Legendary Entertainment has acquired the feature film rights to The Toxic Avenger, with plans to develop a big screen reboot for the character. Originally founded in 2005, Legendary has helped produce such blockbuster franchises as Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and Jurassic World. In recent years they have also branched out into more traditional dramatic fare as Steve Jobs and BlacKkKlansman. They will, however, return to big-budget form in 2019 with both Detective Pikachu and Godzilla: King of the Monsters scheduled to hit theaters.
Established in 1974, Troma Entertainment couldn't be farther away on the spectrum. Although enjoying both cult and commercial success, Troma productions are more akin to 1950s B-movies than anything else. Embracing elements of horror and farce, the studio has created such creative titles as Killer Condom and Cannibal! The Musical. Running for over 40 years, Troma is the longest-running independent studio in North America. As such, it has featured work from such notable filmmakers as J.J. Abrams and James Gunn, who went on to direct Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, respectively. Troma founder, Lloyd Kaufman, remains a staunch friend and defender of Gunn in the wake of recent controversies.
As announced in an official release from Legendary, the studio will be attempting to bring one of Troma's most successful properties equally into the mainstream. The Toxic Avenger tells the story of Melvin Junko, a 98-pound janitor who, after falling into a drum of toxic waste, is transformed into a deformed and hulking beast. Adopting the name Toxic Avenger (or Toxie for short) Melvin uses his new-found strength for good, choosing to combat crime in his neighborhood. Having acquired the rights to the franchise, Legendary is already moving forward with production. As of yet, there is no word on who will write and/or direct the film, but both Kaufman and co-founder Michael Herz will serve as producers. Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter will oversee for Legendary.
The character debuted on the big screen back in 1984. Similar to The Room, the splatter-comedy enjoyed a successful run of midnight screenings. Quickly gaining a passionate cult following, the film eventually spawned three sequels, a stage musical production, a children’s cartoon TV series, and even a Marvel comic. Talk of rebooting this beloved franchise is nothing new. Back in 2013, Arnold Schwarzenegger was reportedly in talks to star in a "reimagining". Meanwhile, in 2017, Kevin Smith revealed he turned down the opportunity to direct a remake.
With the property now in the hands of Legendary, the chances of the character returning to the big screen for a brand-new adventure has taken a huge leap forward. As it goes, the move also makes a lot of sense. Cinema is currently dominated by superhero stories, as further emphasized by the success of the Avengers: End Game trailer and Aquaman's box office returns in China. For all its gore and violence, this particular Troma production has huge superhero sensibilities. As such, it could prove to be a huge success for the studio. The lingering question, however, is whether Legendary will produce something as extreme as the original or will instead aim for something more watered down and suitable for wider audiences. Equally, whether or not long-term fans of Troma and The Toxic Avenger will be happy regarding the reboot remains to be seen.
Source: Legendary Entertainment