Hollywood has a long history of rebooting and reviving existing properties, and sometimes those projects entail adapting a well-known television program for the big screen. Successes like the Mission: Impossible franchise and Harrison Ford's The Fugitive (which was nominated for Best Picture) show that these ideas can work, and arguably can eclipse the original source material in terms of widespread popularity.
The latest in this line of films will be The Weinstein Company's The Six Billion Dollar Man, an update of the 1970s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man. Mark Wahlberg has been set to star in the movie for quite some time, and now the studio is officially moving forward with it, setting it up for a holiday 2017 release.
In a press release, The Weinstein Company announced that principal photography on The Six Billion Dollar Man will commence in September 2016, with a December 22nd, 2017 release date planned. Damián Szifrón (Wild Tales) wrote the script and will direct the movie too (rather than Wahlberg's Lone Survivor collaborator Peter Berg, as was previously reported).
For those not in the know, The Six Billion Dollar Man revolves around military officer Steve Austin (Wahlberg), who becomes part of a secret government program when a terrible accident nearly kills him. With the help of state-of-the-art technology, Austin is essentially reborn with new abilities and becomes the world's first bionic man. Producer Bob Weinstein expressed enthusiasm for the team that assembled to make the film:
"Damián’s unique vision and longtime passion for this story will usher in a new take on this series for a new generation. We are excited to release the film during the holidays to bring audiences an explosive reimagining of this cultural icon.”
The Weinstein Company must have been impressed by the pitch for Six Billion Dollar Man, since they are releasing it near Christmas 2017. The holiday season is one of the busiest times for going to the movies, and they seem confident that The Six Billion Dollar Man will be able to stand out from the crowd. Currently, it's slated to go up against The Croods 2 and an untitled live action fairy tale film from Disney. For now, it shouldn't have much competition for its target demographic and could become a big hit for the studio if they play their cards right.
Szifrón's is a relatively unknown director, but does have one Oscar nomination under his belt (for Best Foreign Language Film on Wild Tales). He clearly has some talent, and it will be interesting to see how it translates to a high-profile movie like this. Filmmakers making the leap from smaller works to genre pictures have yielded mixed results in the past, but as Six Billion Dollar Man has both a likable leading man - capable of leading an action flick - in Wahlberg and an intriguing creative team working behind the movie, this could be one "re-imagining" that's actually worthwhile.
The Six Billion Dollar Man will hit U.S. theaters on December 22nd, 2017.
Source: The Weinstein Company
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