You know how it usually works in the film business. Once a film becomes big success then everybody else jumps on the bandwagon trying to cash in on it.
So now with Django Unchained being a huge box office success, not only here in the U.S., but worldwide, where it’s a big hit even in places you wouldn’t expect, like Russia, you would think that studios and production companies everywhere are searching for their own Django – a western or period movie dealing with racial conflict.
Then again maybe not…
For example take The Color of Lightning which Fox put in development 3 years ago, with Ridley Scott attached to direct.
The film was based on the 2009 novel by Paulette Jiles, and was to be adapted by Brokeback Moutain screenwriters Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana.
The novel, as the synopsis says, is a story of “revenge, dedication and betrayal set mainly in Kentucky and Texas near the end of the Civil War. Britt Johnson is a free black man traveling with a larger band of white settlers in search of a better life for his wife, Mary, and their children, despite the many perils of the journey itself. After a war party of 700 Comanche and Kiowa scalp, rape and murder many of the whites, Mary and her children get separated from Britt and become the property of a Native named Gonkon. Britt must wait through the winter before he can set out to rescue and reclaim his wife and children, only to discover that not only does he not have enough money to bargain with the Indians but also that his own family’s fate has as much to do with land disputes and treaties as it does with his determination to get revenge.”
Sounds sort of Django-esque doesn’t it?
Of course the film, like practically two-thirds of all film projects that are announced, was shelved for whatever reasons, and Scott went on to other things, such as (unfortunately) Prometheus.
But do you think that Fox just might be reconsidering Lightning in the wake of the success of Django?
So far, there’s been no word in the trades, but it could be possible. Then again, maybe not. It also could be very likely that Django is being seen as a fluke, an anomaly.
I recall after the Coen brothers’ 2010 western True Grit made over $250 million worldwide, I thought for sure that it would bring about a return of the western. No such luck.
With the exception of Django, there have been none – though Lynne Ramsay, the director of We Need to Talk About Kevin, is about to go into production with a western, Jane (not Jane’s) Got A Gun with Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender.
Django could be seen as just another fluke; and, besides, it was a Quentin Tarantino film, which means studios could say: “Hey, it was a movie by Quentin. He could make a film about the Yellow Pages and people would still come to see it.”
And there weren’t any World War II movies that came in the wake of Inglorious Basterds either.
So what do you say? Is Django going to bring more of the same, or that’s it?