Fans of Mortal Kombat owe Kevin Tancharoen a round of applause. Not only did his viral independent teaser trailer, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth sway Warner Bros. into financing a 10-part web series (Mortal Kombat: Legacy) but he has successfully earned himself the director's chair for the full-length feature film reboot of Mortal Kombat.
Deadline has the news which confirms that New Line Cinema is going forward with the Mortal Kombat reboot, which will be directed by Tancharoen off a screenplay to be written by Oren Uziel, who also wrote Rebirth.
There's no word on a budget or cast as of yet, but the Legacy webseries featured recognizable talent including Michael Jai White, Jeri Ryan and Tahmoh Penikett. If Mortal Kombat is going to get a large budget and a big marketing push, there's a good chance most, if not all of the actors from the web series will be replaced for the film.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy was given a lot of fan love for its indie origins and offering a new, grittier and somewhat more realistic take on the martial arts franchise but many didn't see its quality or style as foretelling of the franchise.
Tancharoen, who directed the Fame remake as well as Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, hasn't seen financial success at the box office but his passionate take on Mortal Kombat was enough to prove to Warner Bros. that he can direct action and that he does have a worthwhile vision to bring the franchise back theaters.
Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon couldn't be happier however, as not only was the webseries a success but the latest (and 9th) installment in the video game franchise has proven to be the most successful yet, selling over 3 million copies and giving Warner Bros. Interactive a reason to get to work on the next game.
The original 1995 Mortal Kombat movie, which looked like an '80s B-movie, earned a surprisingly impressive $120 million at the box office before its awful sequel earned less than half of that with its mostly-replaced cast. News of this reboot should be of no surprise since Warner Bros. almost went ahead with a new Mortal Kombat movie over two years ago with Oren Uziel also attached to write back then, but a legal issue with Threshold Entertainment Inc. ran interference on that happening.
With Tekken and the latest Street Fighter movies both flopping, bringing Mortal Kombat back is quite a risk, not too mention the consistent track record of video game movie disappointments. Can Mortal Kombat turn the tide? Will it feature a cast of bigger stars and be supported by a bigger budget? More importantly, will its action sequences - its key selling feature - actually be better than action sequences we've seen in non-fighting movies?
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.