You may have forgotten about it by now, but as of this time last year, producers Jerry Bruckheimer, David Ellison, and Paramount were pretty hot and heavy on the idea of a sequel to Top Gun, centered around drone pilots in Nevada (ROBOT MURDER PLANES!). What they couldn’t have predicted, however, was their director, Tony Scott, throwing himself off a bridge in August. Now, according to the NY Times, the sequel has “fallen apart.” But they do still have a 3D conversion of the original that they’d originally been working on as a way to promote the sequel, and while Top Gun 2 may have died with Tony Scott, Top Gun 3D is an unkillable monster that, once awakened, must feed on the money of the living.
Now that the sequel has fallen apart, Paramount and its partners are left with a 3-D film that might be perceived by moviegoers as a tribute to a director whose death remains a mystery to many friends and associates. It might also become a final box-office triumph — but only if the studio can reach the audience without seeming insensitive or exploitative.
Oh, you mean like those totally non-exploitative Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston movies? Since when has the movie business cared about being insensitive? Get the Jurassic Park people to build an animatronic Tony Scott chomping cigars in the theater lobby, people will love it. (Myself included, Robo-Scott sounds awesome).
“Titanic” in its 3-D format had about $342 million in ticket sales around the world, with a conversion cost of only about $18 million.
The response was driven partly by a powerful reception in China, where the film opened to $67 million in first-weekend business from a pool of 3-D capable screens that is still growing.
“Top Gun” — which had about $354 million in worldwide ticket sales, split evenly between domestic and international — seemed a natural candidate for conversion, especially with the potential for a sequel.
Mr. Scott contributed and responded enthusiastically to the conversion in the weeks before his death, according to people who were briefed on the project.
People briefed on the studio’s deliberations said it was considering a release in February, perhaps beginning with a one-week exclusive showing on domestic Imax screens. [NYTimes]
The complicating factor here is that the biggest markets for 3D conversions are China and Russia, but whereas Titanic was a story about timeless love on a sinking oceanliner, Top Gun is a homo-erotic brodown about shooting down Commies. So I guess the question is, do you change the Russians to North Koreans a la Red Dawn, or to aliens a la Battleship? Only time will tell.
You see, this is why I always get angry when people say the reason they think Reagan was so awesome was because he ended the Cold War. What was so great about ending the Cold War? The Cold War was the best thing that ever happened to us. Back then the bad guys had planes.