Hollywood’s hunger to match movies with proven brands knows no bounds. Lionsgate has announced it will team with Saban Brands to revive the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the first of what it hopes will be many live action feature films. The series was launched by Haim Saban more than 20 years ago, mixing footage with a group of young actors with climactic action footage culled from the Japanese television show Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. The new film will cast a new group of high school kids who mix their studies and social lives with the mission to save the world. Now, the original was as cheesy a concept as you are going to find, but my kids were little when the show first played on the Fox Kids afternoon programming block, and we bought all the merchandise, paid $50 bucks or more a ticket to attend the live action show in Radio City Music Hall. None seemed to mind the mix of Japanese robot footage, and the series was cheap to produce and the performers disposable, which certainly keeps the budget low. If Lionsgate and Saban can recreate that momentum with the next kid audience, there is significant upside. I recall that the Rangers were waning by the time they mustered the first feature film, which cost $15 million and grossed about $64 million worldwide in 1995. Probably smarter to be on the front end of a Rangers resurgence with a feature than the other way around, something Paramount is doing with another retro kids property, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a property which fared way better on the feature front the first time around.
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