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What Happens After the Super-Hero Movie Bubble? 339

mattnyc99 writes "In the wake of a not-that-exciting Comic-Con come some (perhaps premature) reports on the so-called "Death of Superheroes" — what one financial group calls "the top of the (comic book) character remonetization cycle." In response, Esquire.com's Paul Schrodt has an interesting look down Hollywood geek road. From the article: "What happens after The Avengers, or Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman movie — after we've seen all there is to see of the best comic-book blockbusters ever made?""
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What Happens After the Super-Hero Movie Bubble?

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  • Reboot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SamSim ( 630795 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:16AM (#36907714) Homepage Journal
    They'll reboot the franchise and start again. Just like with Batman and Spider-Man.
    • Re:Reboot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:23AM (#36907812)

      It's been working for the comic books themselves for the past 70 years, so I guess the movies are sort of being faithful in this respect.

      • by SamSim ( 630795 )
        Now let's be careful here. It's DC Comics that have been rebooting themselves over and over, and even then only for about 30 years, 50 if you want to call the Silver Age a reboot. Marvel have never rebooted their main continuity, and nor have a lot of other major series.
        • by Isaac-1 ( 233099 )

          Reboot, remake, etc. is all fine and good for older material (lets say 20+ years old), my problem is the recent trend to reboot too soon, see the recent Hulk movies, and now the NEW Spiderman reset.

    • Re:Reboot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Artraze ( 600366 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:28AM (#36907896)

      Exactly. Super heroes stories are the modern mythology; they never die they just keep being told and retold just like people have been doing for thousands of years before. And, despite all the haters hating the lack of "originality", I personally think that's pretty cool.

      Sure the popularity will fade a bit and the more B+/A- movies (e.g. Green Hornet) will probably segue into B+/A- spy thrillers or whatever the next genre of the decade is (sci-fi please? hahaha), but I do expect that super hero movies are here to stay.

      • Well, we had our cycle of Crime films in the 90s/early 00s. Goodfellas, Lock Stock, Snatch, Reservoir Dogs, Usual Suspects, Pulp Fiction and Oceans 11 among the better ones, with loads of tripe in there too (I'm looking at you 51st State. Your only redeeming feature was Samuel L Jackson in a Kilt), 2000s has had super hero films and spy thrillers.
        With the Iraq war and Afghanistan winding down, and the looming threat of terrorism, I think we'll be seeing more War films and more Black Comedies in the next dec

      • Re:Reboot (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @11:14AM (#36908616)

        Exactly. Super heroes stories are the modern mythology; they never die they just keep being told and retold just like people have been doing for thousands of years before. And, despite all the haters hating the lack of "originality", I personally think that's pretty cool.

        No hate here, but I've never seen a more succinct reason to outlaw perpetual copyright protections granted to our "modern mythology". What I hate is that only DC and Marvel and Hollywood moguls will profit indefinitely from what is OUR culture. Imagine how much more interesting culture would be if the everyday person was allowed to tell and retell these stories, too.

        • What I hate is that only DC and Marvel and Hollywood moguls will profit indefinitely from what is OUR culture.

          No, it's not *your* culture. It's their commercial creation, always has been.

          Imagine how much more interesting culture would be if the everyday person was allowed to tell and retell these stories, too.

          Considering how uninteresting it is when the mass entertainment industry tells and retells the same story, and how flippin' bad 99.999999% of all fanfic is.... I don't think it would be very

          • Is Shakespeare part of your culture?
            If you're an American then by your logic it's not allowed to be.

        • While I, too, hate perpetual copyright, the average person *is* able to tell and retell their own versions of those stories, too.

          Look at an iconic character like Superman and then look around at various comics by various labels that all have a superman-like character.

          Superman=Hyperion=Invincible=Powers=you can keep going and going. Each version of that character, each label tells the story of that character in a different way.

