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The 'Arrested Development' Movie News Cycle Is Getting Silly

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2010 8:02PM
Mitch Hurwitz speaking at the 'Running Wilde' panel at the Summer 2010 TCAsAs a guy who writes about television, I've reached a dilemma with this whole 'Arrested Development' movie story.

Sure, I want to see the movie happen. I was a big fan of the show when it was on Fox, and I'd love to revisit the Bluths in the darkness of a movie theater.

But I don't want to hear about it anymore.

Every time creator Mitch Hurwitz or someone from the cast gets asked about it, their answer gets splashed all over the interwebs as if health care reform was passed all over again. Even if someone says "I don't know" or "Beats me," it gets linked to on entertainment portals everywhere. Not even the second 'Star Wars' trilogy got this much attention.

Here's a case in point: Yesterday, after his panel discussion for his new Fox show 'Running Wilde,' Hurwitz was speaking to a group of reporters, me included. After an entire panel where not one person asked Hurwitz about the 'AD' movie, Joe Adalian of New York magazine's Vulture blog broached the question to him in the post-panel scrum. His answer didn't have me running back to my computer to send a virtual "STOP THE PRESSES!" to my editors.

"We're writing, (but) we're in a little bit of a break to do the show," he said, "but we're about halfway through. The reason I've been so cagey about this is because I know it's taken us a while to get it going, and the fans have been so kind to us. But I really want to do it."

Hurwitz even mentioned to me that they'd have to work on a compressed schedule because of logistics. "It's not going to be a big money maker, it's going to be that it's fun for us to be together, it'll be a family reunion, so I think on that basis everyone going to want to do it."

No big deal, right? Hurwitz, Will Arnett, and other cast members have been talking about the script being in progress for a couple of months. Well, Adalian and some of the other writers ran with it, some posting about it in excited tones that seemed a little over-the-top given the non-news nature of the story (If any of them were using those tones in a tongue-in-cheek manner, then it didn't come through on the electronic page).

Of course, the story hopscotched its way around the Web. And when I saw that, I just scratched my head; how is having a script being "half-done"and not being picked up anytime soon cause for semi-screaming headlines? Is this what the 'AD' movie news cycle has come to, where we're wringing every little microscopic piece of information uttered by someone and calling it news? I'm sure there's a half-done sequel to 'Star Trek' in J.J. Abrams' drawer, and no one seems to care about that.

I'm guilty of feeding the 'Arrested' hype machine myself; last spring, when David Cross told me that he didn't think the movie was going to happen, I posted the story with the 'AD' stuff as the headline and lead, and watched it explode online. I can't say that part surprised me; but what did surprise me was that what I thought was just one man's opinion about whether or not the movie was going to happen was taken by fans as fact.

When I asked Arnett about it on Sunday night during Fox's event for 'Running Wilde,' he pegged the craziness of the show's news cycle pretty well, and how Cross got caught up in it.

"I think that in the moment it felt true [to him] that it wasn't going to happen," he said. "It didn't represent either way any real facts or lack of facts. At that moment he didn't think it was going to happen. The problem is on that particular subject anything you say about it is taken as law at that particular moment. That forces [Jason] Bateman to make a statement that it is happening."

If I think that news cycle is so crazy, then why did I feed into it? Well, because I had to. That's where the dilemma comes in. As much as I'd like for Hurwitz and the cast to just go and do their movie and let us know when it's done so we can lap it up like the starving 'Arrested' fans we are, we also have to report each little movie-related story morsel so we don't look like we're getting aced out. I don't fault any sites for running with the half-done script story, because people want to click on anything involving the show, even if it's a list of what Michael Cera ate for breakfast this morning.

Jessica Walter, whom I spoke to after the FX panel for 'Archer' on Tuesday, said that in her career, she hasn't seen such anticipation for a movie. Because of all the hype, "Most of us just say, 'We don't know,' and hope that it'll work out."

