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Tiny Avengers, Brian C. Baer and Penguins: Lilac City Comicon 2019 Day 2 Preview (Table A1)

Jack Skellington with Sally and Jack Penguin

With just one more day to go, I wanted to highlight a couple of great things at our table. First, if you know the secret pass phrase and you are one of the first two people to say it at the Penguinate table (A1), you could win a tiny Avenger!

Brian C. Baer will be signing copies of his books from 10:30 to 11:30. Come by and get your copies of “How He-Man Mastered the Universe” and “Bad Publicity.” You might even be able to get him to sign a free chapbook. (Free is a very good price.)

We’re excited that Lucky found a home with a nice family. Our other penguins are waiting for you to take them home. Come join us for the fun at Lilac City Comicon 2019!

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Author Brian C. Baer Makes His Triumphant Return to Lilac City Comicon 2019

On Jun 1 and 2, 2019, Author Brian C. Baer will be attending Lilac City Comicon 2019 as a panel moderator and guest author signing books at the Penguinate table (A1). Baer will host panels on both days and will sign books from 10:30 am to 11:30 am at the Penguinate table on Sunday only. You will be able to purchase Baer’s books throughout the weekend.

Baer is the author of “How He-Man Mastered the Universe.” His seminal work on the Master of the Universe franchise examines the social and cultural impacts that the He-Man cartoons had on Children’s television. It also discusses the cult classic film adaptation. Baer’s adept analysis and thorough research bring to light new information that many people aren’t aware of.

By connecting He-Man to the greater cultural and political movements of 1983, Baer achieves something that few authors are capable of. He reveals the reasons why He-Man is truly important to the U.S. culture and allows the reader to draw conclusions about how that has affected the present. On the surface, it’s difficult to fathom how He-Man has affected those who grew up with him.

Baer’s detailed dissection of the He-Man film helps this book to stand out as a labor of love. His own personal connection reinforces the importance of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Baer’s “Bad Publicity” is a story about an entertainment journalist who has a ghost helping him dig up dirt on the rich and famous. A noir detective story, “Bad Publicity” is as inventive as it is entertaining. If you like detective or ghost stories, Baer’s book will find a prized place on your shelf.

Baer is offering attendees at Lilac City Comicon 2019 the opportunity to get a collection of his short stories for free. Those who stop by the Penguinate table (A1) will be able to pick up a copy of the chapbook “I Haunt the Spaceship… and other stories” while supplies last!

Baer will be moderating Saturday’s “State of the Comic Book Adaptations” at 4 pm on the Main Stage. On Sunday, after his book signing from 10:30 am to 11:30 am at the Penguinate table, he will moderate the Guest Spotlight panel with Falk Hentschel at noon and the “Moon Knight” fan film screening at 2 pm in room 402c. All times are subject to change.

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Guess Who’s Coming to Lilac City Comicon!

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Just one month until Lilac City Comicon 2019!

Booth set up for Lilac City Comicon

With just a month to go for the hottest ticket of the summer, preparations here at penguinate.com are ramping up. Just like last year, we’ll books, stuffed penguins, posters and Russian Lobby Cards (mini movie posters) for movies from 2017 to the present. Preordering is encouraged to make sure you don’t miss out on our great items. If you want something from Russia, let us know, and we’ll do our best to bring it with us. Remember members of our Patreon Penguinators before June 1, get $1 off for every $10 they spend at our booth, so join today.

At our table, we will not only have books by Shad Engkilterra but we will also have Author Brian C. Baer signing copies of his books. A recognized expert in “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” his exploration of “How He-Man Mastered the Universe is an enlightening and interesting piece on a cartoon that had greater influence on the future than anyone realizes. His fictional work, “Bad Publicity” is a supernatural noir detective novel and a fun read. His books will be available throughout the convention, and there may be a chapbook “I Haunt the Spaceship” available! Times are yet to be determined for his signing. (This is subject to change depending on Baer’s availability.)

Follow this blog to learn more about Lilac City Comicon and the other things we will be doing on our trip through the west and find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You don’t want to miss out on our upcoming announcements and articles about creativity, entertainment, books and penguins.

Lilac City Comicon 2019 promises to be a great event with newcomers like Chris Kattan and Hacksaw Jim Duggan – HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The returnees like Blacky Shepherd and Burr Martin bring their larger than life personalities back to Spokane. Join us and find yourself at an incredible comicon event where, you’re sure to have a great time.

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The Problem with ‘the Single’ in Disney’s Movie Business

Disney movie tie ins

In his examination of Disney’s “Dumbo,” “Forbes” writer Scott Mendelson laments the Disney Company’s penchant for releasing big budget films that have already been made, including the live-action remakes of animated classics and the multiple sequels that Disney has released over the course of roughly the last decade, and while he acknowledges that the studios are in part to blame, he also lays the blame on movie goers. “The studios can’t responsibly green-light what they know audiences will not go to see in theaters.”

