Lionsgate's new big-screen version of the early 1990s kids TV show is now in production
Having wrung four movies out of a three-book YA franchise, Lionsgate is now a movie studio in desperate need of a new franchise to roll out on an annual basis. With The Hunger Games finished and the confusing mess of the Divergent series failing to set the box office on fire, the studio is hoping to capture audiences with a reboot of the Power Rangers, a Japanese action show that had English-language scenes made up around the combat and was a surprise hit in the early 90s.
And now reports have emerged that Lionsgate thinks the Power Rangers could kick start a brand new franchise, telling analysts that they’re aiming to produce “five, six, or seven of them.” The rumour mill is suggesting that Lionsgate could even go so far as to build an entire series around solo adventures of the colourful teenage defenders of the Earth.
2016 will be a significant year for a studio that has made the industry step up and take notice by investing in a number of Young Adult novels and turning them into – often critically panned – lucrative box office hits. Between the aforementioned franchises and The Twilight Saga, the studio has seen healthy returns on investment, with a number of prestige pictures in the pipeline.
This year’s budget is lower than previous years, but the studio hopes that films like LaLa Land, Nerve, and Now You See Me 2 can prepare the studio to launch the Power Rangers next year. The reboot of the TV show is off to a somewhat shaky start, given the lacklustre response to the casting of unknowns as the five rangers and the unveiling of their iconic costumes – drawing a number of unfavourable comparisons to Marvel’s Iron Man.
Directed by Dean Israelite, the biggest star so far attached to the would-be franchise is Elizabeth Banks, who’ll play the chief villain, Rita Repulsa.
Power Rangers began as a Japanese television show named Super Sentai, debuting on Fox Kids in 1993. As of 2016, the show has spawned 23 television seasons of 19 different themed series and two theatrical films.