Dreamworks and Touchstone Pictures have set a release date for the first movie of the new Dreamworks era, Shawn Levy’s futuristic robot boxing flick Real Steel. It will open in theaters on November 18, 2011, the same day that the 23rd James Bond film and Happy Feet 2 are currently scheduled to open.
It is the same weekend that films such as Twilight: New Moon and several of the past Harry Potter films have cleaned up in recent years, being the week before the Thanksgiving weekend. In industry speak, that’s prime real estate for releasing a tentpole, which makes me oddly curious about what Dreamworks thinks it might have with Steel.
As we’ve reported in the past, the story centers on a father and his estranged 11-year old son who enter the world of robotic boxing. The robotic boxing has since replaced human boxing, which has been outlawed, and now instead of 200-pound men fighting it out, its heavy-duty, clunky 2000-pound robots taking center stage. Hugh Jackman will play the father, an ex-fighter who has to reinvent himself after being replaced by robots in the ring. In order to stay in the game, he decides to become a promoter, but soon finds that it isn’t easy to build a 2000-pound robot.
It’s a potentially fine concept for an effects-driven action piece, but I’m not sure that anyone is sold just yet. Levy (who is known for directing the Night at the Museum franchise) has gone on record to say that these giant robots will not be anything like Terminators or Transformers, but actual man-made hunks of steel (thus, the film’s title). I find this alone to be novel and worthy of further exploration. What happens when humans have to build their own Rock ’Em, Sock ’Em Robots? It will be like a 2-hour long episode of Robot Wars, but with much larger robots. On concept, that is cool. I dare you to refute that.