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A 'Power Rangers' Sequel Would Help Hasbro's Cinematic Universe

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2018/05/02/a-power-rangers-sequel-might-work-within-a-hasbro-cinematic-universe/#356832ec4e08

 

For the record, Hasbro probably didn’t purchase the Power Rangers brand (and some other properties) from Saban for a cash/stock deal valued at $522 million because they took a look at the results of the last Power Rangers movie and wanted in on that action. Lionsgate’s live-action Power Rangers movie, which attempted to create a sci-fi action franchise on par with Transformers or at least the last TMNT reboot, was an odd duck. It turned out to be pretty damn good, and that’s from someone who grew up hating the Power Rangers show. But it also failed to catch on beyond the pre-ordained fan base and flat-lined after opening weekend.

 

The Dean Israelite-directed action fantasy worked as a buttoned-down and character-focused melodrama that brought to mind the superior 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. The teen melodrama, a kind of “Breakfast Club meets Chronicle meets Pacific Rim” hybrid that put character over spectacle, inspired nostalgia for a time when properties like Power Rangers didn’t get the big-budget movie treatment as a matter of course, and when you couldn’t afford non-stop special effects so you had to create actual character arcs. But, it wasn’t a hit, earning just $90 million domestic from a $40m debut and crashing overseas for a $140m global cume on a $100m budget.

 

I wrote last year about why a Power Rangers sequel would not be a good candidate to become a so-called breakout sequel. The reviews were mixed-negative, the film was the opposite of leggy and in the end it barely made 1.4x its production budget. As much as we talk about franchises like Austin Powers or Pitch Perfect going bananas after the first installment, break-out sequels (think John Wick, The Dark Knight or Paranormal Activity 2) usually have some semblance of good reviews, strong box office and a leggy theatrical run followed by a post-theatrical fan base. Give or take halfway decent post-theatrical figures, Power Rangers went 0/4.

 

Now having said all of that, I’m sure Hasbro didn’t buy Power Rangers just to let the film rights collect dust in a filing cabinet somewhere. Does this purchase put the Power Rangers film franchise back in play, and if so what might it look like? Well, it’s something of a double-edged sword. Because while the natural inclination may be to reboot, you already have a singular film that, while not necessarily a new classic, has a decent fan base and an established lore. There is a case to be made in having some familiar faces in this alleged Hasbro cinematic universe that Paramount/Viacom Inc. wants so badly.

 

Now offhand you might argue that Paramount and Hasbro will create their “cinematic universe” somewhat from scratch, with new movies based upon M.A.S.K., Micronauts, Visionaries, Rom and rebooted versions of G.I. Joe and (speculation alert) Transformers. But here’s the thing: We know audiences aren’t inherently interested in the very concept of a cinematic universe. But if you take a bunch of franchises they like and smoosh them together, you get an Avengers movie that makes 2.43x Iron Man 2’s global gross. And a big part of that is having specific versions of allegedly iconic characters who get to meet each other for the first time.  

 

It wasn’t just Thor and Captain America meeting up six years ago, but rather Chris Hemsworth’s Thor rubbing elbows with Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. While the other lesser-known Hasbro franchises still have some work to do in terms of getting audiences to care, you can make the case that the idea of a Hasbro universe which contains already-introduced versions of Power Rangers, Transformers, G.I. Joe and (possibly) Jem and the Holograms characters (in a movie that had enough money to let them be truly outrageous) would give it an advantage over starting entirely from scratch with somewhat arbitrary versions of allegedly iconic IP.

 

I feel the same way about Fox’s X-Men properties becoming part of the MCU if the Fox/Disney deal becomes a reality. There is value in letting Marvel create their own X-Men. But there is arguably greater excitement in seeing (for example) Halle Berry’s Storm hanging out with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther versus an arbitrary “new” Ororo. A cinematic universe is appealing precisely because it allows known movie characters to interact with other known movie characters. The Hasbro gimmick could be a cinematic universe made up of properties that were never meant to intertwine. Keeping established versions of Transformers, G.I. Joe, Jem and, yes, Power Rangers, makes this far more interesting.

 

We’ll see if Power Rangers becoming part of the Hasbro family makes a new Power Rangers movie, be it a sequel or a reboot, more likely. Before we start talking reboots, do remember that last year’s Power Rangers opened with $40 million and earned an A+ from younger audiences, so that PG-13 rating and Batman Begins-ish tone clearly didn’t scare off the kids. The question is whether the best Power Rangers movie we’re probably ever going to get should also be the last one as well. But a Hasbro cinematic universe made up of previously established cinematic properties is more interesting than one arbitrarily built from scratch.

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I think we will get another movie someday. Its very questionable whether the movie would be  a sequel though. I would personally rather a sequel. I really enjoyed the first movie and am disappointed it didn't perform better.

 

To me doing another reboot  so soon wouldn't help and could make things worse. If your gonna do another PR  movie your still trying to rely on the PR brand. So doing a reboot is unnecessary. We don't need another origin movie anyway. Just focus. on doing a sequel that is good but also attracts more of an audience. 

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