Neill Blomkamp to Direct RoboCop Returns for MGM!

Deadline is reporting that sci-fi director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) is set to direct a new RoboCop installment for MGM titled RoboCop Returns! Unlike the previous RoboCop remake from 2014, the new film will be a direct sequel to the original based on an unused RoboCop 2 screenplay by original writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, with rewrites by Justin Rhodes (Untitled Terminator Reboot, Masters of the Universe).

Here is a brief plot synopses for RoboCop Returns: Anarchy reigns and the fate of Detroit hangs in the balance as RoboCop makes his triumphant return to fight crime and corruption.

“The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid,” Blomkamp stated. “I loved it then and it remains a classic in the end of 20th Century sci-fi catalog, with real meaning under the surface. Hopefully that is something we can get closer to in making of a sequel. That is my goal here. What I connected to as a kid has evolved over time. At first, the consumerism, materialism and Reaganomics, that ’80s theme of America on steroids, came through most strongly. But As I’ve gotten older, the part that really resonated with me is identity, and the search for identity. As long as the human component is there, a good story can work in any time period, it’s not locked into a specific place in history. What’s so cool about ‘RoboCop’ is that like good westerns, sci-fi films and dramas, the human connection is really important to a story well told. What draws me now is someone searching for their lost identity, taken away at the hands of people who are benefiting from it, and seeing his memory jogged by events. That is most captivating. The other thing I am excited by is the chance to work again with Justin Rhodes. He has added elements that are pretty awesome, to a sequel that was set in the world of Verhoeven. This is a movie I would love to watch.”

“Verhoeven felt at the time that making one would be de classe and he wasn’t interested in the politics of a sequel,” Neumeier said of why their RoboCop 2 never happened. “Then, the writers strike came along in 1988 and we were force majeured off the project. They brought in Frank Miller on a waiver. He wrote a draft and then another with Walon Green, and it got made by Irvin Kershner, who directed ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ I went off and did ‘Starship Troopers’ with Paul. Right when Trump was about to be elected president, [MGM president Jon Glickman] called me and said, ‘Did you actually predict in your sequel script that a reality star would run for president and win?’ We had. So Mike and I wrote a draft and gave one interview in Barbados and I think the only person who read it was Neill Blomkamp, and that set this in motion.”

Blomkamp, whose previous film Chappie borrowed heavily from the original RoboCop, will direct RoboCop Returns with Neumeier and Miner serving as producer and executive producer, respectively.

Paul Verhoeven’s original 1987 classic RoboCop starred Peter Weller as Officer Alex Murphy, who is brutally killed in the line of duty and ultimately resurrected as the cyborg crime fighter. The film garnered $53 million at the box office and three Oscar nominations, winning one for sound effects editing. Weller returned for the 1990 sequel RoboCop 2, directed by Irvin Kershner from a screenplay co-written by comics fav Frank Miller, which grossed $45 million and was not as well received. RoboCop 3 was made in 1991, but not released until 1993 due to the bankruptcy of Orion Pictures, and the more kid-friendly PG-13 entry directed by Fred Dekker died at the box office with $10 million. A big budget RoboCop remake was developed in the 2000s with Darren Aronofsky, who left the project which was ultimately helmed by Jose Padilha and grossed $242 million worldwide in 2014 but was poorly reviewed.

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