The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox earlier this year was hotly anticipated by many prior to its completion. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were quick to point out that such a merger would allow the X-Men and Fantastic Four, whose rights have been held by Fox for over a decade, to be brought into the fold. The implications of the deal are more complex and wide-reaching than that, though, and they are starting to be felt already.
Prior to the deal going through, Fox had approximately 246 films in development. It was recently announced that of those 246, only about half a dozen remain. Those that survived the cut are either already so deep into production that it would be considered a hefty loss should they be cancelled, or films based on popular franchises that have a greater likelihood of box office success.
In 2018, Capcom announced an adaptation of their hit series Mega Man. This is no surprise, with the live action Sonic the Hedgehog movie coming next year, along with talk of an animated Super Mario movie by Illumination on the horizon as well. Speaking about the project, Capcom stated: “Based on the influential and globally beloved Mega Man franchise, Capcom aims to appeal to a diverse audience, including not only game players but action movie fans as well, with an adaptation that maintains the world of the Mega Man games, while incorporating the grand production and entertainment value that Hollywood movies are known for.”
The first Chronicle film both blended and deconstructed the superhero and found-footage genres. Well-received by fans and critics alike, talks of a sequel have persisted ever since the release of the first film. The success of the film seemed to work against a sequel, however, with its stars like Michael B. Jordan and Dane DeHaan moving on to bigger projects. The film’s director, Josh Trank, went on to make the universally panned Fantastic Four in 2015. The writer, Max Landis, had apparently written a script for the middle instal
Flash Gordon has long been a staple of the sci-fi genre, with comics dating back to the 1930s, a cult film in 1980, and a TV series in 2007. With Hollywood’s penchant for breathing new life into stagnant franchises, Flash Gordon fans were given a glimmer of hope back in June when Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi was reportedly brought in by Fox to helm a new animated film. His recently announced involvement in Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder seems to have been the final nail in Flash Gordon’s coffin.
Magic: the Gathering
In the world of competitive card games for adults, there is arguably none greater right now than Magic: the Gathering. Directing duo Joe and Anthony Russo, fresh off the monumental success of Avengers: Endgame, are slated to adapt the Magic franchise as an anime series for Netflix. This seems to have superseded the live-action blockbuster film previously being developed by Fox.
Assassin’s Creed 2
2016’s adaptation of Assassin’s Creed, a popular game franchise by Ubisoft, received mixed reception upon its release. Starring Michael Fassbender, it depicted a man who uses fantastic technology to relive the memories of his ancestor, who was a member of a secret assassin brotherhood. There was talk of two additional films planned, with at least one being set during the Cold War, but poor box office returns seem to have executed any hopes of a sequel.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
A campy classic to some, cinematic suicide to others, there is no doubt that 2003’s League of Extraordinary Gentleman will not be soon-forgotten. This is likely why Fox has passed on doing a new adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic series of the same name, which paired together numerous literary characters such as The Invisible Man and Dr. Henry Jekyll to fight for world peace.
Perhaps the oddest entry on this list is a film based on the popular craft material Play-Doh. When The Lego Movie was made, it evidently proved to Hollywood that even a children’s toy with no concrete plot could make a successful film. Writer Jason Micallef and director Paul Feig were on board to adapt the Hasbro property, although any details on what the plot or concept would have been have not surfaced.
Fox has long-held the film rights to Hitman: Agent 47, a popular video game series centred on an assassin who is the latest in a long line of cloned killers. They had previously released two film adaptations, one in 2007 and another in 2015, both from writer Skip Woods of X-Men Origins: Wolverine fame. Given the critical and commercial failures of all three films, it leaves little question as to why Fox said ‘Game Over’ on this one.
With a name as well known as The Boogeyman, it is honestly surprising there aren’t more films bearing the name. There was the mid-2000s franchise of mostly forgettable outings, but the one in question here would have been based on the short story of the same name by Stephen King. Adapted twice before in 1982 and 2010 respectively, this version would have had the talent of Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, known for their recent hit A Quiet Place. With a new wave of King-inspired films as of late, it makes one wonder what a Boogeyman film would have looked like.
All the way back in 2007 it was announced that 20th Century Fox had purchased film rights to The Sims, a game which is engaging for players but lacks much substance or narrative. Very little information has been revealed about any plans for a film since then, other than the involvement of writer Bryan Lynch. Lynch’s most recent claim to fame has been The Secret Life of Pets films, which showcases the kind of energy and eye for humor that we could have seen in a potential Sims project.
The staying power of the Die Hard franchise is hard to deny, with five films spanning from 1988 to 2013. The latest instalment in the decades-old series would have been a prequel, focusing on series main protagonist John McClane in his 20s as a rookie cop. McClane would have been played by a new actor, but series star Bruce Willis would have still been involved. The film would possess a framing narrative of McClane in the present working on a case that connects back to his early days. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explains: “I don’t know how you do Die Hard without Bruce. The idea that he’s not very significant in this movie is not accurate at all. We are gonna explore John McClane in his twenties. But just as prominent is the 60-year-old version.”
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
There is no shortage of scary clown movies in Hollywood. Never going away for long, the common fear has led to some magnificent and cringe-worthy films alike. Perhaps one of the strangest entries in this genre is Killer Klowns from Outer Space, which depicts a horde of aliens that resemble circus clowns coming to Earth and terrorizing a small town. Remembered for its sheer absurdity, talks of a sequel pop up every few years. Recently it had been announced that the SyFy channel, a division of NBCUniversal, acquired the rights from Fox, so any hope of a Fox-produced follow-up is simply a bad gag.
Which one of these projects would you have most-liked to see get made? Which ones are you glad got cancelled?