EXCLUSIVE: How hard has Hollywood fallen for the idea of a Robin Hood film? Warner Bros quietly has put one into development, scripted by Gangster Squad and Aquaman scribe Will Beall, and produced by The Lego Movie‘s Dan Lin, and John Zaozirny. They’re keeping the take on this one secret (it’s not Lego, which seems to work for everything), but this makes four major movie projects on the same subject. Sony, Disney and Lionsgate have the others.
This latest deal follows Lionsgate’s recent buy of Robin Hood: Origins. That is a script by Joby Harold, the scribe behind the King Arthur films that Guy Ritchie is making with Charlie Hunnam, and it’s described as an origins story with a Batman Begins tone. Appian Way is producing with Harold and Tory Tunnell under their Safehouse Pictures banner. Separately, Disney has the Brandon Barker spec Nottingham & Hood, a swashbuckling family friendly adventure film in the vein of Pirates Of The Caribbean. The Picture Company’s Alex Heineman and Andrew Rona are producing.
Sony last fall bought a Robin Hood pitch for $1 million from Cory Goodman and Jeremy Lott with Aperture’s Adam Goldworm executive producing. That project, Hood, has been described tonally as a high-action Fast & Furious meets Mission: Impossible-style reinvention of the tale, and I’ve heard Jerry Bruckheimer has come aboard as producer. These bring different takes on a familiar subject and some are hard to wrap arms around, considering that Robin Hood’s disputes were settled with swords and arrows. The last major film was 2010’s Ridley Scott-directed Robin Hood, which had Russell Crowe playing Robin and Cate Blanchett playing Marion. It grossed over $300 million but at a reported budget of around $200 million.
Why the enduring appeal? It’s a time-tested story of heroism, action and danger; it’s a public domain property; and studios are desperate for intellectual property. Clearly, the first one to hit the target with a production start wins. The 1991 Kevin Costner starrer Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves went against the Patrick Bergin-Uma Thurman Robin Hood, and the latter got crushed. Costner’s movie did $390 million worldwide on a $48 million budget.
Jonathan Eirich is exec producing the Warner Bros version of Robin Hood, and Jon Berg and Chantal Nong are overseeing for Warner Bros. Beall is repped by CAA and Management 360.