Sony Pictures will continue to grow its popular “Jump Street” universe, commissioning dual development of both a female-driven spinoff and a franchise crossover with “Men in Black” that was originally outlined in its leaked emails.
“Broad City” writers Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs have been hired to write the female-driven spinoff, which will feature the same comedic tone as “21 Jump Street” and its even more successful sequel.
The studio declined to comment on the comedy project, based on the Fox series that aired between 1987 and 1991 and starred Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise as undercover cops.
Sony Pictures began work last year on “23 Jump Street,” selecting Rodney Rothman to script the third version of the Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill franchise. The directing team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who helmed “21 Jump Street” and “22 Jump Street,” are overseeing development of the script and will produce the third film with Neal Moritz, Hill and Tatum.
“21 Jump Street” took aim at reboots, while “22 Jump Street” targeted sequels, so it makes sense that the next “Jump Street” movie will send-up the current trend of Shared Movie Universes by having Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum enter the “Men in Black” universe and investigate aliens.
Producer Neal Moritz and his Original Films will steer dual development of the “Jump Street” extensions along with Hill, Tatum and Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who directed the first two films.
The “Jump Street” franchise has been a bright spot for Sony, which has seen solid returns from the series. The first “Jump Street” movie grossed just over $200 million worldwide but the sequel took the franchise to the next level, grossing $331 million worldwide — an exceptional haul for an R-rated action-comedy.
Dakota Johnson actually played one of the young officers in “21 Jump Street” before she starred in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” so it’s possible she could return to anchor the female-driven spinoff. Aniello and Downs have helped “Broad City” become a breakout hit on Comedy Central, and it’s also possible that Sony could recruit talent from that network, such as Amy Schumer, Jessica Williams and “Broad City” stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson.
As for the “Men in Black” crossover, which writer-producer-star Hill was especially excited about in the leaked Sony emails, it remains unclear whether Will Smith would be involved, let alone Tommy Lee Jones or Josh Brolin.
“Men in Black 3” had the franchise’s highest global haul, with $624 million worldwide, though it also had the lowest domestic gross in the series, with only $179 million in the U.S. That indicates that while international interest has never been higher, American audiences are growing weary of “MIB.” “Jump Street,” on the other hand, has had higher domestic grosses than foreign grosses, so a combination of the two franchises may prove to be more beneficial to Sony at the worldwide box office.
With female-driven movies continuing to strike gold at the box office, Sony has invested more resources in catering to female audiences, including casting Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon in its upcoming “Ghostbusters” reboot.
/ The Wrap