From Funkotron to Hollywood
In a pretty surprising announcement that I don’t think anybody saw coming, Amazon Studios has announced that it has begun pre-production on a new feature film adaptation of the classic Sega Mega Drive adventure ToeJam & Earl — The new movie was announced yesterday in The Hollywood Reporter.
The new film is being produced by Unanimous Media — the studio founded by Stephen Curry — with a screenplay penned by Amos Vernon and Nunzio Randazzo, who have worked on the Hotel Transylvania franchise, as well as the upcoming Disney+ series, Superfudge. The movie will be co-produced by Story Kitchen, headed up by John Wick scribe Derek Kolstad and Sonic the Hedgehog producer Dmitri Johnson.
ToeJam & Earl, created by Mark Voorsanger and Greg Johnson, hit the 16-bit market in 1991 and concerns the esoteric adventures of two hep-cat space aliens, who become marooned on Earth after their spaceship crashlands on our horrible little planet. From there, the two tripped-out protagonists must gather together the remnants of their ship, while avoiding delightfully satirical characters that symbolize the bizarre nature of human life.
Something of a cult classic, ToeJam & Earl would be followed by two sequels: 1993’s Panic of Funkotron and 2002’s Mission to Earth. More recently, 2019 saw the release of crowdfunded title Back in the Groove, which returned the franchise to its split-screen, 3/4 perspective mechanics. While TJ & E have been a part of gaming for many decades, the franchise is tightly held, with most of the games merely “good” at best. As such it seems an odd choice for a modern movie adaptation. However, the colorful universe and way-out characters and situations should make for some pretty twisted entertainment.
The untitled ToeJam & Earl movie is currently in pre-production at Amazon Studios.