An Alternate Rise of the Blockbuster

You called me vultan twice. :p

Sounds like interpretation change due to different context rather than an actual change to the films in question.
Yes. From my OTL perspective, I think that '80s action movies and their bleed-through to stuff like Rocky and Aliens was sort of symptomatic of the decade's culture as a whole (America fuck yeah, greed is good, etc.) But from TTL's perspective it looks more like a trend kicked off by Superman.

Funny, somehow I would have thought the opposite would have occured with more 'adultish' versions of classics to both interest an older viewer as well as tapping into their nostaglia, and then a bunch of lower budget, 'kid-friendly' superhero knockoffs.
I'd say the biggest of the adaptations are slightly-more-adultish (e.g. Batman, Captain America), the smaller adaptations are more kid-friendly (e.g. The Flash), and the original ones tend to fill the much-more-adultish action niche.

BTW, this does raise some interesting questions as to the direction of Bruce Willis' career.
I have plans...

Ooh, you need to give more details of this alternate Terminator sequel!!
Sorry to say that I think it's basically the same film as Terminator 2: Judgment Day with a different title. Remember that the convention has developed as "[Sequel Title]: [Series Subtitle] [#]" rather than "[Series Title]: [Sequel Subtitle] [#]" (with the exception of The Star Wars, and even then it's because of the "Chapter" thing). So the movie needed a more appropriate name than "Judgment Day" since Judgment Day doesn't actually happen in the movie.

Did he do better in some way than OTL? While he certainly has suppressed his accent, I would hardly call his current one OTL 'flawless American'.
Arnold has lived in the United States since 1968. He actually has a dialect coach to maintain his Austrian accent, since it's become his trademark. In TTL he's not a superstar, so there's no motivation to keep it. (I'd imagine that his normal speaking voice circa 1991 in TTL is still semi-Austrian, but he can mask it completely while acting.)

Don't know about that - Red Dawn was a cultural happening onto itself - Eagle's Fury is military genre, whereas Red Dawn is hard core survivalist, dude.
I know they're very different, but I'm talking about nostalgia. Neoconservatives etc. are more likely to remember Eagle's Fury before Red Dawn (though not necessarily in place of Red Dawn).

I'm not a Mel hater - but your alternate companion sounds much preferable, so if I have to choose, I'll go with yours.
I liked Mel in "The Trial of a Time Lord", but in her season with Sylvester McCoy she became seriously annoying.

Oh, please make things better, please please please!
:cool:
 

Glen

Moderator
You called me vultan twice. :p

Yes. From my OTL perspective, I think that '80s action movies and their bleed-through to stuff like Rocky and Aliens was sort of symptomatic of the decade's culture as a whole (America fuck yeah, greed is good, etc.) But from TTL's perspective it looks more like a trend kicked off by Superman.
Agreed.

I'd say the biggest of the adaptations are slightly-more-adultish (e.g. Batman, Captain America), the smaller adaptations are more kid-friendly (e.g. The Flash), and the original ones tend to fill the much-more-adultish action niche.
Duly noted.

I have plans...
And I can't wait to see those plans unfold!

Sorry to say that I think it's basically the same film as Terminator 2: Judgment Day with a different title. Remember that the convention has developed as "[Sequel Title]: [Series Subtitle] [#]" rather than "[Series Title]: [Sequel Subtitle] [#]" (with the exception of The Star Wars, and even then it's because of the "Chapter" thing). So the movie needed a more appropriate name than "Judgment Day" since Judgment Day doesn't actually happen in the movie.
Okay, fair enough.

Arnold has lived in the United States since 1968. He actually has a dialect coach to maintain his Austrian accent, since it's become his trademark. In TTL he's not a superstar, so there's no motivation to keep it. (I'd imagine that his normal speaking voice circa 1991 in TTL is still semi-Austrian, but he can mask it completely while acting.)
Interesting take....

I know they're very different, but I'm talking about nostalgia. Neoconservatives etc. are more likely to remember Eagle's Fury before Red Dawn (though not necessarily in place of Red Dawn).
Neocons sure - but Red Dawn would still have the same impact I would think.

I liked Mel in "The Trial of a Time Lord", but in her season with Sylvester McCoy she became seriously annoying.

:cool:
You could split the baby and have Mel for a short time with Colin Baker then the next companion comes on...
 
