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Action Log

08 Nov 2019 5:05 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Fantasy Discussion boardCrossposted to Hobby Industry boardCrossposted to Warhammer boardCrossposted to Warhammer 40K board

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1,328 hits since 8 Nov 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

BattlerBritain08 Nov 2019 3:21 a.m. PST

Article on the Beeb about GW making more profit:
link

Just thought you'd be interested…

B

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2019 6:18 a.m. PST

They want to get into TV content.

Is that really good or really bad ?

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2019 9:20 a.m. PST

I think any game/mini company doing well is good for our hobby. I just wish GW wouldn't look at those earnings and decide that they can raise the prices across the board.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa08 Nov 2019 10:19 a.m. PST

Is that really good or really bad ?

Based on what's been floated, providing they steer clear of comedy orks, SMurfs and general fanboy fap bait, it could be quite good.
TMP link

But as I've said previously it will either be that or an embarrassing train wreck!

As for content production that's where its at these days and I guess GW probably figure that even if ends up as repeat on some bargain basement channel its still free advertisement for the rest of their IP….

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2019 4:14 p.m. PST

Unfortunately their main (at this stage) product, mini games, are not easily accessible/useable to everyone. Compare to a Spiderman Comic for example, easily bought an read by all ages with no commitment required.

Remember, even comics are a niche product these days. GW will be looking for any tv/film to draw in other licensing such as action figures and clothing.

Joe bloggs is not going to buy GW branded stuff because of a mini game, but he may because of a film or popular tv show.

Eg. Game of whatsits, never heard of it before some internet show I've never seen (ok maybe 2 eps at friends place) came out. A very successful novel series, if your into fantasy novel reading, but once that not-tv show came out, whammo, huge exposure. Even if you don't watch it, you know of it.

Much the same for lord of the rings for me, pre Jackson. Had heard of it, just another d&d type book or such…

So I can clearly see why they would want a show.

ninthdoc08 Nov 2019 6:54 p.m. PST

I would chuckle if GW was ever sold to Disney. Can you imagine it? ROFLMAO

Twilight Samurai Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2019 11:03 p.m. PST

Monetization is tight!

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa09 Nov 2019 7:53 a.m. PST

Much the same for lord of the rings for me, pre Jackson. Had heard of it, just another d&d type book or such…

Not sure about that given it was one of the best selling books of the 20thC and had a pretty obsessive fanbase way before Jackson got his hands on it.

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2019 12:49 p.m. PST

I didn't know you knew me well enough to disagree with that. Well, it's the truth.

Most people wouldn't have known much about it. The films, on the other hand are hard to avoid. I doubt LOTR was pulling anywhere near the $$$ it is now, pre Jackson.

The point is, tv, not-tv and film have huge exposure.

Walking Sailor09 Nov 2019 1:41 p.m. PST

The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.
In 2003, it was named Britain's best novel of all time in the BBC's The Big Read.
The novel has been translated, with various degrees of success, into at least 56 languages.
link
H Man. Where have you been?

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2019 3:41 p.m. PST

Your numbers from a 2007 issue of the Toronto Star. That's 4 years after the film trilogy ended.

Very odd, isn't it, being voted best novel of all time the same year the last film in the trilogy came out (2003).

From that same Wikipedia page:

"It has ultimately become one of the best-selling novels ever written, with 50 million copies sold by 2003 and over 150 million copies sold by 2007."

That suggests sales went nuts after the films came out.

"That legacy is worth more than £10.00 GBP million in book sales in Britain alone this year, largely thanks to the cinematic adaptation of his father's literary classic, The Lord of The Rings trilogy." From (2001):

link

Potter has 75+ translations.

link

Also remember, "The Lord Of The Rings" is a series of three books (typically), it's the same as massing together the Harry Potter series or such and suggesting it's one book. I'm not sure, but I think all our numbers are based on the total of all three books, not just one of them. In which case fellowship, for example, plumits down the list. Either way, the films lifted sales.

Walking Sailor09 Nov 2019 4:13 p.m. PST

The movies brought about a second wave for The Ring. In the 60's they were as popular as the Potters. Against a smaller population base, and $3.95 USD(?) in paper back, you see the Gone With The Wind effect. The Harvard/National Lampoon even did Bored of The Rings.

