Whoa - Disney is Actually Developing a Reboot of 'The Rocketeer'?
If you're looking for the biggest fan of The Rocketeer you can find, look no further. Joe Johnston's 1991 adventure film is — I'm not exaggerating here — one of my favorite movies ever made, and the film captured my imagination like no other when I was growing up. So it's with mixed feelings that I bring you news from Vulture that Walt Disney Pictures is developing a reboot of the comic book property. The studio is said to be meeting with writers soon to come up with a take on the story, which follows stunt pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) as he discovers a prototype jetpack, battles Nazis, and gets the girl (Jennifer Connelly), too.
I had a chance last year to see The Rocketeer on the big screen at Disney's historic El Capitan Theater in Hollywood where it debuted in that same theater 20 years before, and it was clear that Disney cares a lot about this property because they put on a hell of a show. They created a new never-before-seen print for the film, had director Joe Johnston, star Billy Campbell, and special effects guru Rick Baker there for a Q&A, and even put together an exhibition at the nearby Hollywood Museum, where they featured props, costumes, and models from the film. (Read all about that event and see my own photos here.)
The point is, Disney seemed to put a bit more effort into this anniversary than some of their other films, so it's obvious that it has fans inside the studio. Vulture guesses that this reboot could be the brainchild of new Disney chief Alan Horn (former head of Warner Bros), in an effort to resurrect Disney's fading live action brand. I honestly never thought a reboot was even an option because the movie did so poorly when it opened back in '91. (To be fair though, it had to compete with Terminator 2: Judgment Day that summer.)
While I'm a huge fan of the original, I must admit that I'm excited about future generations of kids having the same experience I did if a new version hits the screen, and perhaps this one will be successful enough to turn this property into the franchise it was intended to be in the first place. The Rocketeer is truly a fantastic fun adventure film (with a standout performance from former Bond, Timothy Dalton) and at the very least I hope this news means more people will go back and revisit the original. Do you want to see a reboot?