Movie Adaptations of TV Shows
Once upon a time, the less common trend was to take a tv show and to turn it into a film.  That just went against logic.  After all, TV was where movies went to die.  Blockbusters are spun off into series with variable degrees of success... and not the other way around.  Some improve on the original concept (e.g., M*A*S*H, etc.), while others tend not to know what to do with a limited premise (e.g., Highlander, etc.).

However, making a canceled tv show into a movie can be a last-ditch attempt to turn a dead property into a one-shot attempt to cash in on nostalgia.  And nostalgia seems to be the driving force here.  One doesn't find that canceled shows leap onto the silver screen.  No, these things have to decompose through the stages of syndication and beyond, until they are all but forgotten.  At least until the pre-teens who grew up watching them realize as adult studio pitchmen that they could turn their favorite shows into feature films.

The following is an examination of the time that typically elapses between the original tv show and its return in theatrical form.  Note that I am excluding the movie spin-offs of tv shows that are produced concurrently or immediately following a tv series (e.g., Beavis and Butthead, Serenity, etc.).




The (un)usual suspects...
So let's look at the culprits (to date):
 
Title
Dragnet 
The Honeymooners
Maverick 
Leave it to Beaver 
The Untouchables 
Twilight Zone
Flintstones
Alvin and the Chipmunks
The Avengers
Rocky & Bullwinkle 
The Beverly Hillbillies 
McHale's Navy
The Saint 
The Jetsons 
The Fugitive 
My Favorite Martian
Doctor Who (and 2005)
Astro Boy (also 1980 and 03) 
Munster, Go Home!  
The Addams Family
Mr. Magoo 
Thunderbirds 
Bewitched 
Lost In Space
The Wild Wild West
Get Smart
I Dream of Jeannie
I-Spy
Star Trek
Batman
Mission: Impossible
The Green Hornet
Dark Shadows (and 1991) 
George of the Jungle 
Spider Man
Mod Squad
The Brady Bunch Movie
Dudley Do-Right 
Scooby Doo
Josie and the Pussycats
Fat Albert
The Six Million Dollar Man
Land of the Lost 
S.W.A.T.
Starsky & Hutch
Charlie's Angels
Wonder Woman
Hulk
Dukes of Hazard
The Naked Gun
Inspector Gadget 
A-Team
Miami Vice
G.I. Joe
The Singing Detective
Æon Flux 
TV show
1951
1952
1957
1957
1959
1959
1960
1961
1961
1961
1962
1962
1962
1962 
1963
1963
1963
1963 
1964
1964
1964
1964
1964
1965
1965
 1965
1965
1965
1966
1966
1966
1966
1966 
1967
1967
1968
1969
1969
1969
1970
1972
1973
1974
1975
1975
1976
1976
1978
1979
1982
 
1983
1983
1984
1984
1986
1991
Movie
1987
2005
1994

1997
1987
1993
1994
2007
1998
2000
1993
1997
1997
1990 
1993
1999
1996
2009
1981 
1991
1997
2004
2005
1998
1999
2008  
2013?
2002
1979
1989
1996
 2011
2012
1997
2002
1999
1995
1999
2002
2001
2004
2007
2009
2003
2004
2000
2006
2003
2005
1988

1999
2010
2006
2009

2003
2005
Years elapsed
36
57
37
40
28
34
34
48
37
39
31
35
35
28
30
36
33
46
17
27
33
40
41
33
34
 43 
41?
37
13
23
30
45
46
30
35
31
26
30
33
31
 32 
34
 35 
28
29
24
30
25
26
6

16
27
22
25

17
14

Breaking it all down...
What we find is that the crop is normally distributed with an average of 31.5 years between the premier of the original tv show and the subsequent film version.  Of course, this isn't a perfect system.  The Hollywood machine encounters delays before going into production such as acquiring rights to an existing property, coordinating schedules, etc.  The result is that there is a substantial standard deviation of 9.2 years (or a coefficient of variation of 0.29, if you prefer).  Note that if you're looking at isolated cases, you could be looking at as little as 13 years for a because the fans demanded a movie version of Star Trek or as long as 57 years for The Honeymooners to be reinvented.

The moral is that, if you're looking forward to a film adaptation of a tv property, you can run the numbers to see if is has a chance of ending up on the big screen.  And if you care, probably someone else does, so that means there's money in it.  That's what it's all about.





Copyright 2005, 2011 (updated) Ale)(static.
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