Sony Pictures has announced that a new Masters of the Universe film will be released on December 18, 2019.
Now the studio is searching for possible directors, after the previously-attached McG departed the project. Before McG, who spent more than two years developing the project, became attached to Masters of the Universe, the list of rumored directors included Jon Chu, Rian Johnson, John Woo, and many others.
The new film is being written by David S. Goyer, which is encouraging, considering Goyer’s stellar work on the Batman film series. Goyer’s task, his challenge, is to introduce such pop culture landmarks as Castle Grayskull, He-Man, and Skeletor, in a way that will please the original fans of the animated series while updating the story for modern audiences.
Sony executives have previously referenced the film 300 as a model for Masters of the Universe, in terms of format and style, and it will be interesting to see if Goyer’s script infuses the same gritty, reality-driven style he brought to the Batman films.
To anyone who grew up watching the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series in the 1980s, the thought of a live-action film is very exciting. Who will play He-Man? Kellan Lutz? Channing Tatum? What about Skeletor?
The 1987 film version, which starred Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor, was an emblem of the “hard effects” era of filmmaking that defined fantasy filmmaking throughout the decade. Released by the troubled Cannon Pictures, and produced on a budget of just over $20 Million, the 1987 film was a box office and critical disappointment. However, the film has, like seemingly every other flop from the 1980s, generated a strong cult following, mostly for the wrong reasons.
The time just wasn’t right thirty years ago for a Masters of the Universe film. Now is the time. It’s expected that the budget for the new film, which must begin filming by the end of the year in order to reach its release date, will be in the $200 million neighborhood.