panel Friday afternoon.  Immediately after the interview, she said, a studio representative was stopping off at her hotel to show her a half-hour of footage -- some of which would be screened at Comic-Con on Friday.

"[The skeptical reaction] might be why they're showing the sizzle reel," she surmised. "Because they're calling me today like, 'You have to come to Sony, you have to come to Sony!' And I'm like, 'I can't come to Sony.' But they were like, 'We have to show you this sizzle reel that we're showing tomorrow. We weren't gonna show it, but it's nine minutes of the movie and we feel like it explains what we can't in answering questions.' Because everyone's saying, 'How is this different? What's going on?' "

As if on cue, Stone's phone rang.  On the other end of the line was Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony. "Why is Sony calling?" Stone said, before picking up. She shrugged. "It's Comic-Con."


'The Amazing Spider-Man' slings its first web

Hero Complex: 'Spider-Man' director Marc Web feels a responsibility to reinvent the superhero

The strangely logical choice of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

--Steven Zeitchik and Amy Kaufman



Photo: Emma Stone in 'The Help'  Credit: Dale Robinette/DreamWorks

'The Amazing Spider-Man' slings its first web [Trailer] [Updated]

July 19, 2011 |  1:07 pm

There's a bit of deja vu in seeing a young, fragile loner get bitten by a spider only to realize he's been given superpowers. It's been only nine years since we watched Tobey Maguire do it, and now Andrew Garfield is going through the paces again in this new, apparently leaked trailer for Marc Webb's "The Amazing Spider-Man."

[Updated, 2:43 p.m. July 19: It looks as though Sony has taken down the trailer. So if you haven't watched it yet, you'll have to take our word for it. But it should be online officially soon enough Updated, 10:28 a.m. July 20: And the trailer is now officially available; you can check it out below.]

The teaser, which will probably debut properly at this weekend's Comic-Con, begins when a young Peter Parker is abandoned by his parents, then gives way to a somewhat disoriented-looking youth (Garfield) and the fateful accident, before ending with Spider-Man climbing and swinging across rooftops, which we see from his perspective.

If the tone in Sam Raimi's original had a kind of light seriousness, this replicates the feat, minus the light. There is ominous music, moody lighting and serious, cryptic statements like: "We all have secrets. The ones we keep are the ones that are kept from us." If Webb's film is supposed to be more of an  everyday coming-of-age high school story, there's not much evidence of it here; the teaser has many of the stylized touches we've come to expect from modern comic-inspired movies.

More details on "The Amazing Spider-Man" later this week at this blog and on sister blog Hero Complex, the bastion of all things Comic-Con.


Andrew Garfield as tortured Spider-Man?

The strangely logical choice of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

'The Social Network' to 'Spider-Man': Does Andrew Garfield always play the victim?

-- Steven Zeitchik


Tobey Maguire, Marc Webb and others in Hollywood remember 'Spider-Man' producer Laura Ziskin

June 14, 2011 |  7:00 am

Spider Man When disagreements between some of Hollywood's most powerful people began to roil plans for a fourth "Spider-Man" movie several years ago, some in the entertainment industry advised filmmakers to walk away.

But Laura Ziskin, the franchise's producer and primary creative force, decided to push forward. Even though it soon became clear the movie would have to be made without its star (Tobey Maguire) and director (Sam Raimi) -– losses that would usually be considered deal-busters -- Ziskin took the then-unconventional route of starting over with a new director and lead actor.

The result, "The Amazing Spider-Man," is set to be one of the major releases of next summer, with a pair of hot commodities, director Marc Webb and actor Andrew Garfield.

"She loved a challenge, and she had a direct style that allowed no ...," Lauren Shuler Donner, a longtime friend and fellow top Hollywood producer, told 24 Frames. "She would just deal with the issues in a solution-oriented manner."

Continue reading »

Laura Ziskin, 'Spider-Man' producer and Hollywood trailblazer, dies at 61

June 12, 2011 | 10:55 pm

Laura Ziskin, a veteran film producer who counted the "Spider-Man" franchise among her many credits and was one of the most influential women in recent Hollywood history, has died at 61.

Ziskin, who was working on the reboot of "The Amazing Spider-Man" at the time of her death, had fought a seven-year battle with breast cancer. In 2008, she founded a nonprofit that has to-date raised more than $200 million to fight the disease.

Although she was not well known among average film fans, Ziskin had a profound impact on what contemporary moviegoers watched at the multiplex. Over a three-decade career, she produced or oversaw a wide range of films, including the 1987 Cold War thriller "No Way Out," the 1990 Richard Gere-Julia Roberts romantic comedy "Pretty Woman" and 1997's James L. Brooks' Oscar-contending dramedy "As Good As It Gets."