Matthew Broderick seemed like the obvious choice for 1980s Peter Parker. A welcome side effect (for me) is that I've just severely altered Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or possibly butterflied it away completely. Man, I hate that movie.
Please tell me Ben Stein makes an appearance as one of Peter Parker's teachers.

"Parker. Parker. Parker."

Also: who is Spider-Man's antagonist in ITTL film? I am betting on Doctor Octopus since the original Green Goblin has been dead for over a decade at this point and would not come back until the end of the Clone Saga, which is likely butterflied now.
 
A very interesting timeline so far.

Shame about Trek- I hope it gets revived later (please!).

Do any of the other Marvel movies smash through? And it does seem with different studios involved we won't get a 'shared universe' and no chance of an Avengers ITTL.

Does Dune ever come out?

What the effect on Childrens TV of the changes? More Superhero and Space cartoons I'd imagine? Stuff like Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Hulk, X-Men, Terahawks, Thunderbirds, Zoids should all still happen? Any chance of a new Battle of the Planets series please?
 
All I can say is, after reading this is, Oh Boy! No Die Hard or Rambo ITTL, and no James Cameron version of Spiderman (Though, perhaps a Cameron-directed reboot will come 2000). Hope Terminator 2 ITTL remains the same and includes the iconic T-1000!
 
Update #14 -- more on superhero movies

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The superhero movie craze of the 1980s can be divided into a number of different phases, particularly regarding the big-name blockbuster adaptations of comic book series. The first phase, lasting approximately from the release of Superman (1978) to that of Batman (1983), could be summarized in one word: verisimilitude. Even in films set in worlds that appeared unearthly or fantastical, like the Gotham City of Batman, that world would follow its own coherent internal logic and its characters would behave as real people would in their situation.

The second phase was notably lighter in tone. While dark themes weren’t banished entirely they were deliberately downplayed in favour of bright and flashy crowd-pleasing fun; any dark themes that did appear were typically given the gunsplotation-style “blatant emotional manipulation” treatment. The beginning of the second phase is hard to pin down exactly: two early examples included Superman III (1982) and Supergirl (1983), but the overall trend did not begin until after the premiere of the Saturday-morning Warner Bros. cartoon adaptations.

Superman III included a number of departures from its predecessors, now that directing duties had passed on to former associate-producer Richard Lester. While the first two films had not been sombre affairs, the third film was significantly more comedic in tone, even to the point of undercutting the seriousness of some of the villain Brainiac’s actions and the backstory set up for Supergirl. Additionally, Lois Lane (whose actress Margot Kidder had been outspoken about the poor treatment of Dick Donner by the Salkinds) only appeared in the opening sequence set in Paris and then briefly again at the end, while the main “love interest” duties were taken on by Lana Lang – now played as an adult by Annette O’Toole – who was clearly set up as a rival for Superman’s affections. Supergirl was shamelessly jerked around by Warner Bros., being delayed to August 1983 to make room for Batman and given very little publicity. Its gross of $22 million on a $40 million budget was used as “proof” that superhero films starring women Just Didn’t Sell Well, which also impacted the development of Wonder Woman. When the character of Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) in the comics was erased from existence two years later in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, it was clear there would be no Supergirl II.

The cartoon series for each of the “Big 3” DC superheroes – The Adventures of Superman, The Adventures of Batman and The Adventures of Wonder Woman – began broadcasting in 1984. These cartoons were much like most others of the period – poorly animated, merchandise-driven and generally low-quality – but would be looked back on by children of the ‘80s with great nostalgia, particularly for sharing a single continuity and having numerous crossovers, as well as introducing other superheroes and villains from the main DC universe as guest characters and featuring concepts that hadn’t been included in the films. Some deviations from the comics’ canon, such as Jason Todd’s rewritten “dark and troubled” backstory and Superman having begun his crime-fighting career as an adult, were later incorporated into the comics post-Crisis. While Superman and Batman were not voiced by the stars who played them in films (Christopher Reeve and Jeff Bridges respectively) but rather by professional voice actors, The Adventures of Wonder Woman had Lynda Carter reprise her role as the voice of the title character. Perhaps this was a harbinger of the fact that she personally would not make it to the big screen as Wonder Woman.

The “lighter-and-brighter” approach became dominant in the surge of superhero films released over 1985-1986: Captain America II, Spider-Man, Superman IV and Batman 2 were each released over a period of approximately thirteen months.

