In addition to superheroes, it seems as if the latest Hollywood trend of trying to make the old new again applies to just about every property. By now, everyone knows all about the slew of big tentpoles coming out next summer (Jurassic World, Star Wars: Episode VII, etc.) looking to bring back established franchises, but this strategy goes beyond the genre films – bringing some smaller movies along for the ride.
This November, the comedy sequel Dumb and Dumber To will hit theaters 20 years after the original was a hit, but Harry and Lloyd may not be alone for long. In an interview with Rolling Stone to promote the Blu-ray release of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, the franchise’s star Paul Reubens hinted at an imminent announcement for a new cinematic outing for the character.
The announcement may not be a brand new development, but Reubens promises those interested won’t need to wait much longer:
“There’s going to be a big announcement any minute now. Yes. It’s been months and months of being right on the verge of being announced.”
The last we heard of any sort of developments on a new Pee-Wee film was several years ago when it was reported that Judd Apatow would be producing a new installment in the series, something the actor acknowledged during his interview. According to him, the reason why there hasn’t been any progress on the project is because it kept “stalling and stalling”; old news for comedy fans at this point (see: Ghostbusters 3).
Reubens rose to popularity with the Pee-Wee character during the early 1980s in The Pee-Wee Herman Show on HBO and later on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (a more family-friendly take on the brand) in the latter part of that decade for CBS. In between, Reubens partnered with first-time director Tim Burton to make the film Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, which was released theatrically in 1985 and has earned a cult following in the years since.
The last time Reubens appeared as Pee-Wee in a film, the results were not nearly as successful. Big Top Pee-Wee grossed only $15.1 million domestically (compared to $40.9 for the first movie) and failed to connect with critics. That may have some questioning the reasoning behind trying to bring the character back again (considering Pee-Wee’s Playhouse went off the air in 1990), but Big Adventure still holds a place in fans’ hearts, so the trip down nostalgia lane may make it all worthwhile.
In fact, it wasn’t too long ago Reubens attempted to introduce the misadventures of Pee-Wee to a new generation. In early 2010, he opened the Pee-Wee Herman Stage Show: The Return production in Los Angeles before taking the event to Broadway. Even then, Reubens was expressing his desire to make a new film, and considering the stage show received positive reviews, he still has what it takes to entertain audiences.
Since Reubens’ quote is all we have to go off of for now, additional details are extremely limited (though it is expected to shoot in the early part of 2015), so we can’t say for sure if Apatow is still on board. Given that Reubens referenced that earlier report in his interview, there’s a good chance he is, and that would be a positive development. Apatow is the mind behind some of the most memorable modern comedies, and as the Pee-Wee brand looks for a reboot, getting his creative input would be a step in the right direction.
As for what the story will entail, that’s hardly anyone’s concern at this juncture. The main selling point is going to be Reubens revisiting his famous character and getting into all sorts of hilarious situations; regardless of what the main driving force behind them is. Without a director or screenwriter (officially) on board yet, we can’t say for sure how all that will turn out, but Reubens is definitely enthused about the prospect of another Pee-Wee movie, so that should encourage his legions of fans for the time being.
We’ll keep you updated on the new Pee-Wee Herman movie as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.