It’s only been four years since Sony’s attempt to reboot RoboCop with Joel Kinnaman as the cop-turned-crime-fighting-cyborg — though you’d be forgiven if you’ve already forgotten the bland remake of Paul Verhoeven’s satirical 1987 sci-fi classic. That might be an advantage for MGM, which is plotting a new RoboCop movie with District 9 and Chappie director Neill Blomkamp at the helm.
More bad news from the world of Neill Blomkamp: The South African-born filmmaker has called it quits on his latest effort, a crowdfunding campaign to turn his Oats Studios short “Firebase” into a feature-length film. According to a tweet from the official account of the experimental indie film studio, they simply failed to raise enough money to “do something truley [sic] awesome.”
While he’s been churning our short films from his newly minted Oats Studios, Neill Blomkamp has also been plotting his next feature film. While he’s made it clear that he’d love to return to the world of Elysium if any one would let him, he’s decided (rightly) to pursue a different tale: an adaptation of The Gone World written by his Oats Studios comrade Tom Sweterlitsch.
Elysium is far from Neill Blomkamp’s best movie — I’ll even bet money that he made Chappie so that the general public would forget about how much they hated that movie were Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley beat each other up while wearing mechanical exoskeletons on a space station reserved only for rich people. But it’s human nature to want to improve upon your failures, and Blomkamp is, as far as we know, a human, so it’s no surprise that he’d want to have another crack at it.
Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios is taking a kind of diet approach to filmmaking: testing out concepts that could be cool by making short films out of them with bonkers-high production value. The first one, Rakka, introduced us to an Earth almost completely overtaken by some fabulously gross aliens, and a few days ago we got Sharlto Copley as a very cranky God. Today, Oats Studios has rolled out Zygote, which sees Dakota Fanning and Pablo Cantillo on the run from a truly terrifying monster.
Despite the runaway success of Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, the writer-director has faced increasingly diminishing returns as a filmmaker ever since. Whiz-bang visuals and an impressive cast weren’t enough to save Elysium, while Chappie has become better known in film circles as an internet meme (“That’s Chappie!”) than a film worth seeking out. Add in Blomkamp’s failed attempt at an Alien sequel and it seemed the director’s star had fully faded… that is, until Blomkamp announced his decision to create a serious of outrageous and expensive short films at zero cost to the public.