Paramount has recently optioned the movie rights for
Ray Bradbury’s Martian
Chronicles – a collection of short stories first published in 1950.
The stories take place in the “future” of 1999 to
2057 in which colonists from Earth flee their doomed planet to settle on
Contrary to what you might have gleaned from recent
NASA reports, the planet is actually inhabited in Bradbury’s stories and
the Earthlings come in conflict with the native inhabitants. Like James
Cameron’s Avatar, Bradbury’s stories also have
analogies to the devastation of Native American populations, something
which may have been a factor in Paramount obtaining the movie rights.
Incidentally the stories have already been filmed in
1980 as a TV mini-series starring Rock Hudson as the leader of the leisure
suit-wearing Earth invaders.
Flawed as the TV series may be, the format might be
better suited to the source material than your average running time movie.
(Sure, it might work as a three-and-a-half-hour-long Ben Hur-like
epic, but nobody makes those any more, now do they?)
Fans of Bradbury might fume that Hollywood will dumb
the material down to make it palatable to multiplex audiences, but the
truth is that they shouldn’t lose any sleep over it: The Martian
Chronicles might never make it to the big screen.
After all, Universal studios - the previous right
holders – acquired the rights in 1997 and never did anything with it in
all that time. Paramount might just do the same thing when someone in the
accounting department realizes that audiences aren’t particularly
interested in anything to do with the red planet right now (see:
Mars Needs Moms, huge box office
failure of) . . .