Unlike its predecessor, Captain America II (released May 1985) was entirely set in contemporary times with no sequences in the era of World War II. For the most part it focused on a straightforward story, and was given to playing Steve Rogers’ fish-out-of-water nature for comic effect rather than drama. It also introduced Captain America’s crime-fighting partner from the comics, Sam Wilson a.k.a. The Falcon – Wilson was played by a young and fairly obscure stage-and-occasionally-screen actor named Laurence Fishburne.

Spider-Man (released June 1985), directed by Guy Hamilton, had an energetic action-adventure tone similar in many ways to that of The Star Wars six years before. Teenaged protagonist Peter Parker was the brave young hero who used his new powers to fight for the side of good, and Doctor Octopus was the larger-than-life villain he had to defeat.

Superman IV (released December 1985) was also directed by Richard Lester, and went even further than its predecessor had done. The movie was basically an outright comedy, featuring Mr Mxyzptlk and Bizarro as its antagonists. Margot Kidder had come to a détente with the Salkinds since the release of Superman III and received a more substantial part, but unfortunately Lois’s role in Superman IV amounted to soap-operatic hi-jinks with Lana Lang in competing for Superman’s affections.

As Batman had been released just before the introduction of the PG-13 rating and thus had been rated PG in cinemas and PG-13 on home video, Batman 2 (released June 1986) deliberately aimed to be rated PG for its cinematic release. It featured two major villains – the Penguin, played by Danny DeVito, and the Riddler, played by Robin Williams – both of whom were more comedic and less disturbing than Michael Keaton’s Joker. Batman 2 also introduced sidekick Robin, played by child actor Wil Wheaton; the character, real name Ricky Grayson, was written as an amalgam between the comics’ Dick Grayson and post-Crisis Jason Todd. The “future-noir” aesthetic from Ridley Scott’s film was retained for the sequel, with one key exception: the “bleach-bypass” film technique was not used, giving the landscape more colour and making it appear less grim and oppressive.

There was a certain rationale to including these changes in the sequels: as there was a clear trend of sequels making less money than their originals, studios would attempt to compensate by reaching for a broader audience through a more “family-friendly” picture. And in the case of Spider-Man, this lighter-and-brighter tone suited the film very well; other smaller superhero films released around the same period mainly followed Spider-Man’s lead. Thus, the lighter-and-brighter trend of the second phase of ‘80s superhero films encompassed all but those which centred around original characters (which tended to be darker by design and were frequently rated R.)

Ultimately, this approach succeeded in the short-term and failed in the long-term. While none of the sequels grossed as much money as their predecessors, Captain America II and Batman 2 were both still very respectable blockbusters. Spider-Man turned out to be the main hit of the summer, and two sequels were immediately green-lit by Columbia Pictures: Spider-Man 2 was scheduled for release in June 1987 and Spider-Man 3 in June 1989 (with two-year gaps between films to take advantage of star Matthew Broderick’s youth). But demographic analysis showed that the lighter-and-brighter tone of Captain America II and Batman 2 had skewed their viewership towards children and had alienated many of the older viewers who had made the originals such big successes – both films had significant drops in home video sales for the sequels. Thus the choice of director for Batman 3 by producer Michael Uslan and Warner Bros. was a man they knew was an unabashed Batman fan, who could recapture the audience which had flocked to see Ridley Scott’s original film.

Superman IV grossed $59 million worldwide on a $30 million budget – a major disappointment for a franchise whose first two movies had broken all records. Warner Bros. decided that the series was over, cancelling any plans for a Superman V and firmly dismissing the idea of a World’s Finest Batman-Superman team-up movie. Not long after, Warner Bros. sold the film rights for Superman to Cannon Films, under the condition that the rights would revert back to DC/Warner if Cannon ever made no Superman films over a five-year period.

The second phase of superhero films was replaced by the third phase some time around 1987. The third phase was not a return to the style of the first phase, but something new: the proliferation of the serious-toned “message movie”. More than before, superhero films would come equipped with their own agenda, moral or theme to propagate, whether overtly or covertly. The third phase also featured a greater number of superhero team movies, both with the inclusion of more sidekicks and with movies centred around a group of equals. Marvel led the way on this trend with The Fantastic Four (1987), whose lighthearted tone perhaps makes it more suited to being classified as one of the last “second-phase” films. But it was another Marvel film, scheduled for release two years later, that was the focus of the most general anticipation: the live-action film adaptation of X-Men.

