So, there’s no way to ignore the fact that this bit of news is going to make a lot of people unhappy. As much as movie nerds like to pretend that they’re the sort of folks who are always looking for new voices and new ideas, like anyone else, we’re really just the sorts of little greed monsters who want to keep getting more of the stuff we like. That’s why film geeks have been calling for a third film in legendary director Joe Dante’s Gremlins series for years.
Unfortunately for those who’ve been beating the Dante drum all this time, today the news broke that a Gremlins 3 isn’t likely going to ever happen. There has been a development for the property that’s either going to play like a consolation prize or a slap in the face though, depending on your perspective.
Bloody Disgusting is reporting that Warner Bros. has decided to hit the reboot button on Gremlins, and they’ve hired Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg to produce the new take on these now classic monsters. If you’ll remember, Grahame-Smith and Katzenberg signed a deal with Warners back in 2011 that would see them forming Katzsmith Productions, a production wing of the company that would give the duo freedom to stretch their imaginations and develop properties for the studio to distribute. At the time, Katzenberg said of the deal, “We pride ourselves on coming up with a lot of our own ideas, about 90% of the projects we’ve generated in film and TV are ones we created and developed. The studio will help us bring our ideas to the finish line.”
Of course, given humanity’s natural attraction to sequels of things they’ve already seen and loved, most of the headlines surrounding Katzsmith’s work have revolved around their development of a Beetlejuice sequel—a film that we’ve been assured over and over again has sought both Tim Burton’s blessing and input, and that will be a real sequel starring Michael Keaton and not some sort of chintzy remake.
What should we think of this new news then, that the duo is once again taking a project that goes against their mission statement of bringing original ideas to the table, and is even putting the kibosh on a sequel that everyone would welcome in favor of hitting the dreaded reboot button? Certainly there are quite a few diehard Dante fans around these parts who are going to see a Gremlins that goes forward without his involvement as an outrage, but more than likely the general public has just vague, fuzzy memories of the Gremlins property as something from their childhood, and will welcome a reboot with open arms once they see those scaly-faces and hear the first few notes of that iconic music.
Is it possible that starting the Gremlins franchise over and utilizing all of its familiar production design, but not being beholden to the stories that have already been told is actually the right move here, despite what our emotions might be telling us? And, more importantly than that, is it possible that Joe Dante Himself might be onboard for a reboot as well, and could eventually be the director who Grahame-Smith and Katzenberg hire to bring this thing to the screen?
Now there’s something that would eliminate any ill-will projected toward this project pretty damned quick. Dante getting the chance to make another big budget horror comedy is the stuff nightmares are made of. You know, nightmares in a good way.