Pelosi seeks ‘windfall profits’ tax on Avengers ticket sales

If House Democrats have their way, your favorite Marvel superheroes will be hit with a "windfall profits" tax once an arbitrarily defined level of success has been met. Republicans argue that this will result in fewer superhero movies making it to the market.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is trying to find an 11th hour solution to Marvel Studios’ The Avengers, which is primed to be one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters. Sources close to producers Avi Arad and Jon Favreau have confirmed that the California Democrat has been in touch with Marvel Studios, and that a “windfall profits” tax will be in place before Friday, May 4 if Democrats can cobble together enough votes.

The Associated Press received the following from Pelosi’s office late Monday:

“Investments.” “Risk.” “Reward.” Such is the language of the Republican Party. Extremists. The GOP would have you believe that it was a “risk” to set up an Avengers movie with a series of films based on many of the individual characters: Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America. They would have you believe that an Avengers movie was no sure bet, and that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on these movies and their marketing campaigns by no means guaranteed success. Rubbish! It’s high time Hollywood paid its fair share. If Democrats have their way, Marvel Studios will be the first to pay a windfall profits tax on its flagship characters, in addition to their corporate taxes (which also need higher rates). Warner Bros. will then follow suit in August, when The Dark Knight Rises takes number one at the box office. Behind every Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark movie are greedy Hollywood producers; that will change starting today.

The Hollywood Reporter seems to back up the Minority Leaders predictions, at least in this isolated case, although the philosophical debate is something that will have to be settled inside the Beltway on on cable news airwaves:

Avengers also is tracking better than Lionsgate’s blockbuster The Hunger Games, which posted a record March bow of $152.5 million to score the third-best opening of all time behind Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Dark Knight, respectively.

According to first tracking, unaided awareness in Avengers is 13 percent, compared with 10 percent for Dark Knight and 11 percent for Hunger Games; first choice is 23 percent, tying with Hunger Games and higher than the 19 percent for Dark Knight.

Total awareness is 85 percent, compared with 76 percent for Dark Knight and 74 percent for Hunger Games; definite interest is 61 percent, versus 62 percent for Dark Knight and 54 percent for Hunger Games.

Asked to comment, House Majority Leader John Boehner set up a stark (pardon the pun) contrast between Republicans and Democrats:

“The windfall profits tax proposed by Democrats will go nowhere because Americans want more Marvel movies, not less—and taxing Marvel Studios will result in less movies. Let me tell you what House Republicans will do to this bill in a way that Marvel fans—and fans of The Hulk—can all understand. BOEHNER SMASH!

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The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Americans

Pop Quiz: Name a movie with characters who could have only been created in America. Answer: The Avengers.

There’s a new Avengers trailer out, and as momentum builds towards its release it’s probably a good idea to discuss what makes this particular team of superheroes so fascinating to its fans. The director, Joss Whedon, has accurately identified and attempted to address one of the core creative challenges for the project: the team’s diversity.

Reporter: I imagine the other hard part about that is balancing a god and who can create lightning, and a guy with a bow and arrow, and giving them both the action that brings out the best in them.

Whedon: Yeah. Well, I feel like we pulled that off. At the end of the day, the guy with the bow and arrow is a lot easier to write gags for than the god. But we created a situation where everybody can be useful, and everybody can be in jeopardy, and they really can act as a team, even though — as we have known from the first issue of ‘The Avengers’ comic — there’s no reason for these people to be on the same team (emphasis added).

Just as the American Experiment wrestles over how to deal with its diversity (How the heck do all these different people with different heritages and temperaments come together into a cohesive force for good in the world?), The Avengers must do the same. Americans come together because the country is founded on an idea—that free men are granted inalienable rights by their Creator—and that governments, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed, have a duty to uphold those rights. The Avengers come together because there are some problems that require anyone with an ounce of honor to put aside their ego and do the right thing.