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2019 6:37 p.m. PST

Trippling total sales in just a 4 year period near the end of a 65 year history.

Sorry, but it was dead as a door nob before the films, sales wise, by comparison.

In the 60s novels were the VHS or DVD of the day. Lotr only reached popularity then due to a cheaper mass market paperback release. And that nodout due to someone doing a dodgy edition, prompting a legit version.

At the end of the day, if your property gets a film or show, the sales of your original media go up and you get revenue from licensing.

GW would know first hand because of the Lotr successes, books, Minis and films, now show. They would be paying close attention.

Walking Sailor09 Nov 2019 8:09 p.m. PST

dead as a door nob before the films
Yes, they had abode their destined hour, and went their way. A dozen years since the last Potter book, live another twenty or thirty years and ask someone about the Potter books.

Mass market paperbacks were the entertainment of that decade, not hard backs. In fact, they linger as "beach reads".

if your property gets a film or show
Harry Potter is a brighter flash in the pan because of the reduced time between (now comic) book and film. [insert snide comment about Hollywood's loss of creative talent, inability to create original stories]

lord of the rings for me,… Had heard of it
Am I correct in guessing that you were not alive in the 60's?

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2019 8:12 p.m. PST

Well at least with Dark Uprising GW has come out in the open and admitted they now long make games for Middle Class hobby enthusiasts.

link

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2019 9:28 p.m. PST

"They had abode their destined hour."

Basically correct. The books were a bit of a risk (putting it lightly), but after finding some success in the sixties, 2001 went off bigger than Kubrick's.

I don't think JK would be to worried what people may think in 30 years. Like many films and books, there will be some big anniversary releases and she'll cash the cheque.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa10 Nov 2019 3:11 a.m. PST

Whatever, but full-flavour Grimdark is a way, way different proposition to the epic fantasy of LotR and GoT (though I reckon GoT owes more of its existence to TV series like Rome and The Tudors than the LotR films) or any mainstream space opera. The scripts and the acting could be brilliant, but the general audience might just go 'whut?' in the face of the milieu being presented and switch off.

Of course GW want monetise their IP any which way they can. TV is ultimately a 2 for one, effective free promotion of their IP, and assuming it does okay makes some more money. And while they know that their tabletop gaming stuff is never going to be mainstream they are increasingly doing a lot of digital gaming licenses (last year a digital version of Combat Cards appeared (remember those?) – actually not a bad little game), and increasing market awareness basically means they can charge more for the licenses….

And frankly GW has been 'middle class' for a very long time – since the rise of digital gaming they've probably relied pretty heavily on 'concerned' middle class parents shelling out on the basis its not a digital device or game!

La Belle Ruffian10 Nov 2019 12:13 p.m. PST

Wow, claiming that LOTR is 'just another fantasy book' is a new one. It's *the* fantasy book and it's influence on genre, gaming and popular culture shouldn't be underestimated. Trying to link 'LOTR wasn't that popular' (really?) with 'film/tv adaptations boost sales' (well, duh) is shaky ground.

It's true that the films boosted sales but the article actually states "Fully one-third of the 150 million copies of The Lord of the Rings sold to date were purchased after the release of the first film in the series.". That's not tripling, but increasing by 50%. I suspect that someone editing wikipedia isn't paying attention. I'm not sure if it's same person who decided to give HP so much love in the introduction.

That means up to the films it's still in the single digits of books with 100million+ sales "The figure of 150 million is a 2007 estimate of copies of the full story sold, whether published as one volume, three, or some other configuration" and the vast majority pre-internet. You may not have been terribly aware but a lot of other people were.

I'm not sure why the comparisons with HP though, other than the focus on it in Wikipedia the claim was that LOTR wasn't well-known, but I'm pretty the HP series' sales have also benefited from Hollywood and merchandising.

And on-topic, I'm just imagining the face of a friend who bought GW shares years ago. Whilst film adaptations have been not for general release and small scale, I expect that as costs come down for better CGI they'll be able to produce something more fittiing. In the meantime, they make a fortune from licensing the IP for computer gaming. I listened to a talk from Ian Livingstone and he was all about the IP these days.

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 12:32 p.m. PST

"claiming that LOTR is 'just another fantasy book' is a new one."

