Men in Black Producers Explain Why 21 Jump Street Crossover Didn’t Happen

A Men in Black producer says a proposed crossover with another Sony franchise, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s 21 Jump Street, just couldn’t “quite get ‘there’” as the two franchises are “not very compatible.”

Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would have produced the proposed project, titled MIB 23, with James Bobin (The Muppets, Dora and the Lost City of Gold) directing. The crossover debuted a logo at CinemaCon 2016 and would have seen the cops, who pose as teenaged high school students in a drug bust, join the alien regulation agency as members of the Men in Black.

“Chris and Phil are maybe the only people... because we love this franchise, and at the moment I think for us to even say ‘Okay’ to that was a big deal. But we love them! They’re amazing,” Men in Black franchise producer Laurie MacDonald told CinemaBlend.

“We were a little stalled on another project - we had this initial impulse, and we were having trouble getting a script ‘there.’ We thought, ‘Oh, they’re brilliant.’” But the project, MacDonald added, “didn’t quite get ‘there.’”

Added franchise producer Walter Parkes, “After we got into it, I remember, I think [MacDonald and I] had this conversation: They are at, their heart, opposites.”

Men in Black, which returns to the big screen with a Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson-led spinoff, “comes down to taking extraordinary situations and playing them in a comedic deadpan way. Jump Street is taking very recognizable genre situations and going over the top with them,” Parkes said.

“And, actually, that doesn’t mesh. It was a good intention, and everyone was smart, but when you really step back and look at what’s at the heart of either of those two series of movies, they’re not very compatible.”

“I think everyone felt creatively, ‘Not quite; almost,’” MacDonald said. Parkes added the idea was “worth a try.”

“It was one of those things, because usually we all tire of everything trying to be made into a franchise, but to us it was actually such a crazy bold idea that’s also the reason we said yes,” MacDonald said. “It was just a crazy impulse that was worth exploring.”

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The studio plans to revive Jump Street with Zendaya (Spider-Man: Far From Home) and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip).

Sony releases Men in Black: International June 14.