At the end of ‘The Walking Dead’ panel at SDCC, host Chris Hardwick closed the show with the clip above, touting “Rick Grimes Returns Only In Theaters.” Yep, the previously announced TV movie has been upgraded to a theatrical release! It is produced by AMC and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound, and Skybound has a first-look deal with Universal, who will distribute this film. A release date is said to be in the works. This being the close of the panel, Hardwick simply proclaimed:
“’The Walking Dead’ movie is official. It will be in theaters, brought to you by Universal, AMC, and Skybound. More information to come.”
In November, after the character Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was written off of ‘The Walking Dead’ proper, word emerged that the character’s adventures would continue in a series of three made-for-TV movies. It’s unknown at this time whether they started making a TV movie and then decided to release it theatrically, or if it had always been planned as a theatrical release and… uh, they were just lying about it. But even when this was said to be a TV movie, it was stated that it would have a cinematic budget.
Back in November, Scott M. Gimple, the caretaker of ‘The Walking Dead’ franchise stated:
“The story of Rick will go on in films. Right now, we’re working on three but there’s flexibility in that. … Over the next several years, we’re going to be doing specials, new series are quite a possibility, high-quality digital content and then some content that defies description at the moment. We’re going to dig into the past and see old characters. We’re going to introduce new characters and new situations.
“Rick Grimes is an amazing character and Andy has done an amazing performance. There were story ideas brewing that, as the years went on, seemed very compatible with continuing to tell the Rick story in another format that would allow him time with his family.”
It’s always tricky turning a TV show into a movie because studios face the challenge of convincing audiences to pay money for something they can get for free at home. And I hate to say it, but ‘The Walking Dead’ TV show isn’t the powerhouse it was just a couple of years ago. One big question arises, and that is, if this was supposed to be a trilogy, what happens if the first one flops? Will the remaining two be reverted back to TV movies?
The Rick movies were cooked up to appease Lincoln who wanted to quit the hit series to spend more time with his family back in his native England. Pollyanna McIntosh, who plays Anne/Jadis, is also starring in the movie.
Well as Hardwick said, there is more “information to come” so check back for updates.