Hollywood’s Current Obsession With Robin Hood Continues at Disney

Source: 20th Century Fox

After decades on the scene, Robin Hood is still as popular as ever in Hollywood. Just a couple of months after Sony’s plans to launch a series of films around the heroic outlaw were revealed, Disney is now also pursuing its own big-screen take on the character.

According to Deadline, the studio has acquired the script for Nottingham & Hood, a modernized version of the archer’s story. Penned by first-time writer Brandon Barker and produced by The Picture Co.’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman, the project chronicles Robin Hood’s adventures in the Sherwood Forest and his rivalry with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Though no specific plot details have been released yet, the film has been described as boasting a similar tone to that of Pirates of the Caribbean, and Disney is reportedly hoping it will help launch a new adventure franchise that fits its global brand.

This is the second time in as many months that a major studio has pinned such high hopes on the well-known character. Back in October, Sony negotiated a seven-figure deal to buy Hood, a project following Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men — Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet — as a team of vigilantes in England’s Middle Ages. As described at the time, the studio is aiming to make Hood the beginning of an Avengers-style universe.

The move isn’t entirely surprising, given what a hot commodity shared universes are these days. Still, the news was met with mixed reactions, with some wondering whether the Robin Hood story really has enough interesting tie-in characters and adjacent storylines to warrant multiple feature films.

From the sounds of it, Disney’s plans aren’t quite as ambitious as Sony’s. If (as implied) the project goes the Pirates of the Caribbean-style route, then moviegoers can probably expect another charming set of action films, each of which follows Robin Hood and his band as they embark on a different adventure. Since each movie will feature the same main group of characters, the studio also won’t have to deal with the question of whether the Merry Men can actually carry their own spinoff solo films.

Both Disney and Sony face the same challenge of finding a new way to present Robin Hood, a character who’s already seen countless movie, TV show, and book adaptations over the years and which who was captured on screen in Ridley Scott’s Russell Crowe-starring historical epic film as recently as 2010. So which of the studio’s potential series will fare better? Disney has a better track record with franchises as the owner of Marvel, Star Wars, and Toy Story. Meanwhile, Sony’s most recent high-profile universe, The Amazing Spider-Man, has earned mixed reviews.

In the end, it could simply come down to a matter of timing. Whichever studio gets its film out first will likely hold an advantage, as it could steal the buzz from its successor. Of course, the anticipation surrounding each project will depend largely on its cast, which have yet to be announced.

Robin Hood isn’t the only story that has Disney battling another studio. It is also currently competing with Warner Bros., with each studio heading its own adaptation of The Jungle Book.

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