It seems like a feature film reboot of Mortal Kombat has been talked about for a long time, and even once James Wan was brought aboard to produce a few years ago, it still seemed like it was quite a ways off. Then few days ago, we heard that the new Mortal Kombat had finally started pre-production. Now we know when Mortal Kombat will arrive and the powerful competition it will face when it does.
According to Variety, Warner Bros. has picked March 5, 2021 as the date the next Mortal Kombat tournament begins in theaters. In keeping with the spirit of the property, Mortal Kombat is ready to fight some formidable competition -- because just days ago, it was announced that March 5, 2021 is also the new release date for the latest Masters of the Universe adaptation.
Masters of the Universe was at one point supposed to release this year, but that obviously isn’t happening. Now the Sony film from directors Adam and Aaron Nee and starring Netflix heartthrob Noah Centineo as He-Man will arrive in 2021. It will do battle with producer James Wan’s Mortal Kombat, which is being directed by Australian director Simon McQuoid, who has done commercial work for popular video games including Halo and Call of Duty.
Other films with their flag planted on March 5, 2021 are the animated Nimona and an Untitled Universal Event Film. The latter may make this one-on-one fight into a triple threat depending what it is, but at the moment the story of March two years from now will be Mortal Kombat testing its might against Masters of the Universe.
It’s an interesting bout given that both properties hold nostalgic sentiment for kids of the '80s and '90s. Both properties have also had previous feature film adaptations. The 1980s cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was adapted into Masters of the Universe starring Dolph Lundgren in 1987, and Midway’s video game series, which first debuted in 1992, received a feature film in 1995. That film is still held up as one of the best video game adaptations to date.
Anecdotally, I think Mortal Kombat has maintained more cultural relevance and awareness than Masters of the Universe and that may help it in this fight. In fact, the latest Mortal Kombat video game, Mortal Kombat 11, was just released to rave reviews back in April.
We don’t know much about either film yet, and neither directing team -- Aaron and Adam Nee vs. Simon McQuoid -- has enough of a track record to say one film has the competitive advantage creatively. I will be curious to see if Mortal Kombat goes the R-rated route, as its bloody source material would dictate and many fans might hope for. That would certainly impact its chances to defeat the almost assuredly PG-13 Masters of the Universe.
Of course, two years from now is a long time and it is entirely possible that one of these films will blink and seek greener pastures elsewhere on the calendar. Regardless of ratings, I feel these two films are essentially competing for the same millennial audience and would probably be better served not cannibalizing each other. Because whoever wins, it won’t be a flawless victory.
With pre-production beginning soon and filming starting later this year, hopefully we’ll begin to hear more details about Mortal Kombat, like which characters will be showing up and who will be playing them.
Mortal Kombat looks to fatality Masters of the Universe when both open in theaters on March 5, 2021. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see all of this year’s biggest movies and let us know in the poll below what ticket you’ll be buying in 2021.