Hard to believe, but for anyone under the age of 30, Tom Hanks has always been a household name. And, even though I personally am of the middle-aged nerd variety, Tom Hanks was pretty well established early in my memory thanks to a little 1984 movie about a man who discovers a mermaid, brings her to New York, and through wacky misadventures, falls in love -- Splash.
On paper (and with a bit of hindsight) Splash sounds like a hit based on the talent alone -- Tom Hanks, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Darryl Hannah, and with Ron Howard directing. A splash hit? Yeah, in its way. Splash was a classic example of a low-budget genre flick making back more than expected. And more importantly, it was one of those Sunday movies that showed up constantly on basic cable. Splash was, in no small part, an example of how Tom Hanks became a household name.
Despite that success, though, most people don't remember Splash. That's not surprising considering the many more massive blockbusters Hanks and Howard would go on to create in the intervening decades between 1984 and now.
Then, a funny thing happened in the year of our lord 2016 -- a Chinese film called Mermaid with a somewhat similar plot to Splash (a mermaid falls in love with an ordinary man), made over $550 million, most of that in China alone. Do you hear that sound? Cha-ching! Disney certainly heard it. You like a mermaid flick, China? Well, Hollywood love remakes and money, so Splash is coming back!
The other thing Hollywood is into lately is gender-swapping its remakes. But try this idea on for size -- instead of the mermaid being a beautiful woman, he's the beefiest of beefcakes. That's right -- Channing Tatum's about to get himself fitted for a fish tail. And, you know ... if Magic Mike is anything to go on, that's not a bad idea. For MANY reasons, not just money.
And the flick will also swap out the average Joe character that Tom Hanks played for an average Jane who will be taken on by Jillian Bell. Bell already co-starred with Tatum in 22 Jump Street and worked in the writers' room at Saturday Night Live. Bell also reportedly pitched the idea to Disney.
Ron Howard will return to produce along with original Splash writer/producer Brian Grazer. Script duties, however, will fall to relative newcomer Marja-Lewis Ryan.
While Splash may have been a relative success 32 years ago, it certainly never became part of the cultural zeitgeist the way something like, say, Ghostbusters, did. So the hope, one assumes is that there won't be quite so many old-school Splash fans screaming about the sacrosanctity of mermaid remakes. Also, it sure wouldn't hurt if China's still into fishy love stories by the time Splash redux sees release.