Now that Disney owns Fox, Mickey Mouse has a new sandbox to play in.
Now that some time has passed since the completion of the acquisition, Disney has decided to ax several excellent original film ideas Fox had in the works—David Petersen’s Mouse Guard and Noelle Stevenson’s Lumberjanes among them. And though its Marvel properties may get the headlines, Disney now owns hundreds of well-known films Fox released in its 80 plus years of existence. You know the big ones: Alien, Planet of the Apes, Die Hard, Predator, X-Men, etc.
Considering Disney is already going to look at that catalog to remake some films such as Home Alone and Night at the Museum, and well, the last some-odd years of films greenlit, we can assume even more rehashes are on the way. Here are some sci-fi movies from deeper in Disney’s new catalog we think are primed for a comeback.
Joaquin Phoenix and Kate Capshaw co-starred in this 1986 film about kids who are mistakenly sent to actual space during Space Camp. The film was a bomb, grossing less than $10 million, but the idea remains sound: Part summer camp movie, part Gravity. Modernize it with a great cast, and it feels like something that could be excellent. We doubt Phoenix would return...but you never know.
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, this 1985 film starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr. blended science fiction with social commentary in an interesting, exciting way. The story is about a human and an alien who hate each other but are stranded together on a dangerous planet and learn to become friends. Again, it’s a concept that we’ve seen time and time again, so with a bit of name recognition, it feels like a property that could have new life breathed into it.
Before Netflix had Bright, Fox had Alien Nation, a 1988 story about an alien race that openly lives among us, as told through the interactions between a human cop and alien cop. The idea was so strong even then, it was spun into a TV show, comics, and more, in a move that proved to be way ahead of its time. The problem with this entry is that Fox was already working on a reboot but Disney has reportedly killed it—which sucks, because like Enemy Mine, if it happened it would be a great way for a filmmaker to talk about modern social issues through a science fiction lens, delivering strong, thoughtful messages in an easily digestible, and marketable, package.
Rookie of the Year
Two genres that do not get much love these days are sports movies and kids movies—like this 1993 film about a boy who hurts his arm in a way that means he can become a Major League Baseball player. The film was a hit and still has a lot of fans but feels ripe for a revisit. Can you just imagine somehow blending science fiction into the mix? Like maybe the kid gets a genetic upgrade but instead of becoming a superhero, he becomes a ballplayer instead? (Bonus, this one might actually happen too.)
Video game franchises can be complicated when it comes to the rights, so we don’t know if Fox even has a claim to this anymore. But, if it does (and even though this movie was released rather recently), it could do with a reboot. It’s a fascinating, action-packed story, spanning centuries and technology, that deserves better. Plus, with sequels abounding, there are plenty of new characters and angles to mine.
Yes, this 1985 Ron Howard film was a hit. Yes, it’s already had a sequel. And yes, the original is actually very good. But it’s also a film that has mostly left the public consciousness. Who talks about Cocoon anymore? That suggests a remake could work. The story, of course, is about how a hidden alien race impacts the lives of a retirement community. It’s funny, it’s poignant, and all the pieces are so strong, a remake could seriously be as fantastic as the original.
As one of three people on the planet who likes Doug Liman’s 2008 adaptation of Steven Gould’s novel, maybe I’m biased. But the idea of people who have the ability to teleport anywhere is too awesome to ignore. Even YouTube took notice, adapting another Gould novel, Impulse, with Liman as a producer. Though the property wasn’t handled all that well on the big screen, it’s a super cool idea that could be molded in any number of ways.
Always remember—just because a film is remade, that doesn’t erase the original. I say that because I love the 1988 Penny Marshall film starring Tom Hanks. Everyone does. But that was over 30 years ago. Kids and adults today still fantasize about being young again or grown-up. It’s an idea has been revisited innumerable times in innumerable formats. So why not use the name brand of Big to present a new take that feels more 2019? Seems like a no brainer.
The Simpsons Movie
It’s been over 10 years since The Simpsons made its way to the big screen and, somehow, the series is still going strong. Fans have been asking the creators about a sequel for years, so you know it’s marinating, and, frankly, now is the time. It feels like The Simpsons is fading so what better way to give it a jolt than an epic return to the big screen?
Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League
Here’s the thing: When the 1984 film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension announced this sequel in its credits, it was mostly a joke, which happened a bunch in the ‘80s. But the idea of a suave, swashbuckling, inter-dimensional hero is still as cool as ever. So why not make that “sequel” now but actually make it a reboot? Even if people don’t know the original, Buckaroo Banzai is a great name. With the right casting, audiences would show up whether they’d heard of it or not. (Note: this one might be hard because of rights issues, which Kevin Smith found out about a few years ago.)
Update, 4:14 p.m.: Kevin Smith himself just let us know that Buckaroo Banzai isn’t even a Fox property, though he does agree that the sequel should get made anyway:
Independence Day 3
I’ve covered this already.
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