Gather ‘round, dear friends, and lay eyes upon what The Avengers has wrought. This morning, The Guardian breathlessly reported that not one, but two major studios are spending big bucks to create major new tentpoles from the story of Robin Hood. (Y’know, the one that Ridley Scott tried to reignite a few years back, and no one cared.) Disney is jumping into the fray with Nottingham & Hood, which “reportedly has a tone reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.” And if that doesn’t sound enough like something you’d rather gouge your eyes out than watch, try this one for size: “Sony reportedly paid $2m in October for a script titled Hood, pitched as a jumping off point for a huge Avengers-style Robin Hood ‘universe.’” This follows last summer’s news that Universal is rebooting their classic monster movies (Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man, et. al.) to create, yes, a Marvel-style “interconnected slate of Monster films.” Everything’s connected now, you guys! Everything’s like Marvel! Everything’s a cinematic universe! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go jump out a window. But first…
…why stop here? I mean, if we’re gonna do this, Hollywood, let’s go all the way with it — let’s fill the multiplexes with vast cinematic universes based on children’s stories and fairy tales. And don’t forget to make them dark and gritty and revisionist, whenever possible! So with that in mind, I humbly offer up the next slate of multi-billion dollar franchise opportunities.
Pigs: The story of the three little pigs has everything: a superior villain, adversity and triumph, and widespread destruction. But who are these pigs? Where did they come from? And who is this Big Bad Wolf? What makes him tick? I’m seeing at least one origin story picture for each of the pigs, plus one for the Big Bad Wolf — and then we can tie in a Red Riding Hood spin-off. And what about Grandma? I know, I know, nobody wants to see movies about the elderly. But Grandma wasn’t always old. So let’s look into her past, maybe as a hot young super-spy? C’mon, this shit writes itself.
Dwarfs: This is simple math. Seven dwarves = seven movies. But we’re gonna have to juice up those personalities, and really get gritty here. What’s the story with Sneezy? (I’m thinking coke. What’s Aronfsky up to?) What made Dopey that way? (Inspirational story of overcoming mental handicaps in a cruel world?) What horrible loss made Grumpy so grumpy? You get the picture. Snow White will have an origin story of her own, of course, as will Prince Charming. But let’s use the Evil Queen sparingly — did you see those Mirror, Mirror grosses?
Clifford: Look, this big red dog didn’t just come from nowhere. I’m envisioning a Man of Steel-style origin story that takes us back to the planet of the big red dogs, with juicy voice-over roles for CGI canines and a dark look at the demons that are driving “Man’s Best Friend.” Once we’ve got a few new characters established, I’m picturing this series going in the direction of the Planet of the Apes series, eventually dramatizing the war between the humans and the big red dogs for the very soul of the planet. And the voice of Clifford is kind of a no-brainer: what’s Vin Diesel’s asking price?
Charlotte’s Web: We’ve got a whole barnyard full of animals to work with. Do I have to paint a picture for you here?
Goodnight Moon: Every single child is lulled to sleep with Goodnight Moon, night after night, throughout their childhood. If that’s not an exploitable pre-existing brand, I don’t know what is. But what is that book, really? It’s a list of things to make into movies. Who are those cats? Are they playing with that yarn to play with that yarn — or is it merely a charade, a clever way to hide their pain over the death of their mother? And why do they let that mouse just hang out in the great green room? What does he have on them? Throw in that picture of the bears sitting on chairs, and we’ve got an opportunity for a Three Little Bears crossover.
There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe: At no point in that entire nursery rhyme does anyone ever state exactly how many children that old woman had. The possibilities are literally limitless.
Please contact me directly to negotiate finder’s fees, Hollywood. Happy cinematic universe-ing!