The robot fighting film Real Steel is getting a television adaptation at Disney+.
According to Variety, the project is in very early development, and while no writers or actors are attached, director Shawn Levy is returning to executive produce. He'll be joined by Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jacqueline Levine, Susan Montford and Don Murphy, with 20th Television producing. It's unclear if the show will be an adaptation of the 2011 movie or a continuation.
Based on Richard Matheson's short story Steel, Real Steel centers on a former boxer named Charlie Keaton (played by Hugh Jackman) in a world where robots have replaced human fighters. After the mother of his son dies, Charlie gains temporary custody, and the two bond while training their new robot fighter, Atom.
Though Real Steel was only received moderately by critics, it fared well financially, grossing $299.27 million worldwide on a $110 million budget. It has also developed a strong cult following in the years since its release, with many fans advocating for a sequel.
"The most frequent tweet I get is about the sequel to Real Steel," Levy said in 2016. "I wish I had a conclusive answer. Here’s the truth: We started developing a sequel like six months before the movie came out. We knew as soon as we started previewing this movie and it was getting mid to high 90s at every test screening. It happens really rarely, but the movie had something that audiences responded to and so we started coming up with ideas for the sequel. The simple truth, the most concise truth I can express, is that it proved, and it has proven, really hard to come up with a sequel that doesn’t feel like a re-hash of the first movie. Yeah, people wanted to see Atom beat Zeus, I would love to see Atom beat Zeus, but you don’t want to retell the story of kind of an alienation between Charlie and Max because that is really the plot of the first movie."
Not everyone involved in the original is in favor of more Real Steel, though. Evangeline Lilly, who played the daughter of Charlie's boxing coach, recently explained that she felt a sequel would tarnish the original's legacy. "I thought there ought to have been a sequel because the film was so good and it was so beloved," she said. "But I know that the reason there wasn’t was because the film was marketed as this testosterone-driven, rah-rah, beat-him-up kind of macho movie for boys between the ages of 18 and 35. But in actuality, it was a beautiful, heartfelt father-son redemption story for the family to watch together. And families didn’t find the film until after it had gone to DVD at that point in time, and then streaming. So it wasn’t marketed to them, but had it been marketed to families, it would have most certainly had a sequel."
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