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Lionsgate Chairman Says Johnny Depp’s ‘Mortdecai’ A Potential ‘Pink Panther’-Esque Franchise

Lionsgate Chairman Says Johnny Depp's 'Mortdecai' A Potential 'Pink Panther'-Esque Franchise

Because we live in a time when there’s going to be at least four “The Amazing Spider-Man” movies, and “The Transporter” is getting an origin story, it’s no surprise that studios want franchises. Basically, the thinking is that audiences would prefer to see a story they already know, rather than something original (which in the eyes of studios, is potentially risky). Which brings us to franchise grandaddy Johnny Depp, who is the swashbuckling billion dollar man behind four “Pirates Of The Caribbean” movies (with a fifth on the way), while also the face of the “Alice In Wonderland” series (with “Through The Looking Glass” coming in 2016). So naturally, Lionsgate wants a bite of that pie.

Speaking with analysts this week, studio chairman Jon Feltheimer revealed that Depp’s upcoming caper comedy “Mortdecai” is “franchisable” and in “the vein of ‘The Pink Panther.’ ” More tellingly, he added, “it’s a character that Johnny Depp absolutely loved and would love to do more of.” So much for that retirement.

But we suppose this isn’t entirely surprising. The source material for the David Koepp-directed film comes the final book by Kyril Bonfiglioli, but it’s one of four that features Mortdecai, an art dealer who gets mixed up in all sorts of madcap adventures, presumably in a Clouseau-esque manner. And what better way to make investors happy than to suggest that you’ll make more movies with Johnny Depp?

But it’s also all part of game plan for Lionsgate who also teased that developing movies “Gods of Egypt,” “Chaos Walking” and “The Last Witch Hunter” are all being eyed as potential franchises, while adding that “Now You See Me 2” will start shooting in September.

So, if you needed any idea of how Hollywood is approaching their job these days, this is a pretty good idea. [The Wrap/Variety/Deadline]

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