No, it's an old one. I won't make myself look like a twit by trying to argue against your personal history.

Hey, I didn't provide the Wikipedia link. I'll try to find some better numbers.

La Belle Ruffian10 Nov 2019 12:59 p.m. PST

H Man I'm not arguing that you didn't know much about it, but you then based your entire argument about its popularity on a misquote from the article. Tolkien has two books over 100 million (The Hobbit is up there too), so would appear to be widely known long before Peter Jackson got in on the action. That's not personal history.

Did the films spike sales? Absolutely. Would they have sold 50 million more without them? Possibly not, although I think that the popularity of fantasy novels and games would mean respectable steady sales for quite some time. Game of Thrones entered a market which Tolkien, more than anyone else, had established. That's the difference between them.

Zephyr110 Nov 2019 2:28 p.m. PST

"I would chuckle if GW was ever sold to Disney. Can you imagine it? ROFLMAO"

Not for a long, long time, because they haven't leeched* the last penny out of Star Wars yet. But I can see GW being bought out by Hasbro… ;-)


*Neither a typo, or a pun… ;-)

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 3:27 p.m. PST

"Tolkien has two books over 100 million (The Hobbit is up there too), so would appear to be widely known long before Peter Jackson got in on the action. That's not personal history."

I wasn't suggesting that it was, just that my experience was.

"The Lord of the Rings has sold 50 million copies worldwide. But there's been nothing like the audience growth we've experienced coinciding with the new movies." That's from 2003.


link

Struggling to find legit sales figures for its history, just total sales.

La Belle Ruffian10 Nov 2019 3:46 p.m. PST

Sadly the article isn't available in the EU H Man.

We have two sources then, at odds with one another. As The Hobbit had apparently sold 100 million before the films came out in 2012 link I'll go with the four years of LOTR post-film not tripling the previous fifty, particularly given its popularity in pre-film polling.

Some interesting stuff in the articles that are listed. I knew about the halfling/hobbit and balrog issues in D&D but didn't know that Gygax felt the need to include Tolkienesque influences in D&D because of its popularity
rather than his personal tastes.

Edit: managed to view the article. It says 2 million copies of the film-related LOTR edition (the cornerstone of the marketing strategy apparently) sold in the US, the largest market for the films, in 3 years (there's a lot of Tolkien-related books sold, mind you 25 million). I would presume that's the highest-selling period. It's just the US and you've a few more decent years to come from 2003 I suspect but I would have expected more if 100 million were to be sold worldwide 2001-2007.

I also wouldn't have had the Silmarillion pegged for a million copies in 1977. Apparently that was due to a 'Tolkien cult' which had developed link

joedog10 Nov 2019 7:49 p.m. PST

I have started reading The Silmarillion a half dozen times, and have always been asleep by the third page.

OTOH, I have read (or listened to) LOTR at least eight or nine times*, and the Hobbit at least five.


*I will admit to skipping the lengthy ballads/poems during some of those readings.

wizbangs Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 8:11 p.m. PST

All this discussion of sales etc. etc.
You guys are missing the true test of it's popularity: The wife test.
My wife knew nothing of the Lord of Rings until the movies came out.
She's seen the movies a dozen times and can quote scenes the way I used to quote "Monty Python's Holy Grail."

End of discussion.

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2019 11:05 p.m. PST

Thankyou.

La Belle Ruffian11 Nov 2019 4:53 a.m. PST

Cute story wizbangs, but I'm not sure how inventing strawmen advances any discussion, let alone 'ends' it. If you could point out where anyone has suggested that the LOTR films didn't introduce the book to a new audience I'd appreciate it (although as with all adaptations I'd be interested to know the bought:read ratio). Denying that would be as perverse as claiming that the book just enjoyed 'some success' prior to the films.

A far greater factor in LOTR's success and cultural impact though is not the films, but paperback editions, which enabled broad popular appeal for a genre novel. Tolkien got their first and has such an influence it can be difficult for others to follow without being seen as derivative due to his tropes and archetypes. In the case of GW, the reliance for a long time on 'inspiration' from others was fine given thier focus, but a film audience is likely to be more discerning.

