If it’s not abundantly clear by now, Sony Pictures wants to take all their franchises and apply them to a kind of Marvel expanded-universe platform. They tried and failed with their “Amazing Spider-Man” series, but that hasn’t deterred them. They’re already taking an expanded universe approach to their new “Ghostbusters” series, with a female-led version directed by Paul Feig and starring Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, and a male-led version spearheaded by the Russo brothers and Channing Tatum. And they’re attempting the same idea with their ‘Jump Street’ franchise.
As you might remember, Tatum, Jonah Hill, and ‘Jump Street’ directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller had batted around an idea for the ‘Jump Street’ series to merge with the “Men In Black” brand for what would be surely an absurd version of the third film. But it sounds like Sony wants to explore what they are doing with “Ghostbusters” and open it up to the ladies as well.
The Wrap confirms a recent rumor that “Broad City” writers Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs have been hired to pen the female-driven spinoff, which will feature a similar comedic tone as the original ‘Jump Street’ films. For one, if you’re not watching “Broad City” on Comedy Central, stop what you’re doing, run to your TV, and change that immediately. Like now. We’ll wait. The show is killer (prediction: someone like Judd Apatow gives its two brilliant comedic stars, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, their own project), so this comes as good news.
For two, while the ‘Jump Street’ series may seem like the Tatum and Hill bro-fest so far, the series has had a lot of great female talent on board, including Jillian Bell (who stole every scene in ‘22’), Amber Stevens, Brie Larson, and Ellie Kemper, while Dakota Johnson and rapper Rye Rye even starred as two female undercover officers in the first film. Sony’s probably side-eyeing those “Fifty Shades Of Grey” grosses as we speak.
As for that “Men In Black” crossover, while Lord and Miller never confirmed it, they did admit, in an askew manner of course, that they had been batting around the idea. The Wrap adds that development is moving forward, but does not name writers/directors and says the participation of Will Smith is unknown for now (unless it’s a killer script, I’d assume he’s going to pass, but stranger things, like “Suicide Squad,” have happened).
And so, yes, while Hollywood is obsessed with shared universes (and many are doomed to fail), Sony appears to be the first studio that is trying a mildly different spin on the concept: add a female-centric version, and cross-populate your brands, especially the ailing ones (“Men In Black 3” grossed the most of the series globally, but domestically it had the poorest grosses of all three, which means North Americans are tired of the series). How will it all pan out? Stay tuned.