Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, two of the writers of Iron Man and Punisher: War Zone, have locked down their next comic adaptation – Nickelodeon’s reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes is producing for Paramount Pictures.
Paramount and Nickelodeon picked up the property rights for the four martial arts-trained, anthropomorphic turtles for some $60 million last year from Mirage Studios, and are planning to recoup their investment with an animated TV show and merchandise alongside the upcoming feature.
Heatvision reports that if Marcum and Holloway’s script is strong enough, the studio will likely sign a director and begin production as early as next year.
Although it may seem like odd timing to pick up a cartoon franchise that peaked in popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Paramount’s TMNT reboot is in keeping with Hollywood’s recent obsession with the financial viability of choosing to tap into established fan bases rather than develop new properties. Still, one wonders if the rights to a 30-year-old property are really worth $60 million in 2010. The demographic that the original comic and cartoon series appealed to has long since grown up, and Nickelodeon is going to have to find a way to connect with a new generation of young moviegoers for whom TMNT nostalgia won’t be a factor. Even though the studio is probably thinking more about the profitability of the inevitable merchandising bonanza rather than the film itself, $60 mil is a fair amount of money to be in the hole before a script has even been written.
With all that money (and our collective childhood memories) riding on their shoulders, I hope Marcum and Holloway will be able to come up with a worthwhile script that doesn’t take itself too seriously. While “dark and gritty” reboots have been the popular trend of late, let’s not forget what TMNT actually stands for and all the silliness that implies. These are four crime-fighting, teenage turtles – named after Renaissance artists – with an insatiable hankering for pizza; personally, I’ll pass on any Nolan-esque “realistic” reimagining.