News started circulating yesterday that an $87 million sequel to the 1996, Billy Zane starring comic book adaptation of The Phantom was in the works (what a mouthful). However, as regular Screen Rant readers will know – we don’t like to jump on every story, especially if it doesn’t sound quite right. I mean – who would ever make an $87 million sequel to a Billy Zane movie (not counting Titanic)?

Well, it turns out that we were right to wait again! The Phantom Legacy will not be a sequel, but one of the never-ending “reboots” that Hollywood is so found of these days.

The Phantom was a comic strip created by Lee Falk in 1936, and it follows the adventures of …er… The Phantom, who is also known as The Ghost Who Walks, a jungle dwelling hero who inherited the legendary name from his father.

The 1996 film was directed by Simon Wincer and the cast was filled out Treat Williams, Kristy Swanson and a pre-Michael Douglas/Oscar-winning Catherine Zeta Jones. The period set adventure was a box office bomb when it was released, grossing a measly $17 million. This new adventure produced by Sherlock Symington Productions will be set in present day and will probably be shot entirely in Australia.

Writer Tim Boyle had this to say about the film on his blog:

“First of all, I’ve got to say – this is a very exciting time. Being able to bring the first masked comic superhero back to the big screen is an absolute honor. I’ve been researching The Phantom intensely for the last year or so and I’ve been working with the support of King Features Syndicate to try and bring you the tightest possible film. Yes, this is a new look at the comic book hero, but rest assured –  He wont be ‘heavily gadget man’ (as that is another comic book hero named Batman) and he wont be an ‘angry mob killer’ (as The Punisher -Frank Castle has been made into a film 3 times – remember the Dolph Lundgren film – that too was shot in Australia… old skool). He will be, without doubt The Phantom. A man who has sworn an oath to protect – but at what cost?”

It really appears like everyone wants to get a superhero movie out on the big screen these days and I hope that quality is not suffering over quantity. 2008 has been a year of highs and lows for comic book heroes (highs: The Dark Knight and Iron Man lows: The Punisher War Zone) so will we be sick of seeing spandex sporting characters in 18 months?

Hard to say. We’ve got Wolverine, The Spirit; Watchmen; more men of Bat and Iron as well as Captain America and a whole lot more. It’s inevitable that some of these will crash and burn at the cash registers – so what is to stop The Phantom Legacy from suffering the same fate as the previous film 12 years ago? I can only imagine some A-list talent; I mean every A-lister needs a franchise to fall back on. Could this be Tom Cruise’s chance of career rebirth by making “one for the kids?”

Time will tell. However, at the moment no director or cast is attached to the film.

More when we get it.

Source: Tim Boyle

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