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Green Hornet could be on his way back to the big screen.
Amasia Entertainment, the banner of former Marvel Studios president Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo, has won the motion picture rights to the classic pulp crime-fighting hero.
Hornet first appeared in radio serials during the 1930s. His popularity catapulted him onto the screen, first with film serials in the 1940s and then a television series in the 1960s that is perhaps best remembered as one of the first roles of Bruce Lee.
Hollywood flirted with a big-screen version on and off for decades before a 2011 iteration was made. With Michel Gondry at the helm, the high-profile Sony movie featured a big-name cast of Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz and Christoph Waltz. The movie was not the franchise starter that the studio hoped it would be.
Over time, the rights to Hornet have been controlled by Universal, Dimension, Columbia and most recently, Paramount, which was developing a hard-edged and grounded take with director Gavin O’Connor. The rights lapsed last year.
Hornet is the alter ego of Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher who dons a green mask and wields cool guns to fight crime. He is aided in this endeavor by partner Kato, with the two speeding around town in the futuristic car known as the Black Beauty.
The hero was part of the pulpy adventurers introduced through radio such as The Shadow and Doc Savage, all of whom were precursors to comic book superheroes Superman and Batman, who made their debuts in the late 1930s.
Helfant, who tried to develop a feature when an exec at Dimension Films, sees Hornet more in the superhero and comic book mold.
“This is one of the only stand-alone classic superhero franchises,” Helfant said in a statement. “We’re a bunch of fan geeks at Amasia and are thrilled about creating something fresh and truly worthy of this legacy property. A new world that is relevant and thrilling, while respecting and honoring the original vision of creator George W. Trendle.”
Gallo said he hoped to bridge “ the film worlds of America and Asia” with the Hornet movies.
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