It may have only been ten years since District 9’s box office success and Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture put Neill Blompkamp on Hollywood’s radar in a huge way, but already people are predicting that the filmmaker will struggle to ever reach those heights again after his follow-up features Elysium and Chappie suffered from the law of diminishing returns with both critics and at the box office.
The 39 year-old spent a couple of years developing an Alien sequel that would have seen Sigourney Weaver return to the franchise, but the project was quietly abandoned after the disappointing reaction to Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. Seemingly determined to reboot an iconic 1980’s sci-fi series one way or another though, Blomkamp then started working on what came to be known as RoboCop Returns, with the story reportedly based on a spec script by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, the duo behind the 1987 original.
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Blomkamp frequently discussed the project on social media, and as recently as a few weeks ago publicly confirmed that RoboCop Returns would feature the original suit. However, it looks as if that’s now somebody else’s problem, as Blomkamp revealed in a Twitter post that he’s no longer involved with the movie:
Off Robocop. I am shooting new horror/thriller and MGM can’t wait/ need to shoot Robocop now. Excited to watch it in theaters with other fans. N
In what’s either an incredible coincidence or continued misfortune, Neill Blomkamp’s departure from RoboCop Returns marks the second time in a little over two years that he’s left his position as director of the fifth installment in a long-running sci-fi franchise during the development phase. The statement seems amicable enough, but doesn’t even give any details of the project Blomkamp is set to shoot instead. Based entirely on the definition of insanity though, his bold new vision for the Predator will probably be announced any day now.