If LOTR hadn't been incredibly well-known and a cultural artefact I'm not sure why Hollywood would have put money down on filming a big-budget series simultaneously though. There's a useful article here link

I think the LOTR trilogy has had a big impact, but on the industry as a whole more than the novel and the relationship between film, tv and books. In this it's similar to Harry Potter. The relationship is quite symbiotic in many cases now, when you look at genres and see The Hunger Games, Twilight and any number of tv shows, some better than others.

A much better argument for the potential impact of adaptations on niche genres like GW is Game of Thrones. A very well established sci-fi and fantasy author, inspired by Tolkien (funny how often that comes up in the genre…), decides to write a series of books. HBO takes a chance on a TV series (relatively low budget to start with, then ramping up) and the setting and books develop mass appeal. There is a market for fantasy/faux-medieval and sci-fi anyway.

As for GW, I think any film success would have to come off the back of the computer gaming success of the IP. Interestingly Ian Livingstone went from GW to Eidos, where they had a little-known franchise called Tomb Raider…

I think one of the issues is that for those heavily invested in the 40K setting and fluff is that it is so gothic and ridiculous that any attempt to insert real people into it will struggle to satisfy both those invested and a wider audience. I suspect that was the case with Dungeons & Dragons. There were compromises involved in making the 80s cartoon family-friendly and the 2000s saw a number of duds at the box office. By renaming elements to avoid trademark issues in games, GW's options are limited.

La Belle Ruffian11 Nov 2019 5:42 a.m. PST

One thing that does occur with the adaptation route is the purpose behind it and who's interests are paramount. The LOTR producers wanted to sell cinema tickets, DVDs and merchandise. Selling a few million books at the same time is nice for the Tolkien family but not the producer's main goal as they don't have the rights. Tolkien is not producing any new work and his family have limited input so make hay and then indulge Jackson's dreadful Hobbit series because that fulfils your aims better than the original format and story. Basically, Hollywood does what it wants.

With Harry Potter, books are being written as filming takes place. Rowling exerted a great deal of control over filming choices which paid off. The studios recognise this and want to take advantage of this cultural phenomenon (a children's book that adults aren't ashamed to read?) and work in partnership. Unlike Tolkien, I'm sure that whilst Rowling may have been demanding, she wanted a film adaptation, just her way.

Whilst GOT may have finished in controversial fashion, the decision to diverge a lot from Martin's choices means they can both produce something to suit themselves. A mutually beneficial relationship as they go their own ways. He can ignore deadlines, safe in the knowledge that enough fans will buy in time, just to see how he would have done things.

Then you have the take the money and run model, as a film deal will likely generate far more for the author than all but those books selling in ridiculous numbers. This is definitely not one for GW but unsure which model suits them. Most toy/games adaptations have clear good/bad guys, but if you're true to the source then it should be much more shades of grey. They can't afford for the films to mangle their IP but I'm not sure about the grimdark working for most producers.

In the case of GW, I'm not sure that the film adaptations are a great way to promote your source material/activity automatically holds, otherwise we'd have seen more efforts than 'Ultramarines'. TV probably is the route. Less financial risk and you can be a bit edgier, hoping to have a sleeper hit. Just accept that it probably won't sel that many models or lead to 40K becoming a mainstream hobby.

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2019 1:56 p.m. PST

"strawmen"

Thats insulting. I'd take umbrage if anyone insulted my wife.

"The book just enjoyed 'some success' prior to the films."

In comparison to post film sales, that is correct.

"If LOTR hadn't been incredibly well-known and a cultural artefact I'm not sure why Hollywood would have put money down on filming a big-budget series"

If you look a many films, they are based on books that are, to the majority, unknown. Usually very new books also. Some film rights being sold prior or soon after First release.

"inspired by Tolkien (funny how often that comes up in the genre…),"

One could say the same of Shakespeare, and others re Tolkien. As many do.

"HBO takes a chance on a TV series…and the setting and books develop mass appeal."

Sounds familiar.

"As for GW, I think any film success would have to come off the back of the computer gaming success of the IP."

Yes, let's also insult the director and production team of a show/film not yet made. If they thought only computer players will see the production, they wouldn't bother. They are a given, they'll be aiming it at others.

"but not the producer's main goal as they don't have the rights."

Many of the novels have film related images on the cover. Some money changed hands there.