          Superman is the ultimate boyscout with an impossibly good heart. Hyperion is a wha

      • Frankly I just wish the producers would quit taking a big old dump on the comics and games. Ghost Rider? They took an anti-hero and made him the tragic hero! And how in the fuck did they screw up Doom? Take Aliens and mix with Event Horizon and tada! Spiderman the first was good but then took a right turn into shittytown, I will give them credit for Iron Man and Nolan's Batman, both of those have been damned good.

        I just have a feeling just like they are now digging through the D list movies for remakes (R

    • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:33AM (#36907986) Journal
      Although they most certainly will, they don't have to. I think that the comic book corpus is deeper than you think. Fables [wikipedia.org] was highly enjoyable to me and The Sandman [wikipedia.org] wasn't bad. Are they perfect for a movie adaptation? Maybe not. But I can think of many comics with great story lines that aren't common household names. I really wouldn't mind seeing more comic book movies like The Watchmen. I guess the primary problem with that is they would most certainly have to be rated R and that stunts your market. I can think of examples suitable for children like Percy Gloom [percygloom.com] that I think Pixar could really run with ... of course, these aren't traditional superhero constructs (neither was The Watchmen), they're more complex than that.

      I think that if Hollywood and the comic publishers had more fairly compensated the original artists that they wouldn't be facing a lack of material. Here's a research exercise I'll leave to the reader: Who personally profited more from Spiderman: ${Sony CEO} or co-creator Jack Kirby (and his estate)? If a large enough percentage of profit is pumped back into the creators, you'd see an explosion of people vying for that market with new and original ideas.

      More and more with the creative art that I consume I strive to make purchases directly from the artist themselves because we have the internet and the internet enables this so why not? Hollywood and their accounting methods are absolutely horrible about this so why should I worry that they're not going to have anymore comic books left to rape soon?
      • by sirdude ( 578412 )
        I agree. There's plenty of new material and plenty of old material as well. As for the article itself, it claims that Watchmen was "bad" which implies that the writer is something of a turd :S Aren't there new Iron Man, Kick Ass, Flash Gordon and Conan adaptations also coming out?
        • I'm still hoping we get a two or three movie version of Y: The Last Man. Although, it seems unlikely at this point.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        But I can think of many comics with great story lines that aren't common household names.

        If they're not household names, why would the average household make a night of seeing them in a movie? The whole point of a super hero movie is a recognizable license. If you don't have that you might as well write a new story. That's why the Watchmen didn't live up to expectations. Nobody except for hard core comics nerds ever heard of it before.

        If a large enough percentage of profit is pumped back into the creat

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      And not just reboots! You know how some summers we get two movies about an asteroid crashing into the earth, and another year we get two movies about volcanoes?

      Did you realize that next summer there are two [imdb.com] different [imdb.com] Snow White movies coming out?

      Yes, you can see where this is going. It's a little more difficult in this case because of trademark issues, but i'm sure the movie industry will find a way! They could always license something like "Soon I Will Be Invincible" [wikipedia.org]. The book is an awesome deconstruct
    • by Jim Hall ( 2985 )

      > They'll reboot the franchise and start again. Just like with Batman and Spider-Man.

      I'm getting tired of all the reboots. Please find some new material. I understand that directors and producers start to feel that sequel-after-sequel is boring, so they shelve it for a little while, that someone comes along with a great idea to give it a "do-over". And Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are popular reboots because (a) everyone knows who they are, you don't have to "sell it", and (b) the division between

  • by m2vq ( 2417438 )
    There is a recent movie called Super [imdb.com], which is really funny. It even has the "superhero" and his sidekick having sex with each other, true batman and robin style.
  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:17AM (#36907726)

    we've had disaster movies, monster movies, historical, fantasy, sci-fi and others.hollywood will find another genre and milk it.

    plenty of books out there that haven't been made into movies or in need of a modern CGI refresh. Bible movies anyone?

    • by loftwyr ( 36717 )

      There are thousands of bible movies made for the fundamentalist christian set. They just don't get the big marketing budgets the regular ones do. Most of the B-list actors make good money appearing in them.

