If I was a studio executive tasked with launching a horror franchise, one of the first people I’d turn to would be Roy Lee, the It producer who was also responsible for Hollywood’s J-horror craze, having helped Japanese producer Taka Ichise bring The Ring and The Grudge franchises to American audiences. Well, Orion Pictures is doing just that, as the studio behind the recent Child’s Play remake is partnering with Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment and Ichise to develop a movie based on the creepy viral sensation known as Momo.
Momo is actually a sculpture called “Mother Bird” that was part of a 2016 gallery exhibit in Tokyo for Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa, whose piece was rooted in the legend of Ubume, a venomous, child-snatching bird of Japanese folklore.
The Internet co-opted the sculpture’s bizarre visage and a viral hoax known as Momo’s Challenge was born. It involves a sordid game that encourages children to hurt themselves. Incidents involving young people in Scotland and Argentina were covered by local media as potentially Momo-related incidents, and Momo achieved full urban legend status after Kim Kardashian shared the image with her 145 million followers on Instagram.
Like I said, if anyone can pulls this off, it’s Lee, who has good taste in writers and filmmakers. If he and Ichise can find the right take, this could make some real money. Then again, it could also underperform like Slender Man, though I have a hard time believing it could turn out worse than that film, which boasts a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The untitled Orion project, which will be overseen by Dan Kagan, isn’t the only Momo movie in the works, as the Momo Challenge is also said to be the inspiration for the upcoming indie horror movie Getaway starring Stef Beaton and Alex Brown.
Lee, who has It: Chapter Two opening in September, is represented by CAA, while Ichise is repped by UTA. Deadline broke the news.