La Belle Ruffian11 Nov 2019 3:47 p.m. PST

H Man, if you don't know what a straw man is, here's a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

Back in the early 2000s, $300 USD million dollars was sunk into the LOTR film trilogy. I think that whilst there was an increase in sales, they helped one of the most popular and well-known books in history become *even* more popular and well-known (and sell a lot of tickets and DVDs – their main aim). Film people have been trying to replicate the cash cow the films became ever since (and they'll remake LOTR eventually).

The product usually serves the directors and producer's purposes though. Are you okay with GW handing over 'artistic vision'? Their products are already very popular, they're making a tonne of money and people seem happy with a lot of the current products. Unlike Tolkien they're going to continue doing that and need to avoid being seen to be selling out.

"If you look a many films, they are based on books that are, to the majority, unknown."

All books are generally unknown to 'the majority' (you did have an idea what LOTR was though). The issue is how well known relative to other books. That LOTR was very well known explains in part why it was financed. 'In a 1999 poll of Amazon.com customers, The Lord of the Rings was judged to be their favourite "book of the millennium"'.

If you want to claim that the sales figures back up your version of events, your own source says the American book publishers put the figure of books they sold *when* the films were being released in their biggest target market at 2 million copies. It would help convince me that is was just some also ran until Jackson worked his magic if you could find some more evidence to show where the other 98 million copies were sold by 2007. (hint: I've found another American publishers' figures pre/post films the trend not in your argument's favour).

Ten years later, around $60 USDmillion was spent on the first season of GOT (about the same total running time). This was after a number of successful adaptations, including that of LOTR, as the article I linked pointed out. Pretending that all adaptations and the circumstances around them are exactly the same demonstrates a lack of understanding of the issues. Why some are made and others not, why some succeed and others don't, isn't as simple as 'adaptations are always worth the effort for the creative(s) whose work is being adapted'.

GW might fancy a film but what is it's purpose? How many of those LOTR copies and GOT box sets were actually finished by people who bought them because they enjoyed the film or tv show? Will watching Eisenhorn make more people invest in GW's product or is it just to boost income? If the latter, are compromises worth the howling from fans of the novels?

As for you latter quotes, I'll highlight the important parts of what I wrote and which you have either missed or ignored:

'I think any *film* success'. Emphasis mine. Eisenhorn will be a tv series link

'but not the producer's *main* goal as they don't have the rights.' Emphasis mine.

Putting promotional material on tie-in editions of books is there to advertise the film or tv show as far as the producers are concerned, unless they have the rights to the books as well (and they don't for LOTR) or tied into a merchandise deal with the publisher/author.

wizbangs Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2019 5:25 p.m. PST

Thank you for the support H Man, but I don't let trivialities like a discussion on a game board with someone who obviously misses his days in the debate club upset me. My attempt at humor triggered the "straw man" argument, which tells me that there is no humor to be found here. (Not to mention his conclusion that he felt he needed to enlighten the rest of us on what a straw man is). So I will gladly step back out of this and leave him to his soap box before he starts trying to correct my grammar.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa11 Nov 2019 11:32 p.m. PST
The H Man Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2019 1:32 a.m. PST

Abandon ship!

Too many words!

Run away, run away!

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2019 2:56 p.m. PST

Remember when Tmp was the place where men and women talked about playing with toys…

La Belle Ruffian13 Nov 2019 1:17 p.m. PST

wizbangs, your post is dripping with disinterest…;)

p.s. I clearly addressed my strawman link to H Man. Either he was feigning outrage on behalf of someone else or ignorant of the term and assuming I was making some sort of personal attack or dig. Obviously I assumed the latter and pointed him in the direction of an explanation.

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2019 12:03 a.m. PST

The former is half correct. I'm still annoyed by the remark.

Take it on the chin and move on.

La Belle Ruffian14 Nov 2019 2:55 a.m. PST

So you knew what the phrase meant and rather than try to argue the point (that 'humour' which needed explaining didn't add to the discussion), you chose to make implications about my character by suggesting I was making personal comments?

Good to know.

The H Man Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2019 7:39 p.m. PST

Yawn.

To "know" a falsehood is a delusion.

Apologies to people reading this drivel. I will try very hard not to check back.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.