The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting a cinematic reboot just five years after their last big screen outing. Details about the film are currently unknown, but Colin and Casey Jost have been hired to write the script.
Colin is most known for his Emmy-nominated writing on Saturday Night Live, while fans of Impractical Jokers will recognise Casey as a producer and occasional host of the show.
The hiring of a pair of comedy writers to pen the screenplay perhaps signals that Paramount are trying to get the turtles back to their fun-loving, joke-cracking selves after their last two cinematic outings were a bit more serious. Some would point to Michael Bay being a producer as a reason for that, but he’s returning to executive produce this film as well.
But wait, weren’t Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg also working on a TMNT reboot? They are, but that’s a separate project. Those two are developing a light-hearted animated film version akin to the 1987 cartoon series. So Paramount’s live-action version has some competition.
Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael have had mixed experiences on the big screen. There was a live-action trilogy of TMNT films in the 90s, with the first movie becoming the highest-grossing independent film up to that time, making $202 million worldwide.
The sequels fared worse, and the franchise as eventually rebooted as TMNT in 2007, which was a modest commercial success. Two CGI/live action hybrid films followed in 2014 and 2016, with the latter being a box office bomb, which begs the question why, just five years later, two separate studios think that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a franchise worth rebooting.
Of course, any sort of IP with a built-in audience remains valuable to Hollywood. We saw the same thing with Men In Black: International a few years ago, which also performed poorly at the box office. However, executives are still moving forward with yet another reboot of that franchise, because the Men In Black brand is deemed valuable despite evidence suggesting audiences are not interested.
We’ll wait and see what happens with these dueling TMNT films. Rogen and Goldberg’s animated version probably has the better chance of being successful, especially because it will almost certainly arrive first, having already set a theatrical release date of August 11, 2023.