6 Movies That Were Made to Launch Franchises, In Honor of ‘World War Z’ Starring Brad Pitt
Movie #4 – Speed Racer
Year – 2008
It took over 15 years to bring Speed Racer to the big screen. Warner Brothers acquired the rights in the early ‘90s and tried repeatedly to launch the franchise. The cartoon had name recognition and resonated strongly with the Gen-X crowd back when they were still in the coveted 18-34 demo. Numerous incarnations were attempted. Johnny Depp almost starred as Speed Racer with Henry Rollins playing Racer X. (Hey, I told you it was the ‘90s.) At one point Gus Van Sant was set to direct; then Alfonso Cuarón. Let’s not even get started on how many people wrote screenplays.
Eventually, fresh off the success of The Matrix Trilogy, The Wachowskis were chosen to helm. What they turned in was a hyper-stylized and brightly colored world. It was based on a story that was probably even more kid-friendly than the studio wanted – though they certainly wanted an age appropriate picture. The film was shot largely on green screen; very little of what you see actually exists. It’s visual stunning and may induce headaches and/or seizures among older patrons. Some critics bought into its crazy world; some did not.
However, if there’s one thing the American public did buy into, it was….tickets to Iron Man – which had opened the previous weekend. Speed Racer ended up making only $44 million at the box office and cost $120 million to make. If you’ve never seen the film – having written it off as a flop – then it’s probably worth giving a shot. There are many credible people who love this movie.