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With apologies to this particular dead horse, it's looking like Warner Bros.' Green Lantern movie is going to wind up as the high-profile bomb of the summer - a bona fide, all fronts failure throttled by critics, ignored by audiences and despised even by fanboys. At this point, it'll be lucky to avoid going down as the most openly loathed superhero movie since Batman & Robin.

So why is Warner Bros. making a sequel?

Well, they (probably) aren't. So why are they saying they are? Well, they aren't really doing that either. Confused?

This is one of those instances wherein "movie people" like myself often forget that, having spent decades immersed in the world of film language and movie industry doublespeak, we can sometimes end up "talking past" a lot of the people we're supposed to be informing about this stuff. So, in the absence of anything substantially newsworthy to speak of in the post-July 4th lull, let's maybe try to correct that with a brief selection of things most people probably don't realize about The Movies but probably should. For starters ...

A Movie Isn't "Done" Until It Comes Out

In a 24-hour, 365-day news cycle, Hollywood studios are constantly working to keep their upcoming investments in the forefront of conversation as much as possible. Problematically, moviemaking is a very complicated and often lengthy process, so there can be a long gap in between "Guess what we're making?" and "Here it is!" Hollywood's solution to this problem? Breaking the filmmaking process into a series of largely arbitrary "steps" and giving each step a name that sounds very important.

For example: Every week, dozens of movies are "announced." That sounds very official, but most of the time all "announcement" means is the studio declaring that they can make a movie (re: they have "the rights") and that they aren't actively opposed to the idea. In other words, it's meaningless - but it gets the project mentioned in the press. In the case of Green Lantern 2, the announcement has the added intent of allowing Warner Bros. to not hurt their overall corporate value by admitting that they're taking a bath on the film while they wait for Harry Potter to bring them better box office news.

Another example: A week or so back, Disney/Marvel suddenly "announced" a sequel to Thor. Now, this was somewhat unexpected - after all, everyone already knew that there was another Thor-related movie coming: The Avengers. And while Thor was a good-sized hit, it remains to be seen if audiences are seriously clamoring for more Asgardian action. So why announce it? Well, because on more-or-less the same day star Chris Hemsworth was also "announced" as signing on for an unrelated upcoming spy movie. Having that be news without some indication that Thor was continuing would've been bad P.R. for Marvel - they wanted to answer all "does this mean he'll be abandoning Thor?" questions with a "No!" before they were even asked.

"Announcement" is usually followed by "developing," which also sounds deceptively important but typically just means "we've had meetings about it." After that comes "greenlight," aka "we've allotted some money to it," followed by "in production" which can mean anything from the construction of sets to the sketching of costumes, but does not mean "actively being filmed," because that's called "shooting" - which is itself still not the last step.

To give you an idea of how far along this can get and have no movie to show for it, way back before The Dark Knight had even come out, Warner Bros. (again) was big into a project called Justice League: Mortal. It was supposed to be both a live action iteration of the Justice League animated series and a possible launch pad for DC Comics films separate from the self contained Christopher Nolan and Bryan Singer Batman and Superman movies. They had a director (George Miller) a cast of actors (Armie Hammer as Batman and hip-hop star Common as the Jon Stewart Green Lantern, most notably) and a whole production set up in Australia. They'd made costumes, built sets, were all set to go ... and then it was suddenly scrapped.

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