In the always changing landscape of Hollywood, it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s big theatrical releases. Case in point, Warner Bros. recently announced 2017 release dates for the long-gestating R-rated theatrical remake of Stephen King’s IT and a movie reboot of the classic 70s cop show CHIPs. The studio has also penciled in an as-yet-untitled PG-13 comedy for the weekend before Christmas, although nothing beyond that has been revealed about the film.
The first of the three to hit theaters will be CHIPs, a modern spin on the popular TV series. For those unfamiliar, CHIPs aired from 1977 to 1983 on NBC, and starred Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada as Officers Jon Baker and Llewelyn “Ponch” Poncherello of the California Highway Patrol. While technically considered a drama, CHIPs was usually kept pretty light, with cases rarely being taken too seriously. Dax Shepard (Parenthood) plays Jon in the reboot, and also directs the now entirely comedic take on the property. Michael Pena (Ant-Man) stars alongside him as Ponch. The CHIPs reboot movie arrives in multiplexes everywhere on August 11, 2017, competing directly with Sony’s much discussed Emoji Movie.
Next up on the release docket is IT, presumably the first of two planned installments designed to re-adapt the best-selling Stephen King novel for the big-screen. Set in the small town of Derry, Maine, IT tells the tale of a group of childhood friends who embark on a life or death battle with Pennywise the Clown, an ancient shape-shifting creature who feeds on both fear and children. The group – self-dubbed “The Loser’s Club” – initially believes that they vanquish IT as kids, only for the malevolent monster to return 30 years later.
King’s IT novel was previously adapted as a TV miniseries back in 1990, and starred Tim Curry as Pennywise. While Curry’s terrifying performance has gone on to become the stuff of internet legend – and the source of a thousand memes – the miniseries as a whole was forced to cut mountains of graphic material in order to fit ABC’s strict content standards of the time, leaving many fans hopeful that these R-rated feature adaptations will be more faithful to King’s prose. The project was originally set to be directed by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga, but creative differences with Warner Bros. resulted in him being replaced by Mama’s Andy Muschetti. IT (it’s still not clear what subtitles will differentiate the two halves of the adaptation) hits theaters on September 8, 2017, and is so far the only big release scheduled for that date.
Any time a known quantity is revamped for the big-screen, the weight of fan expectations can be overwhelming, instantly putting pressure on everyone involved. For Warner Bros.’ sake, here’s hoping that both gambles pay off, or at the very least results in a crossover movie where Jon and Ponch travel to Derry for some reason and end up tangling with Pennywise. Note to Ponch: if a 7-foot clown offers you a balloon, it’s best not to accept it.
CHIPs hits theaters on August 11, 2017, while IT arrives on September 8, 2017.