According to reports from Deadline, Warner Bros. announced that the new Mortal Kombat movie will be released on March 5, 2021. As of right now, this will go directly head-to-head with Sony and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe which was recently pushed back to this date as well.
The film is still slated to be produced by James Wan and will be directed by newcomer Simon McQuoid – a veteran and acclaimed commercial director for various companies such as Playstation, Duracell, and Nissan.
The film has started pre-production in South Australia, with no further details on cast or plot. Time will tell if the March 5th, 2021 date holds firm, but it’s a very positive sign to see James Wan and Warner Bros. still moving forward with a new Mortal Kombat movie.
adamDMK’s Thoughts: A quick op-ed piece from yours truly. I’m super excited to finally see some concrete news on the next Mortal Kombat movie. The media aspects of Mortal Kombat, which marries the deep lore and history from the video games to the exciting characters and martial arts action is one of my favorite things about this franchise.
James Wan is a super-talented filmmaker, and I feel he can get his vision across properly. Also, curious to see what Simon McQuoid can offer. Looking through his resume of the commercials he’s filmed, some of them iconic even, I feel the movie is in very good hands. However, as we’ve recently seen with season 8 of GoT, your film can be stylistically and visually amazing, but if the plot is contrived, nonsensical, and cheesy – it won’t matter how great the film looks. James Wan has expressed a desire to do things right – so here’s hoping the previous plot “leaks” were just fan created and we get a proper adaptation of the Mortal Kombat story.
I’m a bit skeptical though – and given how the timelines and storyline in the Mortal Kombat video games are a bit “all over the place” if you will, Warner Bros. might play it safe and combine recent storylines and give in to fan service – which may or may not work well. Keeping in mind Warner Bros. recent track record of handling the Justice League and Suicide Squad franchises in particular, I’m very cautious to see how things will play out. I’m hoping my skepticism turns into a sigh of relief and we get a fun, popcorn movie with all of our favorite Kombatants and a coherent story.
Last thing I’ll say, I still feel strongly that a movie is not the proper medium for Mortal Kombat. Come @ me bro! Telling a story this complex with all of the lore in less than 120 minutes does not do the franchise justice, and we end up with a contrived mess. It CAN be done right, as we’ve seen Threshold and Paul W.S. Anderson having the right idea in 1995 – streamlining the plot and action sequences. It wasn’t rocket science then though either – good guys versus bad guys, fighting in an ancient martial arts tournament to determine the fate of the world. Couple that with awesome fight scenes and (at the time) groundbreaking visuals – and cast it correctly with decent actors, you have the recipe for a fun summer popcorn flick.
With the above being said, the lore and history of Mortal Kombat has grown exceptionally large since the 1995 film, so simplifying the story probably wouldn’t sit right with the current younger generation of fans, who’ve grown up on MK9, MKX, and MK11’s rich stories. I feel these fans will influence Warner Bros. much more than the “weathered” fans who’ve been with the franchise since the early 90s.
What exactly am I getting at? The 2010’s have shown that serial television shows are extremely popular and profitable. With the proper showrunners, some of these become masterpieces even. We’re truly in the golden age of serial television. Mortal Kombat absolutely needs to be a serial show.
I think Kevin Tancharoen had the right idea with Mortal Kombat: Legacy. I just think he was handcuffed by a lower budget and time restraints, but he was able to get the true spirit of Mortal Kombat and a lot of the lore and history down pat in basically 190 minutes of content. He mostly hit on a lot of his casting choices (namely in Season 2) as well. However, imagine 8-10 hours of content per season? With a budget much larger than Legacy’s? See where I’m getting at here?
I think Warner Bros. is missing something here. Why not have a Mortal Kombat serialized show be the crown jewel of their new WarnerMedia streaming service? Or if they were going for a more mature audience – throw it on HBO, one of their subsidiaries. I feel HBO might be a bit more of an adamDMK fantasy, but it’s still a viable option for Warner Bros. Unless it was a complete flop and utter failure, I feel a serialized show would be a more realistic long term money maker and revenue stream since movie adaptations of video games are still so hit or miss. I mean think of all the successful recent serialized shows and how they work so well as shows with hours of content as opposed to 100-minute movies. Cobra Kai? Mr. Robot? Stranger Things even?
This would also help not having to go all in on the movie – as the budget for a movie demands immediate returns to be profitable. With a serialized show, the first season can have a “lower budget” in relative terms, with a more focused plot and cast. Say the first season is just establishing your key characters, giving context to their backstories, and have it be based on the first Mortal Kombat game (or first part of MK9). If successful, the scope of show can increase over the next few seasons and additional characters, worlds, and plot threads can be introduced.
I completely understand this is just me talking out of my butt here, but like I said I have felt strongly about a Mortal Kombat serialized show for awhile now. Either way, cheers to James Wan and company putting together something fun for all of us varying Mortal Kombat fans.