I’ve said it before; nothing’s sacred. The iconic 80’s sci-fi film Blade Runner is on the sacrificial alter. According to a Deadline report, Alcon Entertainment is in final negotiations to acquire the film rights to Ridley Scott‘s cult classic, which starred a young Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer.
What does this mean for your average movie-goer? Well, the Warner Bros-based production company Alcon Entertainment is set to acquire all-inclusive franchise rights, which will exclude the right to remake the movie. Well hallelujah, that’s something. However, they can make prequels and sequels, TV spin-offs, and films based on situations portrayed in the original Blade Runner. So expect plenty of re-imaginings and re-boots, maybe even a Sci Fi Channel series (kind of like what’s happened to the Terminator franchise).
What sheds a ray of hope here is that Alcon Entertainment (Book of Eli, The Blind Side) will acquire the rights to Blade Runner from Bud Yorkin, who was the executive producer of the original film. Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will be co-producing any franchise material with Alcon’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. Deadline reports that Kosove and Broderick are aware of the magnitude of taking on such a revered film.
“We are honored and excited to be in business with Bud Yorkin. This is a major acquisition for our company, and a personal favorite film for both of us. We recognize the responsibility we have to do justice to the memory of the original with any prequel or sequel we produce. We have long-term goals for the franchise, and are exploring multi-platform concepts, not just limiting ourselves to one medium only.”
Part of me wants to see the story live on. The tale of a dystopian future full of programmed clones called replicants became a cult classic after its relatively mediocre reception in ‘82. It’s a stand-alone story of love and self-awareness and futility (based on a short story by science fiction scribe Philip K. Dick). The other wiser part of me knows any kind of attempt at a prequel or sequel will most likely fail to capture the lonely, metallic atmosphere of the original that worked so well. It oozed sci-fi and film noir…and it looked really sleek doing it. Ford and Hauer were at their peak, and I wouldn’t want the job of trying to re-cast those roles in any kind of prequel/sequel. Taking on a film of this status is dangerous, but also highly lucrative. Whatever happens, the original Blade Runner will remain one of sci-fi’s greatest film achievements.