Will we ever see Robocop in the cinema again? Does the franchise initiated by Paul Verhoeven in 1987 have a future?
Directed by Paul Verhoeven in 1987, Robocop was a worldwide success, becoming over time a cult film. The saga was notably entitled to two official cinema sequels, a live and animated TV series and a remake in 2014.
The license has even been declined in video games, with in particular “Robocop versus The Terminator”, an improbable confrontation between the two robotic characters!
Released in 1993 on Nintendo and Sega consoles, the game was adapted from the comic book of the same name. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walter Simonson, it was published in 1992.
2014’s Robocop was critically savaged in addition to a commercial failure. Directed by José Padilha, this new version however collected 242 million dollars at the worldwide box office for a budget of 100 million. A relatively correct score if any. Enough to set up a sequel?
In any case, the Brazilian filmmaker did not live his Hollywood adventure very well: “It’s hell here. The film will be good, but I’ve never suffered so much and I would never want to experience such an experience again”he confided to his director friend Fernando Meirelles during the preparation of the feature film.
“Robocop is the worst experience of his life. Out of 10 ideas he has, 9 are turned down. Whatever he wants, he has to fight for it”underlined Meirelles at the time.
Its main actor, Joel Kinnaman, also hated his experience on this remake: “That was the first big movie I did. I had to suppress all my instincts during that movie. I was like, ‘Why am I wearing a black suit? sense.'”he lamented at the microphone of The Playlist in 2021.
“What the whole movie didn’t take into account I feel is what the fans loved about the original Robocop. And you have to pay homage to that. And I think the producers, the filmmaker and myself, we haven’t really figured out how to do this the right way. I think it’s a really solid movie, it just doesn’t fit the concept of RoboCop.”did he declare.
Despite this failure in dusting off the Robocop license, Neill Blomkamp tried to relaunch the machine in 2018. The director of District 9 had announced that he was embarking on the production of Robocop Returns.
The filmmaker’s idea was clear: his story would obliterate Robocop 2 and 3 and become the direct sequel to Verhoeven’s classic.
“The concept is quite different from what we imagined. I don’t want to talk too much about it because otherwise they will call me and tell me to close it, but we are confident and I think Neill really wants to do a good job. Robocop movie. His idea is to make pure Verhoeven… as if Verhoeven had made the movie right after Robocop. That’s what he’s trying to do and I think he can do it. We’ll see GOOD”explained the producer Edward Neumeier for HN Entertainment in 2018.
“As you’ve seen in the media, Neill wants to bring Peter Weller. What you get when you do that, if you use the DNA of the old movie correctly, is something that provides a shared continuity that fans can embrace as a brand.”he added.
A year later, a turn of events! Neill Blomkamp announces on Twitter that he is leaving the ship to direct a horror film. “I’m off Robocop. I’m shooting a new horror/thriller movie and MGM can’t wait/needs to shoot Robocop now. Can’t wait to see it in theaters with the other fans.” At this time, the project is still in the cards and should be released in 2020.
In November 2019, the studio hired a new director: Abe Forsythe (Little Monsters). Since then, we have not heard of Robocop Returns, surely stored at the bottom of a drawer due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On IMDB, the filmmaker is still attached to the project but we still have no news. Will the robotic supercop return to the cinema? Nothing is less sure !