If it's crap ... We'll tell you
When in doubt about the validity of sequel, franchise, and/or adaptation rumors, it's best to go straight to the source. And there is no better source than the head of the studio planning such projects. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson revealed plans for new sequels, reboots, and franchise continuations, and even announced upcoming adaptations. Running down the list, he confirmed the 'Van Helsing' reboot is moving forward, that 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is a priority that may be released as early as next summer, and that Angelina Jolie would not be directing that particular filmic adaptation. He also mentioned that the studio is very optimistic about the prospect of more Bourne movies, and even hinted at Matt Damon's desire to return. He then mentioned that the success of 'Les Mis' means we will see a big-screen version of 'Wicked' sooner rather than later. Finally, he revealed that discussions had begun on a sequel to this year's comedy 'Identity Thief.'
Where to begin here? To me, it seems that the 'Van Helsing' reboot mention merely means that what seemed like a rather precarious project has not yet been cancelled. Last we heard there, Rupert Sanders was in very early negotiations to direct, something Fogelson doesn't mention, and the new 'Van Helsing' was one of Tom Cruise's dozen upcoming projects. So 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is a priority now? Really? I wasn't aware Universal was in the business of making soft-core porn, but bully for them. I don't mind the 'Wicked' adaptation, but it may seem like white noise depending on how well Disney's 'Oz The Great and Powerful' performs. As to the Bourne movies, it seems either something has changed or Fogelson's memory is a little fuzzy. Matt Damon mentioned in October that he was only interested in returning to he Bourne series if Paul Greengrass returned to direct. So unless Greengrass has also entered discussions, Fogelson is being overly optimistic there. The real facepalm in this lot has to be the 'Identity Thief' sequel talks. It made money, so I understand that motivation, but it was also a lazy, contrived chore full of unlikable characters toward whom the film tried to force our unearned sympathy. What possible new avenues can be forged for those cardboard conveniences? Sadly, nothing Fogelson said instills much confidence in Universal's future. Guess they better hope 'The Fast and the Furious' films never stop making money.
But that's just my two cents, what do you guys think? Do you think they are taking the right tact with these projects? Can they still compete with Marvel? With Warner Brothers? With Sony's Bond franchise?