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R-Rated, Live-Action Movie in the Works

April 11, 20242 Mins Read

The 40-year-old, kid-friendly franchise Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is returning to movie theaters in live action, in a project that Paramount Pictures is targeting instead for adults.

The studio is developing the bloody and intense graphic novel series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin” with screenwriter Tyler Burton Smith (“Boy Kills World”) and Walter Hamada‘s 18hz production company through his multi-year deal. The 2020-2022 miniseries — written by original “Turtles” creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, with Eastman and Tom Waltz developing the script — is set in a bleak, dystopian future in which Oroku Hiroto, the grandson of the Turtles’ arch-nemesis, Shredder, rules New York City as a totalitarian despot. Hiroto has killed all but one of the Turtles, as well as their mentor, Splinter; the remaining Turtle seeks revenge by wielding all four of their signature weapons.

The project is the latest and perhaps boldest adaptation of the long-running Turtles franchise, which Eastman and Laird created as a comic book series in 1984. Originally intended as a parody of popular comic tropes at the time, the series became a sensation in its own right, spawning a toy line, a popular animated series, several videogames and, to date, seven feature film adaptations — both in live-action and animation — starting in 1990. The most recent film, 2023’s animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” was a modest hit for Paramount, grossing $118.6 million in the U.S. and Canada and $180.5 million worldwide.

“The Last Ronin,” however, marks the first time the franchise has been adapted for an adult audience, off the major success of the graphic novel series, which ranked second on Circana BookScan’s list of the top selling graphic novels in 2023.

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