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With Lionsgate’s theatrical runs of The Hunger Games and Twilight over, it’s morphin‘ time!
Before the mini-studio’s Power Rangers reboot hits theaters March 24, CEO Jon Feltheimer is betting audiences will embrace the teenage superheroes in a big way. “We are really, really excited about the Power Rangers movie,” he said during a May 26 earnings call. “We could see doing five or six or seven.”
Insiders caution Lionsgate isn’t really planning for seven films yet; the studio hasn’t even officially greenlighted a sequel. Feltheimer and film chiefs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger just want everyone to know Lionsgate and franchise owner Saban Capital Group see Power Rangers as a possible huge property with multipicture potential at a time when the studio doesn’t have many.
Wall Street observers say a Power Rangers film franchise could help restore Lionsgate’s stock valuation and investor confidence after a rough patch that has included the disappointing Gods of Egypt and Divergent threequel Allegiant.
Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan maintained his “buy” rating and $32 price target on Lionsgate’s stock, citing “long-term upside residing in the creation of new movie franchises, especially starting with Power Rangers.”
Others are more bearish. “Seven films is delusional. Anyone who knows this business will find it a good run if three in a row are successful,” says Vogel Capital Management CEO Hal Vogel, who argues young audiences have far more entertainment options than they did two decades ago. “This is a stretch.”
The global Power Rangers franchise originated in 1993 with a Fox Kids series titled Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, for which Haim Saban’s company used footage from a Japanese children’s show. Subsequent series moved to Disney-owned channels during the 2000s and now air on Nickelodeon. To evidence its enduring appeal, studio sources cite the recent costume reveal trending worldwide on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.
Original Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson adds that the reboot could benefit from a loyal audience that now is two decades older: “Their taste has matured, and [they] are probably now craving that big-budget visual effects movie that is being made. We shall see!”
This story first appeared in the June 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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