ROCKETEER Remake Rumored

Peter Martin, Managing Editor

It's all fun and games until they start remaking your favorite films, and then it's war!

A remake of Joe Johnston's The Rocketeer is now under development by Disney, according to Vulture. It's in the early stages, with the studio planning to meet soon with writers who will be pitching their ideas.

The 1991 movie was based on the independent comic book series by Dave Stevens, first published in 1982 and set in the 1930s, featuring pilot Cliff Secord and his voluptuous girlfriend Jenny. Bill Campbell and Jennifer Connelly played those roles in the movie, with Alan Arkin as Cliff's mechanic buddy, Timothy Dalton as a preening actor, and a very fine supporting cast.

I've always loved the movie and have been happy to overlook its imperfections, in part because it manifests such a positive spirit and is so cheerfully indebted to art deco and the Hollywood studio pictures of the era in which it's set. Unfortunately, The Rocketeer failed to spark with domestic audiences in a big way; finishing third in its opening weekend (behind Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, City Slickers, and Dying Young.) It ended up grossing $46 million in the US versus a reported budget of $40 million.

The financials did not warrant a sequel at the time, but in the current atmosphere, a remake could make sense. X-Men: First Class and Captain America: The First Avenger have shown that audiences are open to seeing comic book characters in period movies, and though obviously both of those pictures had a bigger audience familiar with them in advance, The Rocketeer carries a certain amount of name recognition.

The sticking point could be Iron Man, and here is where any eventual remake will need to rely on Disney's marketing team to establish the differences between the two superficially similar characters, because Cliff Secord is in no way comparable to Tony Stark. And, really, The Rocketeer is strikingly different as well. But appearances and perceptions matter.

Boy, I've almost talked myself into anticipating a remake of a movie I love without reservation! That kind of talk is dangerous in times of war ...

Around the Internet:
  • Jason

    I'm not super keen to see one of my favourite childhood movies remade. I can just imagine the gratuitous American flags that will inevitably end up in shot a la Spider-Man.

    Perhaps if they keep the Art Deco styling and don't mess with the costume it could be okay...

  • Swarez

    Why? Because the original did so well?

    The Rocketeer was the film that introduced me to the ample bosom of Jennifer Connelly, who has sadly lost those qualities due to excessive dieting.

    They should get Christina Hendriks to fill in that role.

  • Ben Umstead

    As an 8-year old in 1991, The Rocketeer was the closest thing my generation had to a Raiders. And at 8 one didn't notice it's unevenness that a 15, 20 or 30 year old might have. It was just so clear and gung-ho in that it wanted to tell a great adventure.

    I'm not surprised by Disney's decision, considering their choices around Tron and such, but I'll wait to say anything further once more is in place.

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