    • by Danse ( 1026 )
      Maybe a return to ninja movies, like in the 80s.
      • +1

        I just recently put "Revenge of the Ninja" into my instant que. Maybe I'll try to get to that this weekend.

    • Video game movies, more likely. Space Invaders the movie, and Asteroids the movie are both being made. Will they be any good? No.

      On the other hand, there are still plenty of comic book movies. Man of Steel [wikipedia.org] even looks kinda promising (Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder doing Superman). Ok, it looks very promising. So, no, the bubble isn't over yet.

    • To be honest, comic book movies have been getting churned out year after year for the past 30 or so years, possibly longer. It's not just some fad that was picked up in the late 90s/early 2000s, nor do I think it's some bubble effect.

      Superman was a household movie name back in the 80s, the early 90s was dominated by Batman remakes. Not to mention the plethora of comic-based movies that aren't your typical "super hero comics" (think along the lines of Sin City, From Hell, or Weird Science).
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:18AM (#36907754)

    Remakes, Reimaginings, Reboots...who says it EVER has to end?

  • Oh noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:19AM (#36907770)
    Heaven forbid they have to *gasp* come up with original material!
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Actually I believe that there are under 10 stories or something like that. Every book, movie, and play are just variations on those stories.
      Take Star Wars for example. It is the same as the tale of King Author which is the same of any number of other stories.

      The reason why super hero movies are doing well is technology. We now have the ability to do them on screen now and not have them look cheesy. Combine that with the fact that people will pay to see big visual movies on the screen. If the movie is just a

      • This is because in most stories, conflict drives the plot. After all, If there were no conflict, the story would be pretty boring. English types have broken down pretty much every possible plot into 7 different categories of conflict:

        1. Man vs. Self
        2. Man vs. Man
        3. Man Vs. Society
        4. Man Vs. Nature
        5. Man vs. Supernatural
        6. Man Vs. Machine/Technology
        7. Man Vs. Destiny

        Where of course "Man" isn't literally a man, but whoever or whatever the protagonist is. The end result is we have thousands of stories that in the end boil down to

    • Since when has Hollywood ever done that? Hollywood has almost never come up with original material. Since the beginning the bulk of movies were adaptations of books, plays, comic books/strips etc.

  • It's clear they should make another Uma Thurman movie :)
    • Not anymore unless they use CGI. Old Uma isn't Young Uma.

      • No need for cgi. Just lots of makeup and some digital touchup. They do it all the time on actresses anyway.

      • No doubt you are correct.

        Even so, I was re-watching Pulp Fiction a couple of months ago and looking at Uma in her scene with Travolta at the 50s diner. As she kept exhaling cigarette smoke I couldn't help but look at her face and notice things I didn't remember from back in the nineties. She's got really buggy eyes, and that Betty Page haircut really hasn't aged well. She was definitely 'IT' when Pulp Fiction came out, but her attractiveness isn't timeless.

        • [Uma Thurman] was definitely 'IT' when Pulp Fiction came out, but her attractiveness isn't timeless.

          Also, she has sharp knees.

  • Villians (Score:5, Funny)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:26AM (#36907862)
    Galactus: a Tragedy of Universal Proportions.
    Dr. Doom vs Mephisto. Yo Mama Fight. ("Yo Mama was so dumb, I stole her soul and am keeping it in Hell!")
    Red Skull, an insightful look into the caring side of a Megalomaniac Nazi General.
    Solomon Grundy vs "The Zombie" crossover film. A new cult classic!
    The Osprey. What happens after the Osprey is rejected from the Frightful Four tryouts? It's a madcap whirlwind rush for a one page wonder from Marvel comics golden age!
    Mr. Mxyzptlk. Four hours of a stationary picture of Mr. Mxyzptlk, with a rumor that there's a cliffhanger scene after the credits. There is not.
    • I'm not sure what is worse. The fact that you mentioned the Osprey, or the fact that I've read that story!

    • "Red Skull, an insightful look into the caring side of a Megalomaniac Nazi General."

      Did you miss Capatain America? Red Skull is at the bottom of an ice-covered canyon. Maybe not dead, I know, but...

