Lionsgate and Saban Brands announced today a partnership to bring the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers back to the big screen. Haim Saban, the creator of Power Rangers, and Lionsgate CEO John Feltheimer made the announcement, stating that “with an extensive and extremely devoted worldwide fan base as well as a deep and detailed mythology, the Power Rangers are primed for the big screen.” A release date, cast, writer, and director for the movie are all yet to be announced.
I’m sure many of us have fond memories of the Power Rangers, a group of high school aged kids (with attitude!) who were given mysterious martial arts powers and giant mechanical Zords to help them in their fight against evil. The Rangers were first introduced to America in 1993 with a live action TV series. Debuting on Fox, the series ran from 1993 – 1996.
Saban acquired footage of the original Japanese version of the show, Super Sentai (pictured right), and mixed it with footage of American actors playing the roles of the various Rangers. When the Rangers were in uniform, the American actors voices were dubbed in, and thus a glorious mashup of West and East was introduced to young children growing up in the ’90s. In many ways, it was a reintroduction to the concept of Sunday afternoon Kung Fu Theater, albeit this time with a pre-adolescent target group in mind.
The first series proved to be wildly popular and successful, so much so that it generated a number of Power Rangers spin off series like: Power Rangers Mystic Force , Power Rangers S.P.D., Power Rangers Dino Thunder, and Power Rangers Ninja Storm. In addition to these spin off series, two movies were produced, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
Despite its success, the franchise also had its detractors. Many parents complained about the amount of violence depicted by these seemingly aged high school students, and a number of injuries were reported (which were believed to have had a direct correlation to the show and reenactment of its many fighting scenes). A college study was even conducted by students of Cal State Fullerton at a local Los Angeles school, wherein the researchers studied the effects of watching the show upon young children. Though criticism availed much, the show prevailed and copy cat shows arose around it, proving that the formula of taking already produced Japanese live -action shows, and repackaging them for Western audiences could prove quite lucrative. Such shows as
Despite the copies, ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ has proven its place in the hearts of hard core fans, generating conventions throughout the years and a fan discussion board which remains very active to this day. Lionsgate itself is no stranger to launching lucrative film series aimed specifically at teen and pre-teen crowds. One only has to look at the recent successes of such franchises as Twilight and The Hunger Games. Surely, Lionsgate is looking ahead and hoping to tap into an even younger demographic which of not only female audiences (as the main driving force behind Twilight and The Hunger Games), but also male adolescents; and if one were to hazard a guess, perhaps they hope to tap into the nostalgia of those who lived through that time of the early ’90s and remember the might of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Only time will tell, but as for now, it’s ‘Go, Go Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!’