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New Projects: The ‘New Coke’ marketing blunder comes to film

New Projects: The ‘New Coke’ marketing blunder comes to film


Remember New Coke? If you do, the ’80s called and they want their jokes back. But as a reminder, in April of 1985, just over 30 years ago this week, Coca-Cola, one of the longest surviving American companies who had successfully dominated the market with a time-tested product, had decided that to stave off the rise of Pepsi in the Cola wars, they would rebrand their classic fizzy drink to New Coke. New Coke hit the shelves April 23, and though the sweeter flavor won out in blind taste tests, human psychology practically dictates that it’s not the product that’s inside the can but the label that’s outside the can that most determines a person’s liking. The product rollout was a huge blunder, and Coca-Cola eventually reverted to Coke Classic.

If you thought that sounds like it could make a fascinating documentary, or perhaps an interesting comedy, then you’re in luck. Rolling out of vending machines soon will be a new film on New Coke written by the scribes doing the Deadpool movie, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. Via a story in /Film, their script is based on Thomas Oliver’s book, The Real Coke, The Real Story. And though the two have taken to writing giant tentpole superhero movies, Reese and Wernick independently purchased and optioned the rights to Oliver’s book. No director is yet attached. I now await the next film about how Chevy thought it was a good idea to sell the Nova in Mexico.


In another nostalgia trip, this time to the ’60s, Mark Wahlberg and The Weinstein Company were previously reported to have taken the idea of updating the popular ’60s action TV series The Six Million Dollar Man to modern day with The Six Billion Dollar Man, a feature film jumping off from the original series and the book on which the series is based, Cyborg. Though the movie doesn’t have a release date yet, The Playlist reports that Damián Szifron, the writer and director of the Argentinian Foreign Language Oscar nominee from last year Wild Tales, would be writing the screenplay.

Szifron has a history with genre movies dating back to his 2003 thriller The Bottom of the Sea, but this would be his first time writing a tentpole sci-fi. “The themes surrounding this beloved property allow for the creation of a memorable sci-fi actioner as well as a bold spy thriller,” Szifron said in a statement via The Playlist. “Expectations are high and I’ll do my best to deliver the strongest basis for an amazing cinematic experience.”

The Six Million Dollar Man originally starred Lee Majors and was the story of Steve Austin, a Colonel who was given bionic limbs and body parts following a near death experience and who used his newfound strength to fight crime for the government.

Cary Fukunaga‘s next project following his work on True Detective Season 1 and the upcoming Netflix movie Beasts of No Nation will pair him with the Oscar winning screenwriters of Brokeback Mountain, Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, Deadline reported. The film is currently an untitled drama based on the true story of Joe and Jadin Bell. Here’s Deadline’s plot synopsis:

Jadin, a 15-year-old openly gay sophomore in Oregon, took his own life after being both bullied at high school and struggling for acceptance from the people closest to him. In the wake of Jadin’s suicide, Joe is plunged into a sea of remorse and regret and sets out on a walk across America, hoping to promote awareness about the consequences of prejudice to anyone he encounters along the way.

Leslie Mann will next star in an R-rated comedy about “women and the challenges of motherhood” from the screenwriters behind The Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Lucas and Moore, whose previous directorial effort was 21 & Over, will also direct the comedy. Deadline reports the project is currently untitled, but that it will begin production this summer.

HBO is giving Viola Davis the chance to star in a biopic about the life of one of the great African American historical figures: Harriet Tubman. Variety reports the film is based on the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford Larson, and will be a full life story of Tubman’s time in slavery and of her efforts freeing slaves on the Underground Railroad. The untitled Tubman movie will be written by Kirk Ellis, who also wrote HBO’s historical miniseries John Adams. Variety suspects the film will begin filming when Davis goes on hiatus for her ABC show How to Get Away With Murder.

Finally, Deadline reported Monday that Tom Wilkinson and Hilary Swank are attached to star in an upcoming Holocaust drama titled Denial. The story involves the legal battle of Deborah Lipstadt, who was sued for libel by David Irving (Wilkinson) after she called him out as a Holocaust denier. Deadline explains it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove that the Holocaust actually happened, and that this film is based on Lipstadt’s own autobiography recounting the experience, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier. Mick Jackson (Temple Grandin) will direct and David Hare has adapted the screenplay.