Movies and television series' are the foundation of Hollywood obviously, but there has always been the debate as to which tells a better story. Movies tend to have a larger budget, but television can stretch a story across a longer time frame. Over the last few decades television content has expanded to a nearly limitless collection of entertainment that can be accessed on nearly any screen: computer, television and cell phone.
With this massive push for television content for cable and streaming, the question that begs to be asked is: 'should this pitch be for a movie of television?'
20 years ago, there would have been no debate as to whether something should be a movie or a television series, but now with countless television studios able to develop series that match major films production levels as well as push the limits of storytelling, it makes us wonder about what films should have been television series. Here are 10 films that would have been better had they been developed for tv/streaming instead.
Mark Millar's comic Wanted was developed int a fairly successful feature film starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. Now, Wanted was by no means a failure considering that it amassed over $300 million in the box office, but it would have had better entertainment value had it been developed for a streaming service. The film followed McAvoy's character, Wesley, as he learned that he was born into a secret organization of assassins. The premise is amazing, and the visuals are stunning - all of which could easily have been written to suit the episodic format and would have allowed for a much deeper development of the characters.
Wanted, ideally, should have been pitched to Netflix a couple years ago, as it would fit incredibly well with their lineup of Marvel's Daredevil, Sense8 and Hemlock Grove.
9. Jupiter Ascending
Okay, now this is a film that you may not have seen starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, but I thought it was a decent film from the Wachowskis. The Wachowskis are known for creating visually acclaimed worlds such as The Matrix, Cloud Atlas and Sense8. However, Jupiter Ascending didn't quite match up to their previous endeavors. Jupiter Ascending suffered from pacing issues and muddled action sequences - yet there is still incredible potential for the story to be developed, but couldn't because of it being constrained to feature film length. Jupiter Ascending is basically about corporations/families that own planets and use the resources (the people) as a commodity.
Jupiter Ascending could have been pitched to Amazon Prime, and could have paired well The Man in the High Castle and Hand of God.
8. Catch Me If You Can
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks starred in this cat-and-mouse crime film that was based on a fascinating true story. Set in the 1960s, the movie gives us a stylized snapshot of how Frank (DiCaprio) makes a living as he impersonates lawyers, pilots and doctors as well as learns how to forge checks to pay for his extravagance. Catch Me If You Can was by no means a failure, but it's often overlooked considering that it was a Spielberg movie and it doesn't have the same grandiose feel that his other films do, which is why I think it would have been ideally suited for a television series. The chase between FBI Agent Hanratty (Hanks) and criminal forger Frank would be easily told in an episodic format.
I think putting Catch Me If You Can on a network like AMC would be a perfect fit, considering how well Mad Men (another '60s drama) was received.
7. The Book of Eli
Let me start by saying that I LOVED the film version of The Book of Eli, but it was met with lackluster ratings and I can understand why. The Book of Eli is set in a future post-apocalyptic world that follows a blind prophet, of sorts, who carries a copy of the King James Bible. Eli wanders the desolate land, simply surviving and trying to avoid conflict with the sometimes crazed locals, cannibals and road mercenaries. The post-apocalyptic wasteland genre is easy to adapt to both film and television, but I think The Book of Eli has enough story that it could have been developed for television.
Bringing The Book of Eli to AMC would be ideal, I think, considering how popular The Walking Dead and Into The Badlands are.
6. Public Enemies
Considering that the film starred Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard, it's a wonder as to why the film ended up being slow and dull. Public Enemies was based on the book of the same name that followed John Dillinger during the crime waves in the '30s. The movie was good, but just felt slightly out of place considering that the book included other classic characters like: Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson and many more, as well as showing the development of the FBI itself in response to the crime wave.
Translating this crime piece to television would be ideal for a network like Showtime or HBO considering how popular shows like Homeland, Ray Donovan, True Detective and Billions are.
5. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Twisting the old Grimm fairy tale was an interesting choice that received mixed reviews, but had great potential if you really think about it. Starring Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner play the titular characters and through the film we discover that not only are the two excellent hunters, their mother was one of the most powerful white witches ever. Yet this revelation comes late in the film and suffers from the inability to expand on the back story, which is something that television would allow Hansel and Gretel to do.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters could easily have been added to a major network like The CW or even NBC, considering how popular shows like Supernatural and Grimm are.
4. Street Kings
As a movie, Street Kings was a mediocre cop thriller - although ambitious, it fell flat. Keanu Reeves starred as the hard boiled, rule bending cop who as a part of a small group go above the law to find justice. This concept is ripe for a gritty television drama. Translating Street Kings to an episodic police drama that looks at the darker side of money, corruption and power within the police department would be killer. Even though there are countless cop dramas out there, introducing a grittier one like Street Kings would be well received.
Street Kings should be on HBO in my opinion, considering the popularity of Boardwalk Empire and True Detective.
3. The Losers
This is one of my favorite films on this list, and also one that has a great deal of potential. Based on the Vertigo comic book series, The Losers is this generations A-Team - considering that The A-Team was on TV for 5 years, The Losers would do well to be translated to TV/streaming. The Losers follows interesting (and sometimes dark) characters who form a truly dysfunctional relationship as they are placed on the CIA blacklist by a mysterious man named Max.
The Losers could ultimately make an impact on nearly any network, but I think that Netflix would be the ideal location considering how well they've done at adapting comic books to the screen with Marvels: Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
2. The Last Samurai
Now, as surprising as it may seem The Last Samurai is one of my favorite films of all time. It has just the right amount of epicness, story and levity to sustain itself in the theaters, but I think it would be the perfect story to be translated onto television. The movie starred Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe and follows the story of a decorated Civil War veteran who is taken captive by the samurai in Japan. During his captivity, he learns to love the Samurai way and the film looks at the westernization of Japan and the conflict between generation. This type of narrative would fit perfectly on television.
The Last Samurai would fit well on AMC or History Channel as both networks have great period style pieces. AMC with TURN: Washington Spies and Hell on Wheels, and History Channel with Vikings.
1. Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card's novel of the same name has been a staple in both high school a military reading lists, and rightfully so as Ender's Game tells the story of Andrew "Ender' Wiggin who is a student at the International Fleet's Battle School as he and several other students are prepared for an anticipated invasion by an insectoid alien species. The movie condenses the book plot of several years to merely several months, so there is plenty of material to pull from considering that there is the main book and several other sequels as well.
An Ender's Game TV series would fit well on SyFy as it's a clear match for shows like The Expanse.