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Curiouser and curiouser!

SyFy’s Thinking of Remaking Waterworld… and It Kind of Makes Sense

I realize a statement of such magnitude requires some reassurance, so I’ll say it: bear with me here. Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici, fresh off profiling the continuing evolution of the Syfy Channel as an piece of the entertainment business landscape (specifically their combined television show and MMORPG Defiance), has another, unrelated bit of information that he gleaned from his experience at the channel.

With the merger between NBC and Vivendi Universal in 2004, the SyFy channel gained access to Universal’s properties, including Waterworld. And the reasons why a remake would make sense begins with: despite its name as one of the worst and most expensive movies of the 90s, whenever the film runs on Syfy, it gets a healthy viewership.

According to Bercovici, Syfy is looking to get into the theatrical film market, and understands that it’s not going to get there with Sharktopus. From Forbes:

“Having a theatrical film label is not only a natural fit for Syfy,” says Dave Howe, the network’s president. “It’s also a gap in the marketplace.” In Hollywood, “science fiction” is virtually synonymous with “megabudget CGI-laden summer action movie.” Howe and his team at Syfy saw an opportunity for a different kind of science fiction film, one driven less by expensive stars and special effects than by storytelling.

Howe’s team have been pushing the idea (of making low-budget films for theatrical release) to Universal for years, without much success. But apparently with a recent change of leadership at Universal, things are looking more likely, and Syfy is looking at scripts that might be that story-driven hit. Which may or may not include a remake of the infamous Waterworld. Howe says a television series based on the movie is more likely than a theatrical sequel. Either way, an attempt to actually make Waterworld into a work of nuance and a more, ah, genuinely enjoyable film (rather than the ironic classic it has sort of become) might be interesting to watch.

(via Pajiba.)

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  • John Wao

    I could see them doing a weekly TV series set in that world.

    When I watch Revolution it’s basically a riff on The Postman, so why not a show in set in Waterworld.

    I don’t think a remake of the feature film would be a good idea, though.

  • Chandri MacLeod

    I will be mocked forever if I admit I really liked Waterworld, won’t I? ;)

    Though I agree with @John Wao: a TV series would be awesome.

  • Burritomadness

    I too un-ironically like Waterworld. Maybe we should start a support group.

  • Amber Dawn Bushnell

    I always loved Waterworld too! I’d like to see SyFy’s remake.

  • John Wao

    I liked it too. Dennis Hopper was great in it.

  • Lady Viridis

    I enjoy Waterworld as well. Nostalgia Critic did a video review of it, and came to the conclusion that it’s really not a terrible movie, just a sort of average one, which got a bad rap because it cost so much to make and people were expecting more. I really do like the underlying concepts, though, and I think you could do some interesting things with the world if you got some quality writers on board.

  • Anonymous

    Waterworld IS a “genuinely enjoyable film.”

    Smell the paper.

  • Anonymous

    Yup, I also like it :-)

  • Christopher Cooke

    If they’re looking for a story driven sci-fi IP that Universal holds the distribution rights to, there’s always Joss Whedon’s Serenity. I wouldn’t be the least bit sad if they decided to make a TV series based on that movie, either.


  • Trina Talma

    I … um … also actually liked it. Is this a trick to draw out those of us who admit to liking it, in order to set us up for merciless media mockery?

  • Gregory Williams

    I will love it if they expand SYFY offerings…including at the theaters, it is the second most popular genre behind romance in publication based formats and has always been under counted and under supported in broadcast and cable offerings by corporate executives who just do not get its appeal NOR are they fans but they sure do go out of their way to satisfy conservative politically religious minority voices to cancel such shows… and they always try to impose out of the genre writers on the staffs which results in jump the shark moments that hurt the shows viewer numbers EARTH 2 anyone? Firefly? in fact HUNDREDS of such shows whether live or animated get screwed by corporate executives who have no idea how to use the genre for profit and audience share.

    Kill the fatted calf of loyal viewers is how the corporations treat the Science Fiction & Fantasy format/genre and that is why a GENRE BASED MENTALITY control of product is a GREAT IDEA and the smart investors always let the REAL experts drive the Business if they really want to make long term investment money.

  • Gregory Williams

    David Brin loves you and you know it…now meet him and convince him that your ready to make a commitment…Just having a little fun so do go off like bomb over the comment.

  • Eric Bazilio

    HA-HAAAA *Nelson’s voice*

  • standgale

    I love Waterworld; it would be interesting to see the world concept explored some more – and story-driven SF films in general would be pretty awesome.

  • Marissa

    I love waterworld. And will watch it without fail if I come across it while channel surfing.