If you were a movie fan growing up in the ’90s (as I was) then the name Waterworld still lives in infamy. Made for a reported $200+ million (an unheard of sum back in 1995), Kevin Costner’s passion project – which is basically The Road Warrior… set on a seemingly endless ocean – only made $88 million domestically ($264 million worldwide) and was widely considered one of the biggest bombs of that era.
Naturally, then, it makes sense that Syfy network and its parent company NBC Universal would want to resurrect the Waterworld property… right?
Jeff Bercovici over at Forbes dropped the news as part of an addendum to another article he’d written about NBC Universal and SyFy making a push into the video game market. Bercovici added that in addition to video games, Syfy is also trying to get into the movie game – and this is where we get first details on this Waterworld business.
The details are somewhat vague, but basically the article suggests that Syfy is actively exploring the idea of developing some kind of new project out of the Waterworld property, which (in this age where every idea seems to get recycled) has managed to remain idle since the ’90s. SyFy network president Dave Howe apparently started looking at the property when it was observed that the network’s airings of Waterworld were garnering large viewership (400,000 at last count). Naturally, an interested viewership within a niche channel (sci-fi lovers) and a property just sitting around waiting to be dusted off… you see where this is headed. Plus, NBC Universal owns the rights to the film, so this would essentially be a money-saving endeavor. And for that reason, don’t be too surprised if this actually leads somewhere. Question is: where to go?
Howe himself openly acknowledges that there is no room for a sequel film – but ideas for a TV series have been “talked about endlessly” and it is still a possibility. Too be honest, there is probably wiggle room to crank out a sequel – or trilogy – that follows the same character (played by Costner – or not) on the same water-covered world; but it’s nice to hear that Howe isn’t interested in going that route.
However, a TV series could work in expanding SyFy’s viewership: the network took Stargate - another ’90s sci-fi movie that only had mild success – and revamped it into a franchise of shows that maintained a very dedicated cult following and plenty of merchandising dollars to go with it. There is no reason at all that – with some smart execution – SyFy couldn’t pull off a similar move with Waterworld, as the property is ripe for expansive exploration (read: many season of show), spin-off installments, prequel series, Web series tie-ins, etc. Could Waterworld be the new Stargate for the network?
To be fair, in the years since it was released, I’ve, personally, come to enjoy Waterworld. It’s not great – but it’s not as bad as The Postman, either; it has actors like Jeanne Tripplehorn and Tina Majorino – both of whom have gone on to have solid careers (Big Love!); not to mention the late (but still great) Dennis Hopper, chewing every piece of water-logged scenery he came in contact with. More than that, however: Waterworld was always a cool concept that never got done full justice (in many people’s opinions). A good TV show (we’re thinking ‘Lost with more water shots’) could change that.
We’ll keep you updated on SyFy’s plans for Waterworld.