The proposed crossover between Men in Black and 21 Jump Street is now officially dead. Sony is bringing back the former property later this year in the form of soft reboot Men in Black International, which stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as a pair of new secret agents battling the scum of the universe. However, that wasn't the studio's first attempt at a revival. During the infamous Sony hack of 2014, it leaked out there were plans in place to combine Men in Black with Jump Street, which was coming off the highly-successful 22 Jump Street at the time. Titled MIB 23, it would have seen Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's Schmidt and Jenko join forces with the Men in Black.
The project was far enough in development to recruit Muppets Most Wanted director James Bobin as helmsman back in 2016, but due to various challenges, progress on the spinoff essentially ground to a halt after that. Even Hill doubted the film would ever happen, and now it's been confirmed that it will not see the light of day.
While speaking with Empire (hat tip Yahoo), Men in Black producer Walter Parkes provided the fatal update, saying, "We gave it a shot. It turned out to be an impossible match-up." With MIB 23 no longer happening, Sony's primary focus will likely be on developing a series out of Men in Black International.
While the temptation to combine two of their most popular properties was understandable, it's probably for the best Sony is going in this direction. It's true Jump Street and Men in Black both fall under the comedy genre, but they go about it in very different ways. The former thrives on meta humor that pokes fun at its own existence and mocks the entire concept of Hollywood reboots and franchises (see: the hilarious post-credits sequence of 22 Jump Street). Men in Black, on the other hand, is a little more straightforward in its approach, so there would be something of a tonal clash. Additionally, Men in Black is PG-13 and Jump Street was R-rated, meaning one of the brands would (probably) need to be significantly altered in order to make a crossover work. That had the potential to backfire, so Sony opted to scratch MIB 23 altogether.
It'll be interesting to see how this ultimately turns out, but as suggested above, Sony likely made the smart play here. Men in Black International is poised to be a summer hit, riding on Hemsworth and Thompson's terrific chemistry (which they developed in Thor: Ragnarok). As for Jump Street, that franchise may continue on as well in the form of a female-led installment possibly starring Tiffany Haddish and Awkwafina.
Source: Empire (via Yahoo)
- Men in Black International (2019) release date: Jun 14, 2019