I guess it was only a matter of time before someone wanted to go back and continue what Ridley Scott started with Blade Runner, the 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. CinemaSpy is reporting that Alcon Entertainment is close to acquiring the rights to the material, but apparently (and thankfully) not the right to do a remake. So, of course the rumors are that they are going to do everything else possible (i.e. prequel, sequel and television series).
Here is the official press release from the studio:
Warner Bros-based financing and production company Alcon Entertainment (“The Blind Side,” “The Book of Eli”) co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, in the most significant property acquisition negotiations in the Company’s 13-year history, are in final discussions to secure film, television and ancillary franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic 1982 science-fiction thriller “Blade Runner.”
Alcon is negotiating to secure the rights from producer-director Bud Yorkin, who will serve as producer on “Blade Runner” along with Kosove and Johnson. Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will co-produce. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.
Alcon’s franchise rights would be all-inclusive, but exclude rights to remake the original. The Company, however, may produce projects based on situations introduced in the original film. The project would be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. International rights are yet to be determined.
Johnson and Kosove stated: “We are honored and excited to be in business with Bud Yorkin. This is a major acquisition for our company, and a personal favorite film for both of us. We recognize the responsibility we have to do justice to the memory of the original with any prequel or sequel we produce. We have long-term goals for the franchise, and are exploring multi-platform concepts, not just limiting ourselves to one medium only.”
While I might be interested in seeing a sequel if Ridley Scott were involved, there is no mention of him yet. As for a prequel, I really don’t see a need for it.
Let me get down to what I think the crux of the problem is with this announcement: the studio purchasing the rights. Alcon Entertainment has a terrible track record with films. The most highly touted films in their repertoire are Book of Eli and The Blind Side. The former was a mediocre post-apocalyptic film based on a graphic novel, and the second was a mediocre sports film that somehow managed to hide how terrible of an actress Sandra Bullock is by masking her with a Southern accent. Then, you start digging more and find that there is this list of films that they produced:
There were a couple of other films, the most important being Christopher Nolan‘s Insomnia, but for the most part there is a consistent level of mediocrity. Maybe this will be the film that puts this production company ahead, but I wish there was a better track record associated with them before they delve into such a weighty project. I’m glad that they acknowledge the responsibility associated with the mission that they are embarking on, and I’m glad that Bud Yorkin is officially involved, but with their track record I am extremely hesitant to get behind this idea.
Plus, it sounds like they are shamelessly trying to exploit the material by converting it into as many platforms as possible. They are already saying that they will try to run the franchise into the ground rather than just saying, “Hey, we’re going to focus on making the sequel true to the material and then see where we go from there.”
Why yes, we fully intend to keep beating this horse after every breath of life has been expended from its body.
This is Hollywood exploitation at its best.
What are your thoughts about all this? Should this sci-fi classic be left alone? Is it fine in the hands of Alcon and Co?