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Notes: yeah, I know I said this would be about Highlander but I realised there was still stuff I needed to write about regarding superhero movies and like I've said before I want to keep this TL as linear as possible even though a single update can span several years like this one. So since this includes information about films released as early as 1982, it's got to come before Highlander which is released in 1986.

Naturally, a boom in superhero movies is going to be accompanied by cartoon tie-ins. And naturally, as it's the '80s, those cartoon tie-ins will be just as crappy as the rest of the '80s cartoon oeuvre. But because they grew up on them, they will be beloved by People On The Internet just like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all that shit which they make multibazillion-dollar blockbuster extravaganzas out of today.

For anyone who was hoping for a Wonder Woman movie starring Lynda Carter -- please don't hate me.

For a long time I had no idea who could play The Falcon. Then I figured that I might as well restore the career of the guy I sabotaged in the second update. I think Fishburne looks like he could be a superhero crimefighter -- he's got the right sort of jaw and serious-face. He's young -- only around 23 or so -- but judging by screenshots he looks older.

Guy Hamilton in OTL and TTL was set to direct Superman: The Movie until production moved to England and he had to back out, due to being a tax exile who could only reside there for thirty days a year. In OTL, he was also approached to direct the 1989 film Batman. So I've given him a superhero movie -- given the tone of his James Bond films, I think it's an appropriate one.

You just know that some people are going to blame Batman 2's relatively lighter-and-brighter tone entirely on Wil Wheaton. Poor guy. Speaking of Wheaton, his character is called "Ricky Grayson" simply because kids are immature and no young teenager of the '80s is going to be walking around with the affectionate nickname "Dick". Plus the alliteration makes the origin of the name "Robin" clearer -- it started as a family nickname, "Ricky Robin". In the film, Ricky Grayson spends some time homeless and attempting to emulate Batman by fighting crime disguised in his circus outfit before Bruce takes him in.

You'll find out who directs Batman 3 in a future update.

Cannon Films is the same group who in OTL made Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. Yeah.

I've decided about the next update: it will be a multi-part update about several films over the general mid-'80s period which I want to write about. One of which is Highlander. But there'll be more. Including two original films.
 
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Who were the actors for Supergirl, Spiderman, Doctor Octopus, Brainiac, Bizarro and the Fantastic Four members?
Don't know, Matthew Broderick, don't know, don't know, Christopher Reeve under prosthetics with split-screen, and don't know.

I hadn't really thought about filling in every single role explicitly. Feel like suggesting anybody?
 
My spider-sense seems to detect the presence of an earlier Avengers movie in your TL... ;)
Also, for the X-Men movie, Patrick Stewart has to step into Xavier's clothes. You canceled TNG from existence, and Stewart's too awesome to be forever only a Shakespearean actor...
 
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You may have denied B:tAS and ruined the career of one of my favorite writers. (Though he could have worked on the 1980's series...)

Stewart may have warmed to SF after "Dune", and he just might be willing to play Professor X. They just might have to ask well.
 
I first couldn't really get used to them, but by now I really start to like them. If Lucas manages to create a good, iconic female villain (and yes, Jamie Lee Curtis, why not!); then he does culture even more of a favor than with OTL's Darth Vader.

I am very sceptical by what you did to the Hitchhiker's Guide. Reducing the number of heads doesn't feel like a good thing. And I think that the production-team overstretched by hitting the big screen.
Would be great to see a big remake at some point. I liked OTL's version which sports IMHO an almost perfect cast, but I know I am rather alone with that.

Matthew Broderick as Peter Parker sounds excellent. I don't remember any more, but I hope you didn't butterfly "War Games". Spiderman, however, should give Broderick a wholly different career trajectory and maybe safe him from marrying SJP.
Concerning "Ferris"....does severely altered mean the lead roles are filled with Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer?

IMHO, Rambo dying at the end of First Blood will have enormous butterflies. It will spare Stallone the commercially successful, but abysmal Rambo II and III (Rambo III is a good movie if seen as a parody). This in turn will lift First Blood to the rank of a classic movie and not being tied to Rambo ("only" Rocky) gives Stallone more range to prove his talents.

Concerning BRUCE. I personally would love to see him as a character actor. I could imagine him in a few Tom Hanksian roles, even in Saving Private Ryan....or as Gump?

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Did I miss anything about "Highlander"?

