By now my reaction to a major Paramount film being pushed back to address major issues has become “classic Paramount!” After pushing G.I. Joe: Retaliation back nine months in order to post-convert the film to 3D and revive Channing Tatum and then hiring Damon Lindelof to rewrite the Brad Pitt-fronted zombie pic World War Z ahead of massive reshoots and production problems, Paramount has now delayed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot (retitled Ninja Turtles) in order to address script issues. Originally slated for release in December 2013, the Michael Bay-produced reboot has now been pushed to May 16th, 2014 assuming these issues can be resolved. Hit the jump for more.
Fans have been watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot closely throughout its development, mainly because Michael Bay is involved. Wrath of the Titans director Jonathan Liebesman is onboard to direct, and recent comments from Bay hinting at an origin story change for the beloved characters was not exactly met with a warm reception. Liebesman cleared things up a bit by promising that they’re being faithful to the origin story while expanding the mythology with TMNT comics co-creator Kevin Eastman’s involvement.
Things were on track to start filming later this year with a possible motion-capture element, but THR reports that Paramount has shut pre-production down. The studio has informed those prepping the film that the work stoppage is “indefinite,” though another source tells THR that the movie has simply been pushed 10 weeks. Whatever the case, the issue is said to be the script. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol scribes Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec were tapped to pen the script early on, but it’s unknown if they’ll be handling the rewrites or if Paramount will bring someone new onboard.
Though it’s discouraging (and ultimately expensive) to see so many projects being pushed back/reshot/rewritten when they’re already so far along in the development process—or, as is the case with World War Z, in the freaking can—the positive here is that the studio has learned that rushing things into production doesn’t make for the best quality of product. We live in an age where release dates are announced before a single word of a film’s script has been written, so from the starting gate the creatives involved are feeling immense pressure and scrambling to finish in time. Director Gary Ross flat out declined to play the game when he dropped out of directing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire after the studio insisted on rushing the film into production in order to make its November 2013 release date.
Hopefully these steps will make for a better product when these films eventually come out, but in the case of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there’s no guarantee that the project will continue to move forward. Unlike G.I. Joe and World War Z, production has yet to begin so Paramount may decide to scrap the project altogether or start anew. We should hear news one way or the other sooner rather than later.