The Dollars and Sense of It All

In 1984, when Michael Eisner became CEO of the Disney Company, the top grossing movie was “Beverly Hills Cop” with almost $235 million and $316 million worldwide. Disney’s movie releases were in the tank and not making what they should be with a few exceptions. In 1984, Touchstone’s “Splash” opened at No. 1 on the chart and grossed over $69 million (Box Office Mojo) by the time it finished its run; it cost $8 million to make. The film was a huge success at the time, and it brought in about $62 million profit.

Eisner looked at the situation and decided that Disney and its movie making companies would make smaller budget films that would make money rather than hope for a summer blockbuster that could fail. They were going to hit singles rather than try for homeruns. In 1986, “Ruthless People,” “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and “The Color of Money” were released with grosses of $71, $62 and $52 million making them the 9th, 11th and 12th highest grossing movies of the year. Eisner’s strategy was successful, and Disney carved out a niche with these low budget, over-performing types of films.

Flash forward to 2018 and the surprise hit (not Disney) “A Quiet Place.” With a budget of $17 million dollars, this is the type of film Disney would’ve happily made in the 1980s. The movie made $340 million dollars worldwide ($323 million profit). Marvel’s “Black Panther” cost about $200 million to make and brought in over $1.3 billion; domestically, it was the top grossing film of the year. It would take about three “A Quiet Place” size releases to make the same amount of profit as “Black Panther.” However, “Black Panther” was a surprise in its own way.

Marvel’s sure thing for the year was “The Avengers: Infinity War” – a sequel, which according to the just over $2 billion box office gross, you’re probably familiar with. The estimates for the cost of the film run between $300 million and $400 million. Even on the high side of the estimate, the film brought in $1.6 billion, or the rough equivalent of five “A Quiet Places.”

I understand these numbers aren’t exact. There are marketing costs to consider as well as what the actual theaters make, which is different depending on the country. However, the point is it doesn’t make any sense for a company that brings in $12.6 billion (2018 net income) to worry about $10 or $20 million, the budget of “A Quiet Place” for a return of only $323 million. As Mendelson pointed out, Disney had taken risks with “Tomorrowland” (profit at a scant $20 million), “The Finest Hours” (losses estimated at $20 million), and “The Queen of Katwe” (estimated loss of $5 million). These movies didn’t return enough profit to justify their existence.

Other Sources of Income

When “Star Trek” dolls were released and the series ended, the sales of the toys dried up as well. There wasn’t anyway to remind people about the purpose of the toys without the show. When “Star Trek: The Next Generation” returned the Star Trek universe to television, toy sales skyrocketed.

In 1983, Funimation released “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” after Reagan deregulated children’s programming. The show was designed to sell He-Man action figures. Once it made it on the air and He-Man sales sky-rocketed every toy company got involved in Saturday Morning Cartoons: “Transformers,” “Go-Bots,” “M.A.S.K.,” “Jem and the Holograms,” and “G.I. Joe” to name a few. Whether the show or the action figures came first is of little consequence, what mattered was that some of the cartoons were pulled from the air not because of the cartoons’ popularity, but because the toys lacked sales.

Disney’s synergistic approach to marketing means the media giant isn’t looking just at the movies. It’s also looking at what it can make from tie-ins. Dumbo’s new movie release, regardless of how it’s received, sells more stuffed Dumbos. Marvel’s movies sell more superhero action figures, Lego sets, and whatever else they put their characters on. These things all bring in more money. Disney princesses outsell Barbie now are a multi-billion-dollar market segment. Their inclusion in “Ralph Breaks the Internet” keeps them fresh, updates them for this generation and keeps the product moving. The Disney company not only needs to create movie sequels and remakes because they are smaller financial risks, but also because they sell more toys, products and Disney park experiences.

What’s It All Mean?

There’s no incentive for Disney to green-light smaller film projects, even if they become the next “A Quiet Place.” The movie industry can only stand so many new films before there aren’t enough movie-goers to see them all. Worse, people say they want new stories, but they only think they want new stories. Audiences still flock to their favorite characters and movie franchises because its an acceptable risk. To spend $10 to $15 on a movie that you may not like or know nothing about doesn’t make much sense when you know that Marvel (or DC or Pixar) has a release right around the corner.

Moreover, Disney can make more money from product friendly franchises that it can tie into its theme parks than it ever could from a movie that has to stand on its own two legs. This all becomes more problematic with Disney’s recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox, and it’s looming control of 40 to 50 percent of the box office. The studios will have to schedule movies so they don’t cut into each other’s profits, which will mean fewer movies and fewer opportunities for a smaller film to get made.

For more on the Disney Company, preorder “Penguinate! The Disney Company.