Friday, August 19, 2016

Responding to Criticism, Warner Bros. to Adapt Childrens' Novel that Parents Also Read

Article written by George Stefano Pallas.  Barely repressed Marvel bias and fansplaining practiced by the author are his alone and do not necessarily reflect nor should be construed as those of the Author.


After a string of critical and commercial successes like “Batman v Superman: The Ultimate Cut” on Blu-ray and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Warner Bros. today pulled back the curtain on their hotly anticipated next intellectual property, Kid and Giant Fantasy Companion, which has been in development since last weekend.  Studios like Summit and 20th Century Fox that specialize in mass-producing lowest-standard adaptations of YA franchises had reportedly been enjoined in a fierce bidding war over the coveted material, but with millions pilfered from tone-deaf Suicide Squad viewers who couldn’t take a hint, Warner Bros. inevitably used its box office clout to triumph over competitors.

“We are overjoyed to be working with Warner Bros. to bring this beloved story to life,” commented executive producer Mick RcCallum.  “At first we thought that Sony would be a good match for Kid and Giant Fantasy Companion, having funded Certified-Fresh movies like Ghostbusters (2016), the Goosebumps movie, Spectre, and Uncharted 4, but I’m very appreciative of what Warner has done to commercialize an 80-year-old children’s book like The Hobbit, and I know that they’ll be a great partner with us in spreading the beautiful, life-affirming message of hope and life enclosed in the book.”

Kid and Giant Fantasy Companion first appeared on the New York Times bestseller list in June after receiving endorsements from Katie Couric and the “Finding Dory” Facebook page.  The 300-page coming-of-age novel by Rhonda J. Krowling centers on a precocious 12-year-old boy whose parents are divorced and who struggles to navigate the turbulent middle-school whirlpool of bullies, first crushes, and teachers who aren’t paid enough to care about realizing his dreams of going to a $250k university and getting his bachelor’s in sociology.  At his lowest point, when Christian is contemplating striking back at the bullies and running away from home, he runs into and develops a touching friendship with a towering mythical creature, who confronts the bullies for him and gives him the confidence to approach the girl, his parents, and every other problem that comes his way.


As literary scholars on Salon and the Huffington Post have perceptively noted, the presence of the giant fantasy companion has a lot of metaphorical implications about fascism and cultural appropriation that have made the story just as appealing to single, unemployed adults as to children, and the nostalgic tone of the book has been universally praised for imparting the feels.  Krowling says she wrote the runaway hit “while working” in her college’s library and considered self-publishing it as an e-book, but leapt at the opportunity to get it in stores when Harper Collins accepted the text.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we see a book as nuanced and lyrical and deep as Kid and Giant Fantasy Companion being adaptable, let alone marketable in a way that will get people to take a chance on such an unconventional narrative,” says Warner Bros. representative Joel Kern.  “Then Suicide Squad happened, and everything changed.  Suddenly we realized, not only was this a story that could be told, but this was a story that needed to be told.”

Other factors that played a role in Warner Bros.’ acquisition of the movie rights include: Pete’s Dragon, which received an uncommon A-Cinemascore grade from mothers who like anything so long as it has good morals, no swearing, and no bloody violence; the upcoming Liam Neeson ent film A Monster Calls, which has an approximately 34:1 like-to-dislike ration on its Youtube trailer; the Playstation 4 game The Last Guardian, featuring a giant cat-dog-bird thing; The Iron Giant Blu-ray release; the How To Train Your Dragon franchise; and The BFG.

“After Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and the next six installments in the DC extended universe, we at Warner didn’t have a clue where we were going to go next,” continues Kern.  “We’ve done fun superhero movies, we’ve done plenty of hilarious Adam Sandler comedies, but where could we go that feels fresh and relevant and doesn’t sound like a huge, uncertain business investment?  Thankfully, we didn’t have to figure that out ourselves, and now we’re proud to be shepherding one of the best pieces of literature this generation has seen, right up there with Paper Towns and Gone Girl.”

The reveal of the director of Kid and Giant Fantasy Companion is set for September 30th, 2016, and a teaser trailer with title cards, a shot of the creature’s shadow, and a chilling Sigur Rós song will be released sometime around Winter Holiday.  Kid and Giant Fantasy Companion has an average score of 4.6 stars on Amazon, lagging behind The Lorax by Dr. Seuss but just on par with or outpacing Lean In, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons EverythingI Am Malala: The Girl Who “Stood Up For Education” and Was Shot by the Taliban, and The Absolutely True Diary of Apartheid Indian.

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