What Kind of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Movie Will Platinum Dunes Make?

The gritty, realistic version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that is currently in the works has found itself a new home with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. This may be the end of the part where it’s gritty, realistic and tied to the original comics.

If there’s one thing that Platinum Dunes and producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form are good at, it’s commercialization of existing properties. They’ve done so successfully with horror franchises Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. This makes them a good fit for the bean-counters at Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon, who recently paid $60 million dollars for the rights to the TMNT characters. Does that mean that they will neuder the proposed TMNT reboot? Actually, no. Part two of what makes Fuller and Form successful is that they do inject their films with enough interesting violence to satiate those who crave a little blood on their celluloid adventures.

But here’s the real question: what kind of movie is Paramount looking for? Do they want a TMNT film that will appeal to children and teens, similar to the original 1990 film? Or are they looking for something violent and gritty that will target a nostalgic 18-35 male demographic? If recent industry trends — especially with releases like Kick-Ass and MacGruber falling short at the box office — suggest anything, it’s that Paramount should be going for a broad appeal. And while they’ve been commercially successful rehashing old horror icons, I can’t even begin to imagine Platinum Dunes making something teen-friendly. To say the least, it’s all very confusing. As much as I would love to see a badass Turtles flick full of grit, it’s not a financially sure decision for Paramount, a studio that, for the most part, plays it safe.

aramount Pictures and Nickelodeon have brought Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form on to produce Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the live-action film that reboots the film series launched by New Line in 1990. Bay, Fuller and Form will  produce with Galen Walker and Scott Mednick.

The producers will begin meetings with writers in the next few weeks. The deal puts Bay in the center of two Paramount franchises, as he started production May 17 on Transformers 3, and is zeroing in on Rosie Huntington-Whitely to replace Megan Fox as love interest for Shia LaBeouf. TNMT, a co-production between Paramount and Nickelodeon, is an outgrowth of the $60 million acquisition made by Nick last October for global rights to the entire Turtles franchise. Right around the same time, Paramount made a first look deal with the Platinum Dunes partners, who will generate genre projects but also want to expand their scope. While they’ve already set up several projects including a Rob Cohen-remake of Fright Night, the Turtles film puts them into new territory.

There are details needed to make such an assessment that aren’t included in the news story from Deadline (which seems oddly preoccupied with reminding us that Michael Bay replaced Megan Fox in Transformers 3). These details will be seen as concept art, casting, and a director are revealed. Until then, my brow remains furrowed at this idea. It’s confusion mostly, but also a bit of constipation.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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