Todd McFarlane is (yet again) talking up the possibility of a Spawn reboot but this time he’s aiming to secure what every high-action, special effect-driven comic book film needs – a small independent studio.
We previously reported on McFarlane’s interest in keeping Spawn within his creative grasp, and at that time we voiced our concerns about taking the project to a small indie studio. We were genuinely hoping that he’d base the film at a larger studio and give the character the special effects bonanza he deserves.
However, it seems as though McFarlane was serious about keeping the film small.
“I've done my due diligence. I've gone to the big studios, I've heard their pitch, [and] I've heard what they can offer. I've talked to the smaller guys and I've given what I want, and I just don't think I can be satisfied with something at the big boys. [Large studios] can offer a big budget, big stars, and probably make a lot more money, but I just think that story-wise I'm going to be a little dissatisfied.”
While I definitely respect McFarlane for wanting to protect the story, few fans are looking for a small-budget movie adaptation of Spawn. Isn’t that one reason why they produced the Emmy-winning animated series - to provide a solid focus on story without the mess of an inflated budget?
Fans of super hero films expect awe-inspiring action scenes with set-pieces that continuously raise the bar. Spawn, more than almost any other franchise (with all its imaginative visuals), has the potential for really cool and innovative effects – and aren’t we still thirsting for a “real” fight between Spawn and Violator, instead of the tease we got in the first film?
So what’s McFarlane’s proposed budget for the Spawn reboot?
"I keep telling them I can make it for $10 million. I believe I can make this movie for $10 million. You just have to be smart visually and have a solid story behind it. So I'm going, 'Let's just do it the way I've been envisioning it for 10 years, and I'll take my lumps if it doesn't work.'"
Hopefully, McFarlane uses a portion of the budget for one of those suits from The Hurt Locker because it’s hard to imagine even long-term fans of the series getting excited about a Spawn film produced on that kind of budget – not to mention the general movie going public.
When trailers for Marvel's Avengers movie are showcasing amazing set pieces and mucho action, the indie Spawn trailer will do what to compete? Showcase McFarlane with a megaphone, taking his message to the street a la Michael Moore, reminding people what a great story his film will have?
The Spawn story isn't the deepest narrative ever written, though it is essential to a good Spawn film - it's difficult to imagine that big studios wouldn't be able to find a healthy compromise somewhere in the middle. A compromise that would ultimately produce a much better film.
Maybe McFarlane is just talking up his distaste for the "big boy" studio system because none of them are actually interested in Spawn. The property isn't the powerhouse it was in the 90s - of course it could be again, if it had a big-budget action film to reinvigorate the franchise.
What would you like to see in the next Spawn movie? Do you think taking the property to an indie studio is a good move on McFarlane's part?
Art by Erik Von Lehmann & Greg Capullo