  • "The #1 movie in America was called "Ass." And that's all it was for 90 minutes. It won eight Oscars that year, including best screenplay."

    Now that every old TV show and comic book has been remade and the Justin Bieber movie done, next will be the Kardashians movie, and then it's time for "Ass" the movie.

    Might as well put "Ow my Balls" on TV, too.

  • Can Ace and Gary make it in the theater?

  • by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:38AM (#36908034) Journal

    I have no doubt that Hollywood will lose its taste for the cash cow it's currently grinding into hamburger (note: not the mixed metaphor that it sounds like). But fretting over The Next Big Thing, simply because a clear winner hasn't emerged yet? That's pathetic.

    For one thing, take a look at the movie listings. There's currently a lot more out there beside the "superhero" movie. Some of it is older genres, some of it is niche new stuff that someone felt was good to throw against the wall, just to see if it stuck. If the superhero genre can be said to be "dominating," it's only because they're making more money, not because they're filling every theater and pushing the ordinary genres off the screen.

    Second, when their star finally does fade, who's to say it'll do so completely? Like I said, a lot of older genres are still being explored. Who's to say we won't get a satisfying drip of interesting empowered individual films in the future?

    And third, it's entirely possible that the reason that the superhero film has dominated Hollywood's rather Asperger's-like focus is that the Next Big Thing hasn't come along yet. I have every confidence that when it does, filmmakers will jump upon it with both feet and kick the Current Big Thing to the curb.

  • Sequel Bubble (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:39AM (#36908062)
    Independence Day 2 and 3, Men in Black 3, Jurassic Park 4, Twister 2(Supposedly Bill Paxton is pushing for this), Ghostbusters 3, etc. Seems they want to pull out franchises that are at least a decade old(or at least a decade since their last good movie) and start again. Supposedly they're even looking at making another Evil Dead sequel.
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

      To whit, many are begging that they don't do it... Army of Darkness was a nice cap to the whole thing. I'd rather they did a re-spin of the stuff over a fourth in the series in this case- not that I think they should do a re-spin either.

  • There's not too many more superheroes the can make movies out of. Once you have to make a movie about Thor, you know you're reaching the bottom of the barrel. I bet you we'll see Aquaman soon.
  • It's really the only think I'd like to see made at this point. It would make LoTRs look like a walk in the park. Just keep Jackson and his revisionist hands(no Scouring of the Shire) off of it. Heck, I"m sure he'd Sauron out as a sympathetic character at this point.

  • we all get to enjoy movies again? Wait... that didn't happen much before the SHB (super hero bubble) either.
  • ...they have a Squirrel Girl movie.

  • by N0Man74 ( 1620447 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:48AM (#36908190)

    What happens after the 'Bubble' bubble?

    Is anyone else tired of hearing the term 'bubble' being used so ubiquitously and loosely now?

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:52AM (#36908246)

    Look, this has been going on since the early 1990s with the Michael Keaton Batman movie. Its been 20 solid years. I'm not sure why its suddenly going to end.

    Turns out audiences like simple-minded melodramas with clear-cut good guys and villains. They love fight scenes and over-the-top special effects. Comics fits perfectly with what most moviegoers want. Christ, Michael Bay can do this with something as worthless as a cartoon to sell toys. I think more well rounded characters are a shoo-in.

    Of course there are lots of stinkers. Most notably Ang Lee's Hulk (sounds like simpsons parody) and the weird stalkerish Superman Returns. Hollywood's economics are setup in a way for them to easily absorb bad movies as long as they have a handful of hits every year.

    • Of course there are lots of stinkers. Most notably Ang Lee's Hulk

      With the exception of the Absorbing Man being Banner's father, I thoroughly enjoyed Ang Lee's Hulk. The only Hulk movies prior to that were made for TV and starred Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, and Ang Lee's Hulk much more closely resembled the comic book story line.

    • The 90s? The Chris Reeves Superman movies were in the 80s. That makes it 30, and if Hollywood can bring some of the minor comics to the screen, they could probably do another 30.