The Avengers are also great because they are very “American”:

  • Captain America: The ideal solider and a boy scout with the strength of 100 men (yet very much an individual)
  • Iron Man: Entrepreneurial, highly individualistic, successful and smart without ever apologizing for it
  • Hulk: A force whose only desire is to help and heal, but who nonetheless has awesome power to destroy when angered
  • Thor: A man (or should we say country?) with godlike power, who must have humility before realizing his true potential
  • Hawkeye: He’s brash and cocky, but he always hits his mark
  • Black Widow: The Russian spy who defects to America (i.e., the immigrant who leaves oppression for freedom)

Notice a trend? All very distinct personalities. All from very different backgrounds. All very individualistic. And yet, they come together for a common purpose. The Avengers is a comic book that could not have been created in Communist China, Islamic police states across the Middle East, or countries on cultural life support throughout most, if not all, of Europe.

So this summer, take joy in a creative endeavor with a cast of characters only America could have produced.

Allahpundit Goes Loki on Thor Trailer. Comic Nerd Plays Destroyer.

Every time Allahpundit goes after the one genre that regularly has conservative themes resonate with young people, conservative comic nerds should intellectually drop kick him in the chest a la Thor in this picture.  Is it possible Thor will be God-awful? Sure. But I’d rather spend time ridiculing the “Funny or Die” liberalism of Will Ferrell.

Allahpundit’s war on conservative comic nerds continues.  First, it was Green Lantern. Today, it’s Thor:

I keep making jokes about the inevitability of an Aquaman movie and they’re getting less funny by the day. There are but two options, my friends: Either we come up with fun new postmodern superheroes for films or we jump off the cliff and just do the Aqua Man picture already. Instead of playing it straight, maybe they could borrow a page from “The Brady Bunch Movie” and turn it into a satire of the concept. Cast Will Ferrell in the lead, with Mike Myers as Poseidon? You’d see it.

I’ve already asked why Allah continues to poke fun at the one genre where conservatism is regularly inserted and promoted successfully.  Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Thor, and always thought he was a bit of a doofus (I’d rather spend time in Arkham City if given the choice…).  Instead of taking pot shots at the next comic book movie—that very well may be a dud—I wish Allah would spend time using his wit to mock Will Ferrell’s sad “Funny or Die” liberalism.  Conservative commentators need to efficiently allocate their time and resources (e.g., writing prowess and persuasiveness), and spending a slow news day chipping away at stories that promote selfless service, honor, valor, strength, and courage seems to me to be an editorial misstep.

With that said, let’s address the Aquaman scenario by asking this question: What if they did opt for Aquaman?  Is it a foregone conclusion it would be horrible?  I’m inclined to say yes, only because I fully expect it to be used as a soapbox for the kind of liberalism espoused by Ted Danson, who once claimed that within ten years all the world’s oceans would be toxic soup.  It’s about two decades later, and Ted’s glad that the internet wasn’t as advanced as when he was making ridiculously dumb Doomsday predictions from the bully pulpit Cheers provided him (Or was that Hollywood Squares?).

However, aside from that, it should be pointed out that it isn’t the character that’s usually bad.  The character is but one of the many other aspects that go into making a successful movie.

Imagine you’re George Lucas years ago pitching Star Wars to a bunch of Hollywood producers.  Think about how you would go about explaining Chewbacca, C-3po, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, Yoda…  Should I go on, or is it obvious that skilled writers and directors can do amazing things?  No one thinks of Yoda as a silly green muppet—he’s just Yoda. And it’s an understatement to say that it takes skill to mesmerize entire generations of movie goers. George Lucas had that at one time (before ironically becoming the Star Wars Universes’ very own Emperor Palpatine), and I suspect the right writer at the right time could do the same with Aquaman.

Is it possible that Destroyer will look like a Power Ranger villain? Sure. But it’s also possible that he’ll rock. Hard. Now excuse me while I reluctantly destroy an ideological ally on this particular issue.

The comic book genre, like anything else, isn’t perfect.  There are some atrocious offerings that roll out of the lot every year.  However, it’s also capable of captivating the imagination—something the GOP hasn’t done for years. Instead of tearing down and ridiculing one of the few vehicles that conservatives can use to forward a better vision for the world, I’d rather concentrate on something else or, more specifically, liberalism’s attempt to “deconstruct” the superhero (i.e., sully it, just like it sullies everything else it touches).

Allahpundit seems to be on the verge of losing his Man Card.  Pretty soon he’s going to be lampooning The Expendables. When that happens it will be a sad, sad day indeed.