New 'Robin Hood' Movie Will Mark The Fifth One In The Works, But How Many Are Too Many?
They say that great ideas come in pairs, and one only has to look at Hollywood to see the veracity of this old adage. DreamWorks' Antz and Pixar's A Bug's Life came out within one month of each other back in 1998... and they're far from the only pair of similarly-themed movies to be released in the same year. The list also includes Dante's Peak and Volcano (both out in 1997), Deep Impact and Armageddon (1998), Mission To Mars and Red Planet (2000), The Illusionist and The Prestige (2006), No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits (2011), Mirror, Mirror and Snow White And The Huntsman (2012), and Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down (2013). But now we might actually have to change the saying to "Great ideas come in quintuplets," seeing as how there are currently five feature film adaptations of Robin Hood in the works.
Warner Bros. just announced its intention to bring the man in tights to the big screen, trailing behind Lionsgate, Disney, Sony, and DreamWorks, who all have varying takes on Robin Hood in development. (Strangely, this isn't the only classic fairy tale in high demand, either: there are currently six adaptations of The Wizard Of Oz in the works for television as we speak.) And it's not like Robin Hood has never been adapted before. The fictional figure's Wikipedia page lists 67 film and TV adaptations of the legend, from a 1908 silent film to Ridley Scott's 2010 action film starring Russell Crowe. And that's not even counting the thief's appearance in non-Robin Hood properties — like his current stint on ABC's Once Upon A Time .
Here's your crash course on all the various Robin Hoods you'll be seeing in the near future:
Merry Men (DreamWorks)
The first of the five adaptations, announced in March of 2013, is "an ensemble piece centered around the supporting characters Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian and Will Scarlet. There is a high-concept revenge angle that tonally is reminiscent of The Dirty Dozen and Ocean’s Eleven." Written by Brad Ingelsby (Run All Night, Out Of The Furnace) and directed by Scott Waugh (Act Of Valor, Need For Speed).
The studio that stubbornly refused to give up Spider-Man to Marvel for so long now has their own vision for a "shared universe" of films. Definitely the most ambitious of the Robin Hood projects, Sony reportedly spent seven figures for this pitch last October, which envisions an Avengers-like "series of movies focusing on the outlaw archer and his band of Merry Men: [...] One could say they were the superhero team of England’s Middle Ages." While Merry Men will be a revenge tale, Hood is envisioned as a high-octane action franchise: "The tone of the story has been described as Mission: Impossible and the recent Fast & Furious movies."
Nottingham & Hood (Disney)
Two months after Sony's announcement, the studio that actually has an Avengers-like series of movies stole their thunder, announcing their own Robin Hood movie. Keeping with Disney's brand, Nottingham & Hood will be decidedly more family friendly, with a "Pirates Of The Caribbean tone." Naturally, they're hoping this will launch a "new adventure franchise," which is perhaps a sign that Disney finally recognizes Pirates is running out of steam, five movies in.
Robin Hood: Origins (Lionsgate)
Just last month, Lionsgate got into the game with their announcement of this "edgier take at the fabled do-gooder who stole from the rich and gave to the poor." The script was written by Joby Harold, who also penned the screenplay for Guy Ritchie's Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur, which is currently filming with Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Eric Bana, and Djimon Hounsou in the lead roles, so apparently he knows how to adapt old time-y tales into "edgy" origin stories.
Untitled Robin Hood Project (Warner Bros.)
And now for the most recent of the Robin Hood projects. Warner Bros.' version will be written by Will Beall (Aquaman, Gangster Squad) and is produced by Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Sherlock Holmes). This adaptation doesn't yet have a name and they're keeping the angle a secret — but we already have high-concept revenge, Fast & Furious-esque action, family-friendly adventure, and gritty origin story taken, so I'm not sure what genre slot there is left to fill. How about a light-hearted romantic comedy? When Robin Met Marian, perhaps?