Word on the Mortal Kombat film reboot, from Kevin Tancharoen, has seen few (albeit sporadic) updates ever since the director received a green light over a year ago. Official announcement of the project stated that New Line Cinema would be financing the Mortal Kombat adaptation but, at the time, it wasn't exactly clear how much money would be on the line.
Now, thanks to a recent update from Mortal Kombat: Legacy producer, Lance Sloan (Act of Valor), we've now got a clearer picture of the proposed budget for Tancharoen's adaptation and, as a result, what kind of scale fans can expect from the project.
According to a candid slip of the tongue by Sloan, while speaking with The Web Series Network, Tancharoen is reportedly working on a Mortal Kombat production that is set to cost New Line Cinema around $40-50 million (likely before marketing).
You can check out the interview with Sloan below:
While it's certainly fun to hear about the infamous Mortal Kombat: Rebirth viral video from the perspective of producers, considering we were equally puzzled by the short film when it first appeared, the most enticing tidbit is obviously unofficial "insight" into the scope of Tancharoen's upcoming adaptation. To put that $40-50 million in perspective, it's important to keep in mind that studios rarely release official budget numbers and, even when information is available, it's often unclear whether or not the "budget" includes post-production costs like marketing and promotions.
The original Mortal Kombat (1995) film only cost $18 million (unadjusted for inflation) but plenty of high-profile films easily cross the $100 million mark these days (The Avengers - $220 million, The Dark Knight Rises - $230 million, or the most expensive, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $300 million). Nevertheless, cost doesn't necessarily determine quality - especially when top-notch visual effects are becoming increasingly affordable.
Here's a run down of a few current movies reportedly budgeted near Mortal Kombat's proposed price tag:
Then there are films like Chronicle ($12 million) and Monsters ($500,000) that deliver quality character stories and solid visual effects while on very strict budgets. Tancharoen's aforementioned Mortal Kombat: Legacy web-series managed a similar challenge - though fans will, no doubt, expect bigger and better action scenes in the feature film version (more akin to the Cyrax and Sector episode of the series as opposed to the Kitana and Mileena installments). Of course, if New Line Cinema approves of the film's direction during production, it's also possible that they'll throw more money at the project - to beef up the VFX or even add additional sequences.
It's also worth noting that the Mortal Kombat reboot was, at one point, rumored to be green lit at price tag up to $100 million - so it's also possible that Sloan is understating the actual film budget and Tancharoen could be working with a lot more money. However, while Mortal Kombat is a recognizable brand, that doesn't mean it's going to pull-in big box office bucks on name alone - so the $40-50 million window sounds like a more reasonable (read: safe) jumping off point for the production.
As far as what fans can expect from the story, it's been months since Bloody Disgusting reported that the film would follow "a lowly unlucky supermarket employee who discovers that he has out of this world powers and must decide between good and evil, even though the evil side has helped him discover his true potential and who he really is." Tancharoen later debunked that rumor - a good thing considering reaction to the set-up was overwhelmingly negative (despite plenty of enduring trust in Tancharoen). As a result, while the Mortal Kombat reboot is still expected to follow the tournament storyline pretty closely, we're still eager to hear how the director intends to differentiate his version from the "original."
The film does not have a set production start date (yet). In the meantime, Tancharoen is hard at work on the second Mortal Kombat: Legacy webseries season. Check out the director's season two announcement below:
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Mortal Kombat, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.