The Next Reel
‘Superman’ and ‘Superman II’: What Is, and What Might Have Been

Superman and Superman II are two of the best films of their kind, but budget and time overruns necessitated a number of changes from the original vision.

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Building the Perfect Bomb: The Numbers Behind Box Office Flops

The biggest "box office bombs" of all time, much like the biggest hits, are not always the ones you're expecting them to be.

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Hollywood Creative Accounting, or, How to Hide a Hit and Still Profit From It

From Batsuits to Lawsuits, Hollywood Studios have a long history of hiding profits to claim that enormous hits were actually flops. How do they do this, and why?

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Deconstructing the Star Beast: How the ‘Alien’ Saga Went Wrong

Alien was a planned B-Movie that transcended its genre and spawned the rare sequel that is neither imitation nor complete deviation. Then the saga went to hell.

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Great Movies With Terrible Sequels: Laughable Sequels in Action

Not even the combined might of Superman, Batman, Predator and James Bond can save their respective series from sinking like an ocean liner into the Bay of Pigs!

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Great Movies With Terrible Sequels: Sequels so Bad They’re Scary

Sometimes the most successful and acclaimed films are marked and marred by the absolutely worst sequels imaginable.

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The Trials and Tribulations of “Dirty” Harry Callahan

Feeling lucky, punk? The road from obscurity to legend wasn't easy for Clint Eastwood's iconic character Dirty Harry. Think you know the back story? Read on!

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Sequels, Monsters, Robots, Heroes and Apes (Oh My!): Year Two of ‘The Next Reel’

What does Tom Petty think of Cylons? What does the Polar Bear from LOST know about CPR? Why does everyone think this author is a produce clerk?

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Origin of the Species: ‘Planet of the Apes’ from Laughing Stock to Box Office Gold

After the best-selling novel La Planète des Singes and the hit film Planet of the Apes, the series found itself in hairy times. How did the saga regain its glory?

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Origin of the Species: ‘Planet of the Apes’ from Page to Screen

Humankind once laughed at The Planet of the Apes -- until it became a critically acclaimed artistic endeavor and had an Academy Award category created for it. Now who amongst us is laughing?

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The Rise Fall and Rise of Marvel Comics on Film Part 3: Our Universe(s) at War

Suddenly, movies from all walks of the Marvel Universe began to rage against the big screen with three distinct universes vying for control of box office gold.

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The Rise Fall and Rise of Marvel Comics on Film Part 2: The Road Out of Development Hell

The story is far from over for The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, but what of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What of the incredible saga of all of those also-ran comic book films?

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The Rise Fall and Rise of Marvel Comics on Film Part 1: Origins and Eternities

Marvel Comics rules the box office today (three films based on Marvel Comics occupied the top 10 in May 2014 alone), but getting there was a long, hard, slow road.

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Drastically Divergent: The Sequels That Strayed Far Too Far

Can a barely recognizable sequel save a franchise? Or is it doomed to mark its epitaph?

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Instantly Familiar: Hollywood’s Great Duopolies

Ever think Hollywood is making the same films over and over? These many sets of twin films that constitute Hollywood’s Great Duopolies show no signs of stopping.

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Cinematic Kaiju: A Worm’s Eye look at Filmdom’s Biggest Monsters

In the sagas of film's biggest monsters, what qualifies as a Kaiju? And does the giant monster have to be a Japanese creation to be considered Kaiju?

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The Icons of Fright and the House That Spawned Them

Universal Studios didn't set out to be "The House that Horror Built", but Carl Laemmle and company created and recreated the ultimate icons of terror, and those icons were very good to Universal in return.

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Celluloid Androids: The Big Screen’s Fascination with Robots

Robots and Replicants... Between utilitarian tools and far too human replacements lies the Uncanny Valley. The Next Reel explores Cinema's love/ hate relationship with the automaton.

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Out of Sequence: The Saga of Hollywood’s Hidden Sequels

In every successful series there are prequels and sequels that create the long-standing sagas that we love. But what becomes of those orphaned sequels begging for a home?

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From the Zombie Hordes to the Successfully Bankrupt: The First Year of ‘The Next Reel’

The Next Reel is PopMatters' exploration of film links and histories that go far beyond the obvious. Looking back on the past year of The Next Reel's adventure is not for the faint of heart.

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What Happens When Hollywood’s Critical Acclaim Fails to Match Box Office Receipts?

Oscar's favorite studios and films often face bankruptcy and financial ruin, while Worst Picture Razzie winners have (more than once) earned billions of dollars at the box office. Why this disparity between financial rewards and Academy Awards?

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Creepy Myths, Curses and Urban Legends of Hollywood

From deep within the shadows of Hollywood's backlots crawl the creepiest rumors and legends: a hanged Munchkin, the Superman Curse and... Ted Danson in a top hat!

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Books of the Dead: The Followers and Clones of ‘The Evil Dead’

Initially a disaster of an experimental horror film, The Evil Dead went on to become an acclaimed and influential movie that launched careers and spawned sequels and copycats, not to mention a string of cash in faux-sequels. Who were these pretenders to the Deadite throne?

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A Cirque Du Soleil Performance in Hollywood Evokes Memories of the Circus of Hollywood

What do Dracula, The Pink Panther, Rocky Horror, The Exorcist, Thomas Edison and Danny Elfman have to do with Cirque Du Soleil? The Next Reel explores the 'Two Billion Nickelodeon'.

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Italy’s Lost Bellissima Actress, Margie Newton, Re-Appears in The Next Reel

Just before rising Italian star Margie Newton was set to take on Hollywood, she vanished from the public eye. What happened? Where did she go? Is she coming back?

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No Texas, No Chainsaw, No Massacre: The True Links in the Chain

With Texas Chainsaw 3D's release, the question of what the "True Story" (if any) really was, is catching the buzz, again.

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Building the Perfect Star Beast: The Antecedents of ‘Alien’

The impact of Alien is undeniable, and with Prometheus breathing new, terrifying and artistic life into the saga, Alien's legacy could go anywhere. However, Alien didn't spring, fully-formed onto movie screens as the near-perfect Star Beast that it is.

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The Pragmatic Anarchy of the Long Take

The Long Take can at once be subtle enough to be missed by the audience and astounding enough to entrance that same audience... depending on who is paying attention.

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The Non-Bonds: James Bond’s Bitter, Decades-Long Battle… with James Bond

While the James Bond film franchise remains one of the most acclaimed, successful, recognizable and marketable movie series in history, there was a time when the mighty Mister Bond had some stiff competition at the box office: himself.

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The Cinematic Experience of Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall Live’

Almost synonymous with the name Pink Floyd, The Wall went from an idea to an operatic concept album to a multimedia concert experience to a full length movie to a post-Floyd concert special at the Berlin Wall itself and back to the stage as Roger Waters brought his concert tour The Wall Live to the world.

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‘American Pop’... Matters: Ron Thompson, the Illustrated Man Unsung

More than just a rock performance piece, American Pop is an engrossing drama with a pathos that burns through the animation cells in certain scenes even to this day.

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The Zombification Family Tree: Legacy of the Living Dead

Deemed a "culturally significant" (if "sadistic" and "culturally irresponsible") film, how did 'Night of the Living Dead' redefine an entire genre and spawn more unofficial sequels (over 30) than 'James Bond' did official ones (22)?

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Double Take: 'The French Connection' (1971)

// Short Ends and Leader

"You pick your feet in Poughkeepsie, and we pick The French Connection for Double Take #18.

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