Could one of the cultiest cult classics of all time still have a shot at a followup?
It's been 27 years now since the delightfully weird The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension first hit movie theaters, and it's still got a rather impressive following passing DVDs around to willing new viewers. It's one of those films that just won't go away, not in spite of but because of its oddness.
But remember that promise of a sequel? It's right there in the closing credits that we'll get to see Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League. Whatever happened to that? According to director W.D. Richter, there's a lot of legal mumbo jumbo involved that no one's ever really been able to sort out.
I believe MGM owns the theatrical rights. The other big insanity for Buckaroo is that the paper trail for the rights is almost impossible to follow. Warner Bros. wants to do an adult animated version of Buckaroo. PolyGram sold it to MGM as a big bundle -- all these films move around. And then, finally, you're sitting at a studio that you found out purchased part of someone's library and they are reluctant to do anything with the title because they don't know for a fact that David Begleman, who was a notorious double dealer, might not have sold the international rights in perpetuity to some guy in Bangkok. And even if they are enthusiastic about doing a sequel, they'll say, "our legal department is saying we don't have a clear chain of title here, so we're not going to stick our heads up, invest money, and then discover that some guy says, 'Oh, by the way, I have all the international rights.'"
But even with all that in mind, could World Crime League ever happen? Richter's not giving up.
Technically, we have not violated our promise to the audience. We try to keep the franchise and the brand alive, anyway, because we never know when somebody is going to say, 'Yeah, make something else.'
So, even if it's been nearly three decades, even if all the stars are that much older and the trail of the sequel is that much colder, Buckaroo Banzai could still return one day. It sounds extremely improbable, yes, but not any more improbable than the first film.
What do you think? Is it too late, or are you ready for a Buckaroo sequel?