Godzilla vs Kong director Adam Wingard has signed on to helm the upcoming ThunderCats movie. Wingard is having great overseas success with Godzilla vs Kong, as the big-budget action film has already brought in over $122 million from the global box office, $70 million of which has come from China. The film has already nearly made back its projected $160-200 million budget, all before opening this Wednesday in U.S. theaters and on HBO Max.
ThunderCats was created by Tobin “Ted” Wolf, with Rankin/Bass Animated Enterprises bringing the concept to television in 1985. It centers on a group of humanoid aliens from the planet Thundera and the journey they are forced to take when Thundera is destroyed. That original series, which ran until 1989, was a hit and subsequently spawned numerous merchandise lines, comic books, a video game, and more.
Deadline has reported that Wingard has been hired to direct ThunderCats, a big-scale feature film based on the animated series that ran from 1985-89. The new film had previously been set to be produced by Dan Lin of Rideback and Roy Lee of Vertigo, both of whom worked on Wingard’s straight to Netflix movie, Death Note. The film also had an early script written by David Coggeshall. However, Wingard and his frequent writing partner, Simon Barrett, will now start the process over and re-write a script. The film will be a combination of CGI and animation.
Wingard will be the first filmmaker to sign a deal with Warner Bros. since WarnerMedia’s surprise decision to release their 2021 slate onto HBO Max the same day as the films’ theatrical release. With many directors, including Christopher Nolan, expressing their discontent with this decision, Wingard’s choice to helm ThunderCats shows his willingness to put his confidence in the studio, a footstep that other directors will be likely be forced to follow in whether they like it or not.
Wingard rose to fame after a start in critically acclaimed smaller budget independent horror productions such as You’re Next, The Guest, and Blair Witch. Warner Bros. and Legendary hired Wingard to direct Godzilla vs Kong in 2017 as a part of their MonsterVerse. There have been quite a few relatively unknown genre directors being handed the reigns of big budget fare, including IT director Andy Muschietti, who started out in horror with 2013’s Mama. The risk seems to be working out in Warner Bros.’ favor thus far, as Godzilla vs. Kong has already set a record for the highest box office take for a Hollywood film during the pandemic. It’s no surprise to see Wingard remain in the Warner Bros. family for ThunderCats, and it will be interesting to see the director’s vision for this upcoming project.