Steven Spielberg’s ‘Robopocalypse’ May Still Happen [Updated]

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:23 am,

[UPDATE: Spielberg says Robopocalypse isn’t “dead.” Read on for more.]

Iconic director Steven Spielberg has eight science-fiction movies under his belt and there’s been much a healthy amount of excitement for his ninth exploration of the genre, with the developing Robopocalypse.

The Daniel H. Wilson novel adaptation (scripted by Cloverfield writer and Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard) was gearing up to begin pre-production this year, with a cast featuring Chris Hemsworth, Anne Hathaway and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) in prominent roles. However, the project’s hit some development snags and is now postponed until further notice.

THR is reporting that Robopocalypse has been indefinitely delayed, with Spielberg spokeman Marvin Levy offering up the following explanation:

“[The project is] too important and the script is not ready, and it’s too expensive to produce. It’s back to the drawing board to see what is possible.”

A Reuters source is likewise asserting that Spielberg isn’t satisfied with the latest script draft and claims the estimated budget came in around $160 million, which is higher than the Hollywood mogul prefers. The filmmaker is going to be considering other projects while waiting to read through the revised script, with the options including the Moses epic Gods and Kings that he’s been rumored for over a year now.

Steven Spielberg Directing Robopocalypse Steven Spielbergs Robopocalypse May Still Happen [Updated]

Robopocalypse takes place in the not-so-distant future, where a global network of artificial intelligence machines turn on humanity. Admittedly, that premise shares many a trait with older titles like The Terminator, The Matrix and I, Robot (among several others) and has left some of our readers feeling like the sci-fi project is an odd choice for Spielberg at this point in his career. Similarly, the director told 60 Minutes last October that standard action movies “[don’t] attract me anymore.”

That’s to say: it’s possible Goddard’s initial script draft provided the blueprints for a familiar special effects-driven blockbuster about ordinary people saving the world (see: this year’s World War Z), rather than the comparatively thought-provoking and relevant meditation on well-explored sci-fi themes that Spielberg wants to make. If so, good on the director for halting progress until the project morphs into a less expensive (and more innovative) genre venture.

UPDATE: Spielberg has shed some light on the current situation (via EW):

“We found that the film was costing a lot of money and I found a better way to tell the story more economically but also much more personally. I found the personal way into Robopocalypse, and so I just told everybody to go find other jobs, I’m starting on a new script and we’ll have this movie back on its feet soon.”

The director anticipates a delay of 6-8 months, but insists “I’m working on it as we speak” and not pursuing other projects (as initial reports suggested).

We’ll let you know when Robopocalypse begins moving forward again.

Source: THR, Reuters, EW

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. I suppose the investors are missing the “2” in the title.

  2. I’m surprised anyone is concerned about a big budget when Spielberg is in the director’s chair. I’m all for a less conventional sci-fi film though. :)

  3. Mr Spielberg, PLEASE give your friend George Lucas a HUGE (but friendly) kick up the backside, and point blank say to him if he doesn’t want to do Indy 5, and lack the ‘fire’ to do a decent story treatment, then find a writer that DOES! Harrison is 70 now. It’s now or never to make a film that apologises for the hollow experience that was Indy 4. Indy (and Harrison) deserve a FAR better film to bow out with… Something huge.

    It’s really now or never. Mr Lucas seems to think he can drag his heals indefinitely…

    Frustrating! Do it whilst all the major creative talent (and stars) are still with us…


    • After the catastrophe that was Indy 4 I don’t ever wanna see a new Indy movie again. Besides, Ford was barely up to the task 5 years ago, I’d hate to see him perform that role now. Let Indy go gracefully and let us remember him as he was in the first three movies.

      • I agree, 4 shouldn’t have happened to begin with and I shudder to think what they’d do if they made another one.

        • Indy is going the reboot way if disney’s got anything to say about it… And they do since they own the property now.

  4. You should do Sta Wars Seven Steven !! It’s your destiny …

  5. Star Wars 7 Steven

  6. Damn. Wanted to see this (although there’s a still chance that this might happen).

    • If it gets the same treatment as World War Z (turning a great story into a special effects driven money machine) it is worth the halt in production.

  7. Hopefully Spielberg will hire a better writer when this gets back on track someday. Just not right now.

  8. i actually was kinda excited for this one. but understandable if they arnt confident in it then they are right not to make it.

  9. “Spielberg’s not satisfied with the latest script draft.”

    Didn’t seem to have this kind of problem with War of the Worlds, as far as I recall…

    • HA! Have to agree with that. Still regret paying for the DVD to this day.

  10. The book had a unique way of telling the story from different angles, but I’m worried it would become more conventional on screen. The book also petered out towards the end (also happened with Wilson’s Amped).

    • I agree with you totally. Weak third act. Interestin premise but like some other commenters have stated, world war z had an interesting narrative structure and it does seem that it was completelly changed for the film to make it more the standard blockbuster. Oh well.

  11. Hopefully it still happens sounds like a good cat, story and director

  12. “Admittedly, that premise shares many a trait with older titles like The Terminator, The Matrix and I, Robot (among several others)” A shared trait but a different concept compared to all of those.

  13. I am glad they canceled this. The book was terrible.

  14. I was looking forward to this since it’s Spielberg. If delaying it means we’ll potentially get a better film, I’m all for it. Hopefully they can keep Hemsworth and Hathaway in the cast.

  15. I think delaying it is wise if it results in a much better movie, many productions seem to be let down by a weak script. This in my opinion is the heart of a movie as the main goal is to tell a great story in a visual medium.

  16. Terminator Reboot…Dont Bother Making It

  17. I want Robot action figure toys and vehicle toys for the movie.