This has got to be one of the strangest stories to come out of the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which has seen confidential e-mails and files (as well as multi-million dollar unreleased films) leaked onto the internet: Men in Black and Jump Street might be planning a crossover.
The prospect of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s undercover slacker cops from Jump Street teaming up with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones alien-hunting Men in Black might seem unlikely, but according to leaked e-mails to and from Sony’s motion picture chief Amy Pascal, the project is one of the highest-profile on the company’s slate with a release planned for 2016 or 2017.
One email sent to Pascal from actor Jonah Hill reads “jump street merging with mib i think that’s clean and rad and powerful,” according to the Wall Street Journal, while another from Sony Columbia Pictures exec Hannah Minghella says: “We don’t have a script yet so we’ll be greenlighting the movie off the concept and the talent involved.”
Apparently that talent won’t actually include Men in Black stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in any major capacity, but Jump Street and The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are reportedly producing and could direct.
While the end credits to 22 Jump Street joked about a series of increasingly unlikely sequels this is an unexpected move for Sony, although it might be explained to some extent by 2012’s Men in Black underperforming at the box office.
In another e-mail to Steven Spielberg’s legal representative (the director was an executive producer on the Men in Black series so his participation is sought), Sony Pictures president of worldwide business affairs and operations Andrew Gumpert says:
“We didn’t do as well as we had hoped for on the last MIB film, but that hasn’t caused us to lose faith in the franchise. In reality, the exact opposite has occurred where we all have an opportunity to take an interim step on the way to hopefully forging ahead again in the pure-play MIB universe.”
And who knows? Maybe some more surprise Sony crossovers will soon be revealed to the public. Personally, I can’t wait for the Spider-Man/Smurfs team-up.