Last night’s news that Sony Pictures had been in discussions to loan out superhero Spider-Man to Marvel Studios to appear in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War very likely left genre fans thinking “That would have been awesome!” Today’s news about another Sony development idea may leave those same fans thinking “That would be awesomely terrible!”
According to the Wall Street Journal, who have a team panning the latest dump of emails hacked from the studio’s computer network for nuggets of gold like this, Sony is in active development for a franchise crossover film between comedy franchises 21 Jump Street and Men In Black.
Details on the movie are scarce, but the e-mails do indicate [Men In Black stars] Will Smith and [Tommy Lee] Jones would not be included in the movie, at least in prominent roles. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who directed the last two “Jump Street” films, are producing the picture and may direct it.
In an e-mail to [Sony studio chief Amy] Pascal, [21 Jump Street star jonah] Hill says “jump street merging with mib i think that’s clean and rad and powerful.”
In another e-mail, Hannah Minghella, a president of production for Sony’s Columbia Pictures label, says of the joint sequel, “We don’t have a script yet so we’ll be greenlighting the movie off the concept and the talent involved.”
E-mails indicate it is one of the highest profile projects on the studio’s slate and that executives are eager to move ahead with the film as soon as possible. Sony is hoping to release the movie in 2016 or 2017.
Unlike the Spider-Man/Captain America: Civil War news from last night, this appears to still be very much an ongoing project at the studio. Though I dare say that if reaction is very loudly negative, the studio may rethink the idea.
And on first blush, yeah, this does sound pretty terrible. Tonally, the two franchises are different enough that it just feels wrong to try and smush them together into a joint film. It also just seems like two random things that execs realized they owned and decided to see if they could be put together.
But yet… There is one thing thing that gives me just the faintest glimmer that this won’t turn out to be the complete trainwreck that this sounds like. Actually, two things and they are Phil Lord and Chris Miller. As directors of the first 21 Jump Street film, they took the idea of adapting a rather cheesy late 1980s TV show for the big screen and turned it into a rather enjoyable action comedy. They also took idea of basing a film on toy building blocks that contained no inherent story and turned it into one of the biggest films of the year, The Lego Movie. If there is anyone who can take this sow’s ear of an idea and turn it into a silk purse, it is these two.