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R-Rated Live-Action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie in the Works

R-Rated Live-Action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie in the Works


  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin
    will be a dark R-rated live-action film, departing from its kid-friendly roots.
  • Producer Walter Hamada, known for his work with DC Films and horror movies, is leading the project with Paramount Pictures.
  • The Last Ronin
    comic series, created by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz, tells a dystopian story of revenge and survival.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has been a kid-friendly endeavor for many years now, but it’s finally going to get an R-rated live-action treatment courtesy of Paramount Pictures and a former head of DC Films. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount Pictures is in development on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin, which is a popular storyline that has been seen in IDW comics and is known for its violence and high body count. Tyler Burton Smith, who co-wrote the upcoming action film Boy Kills World, is penning the script and the intention is to make this a live-action feature that carries an R-rating.

Former head of DC Films, Walter Hamada, is producing the project through his 18hz production company as a part of a multi-year deal that he has with Paramount Pictures. In addition to heading DC Films, Hamada also oversaw Warner Bros. and their horror division, which included hits such as The Conjuring franchise and the two It feature films. Hamada’s 18hz production banner is primarily focused on making films for the horror genre.

The Last Ronin Is a Dark Ninja Turtles Story

Created by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz, The Last Ronin is not your typical Ninja Turtles story, and it’s about as dark as you can get. The plot is set in a totalitarian future New York City, and it tells the story of how the Ninja Turtles and Splinter are killed by the grandson of their Big Bad, Shredder, and synthetic ninjas. One of the Turtles manages to survive and vows to exact revenge on his fallen family. The hook of the miniseries, at least for some of its run, was that it wasn’t clear which Turtle survived because the survivor possessed the weapons of all four.


Will a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Show or Movie Ever Rival the 1990 Film?

The original live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was released over 30 years ago and still hasn’t been topped. Will it ever be?

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a black and white indie comic book in 1984 that played as a send up to Chris Claremont’s X-Men comics, which were popular at the time. A toy deal for the Turtles turned them into a moneymaking machine that also made them considerably more kid-friendly than their origins. During the late ’80s, a popular animated series was spawned which became immensely popular with the target audience.

The first live-action Ninja Turtles movie debuted in 1990 and followed the comics’ darker themes in its look and tone, but still managed to maintain an aesthetic that made it appealing to kids. The movie ultimately grossed $202 million globally on a $13.5 million budget, becoming the highest-grossing independent film at that time because it was released by the then indie studio, New Line Cinema. Sequels followed that toned down the mature themes that were made more in line with the animated series.

In the years since, the Ninja Turtles brand has continued to grow and prosper with more animated shows and films. Paramount Pictures scored the rights in 2009 and the result was two live-action films that were produced by Michael Bay and starred Megan Fox and Will Arnett. The most recent animated release, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which was produced by Seth Rogen, earned stellar reviews and respectable box office, grossing $118.6 million domestically. A sequel to that film is currently in the works. Check out our interview with the director below:

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