A year ago, the conversations were heating up around here over the pros and cons of bringing RoboCop back to life in a modern reboot of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 action classic. The voices were so loud for both sides, it seemed like a draw. Not that any of us could have stopped it anyway, as José Padilha’s take on the half-man/half-machine hit theaters last month. It probably surprises no one that audience reactions to the flick were also pretty polarized, with some loving the drone-on-RoboCop action and lack of camp value, while others thought it was meandering and without a proper focus on a villain or conflict. Well, I hope you guys are ready to dredge up all those feelings again, as the remake is inching its way towards a $200 million worldwide box office, which is usually the time when sequel talks start echoing off the graffiti-scrawled walls of the Internet.
To be very, very clear, the film is nowhere near reaching $200 million domestically, and I don’t think it would do that even if it stayed in theaters for the rest of the year. After three weekends, U.S. audiences have only brought in $51 million, which is just barely half of the pic’s entire budget of $100 million, and that’s not taking into account the massive promotional campaign it received. (Drunk-driving RoboCop ads cost mad money, yo.) So I don’t see anyone from Sony/Columbia wiping their asses with $100 bills while they discuss another franchise installment, but the foreign box office has probably caught their attention in a big way.
So far, the film has brought in over $136 million internationally, making its worldwide gross right around $187 million. It’s done marginally well in countries such as the U.K. and Russia, but China leads the pack, bringing in over $60 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo. That’s more than the U.S., Croatia, and Malaysia combined! China’s growing power in cinema can’t be denied, and given RoboCop‘s popularity there, is it out of the question to think any possible sequels could get Chinese funding? I wouldn’t be surprised.
We straddled the fence here at GFR — an easier task for a robot without human genitals — when it came to the reboot’s storytelling success. It featured far too little practical action and far too much “Michael Keaton not being evil while doing all the things that evil villains do” and “Joel Kinnaman being ashamed of his robo-stasis.” I’m completely behind a sequel, however, as Padilha’s film did a fine job of world building and setting up a Detroit that absolutely needs heroics from a lungs-and-head cyborg. So long as they give RoboCop a couple of human bad guys to fight, as well as a lot more of that fighting, I’d have no problem with this sequel. And if someone wants to make a drinking game for it already, I’d be fine with that as well.
Do you guys think a RoboCop sequel would be worth it?