Neill Blomkamp No Longer Directing RoboCop Returns
It appears that director Neill Blomkamp will no longer helm an upcoming revival of Robocop. The director, best known for District 9, was going to helm Robocop Returns, which would have been 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 (Masters of the Universe).
However, he announced today via Twitter that the project would no longer be happening with him as director.
“Off Robocop,” he wrote. “I am shooting new horror/thriller and MGM can’t wait/ need to shoot Robocop now. Excited to watch it in theaters with other fans.”
Given that direct sequels are all the rage these days, with both Halloween and Terminator: Dark Fate embracing the format, not to mention the lesser quality of the first to Robocop sequels, it’s a shame this project wouldn’t be able to come together.
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 (The Empire Strikes Back) from a screenplay co-written by comics scribe Frank Miller, which grossed $45 million and was not as well received.
There was a RoboCop 3 that hit theaters in 1991, sans Peter Weller in the title role, although it wasn’t released until 1993 due to the bankruptcy of Orion Pictures. Fred Dekker’s more kid-friendly PG-13 entry died at the box office after raking in a mere $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. It came out in 2014, grossing $242 million worldwide but was poorly received.