      • Yeah but there's a pretty broken line from those movies to the comic movie fad on the 1990s. Since the Keaton Batman, there's been at least one major comic-based movie in theaters a year. In the 2000's its multiple comic movies per year.

        That wasn't true in the 80s: Superman, Howard the Duck, Swamp Thing, and some low budget crap that barely or didn't make it to the theaters like the Punisher.

    • by Moby Cock ( 771358 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @12:05PM (#36909400) Homepage

      A friend and I were discussing the cyclic nature of comics the other day and how it relates to movies today. I was a big comics fan in the 80s and 90s 9less so today). Comics then were generally pretty formulaic until Watchmen and the Dark Knight Returns cast aside the status quo. The publisher's seemed to think that 'gritty' was what people wanted and the anti-hero was on the rise. Wolverine became huge as well as grim takes on Green Arrow and Daredevil among others. The grom stories were everywhere. The other big thing in comics then was the grand crossover event, starting with Secret Wars.

      Now, in movies, the success of the Dark Knight has forced reboots that are grittier and brooding -- like the new Spiderman and Man of Steel. The movie crossover is coming as The Avengers.

      I'm a little concerned about the moves in the film. Batman is compelling as a dark, moody prick. Spiderman is not. Some characters are just not suitable. The crossovers can be great, like Secret Wars, or awful, like any of the DC Crises (except Identity Crisis, that was ok).

      I fear that the rush for grittiness will wind up with some really bad movies and this will sour the studios on more super hero movies. They seem to think that if a movie does bad its because the genre is stale when often the movie was a huge misstep. If gritty Spiderman and Man of Steel don't work and the Avengers is a mess (which is a very likely scenario) then comic book movies are is for a rough ride.

  • by JustOK ( 667959 )

    and Groo Too.

  • I'm hoping for more wacky comedies about law enforcement officers and their pets.

  • . . . after we've seen all there is to see of the best comic-book blockbusters ever made . . .

    What is this "best" of which you speak?

  • Some of them are even begging for a movie adaptation. At least something on "Good Omens" is finally moving forward, even if it's Terry Jones on TV instead of Terry Gilliam on the big screen.

    *** Mild Spoiler Ahead ***

    The latest pet idea I had, after seeing Harry Potter get a successful 8-movie run, was Alistair Reynold's "Pushing Ice". The novel could be well done in 3 separate movies. (names are not titles, just plot segments)
    Part 1 - In the solar system
    Part 2 - In transit
    Part 3 - At the Nexus
    Finally, si

  • Especially the marvel movies outside of maybe spiderman, super dark super big, and so fucking dull you want to gouge your eyes out on the exact same story arch every time

    now what is wrong with your movie (lets say xmen) when you have all this OVER THE TOP action and effects and the best the audience can to is collectively sigh out "who gives a fuck"

  • Dragon Ball Evolution, fucking Dragon Ball Evolution.

    Just don't dare.

  • 1. Horrible movies come out.
    2. Some artsy movies gain traction.
    3. People who hate artsy movies go crazy and crave superhero movies again.
    4. Re-make of superhero movies in 6D sweeps the nation for the next 12 years.

  • Who wouldn't watch "Superman Vs. Batman" or "Wolverine Vs. Spider-Man"?
    Now you have n! new movie "plots" to choose from.

  • REBOOT Man is here!!
  • by paulsnx2 ( 453081 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @11:37AM (#36908968)

    This is getting ridiculous. I have read comic books for 45 years, and hardly ever read an "origin" story. They are there, but THEN THEY MOVE ON!

    The movies can't seem to get past origin stories, and their direct aftermath.

    Why not do a Starwars? Just leap into the story, and let the audience figure it out? Maybe do a flash back here and there, and move on with the plot?

    We have the technology to tell the stories now. But we can't get to the meat of what it means to be Spiderman when every time we have to switch out an actor, we are forced to see the one plot we (comic fans) really know well, over and over again. We know these heros had an origin. We know they have to come to terms with their power. We know they have to find balance between being a hero and being a person. There are so many possible stories to tell! Tell one of them already!

