A few tidbits for the month. The big news involves the Doctor Strange movie.
Jem and the Holograms comic due in March.
The new design for the characters has been released. The art is updated while still keeping to the original looks of the dolls and TV series. The hair is outrageous, as to be expected, but either hair spray or holographic display can explain it.
Benedict Cumberbatch to start as Doctor Strange.
Marvel has confirmed that Benedict Cumberbatch will play the title role in Doctor Strange, the first of the Phase 3 movies. All Marvel needs to do now is get Loki in the movie.
JK Rowling releasing new Harry Potter.
The releases started on December 12. Among the works are stories about the Malfoy family, Prof. McGonigle before Hogwarts, and how Floo Powder is made.
TOHO announces first Godzilla movie since hiatus.
TOHO will be ending the fallowing of Godzilla movies in 2016. The success of the 2014 American Godzilla has encouraged TOHO in bringing back the iconic kaiju.
Archie Comics restarting at #1.
Mark Waid and Fiona Stevens will helm the title after the reboot. Archie Comics, the publisher, has been on a rejuvenation spree of late, adding darker elements while still being family friendly.
SyFy picks up Krypton.
Air date is still unknown, but SyFy will air the Superman prequel series, Krypton, which will follow Jor-El, father of Kal-El, aka Clark Kent, aka Superman. As with the other DC properties airing on television, there is no connection to the cinematic releases.
Titans pilot to shoot in 2015.
Geoff Johns confirmed that Titans, the live-action version of the follow-up to /Teen Titans/, will have a pilot filmed in 2015. Nightwing, aka Dick Greyson, has been confirmed as one of the characters and rumours have added Starfire and Raven. The show will draw influence from Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s New Teen Titans.
Slight change of plans. Turns out, the planned “So You Want to Adapt a Story” is far more involved than I expected. That will come next week. Enjoy the round up of adaptational news in the meantime.
What could have been: Hayao Miyazaki wanted to make a Pippi Longstocking movie in 1971.
Concept art for the work has come out. The only thing stopping the adaptation was Astrid Lindgren, Pippi’s creator, saying no. Studio Ghibli just didn’t have the world renown in 1971 that it has today.
2014, the Year of the Bomb?
Of the fourteen potential major failures coming in 2014, twelve are adaptations and remakes. Of note, Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese light novel, All You Need Is Kill. If Divergent and The Maze Runner both do poorly, this could signal the beginning of the end of Young Adult novels being adapted. Guardians of the Galaxy is a wild card. Marvel is taking a huge risk, but, as Steve put it, what has Marvel got to lose?
Sin City sequel and TV series on the way.
The Weinstein Company is getting Robert Rodrigues and Frank Miller to create Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is expected out August 29 next year, with a TV series to start afterwards. Meanwhile, the company is also working on a ten part miniseries based on the theatrical adaptation of the Stephen King novel, The Mist.
Two versions of 50 Shades of Grey adaptation to be released.
The first will be rated R. The second will go for the dreaded NC-17 rating. The problem with NC-17 movies is that there are few theatres willing to screen them. 50 Shades might be an exception, but there could be issues when someone who was expecting the R version sees the more explicit NC-17. The producer also said that she doesn’t want the film to be seen as “mommy porn”, which will be a neat trick considering that the original book is exactly that. Filming has started, with Vancouver, BC, standing in for Vancouver, Washington.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone to be adapted.
The first of a trilogy by Laini Taylor, the YA novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone is being adapted by Universal. The novel originally came out in 2011; the adaptation has no release date yet.
Cats may be next Broadway musical adapted to film.
Andrew Lloyd Webber confirmed that Universal is working on the adaptation. Cats itself is an adaptation of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Main challenge is convincing the audience that people dressed as cats and signing is worth seeing, but the stage version also had that issue.
Veronica Mars due out March 14, 2014.
After a very successful Kickstarter campaign that saw the movie funded in under twelve hours, Veronica Mars will hit the theatres next March. Most of the core cast has returned for the movie.
Also out March 14, 2014, Need for Speed.
Electronic Arts teamed up with Dreamworks for the adaptation. The video game series focuses on street racing, and includes police pursuit as part of the challenge. Each game in the series has a different focus, giving a bit of room for the movie to work with.
Warner Bros/DC may have a low-budget series of movies.
Three lesser known titles, Suicide Squad, Team 7, and Deathstroke may get lower budget movies, in the range of $20-40 million. The lower budget may reduce audience expectations and allow for a decent return. DC just needs to avoid looking desperate compared to Marvel’s approach.
MTV to adapt Shannara.
MTV’s network decay continues, but this time, it’s not a reality series. The former music network will be adapting Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, hoping to jump on the fantasy bandwagon led by A Game of Thrones. The advantage with Shannara is that twenty-five books have been written, so there’s no chance of the TV series catching up and overtaking. Brooks himself is involved in the project.
