EDITORIAL - Why Sony Should Create a Hancock Cinematic Universe

EDITORIAL - Why Sony Should Create a Hancock Cinematic Universe

A few reasons why Sony should consider building a cinematic universe around the foul mouthed superhero.



Ever since Marvel Studios struck platinum with their shared universe, other studios have been scrambling to get in on the action.

According to rumors, Fox plans to expand its X-Men universe with X-Force. There's also talk of the X-Men and Fantastic Four co-existing. Warner Bros. has a whole library of DC characters they haven't touched until now. And then there's Sony.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" opens this May with two more sequels already lined up. But the rumors are Sony isn't stopping there. Apparently, they have plans for expanding the Spider-Man cinematic universe with films for the Sinister Six and even Venom.

Who knows, maybe this could work. But it feels like they want to build a chain of lemonade stands but only have one lemon. Or do they?

In 2008 Sony released "Hancock" starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman. While the film itself was a mess, the seeds are there for a new shared universe. Here are a few reasons why it could work.

THE FIRST FILM WAS SALVAGEABLE

"Hancock" starts off promising but quickly falls apart as the movie goes along. However, as stated, the seeds are there for a Hancock Cinematic Universe - HCU.

It mentions Smith and Theron's characters are a part of a powerful race of beings created by the gods. They paired off and went their separate ways. Theron's character believes she and Smith are the only survivors. Obviously, she would be wrong. A writer could take this and run with it.

"Hancock" lacked two vital elements - a story and a real villain. It could've been as simple as a super villain's evil scheme causing Hancock to take up the mantle as hero. While it's too late for the first film, there's hope for any possible sequels and spin-offs.

An HCU "Phase 1" could revolve around the arrival of a new Big Bad. Someone on par with Thanos and this guy:



Sony's Phase 1 could tie up in a Justice League or Avengers type of film. Or maybe "Hancock 3". Either way, the story lines would wrap and we'd actually get to see Will Smith, and possibly allies, square off with a serious foe.

IT'S AN ORIGINAL PROPERTY

While Marvel, Fox and Warner Bros. have characters with longstanding histories, "Hancock" is a completely original property. That allows Sony a creative freedom the other studios don't have. Think about it - a lot of the fans' frustrations stem from filmmakers taking liberties with source material.

That wouldn't be the case with "Hancock". There's no established source material to screw up. The studio wouldn't have to worry about "Iron Man 3" type of heat. They wouldn't have the pressure of finding the right actor for an Aquaman or a Lex Luthor or a Wonder Woman.



Being an original property also changes audiences' expectations. "Iron Man 3" and "Man of Steel" caused the biggest uproars in 2013. Because, be it The Mandarin or Superman, audiences had an understanding of the source material and the filmmakers strayed from it.

There wouldn't be that level of expectation or disappointment with "Hancock". In fact, there's a better chance of audiences being pleasantly surprised than let down.

A NEW MYTHOLOGY

Again, creative freedom. Sony can hire writers to scrap what didn't work in the first film, (Smith and Theron losing their powers when they're together), and build on what did work. The whole point of a cinematic universe is to expand, so Sony should do just that - expand.

Hollywood gets a lot a flack for relying on reboots, sequels and adaptations. Audiences say they want something new. A HCU could provide that. We'd get the familiarity of what Marvel Studios has accomplished as well as a new take on the genre.

"Hancock" is the first film to truly acknowledge the consequences of superheroes' actions. The news reports about property damage, the government issuing him subpoenas - details like these gave the movie an authenticity future installments could thrive on.

They could throw in a rich backstory explaining Hancock's race and their history. Add some legit ground rules to that and fans will have something to sink their teeth into. It's been done before - a franchise creating a new mythology and becoming a phenomenon.



Toys, video games, anime. Say what you will about "Reloaded" and "Revolutions" but turning "The Matrix" into a franchise opened that universe wide open. The same can be done with a HCU.

WILL SMITH IS ALREADY ON BOARD



Will Smith is, hands down, one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Sony could easily build a universe around him and his character. And who better to explore it with than him?

It's a simple direction - Hancock learns there are others like him so he seeks them out. The evolution of his character after part one could have him grow into the role of leader. Not unlike Superman. Or Charles Xavier, if there's a younger generation of his people out there. Just so long as he keeps his edge…

RAY: Right now, there's a DA trying to coming up here and put you in jail.

HANCOCK: (while eating a banana) B*tch can try.

A Hancock sequel could introduce new characters who would get their own films. Smith could make appearances in the spin-offs, tying the HCU together. No doubt he would serve as producer and contribute creatively. It's all about utilizing his enormous star power. Unless, of course, he uses it to cast Jaden as star in one of the films.



IN CLOSING

Sony's gamble with Sinister Six and Venom films could pay off. It's uncharted territory. We've never had movies solely about super villains. But if the studio is worried about being left out of the shared universe fun, they do own a property better suited for it.



What do you think? Could a Hancock Cinematic Universe work? Sound off below and thanks for reading.
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