Joss Whedon 101

Cabin in the Woods

by Chris Conaton

11 April 2011

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's Cabin in the Woods has been as star-crossed as a show can be. Although Goddard and Whedon had finished principle filming, MGM requested a year delay to convert the film to 3D, and then promptly went bankrupt.
 

Cabin in the Woods is the Joss Whedon project that we currently know the least about. Originally set for release in February of 2010, MGM Studios pulled the movie back in the wake of Avatar‘s massive success in order to do a 3D makeover. The new date was scheduled for January 14, 2011. Over the course of 2010, though, MGM ran into major cash flow problems. The studio basically went bankrupt and remained up for sale for months without a buyer. Their entire slate of upcoming movies was put on indefinite hold, including the James Bond franchise. Now that MGM has finally been refinanced, things are starting to get back on track for the studio.

This has yet to result in a re-revised release date for Cabin in the Woods, however. Although 2010 was huge for Avatar, the glut of 3-D movies in the marketplace showed that just slapping the words “3-D” on a film wasn’t a guarantee of success. On top of that, so-called “post-conversion” 3-D movies generated a huge amount of negative word of mouth and bad publicity. Movies like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender made money, but they weren’t shot in 3-D, and the after-the-fact addition of the technology became more unpopular as the year went on. It’s not known at this time if Cabin in the Woods is going to come out in the standard two dimensions in which it was originally conceived or if the reorganized MGM is going to stick with the plan to go with 3-D.

Whedon is credited as a producer and co-writer on the project. His longtime collaborator Drew Goddard is the director and co-writer of the film. Goddard got his start in the Whedonverse in Season Seven of Buffy, and wrote or co-wrote some of that lackluster season’s most lively episodes, including “Conversations with Dead People” and “Dirty Girls.” After Buffy concluded Goddard went on to several other genre shows, scripting excellent episodes in Season Five of Angel as well as jumping over to the J. J. Abrams camp to work on Alias and eventually Lost. Goddard also wrote the screenplay for Cloverfield, infusing that movie with more wit than the standard horror film…

Dear reader:

Joss Whedon’s importance in contemporary pop culture can hardly be overstated, but there has never been a book providing a comprehensive survey and analysis of his career as a whole—until now. Published to coincide with Whedon’s blockbuster movie The Avengers, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion by PopMatters (May 2012) covers every aspect of his work, through insightful essays and in-depth interviews with key figures in the ‘Whedonverse’. This article, along with previously unpublished material, can be read in its entirety in this book.

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