A lot of words have been expended about Hollywood’s current pre-occupation with franchises and brand names. Originality has gone out the window, and with millions of dollars at stake and a risk-averse attitude at the top of many Hollywood studios, execs are doubling down on simple ideas and established stories and characters. Which is why we now have this: Sony Pictures has bought a pitch for a new movie series based on Robin Hood for seven figures. Yes, that Robin Hood, he of the Prince of Thieves, Men in Tights, or Rocket depending on the version you first encountered him in. Forget the fact that he’s been in the pubic domain since before there was copyright law, but why such a big price tag for a movie based on Merry Men and their leader? Well, in no uncertain terms, it rhymes with “Smavengers.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog, screenwriters Corey Goodman and Jeremy Lott have sold a pitch for Hood for $1 million against $2 million. $2 million for Robin Hood? Say whaaaaaaat? Yes, because the Goodman and Lott pitch is based on the idea that this Robin Hood story will be a “shared universe.” This can practically be a drinking game at this point, every time you hear about a new Hollywood deal that involves a shared universe, take a shot.
So how will this work? Basically, Hood will introduce us to Robin Hood and his band from Occupy Nottingham including Maid Marian, John Little, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, et al, who will then take center stage in their own solo adventures a la The Avengers. Of course, I’m unsure anyone familiar with the story of Robin Hood has once thought about John Little or Friar Tuck’s life outside the Merry Men, but that’s not about to stop Sony because shared universes are the new Hollywood Holy Grail. Disney‘s got the Marvel characters, Warner Bros. is developing Justice League, Universal has the monsters universe that begins this Friday with Dracula Untold, and Sony now has the Merry Men. Sony was also developing its own series of Spider-Man related titles, but given the lukewarm response to Amazing Spider-Man 2 those plans are up in the air.
So who are these guys making a mint on Robin Hood? Goodman and Lott’s last script was the sci-fi filme Lore, which is set up at Warner Bros. will feature Dwayne Johnson in the lead. Goodman on his own wrote the futuristic vampire movie Priest and the Vin Diesel-starring The Last Witch Hunter, and he’s also the one rebooting Underworld. Lott’s solo work, meanwhile, includes the supernatural flick The Falling, which is currently set to star Zac Efron.
I guess the thinking behind developing Hood is that Robin Hood and the Merry Men where sort of the superhero team of 11th century England, and if that’s the case, then why not make them superheroes in a modern sense. But can such a gambit work? The most recent film version of Robin Hood was Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe. It was originally supposed to have the unique slant of Robin and his nemesis The Sheriff of Nottingham being one and the same, but it became a more standard Robin Hood movie through the production process.
We’ll have more details about Hood was it develops, and if it’s successful I assume we’ll hear about the bidding wars for the King Arthur shared universe and the Greek Pantheon shared universe. Heck, maybe we can even get an Untouchables shared universe, they were more than just Eliot Ness right? We’ll see…
Source: The Mary Sue