Mortal Kombat: Legacy director rebooting MK for the big screen

Expected to coordinate with the next game

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The Halo movie never materialized because there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Microsoft had their demands, Bungie had their own, and the movie’s producers had their own creative vision of how Halo could work as a feature-length picture. Things moved at a snail’s pace and it eventually fell apart not because of a lack of interest, but because getting that many people to agree on anything is impossible (also, Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp got antsy and decided to make District 9).

Odds are the same fate won’t befall Mortal Kombat, which is heading back to the big screen after a long hiatus thanks to Warner Bros., who owns both the rights to the Mortal Kombat series and has a massive film division. Well that's convenient, isn't it?

Warner Bros.’s New Line Cinema has tapped Kevin Tancharoen to direct their gritty, realistic reboot of the film franchise and is reported to be eying a budget at “well under” $100 million. It's lower than some other gigantic blockbuster films, but still higher than Tancharoen has worked with in the past. He came onto the Mortal Kombat scene with his own self-funded short film, which earned him a gig directing Mortal Kombat: Legacy; a nine-part web series that released alongside recent Mortal Kombat game with a $2 million budget.

Above: Sub-Zero and Scorpion get ready to exchange fisticuffs in Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

With its full-fledged film, New Line is aiming for a 2013 release and hoping that it will be timed in accordance with next game in the Mortal Kombat series. This would open the door to plenty of cross-promotion options, including the possibility of releasing them either concurrently or timed so that they can be bundled together at retail. Considering Warner Bros. is holding all of the cards in this equation, we’ve a feeling they’ll be able to figure out the timing without a problem.

This isn’t the first time Warner Bros. has done everything in-house, either. This year it handled the Green Lantern game and movie, and though neither fared all that well, it’s an initiative that Warner Home Entertainment President Kevin Tsujihara stands behind, and he hopes to continue growing. "It's really important that we show we can bring our game properties to movies,” he said, “instead of just the other way around."

And in case there was any doubt, New Line president Toby Emmerich said that the film’s existence is directly related to the web series. "The new game and the online shorts prompted us to consider a reboot of a brand we hadn’t been actively thinking about," he said, unintentionally adding credibility to every petition, fan fiction, and poorly-animated flash series on the internet.

Thanks, Toby. That’s just what we needed.

Sep 29, 2011

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