Heathers to run Off Broadway.
The 1989 movie, Heathers, has been adapted as a musical slated to run Off Broadway beginning March 17, 2014. The original was a dark comedy starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, where the two took revenge on a clique of mean girls all named Heather.
NBC to air Rosemary’s Baby miniseries.
NBC continues to ride the adaptation train with the announcement of the four-hour Rosemary’s Baby miniseries. The miniseries will go back to the original book of the same name by Ira Levin.
The Sound of Music Live! a sign of things to come?
Still on NBC here. The live musical broadcast garnered ratings for the struggling network, leading to the confirmation that there will be another musical for next November. Which one has yet to be decided. The Sound of Music Live! may have brought in an audience in part from novelty and in part for the potential train-wreck it could have been.
Sony takes a page from Marvel Studios.
Sony announced that they will be producing two Spider-Man spin-offs, Venom and The Sinister Six. Both movies will focus on Spidey’s rogues gallery. No dates for either production start or release were given.
Animated Anne Frank in the works.
The Diary of Anne Frank is being turned into an animated feature, with the blessing of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel, the foundation created by Frank’s father. Ari Folman, director of Waltz with Bashir will direct and will have full access to the foundation’s archives.
The Naked Gun to be rebooted.
Paramount is looking to reboot The Naked Gun, with Ed Helms to fill Leslie Nielsen’s role of Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective-Lieutenant, Police Squad. David Zucker, one of the original creators, is on board.
Disney to create series based on animated villains.
Descendants will look at the lives of the teenaged offspring of Disney villains. The live-action work will premier in 2015.
Next week, “So You Want to Adapt a Story”.
After wrapping up the Avengers Adaptation series last week, I started wondering what was in store for adaptations of comic books. If you’ve followed along here at MuseHack, you’ll have noted the posts about the movie meltdown coming. From Spielberg to Cracked.com, the current bubble is predicted to pop, possibly as early as 2015. Meanwhile, Marvel Studios and Warner Brothers have a number of big screen adaptations in planning. Add in companies like Dark Horse Comics, and the comic book movie looks to be a mainstay until the pop.
First, Marvel Studios has a number of sequels related to The Avengers, including Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Outside the Avenger titles, Marvel’s taking a risk with Guardians of the Galaxy, based on an older title of space-faring heroes. Another risk, though linking back to The Avengers, is the Ant-Man movie. Marvel did succeed with the movies leading to The Avengers despite the characters being lesser known. What may help is Marvel Studios using existing storylines from the comics. That still leaves the question on whether audiences are willing to give the non-sequel movies a shot. Summer of 2013 has audiences not turning out for the big-budget blockbusters as they had in the past.
Marvel Studios isn’t the only studio adapting Marvel titles. Fox has the rights to the X-Men and related titles and characters and have released The Wolverine and is working on X-Men: Days of Future Past combining the original X-trilogy with X-Men: First Class. Sony has the rights to Spider-Man and has rebooted the series.
Over at Warner, owner of Marvel’s Distinguished Competition, the success rate of movies depends on whether it centres around Batman. Man of Steel underperformed at the box office. The Green Lantern fizzled. Catwoman bombed. The Dark Knight trilogy did do well, though. The advantage Warner has is that it holds all the rights to the DC characters. If they need a character, they have the access. However, the lesson that Warner learned is that dark, grey, and gritty is the way to go, leading to Man of Steel. Warner’s next adaptation is based on World’s Finest, a Batman-Superman movie. Meanwhile, a Justice League movie may be on its way, thanks to the success of The Avengers, but this would put Warner into the position of catching up with Marvel. With The Green Lantern‘s middling success and the studio having no idea what to do with Wonder Woman, that leaves the rest of the classic team in limbo. Aquaman would need a Dini-verse makeover. The Flash would mean trying to pick which Flash* to use. There is a Flash movie in the works for 2016, though. The character does not work in a grim and gritty story. Other than Batman, the Green Arrow has had some success through the TV series Arrow
Adding to the movie implosion of 2013 is R.I.P.D., an adaptation of a Dark Horse comic of the same name. The comic doesn’t have the same name space in pop consciousness, so the failure of the movie shouldn’t impact the title. However, by being off the pop culture radar, the movie had to rely solely on marketing, a problem plaguing several releases over the past few years, including John Carter. While Marvel Studios, Fox, Sony, and Warner have the money to get word of a movie out to everyone if they wish**, a lesser movie won’t get the money behind it. R.I.P.D. did have marketing, but audiences stayed away.
Marvel managed to capture attention using the Avengers Initiative and high quality movies. Warner needs to play catch up without looking like a Marvel imitator, making the success of a Justice League movie difficult.
Next week, Blade Runner
* Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West have all taken up the mantle of the Flash in DC Comics.
** For a counter-example, see John Carter. Please.