Anytime Hollywood finds a successful franchise that starts running out of steam, the decision to pull the plug is immediately discussed. We have seen this happen time and time again, and for the most part, walking away from the sliding franchise is the most intelligent decision from a financial standpoint. More often these days, however, movie studios want to continue building on the brand that they have created and nurtured by rebooting the property rather than just tossing the franchise after a failure or two. Well, a franchise whose latest release was actually the most successful entry in the entire saga has just decided to join this not-so-elite group of reboots rather than continuing the story that it’s been telling for over ten years. It looks like fans of the Underworld series will soon have a whole new team of vampires and werewolves to follow.
The Hollywood Reporter has heard that Lakeshore Entertainment, the studio behind the Underworld films, has decided to move forward with a reboot of the lucrative franchise and have grabbed writer Cory Goodman (Priest, the upcoming The Last Witch Hunter) to draft a screenplay. Lakeshore’s own Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi will be holding producer duties. Between the two producers, they have given audiences dozens of wonderful films, and even some absolutely bonkers films (Crank, I’m looking at you), and hopes are high that they will continue to provide the stylish backdrop that sets Underworld apart from the flock.
The original series starred Kate Beckinsale as Selene, a vampire soldier who helps fight the war against the vampires’ mortal enemy – the lycans (werewolves). In true Romeo and Juliet fashion, Selene falls in love with one of the lycans, which changes her entire life. As the franchise went on, this union even led to the birth of a child. The most recent entry in the franchise, Underworld: Awakening, was the highest grossing entry, grossing over $160mil worldwide and by many accounts was the best of the bunch. It is interesting that the studio has decided to go the reboot route in this case but the last movie didn’t leave much room to work with, so it is possible they simply want a fresh take on the story.
Underworld hit theaters at the beginning of the vampire vs. werewolf craze that took the Twilight Saga to the top of the box office and made True Blood one of the most viewed shows on television. Since that time, however, the craze has died down and even Twilight and True Blood have thrown in the towel after their stories were told. While Awakening was successful on almost all fronts, it is a safe bet that many of the fans who followed the series considered the last entry to be the last entry, and were content to walk away from Selena and her lycan love, Michael. Being that the series is still generating money and Hollywood basically eats money like a black hole eats light, however, it should come as no surprise that Lakeshore wants to capitalize on its investment in any way possible.
The Underworld series was exciting, stylish, and fun at its best, and slow and a bit cheesy at its worst. Fans can only hope that Goodman does everything he can to focus on the good. It will definitely be tough to beat the badassness of Beckinsale in that outfit.