We've long noted how Hollywood is out of ideas. Now, we fear a new crisis is upon studio executives: they are running out of cartoons, TV shows and toys to transform into movies. Here are the only remaining viable properties.
Having revived Hong Kong Phooey, the schlocky, chop-socky 70s cartoon about a racially insensitive dog and his kung fu adventures and the fucking View-Finder toy, and another one about Candy Land the boardgame, Hollywood has long decided that there is no such thing as a bad idea when it comes to developing movies around "existing intellectual properties."
The thinking seems to be that new, original projects are just too damn risky. People don't want to shell out $12 for something they don't know already. That sentiment started with the bigtime executives and producers, but has now trickled down to basically everyone.
What we can only imagine is a cynical, jaded, resigned David Goodman, the script writer for Hong Kong Phooey, is also doing an update of Who Killed the Great Chefs of Europe?, a movie from the 70s that he's transplanting to Vegas. He's also a staff writer on TV's irksome referencepalooza, Family Guy.
Phooey will be a terrifically terrible blend of live action and animation, much like the successful Alvin and the Chimpmunks and Garfield, which, hey!, were also based on other old things. Though this story—regular janitor gets transformed into magic karate dog—is decidedly weirder than a lasagna-scarfing cat and, um, a lonely gay man living with three teenaged chipmunks that eat poop. Wait, actually maybe it's not weirder than Alvin.
But, still. Not only is Hollywood Out Of New Ideas, it's Out Of Semi-Decent Old Things. It's really barrel-scraping at this point. So we ask you: Can a Snorks epic be far behind? Have we really heard the last of Jabberjaw and The Neptunes?
Some of the only other viably adaptable properties left:
Connect Four: Very popular in hipster bars, because it's throwbacky and laughably simple. Basically the movie adaptation would be about hot young harried singles living stacked on top of each other in a Manhattan apartment building and the wacky, sexy love combos that ensue. The great thing is that not only is it an adaptation of a popular tic-tac-toe game, it's also kind of an update of Friends as well. One stone, a whole flock of birds.
The Funky Phantom: This cartoon from the early 70s was about a Revolutionary War-era ghost named Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore who had a cat named Boo and the three 70s-era teenagers he helped solve mysteries. Because it was the fashion of the day, they all drove around in a dune buggy. The phantom, who was decidedly unfunky, was voiced by the guy who did Snagglepuss. So the funky phantom was gay. So! Modern day! The word "Funky" means "Urban" these days which means "Black." So, Mr. Murphy? Are you ready? You don't have to be gay if you don't want to.
Power Wheels: In the world of the future, your wheels are what set you apart and what give you power. Our story unfolds in sun-baked urban hellsphere Meridian City, ruled by the awful Silas Cain (a seriously desperate John Malkovich), who pits innocent citizens (and their wheels) against each other in gasoline-fumed battle royales. He says it's for population control—the food is running out and a rebellious band of freedom fighters, called Hydros, keep staging raids on the feed warehouses—but it's really so he can control through terror. But one day a young wheel-jockey named Max Axel (it would have to be Shia, probably), who watched both of his parents die at The Arena, makes a wary pact with the Hydros to fight the power, using only their wits... and their wheels.
Skip-It: Nick Cannon produces and cameos in (as a weary elder) this hype flick about an East St. Louis underground dance circuit where everyone's doing a new thing called skippin'. Skippin' is fast, furious, off the hook, and mad masculine when the fellas do it and mad girly when the ladies get they skip on. But what will happen when a brother and sister team from Rockwood try to break in? Will the Don let them skip? Will Maisley make it work with badboy Braxton? And will her twin brother Thorne win the heart of the tough-as-nails Monique without getting beat down by her jealous ex-boyfriend Malik? It's gateds vs. ghettos in this pulse-pounding story about the wars we wage in love and dance. You definitely won't want to skip it.
Alphie: The 1980s' favorite teaching robot gets a new treatment in this haunting and terrifying psychological sci-fi thriller. Everyone loves their Alpha Omega Units (Alphies for short). The knowledge-giving teaching robots are used in the classroom, on the job, and in space. When a team of scientist astronauts, led by captain Diane Lane and first officer Chris Evans, ventures deep into the Black Lights—a space zone where communication signals die and time bends—someone begins to sabotage their ship. Plus, everyone seems to be getting smarter. Maybe too smart. Is Alphie involved? Will anyone survive? Movie also stars Ming Na as chief space surgeon Dr. Q. Yang, a bored-looking David Strathairn as Astro-Historian Jonas Zentrope, and Elle Fanning as the ethereal young Brainchild, Isis.