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For some time now, the notion of a 21 Jump Street / Men In Black crossover picture has gone from cool rumor to fast-tracked possibility in record time. With James Bobin developing the project, and Sony pumped about the idea, the odds of seeing Schmidt and Jenko meeting Agents J and K for some alien antics was looking pretty locked up. At least, that's how it sounded until Jonah Hill gave a status update on the project that sounded less than peachy. In fact, it sounds like the wheels have come right off, dooming the project to development hell.
Those remarks came courtesy of an interview between Jonah Hill and The Toronto Sun, in which Hill described the following field of landmines that stand in the way of the project's success:
I had the idea. But I doubt that movie will get made. It's too complicated. They're trying to make all the deals, but it's kind of impossible with all the Men in Black stuff. The Jump Street films were so fun to make and the whole joke of them was they were making fun of remakes and sequels and reboots and then now it's become a giant sequel, reboot. It's almost become what we were making fun of and it's hard to maintain that joke when it's so high stakes.
Right there, it sounds like there's two big problems staring what has been called MIB 23 right in the face. One problem is the fact that by making a Men In Black sequel that ties in the 21 Jump Street universe, the series that's made a living spoofing Hollywood's worst practices now becomes a true example of such practices. In other words, you may as well rename the film, "MIB 23: Schmidt and Jenko Sell Out," because that's what it's starting to sound like. However, it's the second problem that's more pressing, as the "Men In Black stuff" sounds like it may hint at the more major cause for cold feet on MIB 23.
Much like Disney made the decision to pull the plug on the second Tron sequel after Tomorrowland bombed at last year's box office, there's a possibility that Sony isn't interested in a Men In Black reboot after the massive losses they're looking to take after Ghostbusters (2016) failed to set the box office on fire. Considering how the studio is more than likely still reeling from the hacking scandal that crippled their operations not so long ago, and looking at how those losses look to be in the neighborhood of $70 million, sweeping this expensive and uncertain project under the rug wouldn't seem like that bad of an idea.
While crossovers and reboots always generate a healthy amount of skepticism, MIB 23 sounded like a good idea, if anything so that it could done to crossover movies what the first two 21 Jump Street films did with both adaptations and sequels being made from pre-existing material. If anything, this could be the final entry in the trilogy that ends the big joke on a strong, fitting punchline. Should this project fail, we'll probably be treated to a comparatively boring reboot of Men In Black; as seeing Schmidt, Jenko, J, and K on the same screen sounds way better than just revising the origin story to a classic.
As soon as we hear any updates on whether MIB 23 will be go or no-go for launch, we'll report back with the news. In the meantime, you'll be able to see Jonah Hill next in War Dogs, which is set to hit theaters next Friday.