And.....come on, even if you dislike Back to the Future, the history of the film itself gives you enough stuff to distort it into a far less awesome movie. :(
 
Well, one upon a time, I had for an 80s Marvel Movieverse:

Michael J. Fox as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Willford Brimley as Uncle Ben
Betty White as Aunt May
Hulk Hogan as himself
Elizabeth Shue as Gwen Stacy
Molly Ringwald as Mary Jane Watson
Dann Florek as J. Jonah Jameson.
John Goodman as Otto Octavius/Dr.Octopus.
Jeffery Jones as Norman Osborne/Green Goblin
Ralph Macchio as Harry Osborne
Mickey Rourke as Flint Marko/Sandman
Rowdy Roddy Piper as MacDonald Gargan/Scorpion I
Charlie Sheen as Quintin Back/Mysterio I
Sam Neil as Kraven
Patrick Swayze as Eddie Brock/Venom

Jeff Speakman as Matt Murdoch/Daredevil
Tom Hanks as "Foggy" Nelson
Kelsey Grammer as The Owl
Lesley Ann Warren (after about a year in a dojo) as Elektra
The Gladiator (The Wrestler) as Himself
Liam Neeson as Bullseye
Arnold Scwartzenegger as Nuke

Scott Bakula as Bruce Banner
Dabney Coleman as General Ross
Natasja Kinski as Betsy Ross
Kris Kristofferson as Bruce Banner's Dad
Bruce Willis as The Abomination
Rick Moranis as The Leader

Telly Sevalas or Albert Finney as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin

Cynthia Rothick as Silver Sable.

Nancy Wilson from Heart (The Heavy Metal Band) as Typhoid Mary.

Brigitte Nielsen as Black Widow

Steven Segal as Frank Castle/Punisher
Cloiris Leachman as Joan the Mouse

Anne Ramsey as Ma Gnucci


I know Patrick Stewart was just born for Professor X, how about Christopher Lloyd as Magneto!
Mark Summers as Scot Summers/Cyclops
Kurt Russel as Wolverine (See Especially his roles in Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York to see what I mean)
Kim Catrall as Rogue
Veronica Hamel as Jean Gray
Tracy Gold as Kitty Pryde
Michael Keaton as Hank McCoy/Beast
Val Kilmer as Bobby Drake/Iceman
Holly Robinson as Storm
Stephanie Chow as Jubalee
Jimmy Sixkiller as Thunderbird I
Bolo Yeung as Sunfire
Sonny Chiba as Silver Samurai
Kenneth Branaugh as Sebastian Shaw
Matt Dillon as Warren Worthington III/Angel
Madonna as Emma Frost
King Kong Bundy as The Blob
Joanne Walley or Rebecca Romijn(!) as Raven Darkholme/Mystique
Road Warrior Animal as The Sha'ir Gladiator
Denzel Washington as Bishop
Tim Thomerson as (Middle Aged) Nathan Gray/Cable
Jim Carrey as Deadpool

Mr. T. as Luke Cage
Michael Dutikoff as Danny Rand/Iron Fist
Tamylin Tomita as Colleen Wing
Kim Fields (After about a year in a dojo) as Misty Knight

Kelly LeBrock (after spending a year in a dojo) as either Jessica Drew/Spiderwoman or Psylocke.
Cary Elwes as Captain Brittain
Sting as Pete Wisdom

Lisa Ruddy as Squirrel Girl

William H. Macy as Mr. Immortal
Bob Saget as Doorman
Rosanne Barr as Big Bertha
Thomas F. Wilson as Flatman

Tom Cruise as Captain America
Kevin Costner as Hawkeye
Vincent D'Onofirio as Thor
Justine Bateman as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch
William Zabka as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Patsy Walker/Hellcat I
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym/Ant Man I
Famke Jansen as Janet van Dyne/Wasp

Dolph Lundgren as Mar-Vell of the Kree

Victoria Principal as Carol Davers/Ms. Marvel

Tommy Lee Jones as 40's Soldier and 60's Spy Nick Fury

Tim Thomerson as 80's SHIELD Director Nick Fury
Brian Dennehy as Dum Dum Dugan

Corrin Nemec as Speedball

Timothy Daly as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Ernie Hudson as Jim Rhodes
Jeff Bridges as Justin Hammer
Mako as Mandrin

Ted Danson as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Kristy Swanson as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman
Stacy Keach as Ben Grimn/Thing
Emillio Estavez as Johnny Storm/Human Torch II
 
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