It's all fun and games until they start remaking your favorite films, and then it's war!
A remake of Joe Johnston's The Rocketeer is now under development by Disney, according to Vulture. It's in the early stages, with the studio planning to meet soon with writers who will be pitching their ideas.
The 1991 movie was based on the independent comic book series by Dave Stevens, first published in 1982 and set in the 1930s, featuring pilot Cliff Secord and his voluptuous girlfriend Jenny. Bill Campbell and Jennifer Connelly played those roles in the movie, with Alan Arkin as Cliff's mechanic buddy, Timothy Dalton as a preening actor, and a very fine supporting cast.
I've always loved the movie and have been happy to overlook its imperfections, in part because it manifests such a positive spirit and is so cheerfully indebted to art deco and the Hollywood studio pictures of the era in which it's set. Unfortunately, The Rocketeer failed to spark with domestic audiences in a big way; finishing third in its opening weekend (behind Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, City Slickers, and Dying Young.) It ended up grossing $46 million in the US versus a reported budget of $40 million.
The financials did not warrant a sequel at the time, but in the current atmosphere, a remake could make sense. X-Men: First Class and Captain America: The First Avenger have shown that audiences are open to seeing comic book characters in period movies, and though obviously both of those pictures had a bigger audience familiar with them in advance, The Rocketeer carries a certain amount of name recognition.
The sticking point could be Iron Man, and here is where any eventual remake will need to rely on Disney's marketing team to establish the differences between the two superficially similar characters, because Cliff Secord is in no way comparable to Tony Stark. And, really, The Rocketeer is strikingly different as well. But appearances and perceptions matter.
Boy, I've almost talked myself into anticipating a remake of a movie I love without reservation! That kind of talk is dangerous in times of war ...