The 1994 screen adaptation of The Crow — based on James O’Barr’s comic book of the same name — has arguably attracted an interesting fanbase throughout the years. But that doesn’t mean it’s a complicated story. Eric Draven is a regul’r dude who either works in construction or plays in a crappy band depending on whether you’re looking at the comic or the film version. Bad guys kill him and his girlfriend. So he comes back, hunts down the bad guys, and kills them in retribution. When you subtract the grimdark atmosphere and supernatural elements, it’s the exact same plot from every mediocre action movie ever made.
So how is it possible that multiple professional filmmakers — all of whom have surely completed far more difficult projects in their careers — have been trying to put together a Crow remake for a decade, only to have it fall apart every single time?
Deadline broke the news yesterday that a mere five weeks before principal photography was scheduled to start, star Jason Momoa and director Corin Hardy took their leave of the new Crow. The project may have been on the verge of losing its distribution deal with Sony which, evidently, it never actually had in the first place. Deadline doesn’t add much editorializing, but at a glance, it appears Davis Films — which owns the movie rights to The Crow — dropped the ball finalizing the distribution deal, hence Momoa and Hardy’s abrupt exit.
All this comes on the heels of literally 10 years and starts and stops for the action/horror hybrid. AVClub summarizes the string of bummers pretty well, noting that whispers started circulating about a Crow remake in 2008, and the film was tentatively announced in 2010. Since then it’s stalled out numerous times. Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Luke Evans, and Momoa have all been either rumored or officially attached to play the lead, and each has subsequently become officially unattached.
But in a way, there’s sorta-kinda already been a few Crow remakes. All three sequels — straight-to-video though they may be, in most cases — follow the same template as the original story. Bad guys murder a dude and his loved one, the dude comes back for revenge, succeeds, and the credits roll. The difference is the protagonists in those movies are Ashe Corvin (The Crow: City of Angels), Alex Corvis (The Crow: Salvation), and Jimmy Cuervo (The Crow: Wicked Prayer). Those characters are not technically Eric Draven, but they all look more-or-less the same and do all the same shit. Incidentally, although each of those movies have their charms, they’re also objectively all pretty terrible.
So maybe the right question to ask isn’t, “Why is it seemingly so hard to get a new Crow made?” It’s “Why must a new Crow be made at all?”