You probably remember the phrase “There is always money in the Banana Stand” from Arrested Development, a reference to the large stash of money hidden in its walls, not the stand’s revenue potential (as initially thought). So I felt the Banana Stand would make for a neat piggy bank, but alas other geeks have already thought of that.
So I propose an ATM machine design instead! This way it would be close to the size of the actual Banana Stand seen in the show, and would be in keeping with the aforementioned phrase.
It could be a standalone Banana Stand or one that is integrated into a wall (like the one you see above).
Hopefully a major bank with a sense of humor would do something like this. Admittedly it might be too garish for a bank branch but would be cool in a mall or a store.
Also kudos to Netflix for creating a few real Banana Stands to promote the show’s impending 4th season, which I am very much looking forward to. I’d like to think most of Canada is psyched for the show as well, as it was nationally broadcast on CBC for years after its cancellation (it was how I got on the AD bandwagon). I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t seen the show.
Warning: This isn’t geeky. Here are some geeky transit maps to distract you instead!
If you’ve followed this blog long enough you know I live in Vancouver BC. Our local transportation authority Translink is facing some revenue shortfalls due to a decreased local demand in fuel (a quarter of their revenue is from fuel taxes). So I decided to put my thinking cap on to see if I can devise some transportation-related ways for them to raise money or to save money. Read the rest of this entry
So I read this article at Forbes the other day (yes I read Forbes — it helps me learn big words) which outlined the decline in TV sales. It didn’t surprise me because modern TVs are made to last and just about everyone made the transition to LCD/Plasma/OLED TVs over the past decade because of their increasing affordability. Also HD was a worthwhile carrot (love how they tried to get us back to the trough for 3D TVs* – HA!).
I’m not a business or tech analyst, but I think there is one trait all TV manufacturers lack, and that is imagination. The cookie cutter appearance all TV’s have can be disposed of in favor of unique designs that represent the varying tastes and interests of consumers everywhere.
I believe we’re at that threshold where TVs have to diversify their appearance to encourage market growth, a tactic the automobile industry latched onto several decades ago. Functionality and engineering have been nearly perfected – it’s time for style.
Take this Iron Man design above. Definitely geared towards the comic book geeks, techies, film buffs, car lovers and so on – not exactly a niche market! If something like this were available, it might provoke some to think about getting a second (or third) TV, or to eschew paying rent for one month for a complete upgrade (let’s face it, we geeks are bloody impulsive).
Look forward to more TV designs based on films, comic books, and video games in the coming weeks. Check out this Star Trek TV from a while back if you like this one.
*That same article cited an increase in 3D units shipped, but no hard sales numbers. A 14% increase from what exactly?
Disney has already taken a bath on John Carter, so the likelihood of a sequel is pretty much extinct at this point. John Carter was slated to be a tentpole franchise that would be relied upon to be a cash cow for the next decade or two. This was supposed to be Disney’s Harry Potter*.
John Carter is steadily exiting theaters now, making room for The Avengers and Battleship and other widespread releases in the coming weeks (Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago). Can John Carter the film franchise still be salvaged? I think so. Here are some suggestions:
1. A re-release as part of a late summer double bill. Disney sibling The Avengers is one of those rare films that warrant repeat viewings in a theater. In the box office dead zone known as August and September, a double bill pairing John Carter with Avengers would bring more exposure to the overlooked Carter. This would be a break-even exercise with Theaters pocketing a bigger chunk of the gross, but the fanbase for Carter would grow and would convert more rentals of John Carter into purchases when the film hits home video.
2. Invoke the good name PIXAR for the home video release, albeit a different flavor of PIXAR. They didn’t market John Carter as a PIXAR film because of the violence and adult themes, which makes sense. Just as I have oft-mentioned that Cars 2 would be better served with a PIXAR Kids or PIXAR Family moniker**, John Carter could be buoyed by the PIXAR name if skewed for the adults. It would need a Criterion vibe; something like PIXAR Revue, PIXAR Cinema, or PIXAR Spotlight. This brand would give the film further credibility and perhaps a spot on the list of Disney PIXAR video collectors. Remember: strong video sales can give birth to a film franchise. Worked for Austin Powers, which tanked at the box office.
3. Acknowledge the different fan bases and provide alternate titles for the home video release. I haven’t done a Blu-Ray design here for a while, apologies. But for John Carter’s Blu I would include 2 additional covers for the box depicting alternate titles: A Princess of Mars and John Carter of Mars. This way fans can display the box with the title of their choosing. I’d go a step further and include those titles as being displayed when the film plays. Yes it would take a bit of trickery to allow for the choice and to swap titles on the fly, but it is do-able. This way fans can adopt the film title they like, and that adds a bit more appeal when it comes time to purchase.
4. Day one Director’s Cut. Film studios like to pocket Director’s Cuts for ‘double dip’ film releases down the road (usually opting to release a vanilla version first). Disney typically doesn’t do that, usually selling feature-rich combo packs to start off with. But for John Carter it would serve Disney well to throw in everything and the kitchen sink. That means a plethora of features and some game-changers like Director’s Cuts or Extended Editions. This release has to turn a lot of heads and get the cinephiles talking up a storm.
