In the mad scramble for new revenue from established brands, studios will reboot anything. They’ll reboot superheroes, reboot America’s childhood, they’ll even reboot John McClane. But now, Paramount has announced a plan to capitalize on the strongest brand in the history of recorded time by rebooting the word of God himself.
A new exclusive from Tracking Board reports that Paramount has begun early development on a reinterpretation of the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments for the modern era. (Pretty bold move coming from Paramount, too — the innumerable toys modeled after their Transformers movies must surely count as graven images.) The film will retell the timeless story of Moses receiving the instructions on how to live a Christian life directly from the big man upstairs, defying the rule of the pharaohs that kept his flock in forced servitude, unleashing some white-hot plague action on their enslavers, and then for his final trick, parting the Red Sea and leading his people out of Egypt. Cue Paul Robeson.
In trying to divine the fate of this gestating project, we look back not to the sweeping Charlton Heston-led epic of 1956 and its unchallenged box-office domination, but to recent years. The past few years have seen the release of Biblical epics Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings, both of which recouped their costs of production but failed to justify their inflated budgets. A mixture of middling reviews and a reputation for light sacrilege failed to reproduce the astronomical rate-of-return enjoyed by more modestly-budgeted religious pictures such as the recent God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is For Real, and Jesus Seriously Spoke To Me And It Was Legit. (Only that last one is fake.) With a universal story and massive built-in audience, Paramount must be seeing dollar signs with this new announcement, but the road to the kingdom of box-office heaven may not be as straightforward as they’d like.