The wait is finally over, as this weekend fans can check out the anticipated sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. The film is set to break new ground by introducing the first live-action versions of Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang, an addition that many fans would say is long overdue.
In a recent Screen Rant interview with the film's producer, Brad Fuller, he opened up about fan criticism and how the filmmakers compartmentalize and deal with it. Fuller makes a detailed distinction between what he considers to be fans, the intended viewing audience and what can only be called "haters".
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has been going strong for over 30 years, spanning multiple generations of fans. Whenever a franchise has been around that long the fans are bound to have expectation and preferences, based on what movies, cartoons and toys they had growing up. The newest iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise is trying to forge its own way in the fandom, and apparently the fans have been making their displeasure with the new era known to people like producer Brad Fuller. When Screen Rant spoke to Fuller, he expressed frustration with trying to meet the expectations of all the fans:
"I don’t call them fans. They’re haters. And I hear from them all the time. Those are the people who send me emails and say, “Well how come you didn’t do a Turtle movie with the guys in suits?” And my response to that is always the same: “Those movies still exist.” And you can watch them all you want. We’re not stopping you from watching that. If someone is interested in a new telling of it, we’re offering that."
Fuller goes on to explain that they are trying to do something different with the franchise with the most recent TMNT installments:
"I don’t mean to get too heady on it, but art is about the evolution of… in order for painters to paint today, there had to be guys that came before them and guys who came before them. And I do believe very strongly that there will be Turtle movies after us and our movie is just one stop on a long line, in the same way as Friday the 13th or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, different people take a run at different things, and some fans or haters are always offended that they’re taking these properties and doing something different to it"
The target audience of the film is truly all ages and fandom levels in an ideal world, as Fuller explains:
"If our only audience is the diehards, then we can’t make these movies for the budget levels that we’re making them and they don’t become summer tentpoles, because that audience is not big enough to support this type of movie. Our job here is to make a movie that hopefully fans go to and enjoy and, at the same time, guys who are in their 30s and 40s who grew up with it take their kids who are 7, 8, 9 to the movie and they have a joint experience of watching something and both love it equally. That’s the best case scenario for me. You know, families going and the next generation starting a love affair with The Turtles and, at the same time, having enough fans happy with the movie that they go there and have a great time as well. That’s the huge win for us."
The problems and outcry that Fuller has been facing is far from unique when it comes to fan favorite franchises. For example, fans of X-Men and Batman raise consistent issues with the film versions of the long-standing franchises. Both of the most recent movie releases to feature those comic book characters - X-Men: Apocalypse and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, respectively - were both praised and vilified by a number of vocal fans of the respective superhero properties. Similar to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property, other superhero franchises are continuously being re-imagined and their receptions vary accordingly (with certain iterations going over better than others)>
The 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film may have gotten heavy criticism from certain fans, but the sequel may bring a few back to the theaters. The inclusion of classic cartoon mutants Bebop and Rocksteady have been desired by fans that are still confused and dismayed by the whole Tokka and Rahzar situation in 1991's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze. The fact that we're also getting Dimension-X warlord Krang in his android body (and in giant mode) is a nice way to entice fans and now parents to bring their kids to the theaters to enjoy what looks to be a very fun and action-packed film that looks to be a love letter to the 1987 Murakami-Wolf-Swenson animated TMNT TV series. Early reviews have already pegged the sequel as being an improvement over its predecessor, for related reasons.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is now playing in U.S. theaters. Look for Screen Rant's own review shortly!