After a somewhat disappointing year in the media business, Viacom has decided to rethink their entire approach to media in general. Their latest strategy is to begin developing deeper ties between their flagship cable networks and Paramount Pictures. One of their most successful networks is none other than Nickelodeon, and they actually announced plans to co-develop no fewer than four new Nickelodeon movies in the next few years. The first movie slated for release is entitled Amusement Park, and it will no doubt feature a slew of properties owned by Nickelodeon Studios.
Although none of these announcements made any specific mention of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, much of the language they did use suggested that Viacom probably won’t let the property get stale anytime soon. Here are a few reasons that this latest revamp could mean great things for our heroes in a half shell.
The Ninja Turtles Are One of Nickelodeon’s Best Assets
Although the producers at Platinum Dunes announced late last year that they currently have no plans for another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, the fact remains that this franchise represents one of the most significant properties that Viacom owns. This revamp has been referred to as an attempt to replicate the success of Disney, and it’s pretty clear that at least Paramount intends to do just that. After all, the only movie they have to represent their plans for the future is Amusement Park, which will be a CGI animated film directed by Pixar animator Dylan Brown.
That being said, it’s worth noting that Disney has seen success largely thanks to their acquisition of properties such as Star Wars and Marvel Studios. If Viacom intends to fully replicate Disney, it will be important to flaunt their most significant franchises – and that includes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Being that they announced three additional Nickelodeon films for theatrical release in the next few years, it’s entirely possible that one of those projects could in fact be related to the Ninja Turtles.
It’s very likely that one of the movies will be a Nicktoons film, while another could be the third Spongebob movie. This leaves a fourth project open, and that could mean that Paramount indeed intends to bring the TMNT back to the silver screen at some point in the next 3-4 years. After the unimpressive results of Out of the Shadows, it is unlikely that they would choose to work with Platinum Dunes on this project. If and when we do see another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, it will likely be a reboot which is co-produced by another studio.
Considering that IDW has recently seen a lot of success with their production studio, is it possible that Paramount would choose to work with them on a new TMNT movie? Only time will tell.
Viacom Wants More Ties Between Paramount and Nickelodeon
In addition to their plans for the world of film, it would appear that Viacom also wants the movie studio to bring some of their successful properties to the small screen. Although they have announced that their focus will be on The Paramount Network (a proposed re-branding of Spike TV), there is a very real possibility that any successful Nickelodeon films could be developed into a television series for the cable network. Should they manage to produce a successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, chances are they would at least consider bringing that interpretation of the turtles to television as well.
Once again, this is an area where IDW could help out. The success of their production company has been focused pretty much entirely on television shows, so it stands to reason that Paramount/Viacom might be willing to work with them to bring a new interpretation of the TMNT to Nickelodeon, or perhaps even to their new Paramount Network. The head honchos of both companies have expressed great interest in working on new scripted television shows for their most popular networks, so it’s absolutely possible that we could see a new approach to our beloved franchise at some point in the near future.
We Might Finally Get Better Physical and Digital DistributionSurprisingly, while discussing their plans for a revamp of Viacom, the company actually admitted that they hadn’t done well enough with their approach to both physical and digital media formats. Bob Bakish, CEO of Viacom, announced that they have plans to “make big moves in the digital world and physical world.” I think most shellheads would agree that this has been a long time coming, as their approach to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on DVD and digital platforms has been quite bewildering over the past few years. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve heard promises like this, so we’ll just have to wait and see if Bob’s words hold any water.
As for digital distribution, there are already positive signs that should give TMNT fans hope for the future. Netflix Canada recently added the first two seasons of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to their service. It may only be the first two seasons, but at least we’re seeing Nickelodeon expand the reach of their digital content. Being that Bakish spent a lot of time talking about the ever changing habits of younger viewers (ergo, they all want their content on demand), it would make sense for them to start offering Nick’s TMNT on as many digital platforms as possible.
Will any of this come to fruition?
Honestly? We have no idea. All we really know is that Viacom has expressed absolutely no interest in selling off the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property. This would indicate that they do in fact have plans to work with the franchise both now and in the future. Their silence makes it almost impossible to tell exactly what will happen next for the turtles, but at least there are a few legitimate reasons to be hopeful.