Will There Ever Be Another Police Academy Movie?

Another Police Academy film has reportedly been in development since 2018, but its release remains uncertain.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

Remember Police Academy? Don’t feel bad if you don’t. The franchise hasn’t put anything out since 1998, when the last episode of Police Academy: The Series aired. In fact, despite being one of the biggest comedy franchises of the ’80s, Police Academy has been all but forgotten in 2023, buried in the landfill of time like so many unsold E.T. Atari cartridges.

There has been talk of resurrecting the franchise since it all but disappeared from the face of the Earth in the late ’90s. At several points over the last 25 years, different Police Academy reboot projects have been discussed and later dropped for whatever reason.

We decided to dive down the rabbit hole and figure out just what was going on with the largest franchise that nobody talks about anymore. Let’s figure out if we’ll ever see another Police Academy film in our lifetimes or if we’d have a better chance of getting a cab in New York during shift change.

First, a little bit of context for anyone not familiar with the Police Academy franchise. The series operates on a simple premise: a new law allows any schmuck off the street to join the Police Academy.

A bunch of misfits take advantage of said law, become bumbling cops, and fail in funny ways until the third act when somehow they pull themselves together and save the day. Hilarity ensues. Rinse and repeat for seven movies, occasionally rotating the cast.

There is no ’80s success story more unlikely than the Police Academy series. The first movie was a raunchy, racist, sexist, homophobic, low-brow sleaze-fest trying to capitalize on the R-rated comedy craze that dominated the early 1980s.

police academy

But despite aping similar adult-themed comedies like Stripes and Caddyshack, 1984’s Police Academy inexplicably spawned several PG-rated sequels, a cartoon series, a live-action television series, action figures, and even comic books.

To reiterate, a franchise that started out with a scene in which a sex worker hides inside a podium and secretly performs a lewd act on an unsuspecting police commissioner while he’s giving a speech eventually became a bonafide family entertainment franchise mainly aimed at kids. What can we say? The ’80s were wild!

An eighth movie—sometimes a legacy sequel, sometimes a reboot—has been in development hell since 2003. The first real mention of Police Academy 8 was an Ain’t It Cool News post from September 11, 2003. The post stated that a local radio show asked Michael Winslow, the actor who makes all the funny sound effects, what was going on with the Police Academy franchise. The actor replied that he was “in negotiations” to appear in an 8th movie.

There was radio silence until 2005 when Paul Masalansky, producer of the Police Academy series, told Entertainment Weekly that another sequel was still definitely happening but that he wanted to make sure everything was perfect before getting everyone back on set.

Apparently, Masalansky never achieved the “perfect” setup he wanted. Just a year later, in 2006, actress Leslie Easterbrook who portrayed well-endowed officer Callahan in several of the movies, gave an interview in which she deemed the franchise officially dead.

But then 2008 came along and performed CPR on the unresponsive comedy franchise. Michael Winslow again said he’d be up for another go-round on the Police Academy train. But more importantly, Steve Guttenberg, who played series protagonist Carey Mahoney in the first four Police Academy films, confirmed that not only was he coming back to the series he was helping to write and direct the 8th installment. It was starting to sound like those bumbling boys in blue would be back on screen in no time!

By the time 2010 rolled around, Police Academy 8 was no closer to being a reality. Guttenberg and Maslansky both did press at the time, where they swore a new sequel was still in active development.

Meanwhile, director Bobcat Goldthwait who played the manic wild man Zed in the series, expressed that he had no desire to return to the world of Police Academy. He suggested that any further movies be total reboots with a completely new cast rather than a nostalgia-driven affair starring all the old actors.

Goldthwait almost got his wish thanks to comedy duo Key & Peele. Michael Keegan Key and Jordan Peele announced in 2014 that they would be tackling a new version of Police Academy, one where the jokes would be interspersed throughout a more serious cop drama. Peele said in 2016 that he and Key were looking at MASH as an example of the tone they were trying to hit.

So why didn’t that Police Academy get made? A Key & Peele reboot of a beloved ’80s franchise sounded like a smash hit on paper. Unfortunately, the duo’s first big attempt at headlining a motion picture, 2016’s Keanu, didn’t exactly set the box office on fire.

Add to that Jordan Peele becoming the hottest horror director in decades, and it’s not hard to see how the Key & Peele version of Police Academy never made it past the planning stage.

Sadly it’s beginning to look like Police Academy might be the sole ’80s franchise that is destined to stay dead. Ironically, Steve Guttenberg, the first star to abandon the series—he dropped out before Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach which saw one of the officers pull a gun on an actual shark, so, probably not a bad decision—is the only one still holding out hope for a Police Academy revival.

In 2018 Steve Guttenberg took to Twitter to announce, “the next Police Academy is coming, no details yet, but it is in a gift bag being readied!”

At some point in the next three years, however, something must have happened to the gift bag. When asked about Police Academy 8 in 2021, Guttenberg answered with a much less confident, “I suspect you haven’t seen the last of Mahoney.”

It’s now 2023, and there’s no Police Academy 8 in sight. Honestly, it’s probably for the best. The franchise is so entrenched in the ’80s and ’90s that it would be impossible to remake it in this day and age with the same tone and attitude as the original. Not to mention, not a lot of people are even clamoring for a new Police Academy.