    I would point out that if comic movies suffer the flaw of origin focus, fantasy suffers the flaw of world wide destruction. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the Matrix (really, this is just a tech fantasy), The Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars (really, another tech fantasy), etc. are all driven by the idea that unless the unlikely hero beats some terrible foe, the world will end.

    There are many films that escape the terrible gravity wells of these plot paths, so maybe I troll when I say "All we have are...", but I just wish sometimes there were more standout exceptions to the rule....

    • by _Quinn ( 44979 )

      Quite frankly, it's because the origin stories are always the best ones. From one perspective, it's because they include all the stages of the monomyth. From another, because it's far easier to identify, as a normal Joe, with Peter Parker than with Spider-Man. Origin stories are also explicitly about character development. In contrast, the usual superhero plot is episodic, because the next writer has to be able to take over -- and any change away from the status quo implies the possibility that the seri

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        I was telling my brother that I wasn't excited about the new Spider-Man. The actors look like they suck. My brother said that you can't keep having the same actor forever, look at James Bond. I said, "Yeah, but James Bond doesn't tell the same origin story over and over again. We get it! He got bit by a spider! Tell another story.
  • At least three TV shows, cartoons, dozen movies ...
  • The next movie bubble will be based on breakfast cereal brands. There is precedent, of course: Super Mario Brothers the Movie was based on the tasty breakfast cereal of the same name. I hear they've just started filming Frosted Lucky Charms.

  • ...masturbatory spectacle of Sucker Punch

    Alright, so he's just not a fan of the genre.

    Christ, do you remember how bad Watchmen was?

    Hang on, WTF?

    Even if we never move beyond the superhero movie — or even if we do — there will always be plenty else worth watching.

    What is that even? A better submission summery might have read "Guy who hates movies about costumed heroes and is a bit hung up about it reminds self that movies without costumed heroes will continue to be watchable."

  • There's the Director's Cut Edition.

    And then the Remasterized Hi-def with Aragorn singing Edition.

    And then the Collector's pack.

    And it continues and continues.

    • Don't forget the super hi-def after they make all of us buy new TVs over again in 10-20 years (because they dropped the ball on digital tv... the FCC that is, industry loves being short sighted.)

      They don't even need to wait 20 years to reboot them. If they can make enough money from running them all into the ground LONG ENOUGH they can simply reboot the whole process over again.

      CG is making it all into realistic styled cartoons and getting cheaper (I still can spot the CG ) -- to the point where now it cos

  • After the Super Hero thing is done, I think we'll see space operas coming back into fashion; albeit for a short time.

    We've done fantasy, urban fantasy, super heroes... maybe horror movies will be big again. But given that there are plans for THE FOREVER WAR and OLD MAN'S WAR to make it to the screens, people might want to see some traditional sci-fi coming out of Hollywood again. I know I would.

    Hell, I'd love to see one of Iain M Bank's books make it to the big screen, although things like CONSIDER PHLEBAS

  • We need the sequel to Splice.

    Yes, we do.

  • In the last 15 years or so, CGI became good enough to do just about anything the writers can imagine. There was a backlog of stuff to do - not just SF and comics,but historical epics, like Rome in "Gladiator". At last, the viewer could walk through a large alien city or a an alien planet. Scale was no longer a problem. Nonhuman characters could interact with human ones. (This gave us Jar Jar Binks, but we'll pass over that.) Magic worked just fine.

    All those things have now been done, and well. "Avatar" n

  • Eventually, effects costs will be low enough that these can be produced as television series. Then Marvel and DC will create their own television networks with shows that parallel their comic books.

    Summer crossover events are going to take up a lot more time.

  • Fucking hell, it seems like we have actual things to be concerned with. Perhaps we should be discussing what will happen when people get tired of broadcasting their random thoughts minute by minute to the world? But I guess that's pretty much how this "news" could be categorized.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.