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Entertainment Roundtable: Who will watch "Watchmen," Fallon and "Saving Grace?"
It's successful drama series that isn't just like everything else on TV - it's not CSI: OKC, after all - and deals with mature and real-life issues. I think that's good exposure for the city. Lang: It seems to be finding its footing, and I think Nancy Miller really wants to do right by our city, but I still cannot watch "Saving Grace" without picking it apart -- "That doesn't look like Oklahoma -- that looks like Van Nuys! That's an In-N-Out Burger, not a Johnnie's!" I wonder if New York people do this with all the movies in which Toronto subs for Manhattan. Price: While I haven’t watched much "Saving Grace," I’m glad that Oklahoma City is seen as a worthwhile setting for the drama. Watchmen is opening this weekend. Judging strictly from the pre-release anticipation, could it be as big a hit for Zach Snyder as " 300 " was? McDonnell: I definitely see "Watchmen" outperforming "300," at least at the outset. "Watchmen" has been building buzz since its successful sneak peek last summer at San Diego Comic-Con, and it has some great trailers that have been getting movie and comic book fans salivating. I also think "300" really helped Snyder develop a following, so fans of that film who haven't read "Watchmen" will come to see the new film from the guy who did "300." Plus, "Watchmen" is the most acclaimed and beloved graphic novel ever made, so the source material definitely has its own fanbase eager to see if Snyder's movie does it justice. It will be interesting to see how the movie fares after its intial opening, to see if fans who consider the graphic novel hallowed ground are pleased with the adaptation, and more importantly, if they give it positive word of mouth and go back to see it again and again, "The Dark Knight" style. Triplett: "Watchmen" the graphic novel is much more popular than "300," and anticipation is pretty high for it, so I'd say the chances are excellent that Zach Snyder's latest effort will be the bigger box office success. Lang: I think it might be a little bigger on opening weekend, but the key thing to watch is the second week, which depends on fanboys' and fangirls' reaction and the subsequent word-of-mouth. It's impossible to make anyone completely happy with regard to "Watchmen," but if they come close, it might be good enough. Price: "Watchmen" the graphic novel has had a bigger audience, over the years, than "300," which was also possible. So from that, if the film connects with its core demographic, and if those outside the core demographic decide to give it a shot, then yes, it could do "300" or better numbers. What are the best comic book to movie adaptations, and what comics or graphic novels haven’t made the leap to the big screen yet that could, or should? Price: I think the best list starts with "Dark Knight," and also includes "Iron Man," "X-Men 2," "Spider-Man 2," and the Richard Donner "Superman: The Movie." And there have been some quality non-superhero adaptations as well, like "Road to Perdition" and "Ghost World." I’m looking forward to a couple of films that are already in development: "Green Lantern," officially announced this week, and "Captain America," which is being directed by Joe Johnston, who directed "The Rocketeer." Another superhero series that deserves a shot is "Starman," which was written by James Robinson and originally drawn by Tony Harris. In their series, junk dealer Jack Knight becomes a reluctant hero, taking on the mantle of Starman after his brother’s death. If "Watchmen" stokes a trend for more mature fare, we could see an adaptation of Warren Ellis’ "Transmetropolitan," about a Hunter S. Thompson-style journalist in a dystopic future, or Neil Gaiman’s "Sandman," about the mystical king of dreams. Triplett: I'm still partial to Tim Burton's "Batman" with Michael Keaton as a Dark Knight with a lighter, more likeable side and Jack Nicholson's lunatic, over-the-top Joker. As for comics that could and should make the leap to the big screen, I loved the Justice League of America, Green Lantern and Flash of the Silver Age DC universe. McDonnell: I think Chris Nolan's "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" set the gold standard for comic book adaptations. I also love "Iron Man," the first two "X-Men" movies and the first two "Spider-Man" films. I'm really looking forward to finally seeing "Thor" on the big-screen; Marvel is set to release it in 2010. That comic has some great visuals and characters that really could work as a movie, if handled properly. Though I must admit, I felt a little more at ease with Matthew Vaughn attached as the director than with Kenneth Branangh, who is now set to helm the movie version of "Thor." Lang: I'm partial to "The Dark Knight" and the Richard Donner "Superman." As for what needs to be done, I think they need to make every Alan Moore comic book and graphic novel into a film, relaunch "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and make the old anarchist's head explode.
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