After the now billion-dollar-grossing Aquaman defied critics of good taste everywhere, executives at every major studio are wondering how to reproduce its success. How do I know? Because I’m the clinical psychologist for dozens of them, and I don’t believe in doctor-patient confidentiality.
The key, they claim, is water. “WET MOVIES SELL TICKETS!” I heard one patient/producer shout. By prying into their business lives under the guise of therapy, I learned what the major studios’ plans are. Allow me to violate federal law and share them with you.
Why pay for writers to create new stories when you have perfectly good public domain material you can adapt? Jason Momoa returns in Justice 20,000: League’s Under the Sea, an adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic undersea adventure. The film pits a time-traveling Aquaman (and the League’s other, lesser-known heroes) against the mysterious Captain Nemo. Nemo is set to be played by a completely CGI Sir Ian McKellan, who my producer-patients say is surely dead by now, and was notoriously old to work with anyway.
What’s better than the tale of a half-human, half-Atlantean prince with superhuman powers, played by a half-Polynesian, half-titan movie star? Another tale of a half-human, half-Atlantean prince with superhuman powers played by a half-Polynesian, half-titan movie star! Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Marvel’s titular superhero The Sub-Mariner, in a story that’s basically a shot-for-shot remake of Aquaman. Johnson adds some much needed star power to the struggling Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie and the lawsuits have already been greenlighted.
After a deep dive into the ocean of MGM’s properties, executives found they still had the rights to Flipper, the lovable dolphin who squeaked his way into America’s hearts for three seasons in the 1960s. “I get paid whether it flops or not,” my patient said, “So why not reboot it? Seriously, why the hell not?”
Finally, the dark sequel to Free Willy (1993) that you’ve been waiting for. In this underwater nightmare, Find Willy, the titular orca is the only one who can identify a killer in a cold case from 1991. The grizzled detective/marine biologist looking for him is torn between his duty to the law, and his insatiable taste for delicious dorsal fins.
Want even more underwater Jason Momoa? Then you’ll love The Big Mermaid, where the singing talents of the actor will be… well, terrible, I presume.
Kevin Costner’s Waterworld (1995) left everyone wondering, what happened in Australia? Finally we get an answer in Waterworld: Down Under. Apparently, before the world flooded, the Aussies built a dome over their continent, and now, even a half-mile underwater, they are still putting shrimp on the barbie! (Sentient, angry, mutant shrimp.) “Australia is the next best thing to Atlantis,” one producer said, adding, “Americans can’t find either one on a map.”
Mission: Impossible — Red Tide brings back Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, in more death-defying stunts than ever before (because the movie will be longer). Will Mr. Cruise be doing his own stunts? Yes. Will he be shown holding his breath for the entire 37-minute final act? Yes again. Can he, in fact, do that?
How dare you. How dare you doubt him. Get out of my exposé.
20th Century Fox
Remember at the end of Titanic (1997) when nonagenarian Rose (Frances Fisher) dropped the jewel “The Heart of the Ocean” into the heart of the ocean? Is it possible – hear me out – is it just possible that a jewel that size could have the power to bring back a century-old, barnacle-encrusted corpse from the dead? Is it possible that science doesn’t have all the answers? Is it possible that there’s still magic in the world?
If you can believe any of those things, then surely you can believe that James Cameron is working on a supernatural sequel, where Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brought back to life by the power of love. And then becomes a brine-soaked zombie that starts an apocalypse when he comes ashore in New York City.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Shape of Water (2018) proved that nothing says Oscar-bait like a woman and her sexy fish chum. Can Guillermo del Toro top his Best Picture-winning masterpiece with a sequel?
No, of course not. He wouldn’t touch it. So the sequel, The Shape of a Lady in the Water, is being written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. During a private session, I asked my patient (whom I’ll refer to simply as “M. Night”) if he was going to sneakily use this film to somehow connect del Toro’s film to his own abysmal Lady in the Water (2006). He asked if that was really pertinent to his mental health, and I said it most certainly was. Mine too. These people drive me crazy.