District 9 director Neill Blomkamp has signed on to direct a new installment of the RoboCop series for MGM entitled RoboCop Returns, WildAboutMovies has learned.
The project is a long-dormant sequel that had been planned by the original 1987 film’s screenwriters Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, but was cancelled when director Paul Verhoeven declined to direct the project and a WGA strike in 1988 followed. Justin Rhodes, who is also attached to write the upcoming “Terminator” reboot and the DC film Green Lantern Corps, will rewrite Neumeier and Miner’s script.
It’s a change of pace for Blomkamp, who will be directing a feature film from another writer’s script for the first time since District 9. Since releasing his last film, Chappie, in 2015, Blomkamp has returned to his roots in short films, producing and directing several sci-fi and horror shorts through his new Vancouver-based studio, Oats Films.
RoboCop, which features Peter Weller in the starring role, followed a Detroit police officer who is shot and nearly killed, but is resurrected as an android police officer by a powerful corporation. The film is considered one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all-time, earning three Oscar nominations and winning one for its special effects while earning praise for its satire and exploration of capitalism, law enforcement, and corruption.
The film sparked a franchise that includes a 2014 remake directed by Jose Padilha, with Neumeier and Miner among the writers. The film was a domestic flop and received more tepid reviews than its original, but found success in China and earned $240 million against a $101 million budget.
The original RoboCop was released July 17, 1987 and took in $53 million at the US box office. In today’s dollars, that would be over $150 million.
Robocop Returns Coming to Theaters in 2019.