"Ninja Turtles" by the Bay rules the box office in debut & gets a sequel green lit!
Some five years after arranging the purchase of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" franchise from original controlling co-creator Peter Laird and the bankrupt "4Kids Entertainment" for roughly $50 million, Viacom's gamble for a major tent pole film franchise has evidently paid off. While the new animated series on Nickelodeon has generated great ratings (enough to earn two seasons) and loads of toys sales, it's the mega millions from a successful film franchise which inspired the corporate purchase not long after the Turtles' 25th anniversary. Despite production delays and absolutely dreadful reviews, the Michael Bay produced, Jonathan Liebesman directed "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" overcame the second week of "Guardians of the Galaxy" to gross $65.6 million in North America in its' debut weekend. It also took in another $28.7 million overseas (Russia and Mexico, essentially). With a $94.3 million haul worldwide in only its' first weekend, Paramount Pictures has wasted no time contacting Bay and his "Platinum Dunes" studio for a sequel. The second helping of Turtles by the Bay will surf into theaters June 3rd, 2016. Little is known of the plot or returning stars, other that Liebesman and Bay will return to direct and produce it, respectively.
This is naturally not Michael Bay's first go around at producing a film which is lambasted by critics but makes a killing where it counts, at the box office. One could argue he's made his entire career out of such works, either as a director or producer. However, some perspective is in order, especially in comparison to some previous TMNT film hauls. The last film in the franchise was the CGI animated "TMNT" from 2007, which earned over $95 million worldwide from a budget of $34 million; it would turn out to be one of the last films animated by Imagi Studios. The last film in the series which wasn't entirely animated was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" in 1993, which bombed at the box office with a take of merely $42.2 million from a budget of $21 million. Thus, this Platinum Dunes effort had some very low bars to leap, despite it being the most expensive Ninja Turtle film to date at $125 million (which is chump change compared to most modern summer blockbusters). However, it is yet nowhere near the tally of the original from 1990. New Line Cinema's original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" released in the prime of their popularity grossed almost $202 million worldwide from a budget of just over $13.1 million, as well as spawned a successful soundtrack and a video release which debuted within the top five of the 1990 video rental scene. Adjusted for inflation, the 1990 classic would have earned almost $368.3 million worldwide. It will remain to be seen if Bay's "TMNT" with modern reliance on higher ticket prices and international markets will surpass that.
Jay Faerber plans his own sci-fi saga with "Copperhead"!
The career of Jay Faerber has certain been a mixture of genres and series over the years. Initially rising to the fore on "New Warriors" in the late 90's, he would go on to launch several successful series for Image Comics, such as "Noble Causes", "Dynamo 5", and more crime related series such as "Near Death" and "Point of Impact". For his latest creation at Image Comics, Faerber has united with artist Scott Godlewski to create "Copperhead", which has been described as a Western in space. Set on a far away planet in the 24th century, "Copperhead" will follow the exploits of the tough as nails human sheriff Clara Bronson and her "native" deputy Budroxifinicus (or "Broo" for short). Clara brings with her a son in Zeke and her own tragedies on a planet that the humans "won" in a war, but which naturally has its' own complex native population to have to protect.
Faerber cites a mix of influences, from "Deadwood" to "Firefly" to a 1980's cartoon, "Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers", which honestly comes off in some of Godlewski's designs for the uniforms. Also inspired by Image's other space book, "Saga", Faerber seeks to combine some of the fantastic sci-fi elements to a police procedural comic book. The series is available for pre-order now.