Jonny Quest, the animated series that Hanna-Barbera brought to TV screens way back in 1964 has been a favorite among audiences ever since. The series continues with reboots and fresh versions releasing on TV, comic book and video game platforms in every subsequent decade. There has been talk about a feature film which gained headwind once the Jonny Quest screenplay got redone by Robert Rodriguez and Terry Rossio. Before we jump into the details of why and how about the film, let’s do a quick background check.
The original Jonny Quest series was loved by kids, grown-ups and critics alike which resulted in various reboots and its characters also appeared in Scooby-Doo’s 2015 comic books. The 1990s witnessed Quest video games enter the market and expand the franchise’s footprint.
The 2016 comic book series Future Quest was among the top sellers for DC in the year, and its June #1 issue surpassed the sales of Batman’s Detective Comics as well as the Action Comics of Superman and was ranked #30 in North America. The success regenerated interest in Hanna-Barbera properties, especially in Jonny Quest.
This has resulted in things moving forward towards the feature film project, and it is heard that Directors Joe Carnish, Justin Lin, and Scott Derrickson have been approached and stars like Idris Elba, Bradley Cooper, and Will Smith might be in consideration to play Race Banon. If things progress in the right direction, then production discussions might commence before end 2017.
Let’s have a look at the proposed screenplay of the Jonny Quest movie under discussion!
The storyline is inspired by several stories and characteristics of the original 1960s TV show. The lead character Race Bannon is a government detective with features that make him a mix between Indiana Jones and Jason Bourne. He is introduced to Jonny and Dr. Benton Quest. Jonny is shown as someone eager to undertaken adventures against the will of his father. There is Hadji whose origin throws light on his background and puts him into an important role in the narrative. Jade also has a vital role as an unpredictable adventurer who earlier had a relationship with Race, and this causes stress and humor in the story.
The story gives us ample moments to feel emotional and get entertained, yet remains fast paced. There is humorous banter, action, sci-fi elements such as jet packs, robot spiders, etc. In fact, Jonny Quest is akin to a scenario where Harry Potter gets the James Bond gadgetry to go along with his magic wand.
The studios are keen to find out new properties to develop and morph into fresh franchise worlds. This makes it vital to consider elements like reboots, sequels, revivals and other things that will keep churning feature films in the future. Not every hit film can have a great sequel or a successful video game. We saw how Independence Day: Resurgence tanked despite having such a massive original while Jurassic World created new success records.
After the phenomenon of Harry Potter came to an end, Warner Bros. has been hard at work to nurture new mega churners that keep the revenue tap flowing the way Harry Potter films did for them. The decade between 2001 to 2011 saw the wizard films yield over 10 billion $ for them. This doesn’t take into account the books and merchandise. They made another more than 3 billion $ from Batman.
Marvel Studios are having a fantastic run at the box-office with over a dozen hit films and a thirteenth Doctor Strange lining up for release later this year. They have seven high yield franchises whereas Warner has predominantly relied on Batman to keep their DC banner afloat. With things changing and multiple films releasing annually, they need new revenue generating franchises which can be phenomenal like Harry Potter and Batman,
The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films also made huge money in 2001-2003 and 2012-2014 time frames, but, that’s one franchise which Warner can’t milk further for some time to come. The best option for them is to develop new franchise from their own stable such as Hanna-Barbera’s Jonny Quest.
Jonny Quest is already popular across age groups and critics and has huge source materials to refer to. The series is fresh, original and incorporates elements like sci-fi, high voltage action, emotions, humor and global narratives which are highly appealing to the audiences. The cartoon series and TV films of the past have already created fans spread across generations, and the presence of the comic book series might just make it easier for them to create a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe.
In fact, development of Hanna-Barbera properties has long been on Warner’s mind. They did make a few films based on Scooby Doo and Flintstones which made decent money. Other than this, they haven’t developed any other property in a full-fledged fashion. Now Jonny Quest presents to them the most viable and expandable option among the rest to create success at the box-office.
The audience has recently loved superhero films, The Jungle Book, Star Wars and Jurassic Park franchise as well as the hit Netflix series Stranger Things which featured young actors in high action and fantasy oriented science fiction settings. This is the kind of entertainment that viewers lap up and this is what the studios should go after in their bid to create great franchises.
The long and successful history of Jonny Quest in TV, comics, video games domains to go along with a fabulous script, is exactly the kind of thing that Warner needs right now. The film also has great casting potential that we will deliberate upon some other time. If handled properly, Jonny Quest is capable of propelling other Hanna-Barbera properties into the cinematic world. In fact, the other properties might be built in such a way that they can fit into a future crossover Jonny Quest film featuring Jonny and team face off with villains like Space Ghost, Birdman, Herculoids and much more. Depending on the situation, they all can run solo as well, but, the creation of a grander, bigger cinematic universe with a periodic team up mega movies will be a tremendous temptation for the studio. Thus, we can certainly say that Jonny Quest is the ideal property to kick start a new franchise for Warner.