How quickly can we reboot?
The craze for premature revamps sets us pondering a Harry Potter remake. It will happen. But when?
This is the question to which all Hollywood wants an answer. The recent situation with Mr Superman brings the dilemma to a head. It’s a confusing one. You could (not very convincingly) argue that Superman Returns, released in 2006, was not any sort of reboot. True, the film did not feature an origin story. But so revised was the tone that one really has to regard it as a complete reinvention of the franchise. So, in less than a decade, we had a re-reboot. (By way of contrast, The Incredible Hulk was very definitely a sequel and not a total revamp. I don’t know why people keep making that last mistake. I have spoken.)
Anyway, It looks as if the Superman ploy has worked. Man of Steel is a huge smash. The Man of Steel may well end up passing out The Man of Iron before the summer is out. Mind you, Superman Returns really was not any sort of financial catastrophe. But its performance was sufficiently pallid to allow Warners’ imagineers an effort at turning Superman into Batman with mega-powers. He’s Superbatman.
So, we now know that you can have a crack at reinvention after just eight years. And there we were giving out that they recharged Spider-Man just a decade after the first picture. The truth is that, such is the cynicism abroad, no gap is too narrow to preclude a franchise realignment.
All of which brings us to an interesting interview with Daniel Radcliffe on BBC Radio 4′s Front Row last night. Mark Lawson asked Daniel the usual question concerning any future, possibly middle-aged return to Potter duties. Radcliffe took it very well. He would obviously listen seriously to any offer. He can’t imagine it happening. That sort of thing. Then he made a comment worth heeding. “I would think it’s more likely they’ll remake them,” he said. This is the first time I have heard somebody from the Potter organisation put this terrifying thought into words. He’s almost certainly right. The days when they could generate profit by endlessly repackaging the DVDs has long gone. That’s old-school technology, boy. There is little doubt that, somewhere in (them again) Castle Warner Brothers, a clock has been set and a countdown is taking place. When the alarm goes off a little man will stagger to the microphone and announce that the search for a second Harry Potter is underway.
I may be naive, but I can’t quite imagine them attempting to pull this off in the next five years or so. Let’s pretend that they’ll wait until the tenth anniversary of the last film. That would be 2021. Mark that year down, stage mums. That baby in the crib could yet make your fortune.