New York magazine’s Claude Brodesser-Akner is reporting over at Vulture that Disney is looking to reboot its 1991 quasi-classic The Rocketeer. With the success of other comics making the jump to the silver screen, Disney is most likely looking at capitalizing on the trend, much as it tried with its Tron sequel in 2010.
The original The Rocketeer was a relative critical success, but faltered at the box office, grossing $62m on top of a $42m budget (in 1991 dollars, no less). The film was originally conceived as the beginning of a trilogy by comic creator Dave Stevens and writers Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, though this is the first word of a second film since plans for a sequel following were scrapped in July of 2001.
If I may embark on a tangent for a while, The Rocketeer is an interesting film to me on a personal level. It is one of those films, like Last Action Hero, Newsies, and Hocus Pocus, that I never saw. All of these films, and others that I can’t remember at the moment, were released at the peak of my movie attendance as a youth, and they sit together in this group of films that I cannot access simply because of that missed window of opportunity. The fact that I never made it to a theater to see them aside, it’s astounding to me that I never crossed paths with any of them either on VHS or DVD. Perhaps, like Back to the Future (which, yes, no need to shout, I didn’t see in its entirety until two or three years ago), a movie like The Rocketeer (the original) will resonate more with me as an adult than as a child, as films like The Avengers or Watchmen continue to fascinate me and excite me like they would have were I to have seen them at the age of eleven.
In any case, a remake of The Rocketeer will, I hope, spur interest in revisiting the original. Or, in my case, it might cause me to go back and see that original for the first time.