Sony has optioned the rights to the Green Hornet for a feature film. I’m underwhelmed. Not just because there are already way too many comic book pics. But more because this one’s notion of crusading newspapers is such a quaint relic from the distant past. According to today’s press release, Neal H. Moritz and his Original Film snagged the rights and will produce. Already the studio is talking new franchise just as Spider-Man 3 comes out May 4th and Spider-Man 4‘s script is underway. (But don’t count your Hornets until they’ve hatched… Sony’s two Spider-Men have made $1.6 bil at the box office and its Ghost Rider just passed $200 mil.) The Green Hornet made his debut on January 31, 1936 on WXYZ Detroit; he was the creation of the station’s George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, who also came up with the Lone Ranger. The series ran until 1952, then moved to comic books. In 1966, the character debuted on TV for one ABC season, catapulting Bruce Lee to stardom as Kato. The Hornet series follows the adventures of Britt Reid, a bored playboy whose life is changed when he inherits his father’s crusading newspaper, The Daily Sentinel. He saves the life of Kato, a Japanese man with incredible technical and martial-arts skills who becomes Britt’s closest ally. (Ah, now I get the Sony connection.) So there’s a cool car — the supercharged Black Beauty, which is their ride as they search for evidence to expose the city’s underworld in the newspaper. When Britt and Kato witness a brutal mob hit, Britt invents his secret identity – taking his name from his powerful car’s defective horn. A skilled fighter and expert marksman, the Green Hornet uses two non-lethal guns to subdue criminals: one fires a potent knock-out gas while the other produces the “Hornet’s Sting” – an electric shock. (Doesn’t every good reporter carry one of these?)
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