Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey 'X-Men: Apocalypse' To Focus On Romance Between Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique & Michael Fassbender's Magneto 'X-Men: Apocalypse' To Focus On Romance Between Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique & Michael Fassbender's Magneto 20 Comic Actors And Their Best Dramatic Roles 20 Comic Actors And Their Best Dramatic Roles Review: 'Dumb and Dumber To' Starring Jim Carrey And Jeff Daniels Review: 'Dumb and Dumber To' Starring Jim Carrey And Jeff Daniels Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Joaquin Phoenix Says 'Iron Man' Was "Fantastic," Sidesteps 'Doctor Strange' Rumors Joaquin Phoenix Says 'Iron Man' Was "Fantastic," Sidesteps 'Doctor Strange' Rumors Quentin Tarantino Plans To Retire After His Tenth Film, Hopes 'Hateful Eight' Will "Stop The Momentum" Of Digital Quentin Tarantino Plans To Retire After His Tenth Film, Hopes 'Hateful Eight' Will "Stop The Momentum" Of Digital 70mm? IMAX? DCP? How Format Affected Our Theatrical Experiences With Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' 70mm? IMAX? DCP? How Format Affected Our Theatrical Experiences With Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Watch: 1-Hour Documentary On Radical '80s Movie Studio Cannon Films

The Playlist By Ben Brock | The Playlist July 3, 2013 at 10:47AM

In this post-“Man of Steel” era, it is perhaps worth reminding yourself that there is another truly, deeply awful Superman film out there, but watching 1987's “Superman IV: The Quest For Peace” is a horribly cruel thing to do to yourself. Instead, try this: a 1986 documentary on the mad business that was The Cannon Group, the most dynamic and radical movie studio of the '80s, who were brought low the next year when 'Superman IV' flopped.
5
Cannon Films

In this post-“Man of Steel” era, it is perhaps worth reminding yourself that there is another truly, deeply awful Superman film out there, but watching 1987's “Superman IV: The Quest For Peace” is a horribly cruel thing to do to yourself. Instead, try this: a 1986 documentary on the mad business that was The Cannon Group, the most dynamic and radical movie studio of the '80s, who were brought low the next year when 'Superman IV' flopped.

The Cannon Group was, really, just two Israeli cousins, Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan, whose very existence made Hollywood bigwigs wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, yelling incoherently about Vietnam veterans and break-dancing. Globus and Golan rode the wave of the VHS revolution by buying almost any script they could get their hands on, producing it as cheaply as possible, putting it into the large number of cinemas they owned in various countries around the world, releasing it as soon as possible on video, and sitting back and watching the money roll in.

It duly did, and with it came a weird kind of pop-cultural power, which has seeped into modern life in unexpected ways.Cannon gave us Chuck Norris, producing many of his '80s action flicks including “The Delta Force” and “Missing in Action.” Cannon gave us “Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo,” not an influential film but an enormously influential title. Cannon gave us several well-remembered European art movies like “The Assault,” which kept certain critics on their side even as they churned out B-movies by the dozen. Cannon helped to give us anime (or “Japanimation” as they called it back when Ronald Reagan was still bumbling about the White House), releasing garbled versions of entire anime series, rammed together into 90 minute films but nevertheless awakening peoples' interest. And Cannon died that we might have superhero movies, practically bankrupting themselves with the Superman flop and then spending the remaining cash buying the rights to Spiderman, which failed even worse in that it never even got filmed.

Globus and Golan made such a fuss of the project that when it failed to materialize, their credibility went with it. And yet here we are, a quarter of a century later, with superhero films the foundation of the blockbuster business, and yet with very few risk-taking studios left. Take a moment then to watch this BBC documentary, made just before the wheels came off The Cannon Group, and enjoy a glimpse at “The Last Moguls,” obviously having the time of their lives.

This article is related to: Cannon Films


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates