The Dukes of Hazzard is the latest in a long and
illustrious line of television shows that have been ported
over to the big screen. Television shows being turned into
movies used to be a novelty; now, it's a necessity. With
spiraling budgets and jaded audiences, Hollywood is searching
for surefire hits. Sometimes it works. Other times, it's
The Mod Squad.
Cartoons from the 1980s are the "vein du jour" for filmmakers. Hong Kong action guru John Woo is prepping a megabudget He-Man starring Sex and the City's Jason Lewis as the blonde, leather-clad sword-wielder who's "got the power." Recently, N.E.R.D. front man Pharrell Williams announced he is producing and scoring a big-screen treatment of the pre-Power Rangers cartoon Voltron: Defender of the Universe. In the "you can't get any bigger than this" category, megamoguls Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay will team up for The Transformers. Going in the opposite direction, Nickelodeon is putting together an animated movie about the little blue guys, The Smurfs. The blue creatures were the cartoon toast of the '80s, running for eight years and producing over 400 smurfy episodes. Finally, Steve Guttenberg, Lee Majors, and Sally Struthers are starring in a puppet version of The GoBots. Not really, but just imagine.
It's not just cartoons that are being lavished with big-budget love--live-action properties are also getting ready for their close-ups.
Perennial career-rehabber Colin Farrell and Stealth rebounder Jamie Foxx will pair up for a big-screen Miami Vice, the '80s cop show that convinced men it was okay to wear shows with no socks. Original series creator Michael Mann will be on board as writer and director, so it will be interesting to see how the pastel and stucco landscape of Florida looks when viewed through his lens, 20 years later. Farrell has had some success in the TV-to-movie arena before, with S.W.A.T. grossing over $100 million, but both of the actors could use a hit. Farrell was last seen in the megabomb Alexander, and the Foxx's Stealth is currently sinking fast at the box office.
Joss Whedon's cult sci-fi series Firefly, which had its light snuffed out midway through its first season, is also appearing as a film this summer. Titled Serenity, it continues the adventures of stern-faced Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds as he pilots the spaceship "Serenity" across the galaxy, eluding the evil Alliance. Could it spawn a movie series a la Star Trek?
Good or bad, hits or flops, these films will join a proud family of television to movie ports: The Beverly Hillbillies, The Brady Bunch, Scooby Doo, Dragnet, The Addams Family, Fat Albert, Lost In Space, and countless others. After they appear in theaters amid a flurry of marketing hype, these products will return to television via DVD, and possibly a new series, and the circle of life will continue.
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