I’m not one of those pretentious critics who whine about Hollywood reboots and relaunches and never doing anything original. I LOVE seeing new life breathed into old IPs I grew up with. So I present to you the top five movies/TV shows that could be redeveloped into $billion dollar franchises.
The Final Countdown.
It was a hot summer day around 1977 when I first heard the concept of what would eventually be The Final Countdown. I was a kid hanging out with a couple of newly-minted and older Star Wars nerds. One of them mentioned an upcoming movie about jets going back in time to fight the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. The movie, finally released three years later, featured an all-star cast led by Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen and was produced with the full cooperation of the US Navy. Set and filmed on board the actual USS Nimitz supercarrier, the Don Taylor-directed flick did, indeed, find the United States’ most powerful warship caught in a temporal vortex that sends them back into time – December 6, 1941, in fact – one day before the Empire of Japan attacked America’s naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The Final Countdown was a moderate box office hit and received mixed reviews, but like the other films on this list, it has a certain badass charm to it. With the sequel to the 80s’ biggest Navy movie, Top Gun, dropping in the next year, the public might just want to see more more fighter jets.
Hawk the Slayer.
I’m not sure this British movie never played in American cinemas, but it was a staple on early 80s premium cable channels where it quickly developed a cult following thanks, in part, to a lack of competition in the sword and sorcery genre. A sequel was planned called Hawk the Destroyer, but it was never produced. In 2015, a sequel titled Hawk the Hunter was reported to be in development using funding raised on Kickstarter but, again, it was postponed. There’s even been talk of a TV series.
With the extreme popularity of Game of Thrones and the ongoing interest in the Hobbit-related franchise, the timing is right for a new generation of sword and sorcery films. Hawk the Slayer is the perfect seed to plant on this fertile ground.
This 1985 Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. film was almost perfect in the execution of it’s cold war narrative and would be the perfect reboot in today’s hyper-partisan atmosphere. The original depicted a human and alien soldier stranded together on an inhospitable planet who must overcome their mutual distrust in order to cooperate and survive. It was a box-office bomb but is one of the movies that makes me long for the time when I had no idea what critics were saying about movies.
I’d committed the words to Speed Racer’s theme song to memory before I was 10 and would often sing it loudly as I rode my mid-70s Huffy bike through the neighborhood I grew up in. So when the Speed Racer movie was announced in the early 90s, I was stoked! Unfortunately, it stayed in development hell until Joel Silver and the Wachowski Brothers collaborated and finally released their film in 2008. Wow! I waited 30 years for THAT?! Ugh! The casting was great, the car was perfect, but it was shot entirely against greenscreen, giving it a weird video game vibe. And, really, the whole thing was a major “what the hell were they thinking??” misfire. Straight up, such a beloved IP deserves better. Someone should try again.
The Six Million Dollar Man
Another reboot that’s been in development hell for decades, Kevin Smith took a stab at a script for a movie adaptation in 1998 for Universal that was dismissed as being more like a comic book than a movie. Before the end of the 90s, the property was in development as a comedy starring Chris Rock. In 2002, the film changed leads and Jim Carrey was set to star as the bionic man. Road Trip / Joker director Todd Phillips was hired to direct. By 2010, Harvey Weinstein recruits Bryan Singer and Leonardo DiCaprio as director and star. Fast forward four years later and Mark Wahlberg and director Pete Berg sign on, and a release date of 2016 is targeted. Yeah, right! In 2017, as Weinstein struggles with sexual assault charges, Warner Bros. steps in and takes over the project. Wahlberg is still attached but various writers have come and gone, the latest being Bumblebee director Travis Knight and God damn it, I just want a serious Six Million Dollar Man movie… fighting Bigfoot!!!!
So what reboot projects would you like to see happen? Hit me up in the comment section.