New Line Cinema is bringing back Mortal Kombat, setting up a live-action reboot of the martial arts-heavy franchise that will be written by Oren Uziel and directed by Kevin Tancharoen. The director wouldn’t be the first guy one would think of for a chopsocky action film given a resume that includes Fame and, most recently, Glee: The Documentary, the 3D concert movie that didn’t do much business this summer. But both of those guys have earned the work, since it was their unauthorized viral short that breathed life into a dormant franchise.
Uziel wrote and Tancharoen directed the eight-minute short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, which starred Michael Jai White as Jax, Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade, Matt Mullins as Johnny Cage, Ian Anthony Dale as Scorpion and Lateef Crowder as Baraka. Tancharoen did this with the idea that he could prove himself to Warner Bros as an action director and reboot the movie franchise. Initially, Warner Games, which put out a video game reboot in April 2011, wasn’t amused and sought to shut down the project. But Tancharoen’s effort created enough of a demand when it leaked online that the studio’s digital division, Warner Premiere, made a deal with him to generate a 10-episode Web series. Those episodes began airing on YouTube in April 2011.
New Line then went to Tancharoen and Uziel and put together the movie. Mortal Kombat premiered in 1995, and the original film grossed $122 million worldwide. Interest waned with the 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which grossed only $51.3 million worldwide. The studio is keeping the plot under wraps. Uziel wrote The Kitchen Sink, a mashup of vampires, zombies and aliens that made the Black List and sold to Sony Pictures and producer Matt Tolmach.