By far her most significant filmic legacy is "Spider-Man"; she produced all three released movies in the blockbuster franchise. "The Amazing Spider-Man," a reboot of the comicbook series starring Andrew Garfield that is set to be released next year, was her most recent effort in that vein. One person close to the production noted she was extremely involved even as her cancer began to spread in recent months.

Although Ziskin had been based at the Sony Pictures lot for years, during the 1990s she also headed a division at 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, that was responsible for the kind of serious dramas Hollywood studios rarely make these days, including "Courage Under Fire," "Fight Club" and "The Thin Red Line."

Ziskin also produced two Oscar telecasts, in 2002 and 2007. Her first effort was notable for landing Woody Allen, famously averse to awards-show hoopla. She was the first woman to produce the telecast on her own.

Outside the film world she was best known for her efforts in helping to found Stand Up to Cancer, a research initiative she founded with Katie Couric, former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing  and others. The organization, which held several high-profile Hollywood telethons (her comments to The Times from the red carpet at last summer's event can be seen here), drew on the star power of the media and entertainment world to raise money for cancer research. (For more on her life and legacy, please see The Times' obituary here.)

At the Producers Guild Awards this past January, Ziskin's voice was weak when she received the group’s visionary award. She spoke about cancer’s destructive effect on families and the importance of encouraging cancer researchers to collaborate on their work. "In my world the hero always defeats the villain, the boy always gets the girl, and cancer is no more," she said.

But perhaps her most lasting impact will lie with how she was able to penetrate the inner circle of A-list producers, for decades considered an all-boys club. In Mollie Gregory's 2002 book about women and Hollywood, "Women Who Run the Show," Ziskin had one of the most memorable quotes.

"Men have built the cities, made and defined the culture, interpreted the world. At no time in recorded history have women been culture-makers," she said. "Movies are arguably the most influential, important medium in the world. They have a tremendous cultural impact. Because women are now making movies, then women's ideas, philosophy, point of view will seep into that culture. And that's never happened in history. Ever, ever, ever. We can't even see the impact of that yet."


Laura Ziskin on the red carpet of the Stand up to Cancer event [Video]

Laura Ziskin will receive Producers Guild of America Visionary award

Photos: Notable deaths of 2011

— Steven Zeitchik and Nicole Sperling

 Photo: Laura Ziskin before the 2007 Academy Awards. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

'The Social Network' to 'Spider-Man': Does Andrew Garfield always play the victim?

January 26, 2011 |  3:48 pm

andrew garfield never let me go andrew garfield spider-man andrew garfield the social network
Poor Andrew Garfield.

No, we're not talking about his being shut out of the Oscar nominations for supporting actor for his role in "The Social Network," nor his losing out to Christian Bale at the Golden Globes. Rather, Garfield seems to be the go-to star for casting agents wanting beaten, broken underdogs cast out by a cruel societal, political or social pecking order -- not to mention that his stage credits include the male half of the famous star-crossed lovers in "Romeo & Juliet."

Andrew-garfield-social-network So when photos of new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield hit the, um, Web, adjectives like "tortured" or "damaged" were quick to surface. As 24 Frames' Steve Zeitchik pointed out, "It's dicey to read too much into one image, but there's something unmistakably shoegazing about the image -- perhaps because he actually seems to be gazing at his shoes -- and even a little anti-heroic."

For a quick refresher on Garfield's tortured on-screen past, click on the gallery at left. But fair warning: Spoilers await those not initiated with our new friendly neighborhood crime-fighter's resume.

-- Whitney Friedlander

Photos from left: Andrew Garfield in "Never Let Me Go," credit: Alex Bailey / Fox Searchlight; "Spider-Man," credit: John Schwartzman / Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. via Getty Images; and "The Social Network," credit: Merrick Morton / Columbia Tristar

Andrew Garfield as tortured 'Spider-Man'? [image]

January 13, 2011 |  1:00 pm

SpiderIt must be the week for first images. After Rooney Mara threw us with her new punked-up look ("Rooney Mara, showing more than dragon tattoos"), Andrew Garfield shows us what he looks like in character and in costume with this first image of him as Spider-Man, in Marc Webb's new take on the superhero.

It's dicey to read too much into one image, but there's something unmistakably shoegazing about the image -- perhaps because he actually seems to be gazing at his shoes -- and even a little anti-heroic.

Which would fit with some of what's been rumored about the new character and Garfield's own approach to keep things smaller and more, well, human.

At the Los Angeles Times' Young Hollywood panel, for instance, Garfield told my colleague Amy Kaufman that despite the larger-than-life quality to the role, "I'm just gonna still approach it like I’m doing a short film of 'Spider-Man' that my friend is directing."

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Andrew Garfield in "Spider-Man." Credit: Sony Pictures



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