Could there be 5 more Power Rangers movies on the way?
Series creator Haim Saban gets a Hollywood star, recalls how the show got started and what he has planned for the future.
It's a good week to be a Power Rangers fan.
The highly-anticipated movie reboot, which is one of 10 sci-fi movies we're excited about this year, finally arrives in theaters this Friday. In its review, New York Magazine called the nostalgia-fueled film “actually pretty great."
As expected, the film's cast strolled down the red carpet at the premiere on Wednesday night. But there was also a pleasant surprise for the hard-core fans in attendance at the Fox Bruin Theatre in Los Angeles. The original cast from the 1990s series showed up to strike a "Morphin" pose for the camera.
Earlier in the day, another event drew throngs of "Rangers" fans. Haim Saban, the Israeli-American TV executive who invented the franchise was feted when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame surrounded by his family and friends. In a LA Times article celebrating Saban's work – titled "He believed in 'Power Rangers' when nobody else did, and it turned him into a billionaire" – the hard-working Saban recalled his childhood in Tel Aviv and how he joined a band instead of going to law school.
That's when he met Shuki Levy, a fellow musician who would become his writing partner. Together, the two Israelis pitched the idea for the "Power Rangers" around Hollywood. "It was a very unique story because we created something that both Haim Saban and I believed in very much," Levy told From The Grapevine. "We created it from scratch so to speak, because we had no idea what we were doing at the time. It was my first directorial debut. It was the first time I was involved in writing the script, and we created a pilot that we both felt very excited about, yet it took about seven years to get a network to agree to put it on. It was very challenging in the beginning. The rest is history."
(From left) Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, music producer David Foster, Haim Saban, and TV personality Simon Cowell pose at a ceremony honoring Saban with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
The series became an overnight success. An early promotional event in 1994 featuring a meet-and-greet with the cast backed up Los Angeles highway traffic for 10 miles as 35,000 excited children came rushing into the city center. “It felt like a Beatles concert,” Saban recalled. “Screaming girls … boys, kids going completely crazy.”
Now 23 years and 831 television episodes later, the new film is re-energizing the 1990s franchise. Directed by 32-yer-old South African filmmaker Dean Israelite, the movie is an origin story that follows the transition of five teenagers from simple high school students to superhero defenders of the planet. In addition to several Hollywood newcomers, the movie also features such veteran actors as Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston and the voice of comedian Bill Hader. (A little-known fact: Before he became a household name on "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Breaking Bad," Cranston did voiceovers for the original Power Rangers show.)
And now, even before the film opens, Saban has more good news for fans. In an interview with Variety this week, he revealed that he already has five more Power Rangers movies planned. “We already have a six-movie story arc,” Saban said. “If this film is as successful as I hope on March 24, on March 25 we’ll have the first story meeting for Movie No. 2.”
Israeli rock star Gene Simmons (left) and his wife actress Shannon Tweed at the "Power Rangers" premiere. (Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images)
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