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SYFY WIRE Kyle Higgins

WIRE Buzz: Scooby-Doo hits the stage; Netflix eyes theater; Hadrian’s Wall gets adaptation

By Jacob Oller
SCOOBY-DOO Hanna-Barbera

Today’s WIRE Buzz covers some strange corners of the world of genre, including the business side of things (like questions of distribution/production monopolies in film), old-school cartoon stage shows, and interstellar noir. Of course Netflix is involved.

But before we get into that business, it’s time to check in with the members of Mystery, Inc. The Scooby gang recently announced it’d be branching out into an animated film with Scoob!, but now the classic cartoon is going to be taking masks off of old property owners in a place it’s never been: the stage.

According to a release, Scooby-Doo and the Lost City of Gold is coming from Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Monlove. The theatrical show isn’t just a stage production, but a multimedia piece of strangeness by the same people that brought properties like The Nut Job and Ice Age to this odd adaptive sphere. With live music, magic, singing, dancing, puppets, “interactive audience response video, aerial arts, and video mapping” (whatever those last ones mean), this production will be directed by Pierre Boileau and designed by Cirque du Soleil veteran Guy-St-Amour.

The production aims to premiere in March 2020 — corresponding with Scooby-Doo’s 50th anniversary — and then tour the world for a five-year run.

Now for something that’s far more serious but no less surreal: Netflix is trying to buy Hollywood Boulevard’s Egyptian Theatre.

According to Deadline, the streaming giant has been in talks with current owner American Cinematheque to make its first theater purchase an iconic one. While Netflix currently works with indie theaters to showcase films that it deems fit for a theatrical run — like Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma — this potential acquisition would simply be a piece of preservation.

The nearly century-old theater has been a landmark for film fans and, as Netflix has recently been the target of much criticism from the industry old guard, this could simply be a move to generate goodwill and add a dash of golden age Hollywood to its catalog. American Cinematheque would still be able to run screenings, lectures, and fests on the weekends while Netflix programs its weekday nights — though the details are still hazy on what exactly that entails.

Since the sale can’t be completed until the city weighs in on permits and real estate details, the potential deal is now up for debate among both film fans and antitrust advocates — because if Netflix shows its own movies, it may be replicating an old practice of the studio system.

Finally, a comic favorite is getting his first adaptation. Batman and Power Rangers writer Kyle Higgins Hadrian’s Wall (with art by Alec Siegel and Rod Reis) is getting a feature film adaptation from Gunpowder & Sky’s sci-fi division, DUST.

According to a release, Higgins is set to write and direct the space-set noir himself — and fans can already get a taste of his talent in the area by watching the live-action Power Rangers: Shattered Grid trailer he directed. The Image Comics book follows a detective looking to solve a murder in the midst of a war between Earth and its colony — only the victim is his ex-wife’s new husband. Light your space-age cigarettes and lower the shades, this is more Double Indemnity than The Expanse.

Higgins said in a statement that, “The best murder mysteries are vehicles for character study, and at its core, this is a story about relationships, set in one of the most isolated places in the universe. I think fans of the book will be as thrilled as I am.” Gunpowder & Sky has not released information on when Hadrian’s Wall will begin production.