That seems to be the right approach. Give people nothing because there's really nothing to report , though like I said earlier, even that stuff gets reported.

At this point, isn't it best to just let Hurwitz get the script done, set up everyone's schedules, and actually start filming? Only until then will the project be real instead of something a producer is doing on the side while he's trying to make a living on TV.

With all the hype, fans are just setting themselves up for disappointment if the 'Arrested Development' movie isn't the best thing to happen to cinema since 'Gone With the Wind.' And that's a lot of pressure for what's essentially a cult show. A very funny cult show, but a cult show nevertheless.

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I love AD, and can't wait for the movie (if it ever comes). I know I'll probably be seeing it at least twice. I still re-watch all of the seasons...so many jokes, it's hard to catch them all the first few times.

August 08 2010 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You lost me at: "I was a big fan of the show when it was on Fox". It's still possible to be a fan of a show after it ends, especially if it's Arrested Development. AD fans should still be rewatching the show, and I think many of them are, why else would there still be such a demand for news about the movie? If the people want news about the movie, give it to them. Even if the news is about the arrested development of Arrested Development, who cares, it's still entertaining.

August 05 2010 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I completely agree with Kaufies. Maybe it only reached for 3/4million while on air, the show got HUGE DVD sales (It was one of Fox DVD's powersellers for many years) and has a huge reputation outside of America. There is a rich pedigree and heritage in this show and I think it's popular enough to ensure a guarenteed first-week audience, good enough to ensure most of these people will watch it twice, and "unheard-of" enough to gather bucks on it's own accord as a must-see comedy.

August 05 2010 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have thought all the internet hype of which you speak would have ensured the movie's production. I can't believe Hurwitz and co. haven't realized there clearly is a demand for the movie. Hurwitz saying "It's not going to be a big money maker" made me LOL. If you look at the show's IMDB board or the groups on Facebook you will see there are a lot of people who actively want the movie. Then factor in all the people who used to enjoy the show but never embraced its cult status and the folks who will undoubtedly see the movie because of word of mouth and yes, it will in fact be a "money maker."

August 04 2010 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Kaufies's comment

Kaufies..you are delusional. A few virgins online does not translate well into sales. Again..even iff ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the people who were willing to invest 30 minutes and zero dollars of their time to watch the show FOUR YEARS AGO were willing to pay $10 to see it now (which most aren't) it would still make only $35 million. The reality is this would be a disaster. there is no sadder person in hte world than someone who can't let go.

August 04 2010 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lakawak- if you'd looked at a calender at some point in the last five to ten years you would know the internet is no longer the domain of a few hundred virgins. In fact the whole thing is pretty mainstream now.

All I'm saying is Arrested Development already has a fanbase (who are willing to shell out a few bucks- just look at AD's DVD sales). Not many other movies have that luxury. Basically, AD has a competitive edge over an unheard of movie (some of which do quite well I might add). Look at "Swingers" for example.

August 04 2010 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joel - a little more attention to detail would be appreciated:
1) "Raising Wilde"
2) Will Ar nett
3) Michael Vera
Great article otherwise!

August 04 2010 at 8:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Greg's comment
Joel Keller

Yeah not sure what happened there. The first one was my fault, because I smushed "Raising Hope" and "Running Wilde" together. Not sure where those last two came from, because they didn't look that way when I first posted the story. Either way, everything's been fixed.

August 04 2010 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Either way, can't wait for the movie!

August 04 2010 at 5:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think it's appropriate given the coverage previously given, and the interest to give an explanation on why no more posts will be forth coming, till you know, maybe the movie actually starts being shot. Or a trailer is released.

The saddest part about tv squad, is how down right nasty many of the people who post comments on articles have gotten over the last 2 years.

August 04 2010 at 4:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

and yet you continue to write about it.

August 03 2010 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dimebox's comment
Joel Keller

Wow. That comment was totally expected.

August 03 2010 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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