When Joe Johnson helmed Captain America: The First Avenger, he already had experience making a superhero movie based in the pre-WWII era. In 1991 he directed the Disney Studios backed movie The Rocketeer based on the 1982 graphic novel by the late Dave Stevens. The film was about prototype jetpack that fell into the hands of stunt pilot who used it to fight crime and Nazi spies. It starred Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Terry O’Quinn and Timothy Dalton. The movie was not the summer blockbuster Disney had hoped it to be. Consequently the two sequels they had initially planned to make were suspended. However it did in fact make a profit and that was with competition like Robin Hood: Price of Thieves, City Slickers and Terminator 2: Judgment Day to contend with. Its budget was $40 million and it made $46 million in the US box office with another $20 million in foreign markets. It went on to net another $23 million in video rentals and continues to make Disney money in home DVD sales. It has continued to have a devoted following even today. Since that time there has a persistent demand for either the sequels or even a reboot. But as of now it still has yet to happen.
Skip ahead 20 years. Despite the fact that Disney now owns Marvel Comics and all the media and marketing rights to virtually all of their characters, they have decided to take other properties they already own and make remake them. According to Vulture, rumored among the properties has been The Rocketeer, which they’ve pulled out of mothballs and started accepting pitch ideas for bringing it back to the screen. Part of the reason behind the renewed interest might be from IDW Publishing bringing back the character for comic publication. Another reason is that new studio head Alan Horn wants new project to renew Disney’s brand as something other than a studio whose best success is distributing other people’s work
Can a move about a man in helmet and jetpack with a red and gold costume not named Iron Man be the wisest of moves by Disney? Can the newer movie capture much of the same fun the first one did? Will it get the proper marketing strategy the first one never did? I cannot say. But in the meanwhile I do recommend watching the original movie. It a fun adventure and I personally feel it’s aged nicely- old visual effects and all.
The Rocketeer Fan Made Cartoon Short
Rocketeer Figure Photo