5. Supplemental media. This film must have been a merchandising nightmare. The books for which it is based are public domain, and you can’t do any toy tie-ins. How do you nurture a film franchise when the film is such a standalone product? In this day and age merchandise is a huge piece of the pie, and I’m a little surprised Disney sunk $250M on a film that relied almost entirely on box office alone. The Barsoom books were re-released in a shiny John Carter polish, but that was it. Put your Marvel acquisition to work Disney! Graphic Novels and Motion Comics would have introduced Carter to a new generation. These inexpensive mediums would grow the fanbase and expand the Barsoom lore.
This also addresses the lack of awareness for the John Carter character and Barsoom books. It seems to me that the film was released under the assumption John Carter was as engrained in the pop culture zeitgeist as Batman or King Kong. John Carter didn’t really have a built-in audience, at least not in this century.
*And Tron Legacy was supposed to be Disney’s Star Wars. Been a rough few years for the house that Mickey built.
** Cars 2 is not the same caliber of previous PIXAR films. I suppose Cars and even A Bug’s Life could be re-purposed for a kid-friendly PIXAR moniker too.
Be sure to check out the other entries in my “Salvageable Film” series.
Excellent article on the botched marketing for John Carter at Vulture.com.
1. A Communal Car Repair Garage. This is like a co-op artists studio, but for the mechanically inclined. You’d be able to rent a garage bay to fix your car for more demanding repairs. Sure you might have a garage and set of tools at home, but there are times when you need to get underneath the car. Or maybe you need an engine hoist and an industrial air compressor – stuff like that.
Got this idea when I owned a Ford several years ago (har-har, go ahead and laugh), and so often I would’ve liked to have access to a communal garage setup like this. I also think they had something like this in that film Christine.
2. Local Municipal Garbage Depots. Landfills are way out in the suburbs, and require a truck. Or you gotta pay an arm and a leg to some company to haul your stuff away. I propose ‘garbage depots’, which are set up in warehouses throughout the city, much like recycling depots. Garbage trucks that are not filled to capacity would stop in here, and collect junk until full or when it is needed to do another pickup route.
People would pay a fee to drop their stuff off here, but that is the cost of convenience. It would also maximize loads for trucks, allowing for optimal efficiency.
3. Restaurants With Retractable Roofs. It’s not just for sports stadiums anymore! You could turn the whole restaurant into a patio. It would be like that restaurant scene from Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, minus the falling food (unless you have a clumsy server).
Speaking of servers – I imagine they’d love this idea. They’re not too fond of heading out the door to the patio with food, or collecting outdoor furniture at the end of the night.
Also: tall building rooftop bars. Those alcohol commercials lied — you never see those in real life.
5. Themed Drinking Holes And Restaurants — which are actually cool. If they made a bar based on Cheers, the Brick, or 10 Forward, it would be the busiest in the city. I’m telling ya, franchises to be had there. As for restaurants, I’d say ones based on those featured in Pushing Daisies (I think? Wasn’t there a pie restaurant?), Seinfeld, Goodfellas, Office Space, and that’s all that comes to mind. As long as it’s not too over-the-top like Planet Hollywood (forgot about those, didn’t you?)
6. Party Room Conference Centers. This is a building that would feature a dozen or so ‘party’ rooms, and a communal bar and/or restaurant. These rooms would house something in the area of 10 – 30 people. Some rooms would be equipped with large screen TV’s and seating, ideal for film marathons or gaming sessions with your buds. Other rooms would just have tables and chairs for poker or Magic: The Gathering parties. A stereo and a dance floor could fill another room — whatever you need for your party. This type of conference center would promote social activity – a dying art.
If I ran such a place, I’d charge about $100 – $200 per room per night. And if all the party-goers bought a lot of food and drink, I’d offer a rebate.
Hotels have many conference rooms, but let’s face it — these are snooty establishments. At least that’s what I learned from Home Alone 2.
7. Themed fitness clubs. Three words – Pokemon Training Center. All the geeks would be tricked into staying in shape.
I still get e-mails from time to time asking where this can be purchased, so I decided to touch it up and upload it to Imageready, where you can buy it commission-free, at least until Miramax asks me to remove it (in a violent, yet critically-acclaimed fashion). Hit the link or the image to go to the store listing.
Recommend the smaller sizes for this print — 14″ x 11″ is close to the painting’s size from the film. Also because I suck at painting digitally, and a smaller print can hide that. I did my best (I painted the outer 30% all around), but it won’t hold up to close scrutiny. At a glance it bears a passing resemblance to what is seen in the film.
I did e-mail Miramax and alert them this was a popular item (I still get traffic hits daily for this painting, and it’s been up over a year or so), in hopes they could add it to their merchandise line. No response, of course, and that is to be expected. Just saying I tried!
One thing I don’t get, is when Will Hunting is describing this painting, he says “It’s also a Winslow Homer ripoff, except, uh, you got whitey rowin’ the boat there.” But you really cannot determine the race of the boat’s occupant at all, or even the gender. It could easily be Paddington Bear in that boat, navigating a harsh sea of marmalade. Doesn’t that thought just cheer you up??