Don’t hold your breath for a movie version of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles . . .
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In the distant future of 1999 (!), mankind colonizes the planet of Mars and in the process destroys the native Martian population when the Earthling s imports infectious diseases for which the aliens have no immunity. Many see the source work as a parable for how the Native American population was decimated by European settlers.
SOURCE: A collection of science fiction short stories written by Ray Bradbury in the 1940s. It was also made into a TV miniseries starring Rock Hudson in 1980.
WHO’S INVOLVED? Paramount acquired the movie rights in April 2011 when Universal’s rights have lapsed (they had it from 1999). John Davis (Chronicle, the aborted Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie, Mr. Popper’s Penguins) was to produce it for them.
LAST WE HEARD: Paramount bought the rights and then . . . nothing. No news since then.
WHY IT’D BE GREAT: We’re not entirely convinced that Ray Bradbury’s eerily poetic works can be effectively translated onto film, especially by a Hollywood whose idea of science fiction is action movies with an extra wallop of special effects. (See the disastrous 2005 flick A Sound of Thunder on how NOT to do it!)
In fact The Martian Chronicles presents a problem in that it is in fact several short stories. The 1980 TV miniseries ditched several short stories and still wound up being 360 minutes long! The best thing for a screenwriter to do is to perhaps focus on one or two stories and shape them into a coherent narrative of sorts . . .
THE PROBLEM: Wait a minute! This project was announced less than two years ago! Then why does SciFiMovieHype.com believe that it is dead then? Well, because the science fiction movie landscape has changed a lot since then. When it was announced, Avatar was the biggest hit movie of all time and making the original “man is the invader” tale seemed like a good idea.
However, since then two movies set on Mars (Mars Needs Moms, John Carter) turned out to be huge box office flops to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Let’s face up to it: Mars is box office poison right now so much so that even the Total Recall remake doesn’t include a trip to the red planet on its itinerary. Any Hollywood producer who green lights a big-budget movie with Mars or Martian in the title right now will get laughed right out of tinsel town . . .
CHANCES OF GETTING MADE: Not good we believe, but we would love to be proven wrong!