Urban Legend Remake Being Fast Tracked by Studio

Fans of late 90s horror-thrillers are in for a fun blast from the past as Deadline reports that Sony Pictures' Screen Gems is quickly moving forward on a new take on Urban Legend. It's unclear if this new version will be at all related to the 1998 original film but this 2020s take on the material will be written and directed by Colin Minihan (Grave Encounters, What Keeps You Alive) and is already in the process of casting its lead roles. Mike Medavoy of Phoenix Pictures, who previously produced the original film, will once again produce, this time with Benjamin Anderson.

The new take on the slasher franchise will be a timely version of the material, focusing on the quickness with which fear and a new breed of urban legends can spread on social media and the internet. The trade notes that "the movie will center on a diverse cast of college students as they navigate a series of bizarre deaths that resemble urban legends linked to the darkest corners of social media." It seems likely that this new version will also deal with the likes of "fake news" and internet scary stories collectively known as "creepy pasta."

The 1998 original film featured a veritable cast of "Who's who" for modern Hollywood, starring the likes of Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Joshua Jackson, and Tara Reid, plus fan-favorites from the horror community like Brad Dourif (Child's Play), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Danielle Harris (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers). Among the many urban legends used in the film as slasher killing motifs were the "Killer hiding the back seat" legend, plus Pop Rocks and soda, "person slashes ankles while hiding under your car," and "gangs drive with their headlights off at night." Keep in mind this was a time before widespread internet use, we were all very easily fooled.

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It's certainly possible that the new Urban Legend could focus on popular modern urban legends, such as "Charlie Charlie," "Jeff the Killer," "The Momo challenge," or others. It is worth noting that many of these popular online urban legends are officially in development for their own movies, so if Screen Gems wishes to use them they'll likely need to create their own or pony up. Screen Gems previously attempted something like this with the official movie based on the Slender Man myth, which became a notorious bomb and earned a 7% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Released in September of 1998 from Sony's Tristar Pictures, Urban Legend grossed over $72 million at the domestic box office. Written by the late Silvio Horta, who went on to create the series Ugly Betty, the film spawned two sequels with Urban Legends: Final Cut arriving in theaters to disappointing box office in 2000 and Urban Legends: Bloody Mary going straight to video in 2005.

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