More than five years after a Cannonball Run remake was first put into development by Warner Bros., the studio is finally moving forward on the project. Warner Bros. has brought on Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence) to direct this new version of Cannonball Run, with the writing team of Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (Night at the Museum franchise) coming aboard to write the script. Andre Morgan, who produced the original Cannonball Run movies, is producing alongside Alan Gasmer, although no production schedule was released at this time.
We first heard about a Cannonball Run remake in October 2011, when the studio was reportedly considering Guy Ritchie and Shawn Levy to direct the film. That report also claimed that Guy Ritchie was eyeing Brad Pitt to star, while Shawn Levy wanted Ben Stiller. The studio was reportedly trying to secure financing from General Motors, through a deal that would showcase their new line of cars in the movie. That deal never materialized, but we reported in March 2016 that Etan Cohen had signed on to write and direct this project, which was described as a "relaunch" of the Cannonball Run franchise.
Deadline reports that this will in fact be a "relaunch" of the original franchise, which likely means that the continuity from the first three films will be kept intact, although no specifics were given about this "relaunch." It's possible that this relaunch will feature stars from the original franchise, such as Burt Reynolds or Jackie Chan. Still, with no details surfacing about the story thusfar, it remains to be seen who this story will focus on.
The original Cannonball Run movie was based on an actual cross-country road race, created by Brock Yates, who passed away last year from Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 82. The first race was ran in 1971, when Brock Yates was working for Car & Driver Magazine, with the race created to protest stricter traffic laws that were being put in place all over the country. The race, entitled "Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash," named after Erwin "Cannonball" Baker, who had set a number of cross-country race records. There were five races run in total, with the fifth in 1979 featuring a whopping 46 teams, quite the jump from just the four racers who participated in the first race.
Still to this day, there are fans who run their own time-lapsed races, to see if they can break the records set in the original five Cannonball Run races. The original Cannonball Run movie, released by 20th Century Fox, was a big hit when it debuted in 1981, earning $72.1 million during its theatrical run, which, was the sixth-highest grossing movie to be released that year. When adjusted for inflation, the domestic box office take is the equivalent of a $225.8 million gross today. The 1984 sequel Cannonball Run II released by Warner Bros. didn't fare so well, earning $28 million, but the 1989 sequel Cannonball Fever, also known as Speed Zone, only earned $3.07 million. It remains to be seen if The Cannonball Run can restore this franchise to its former glory. Rawson Marshall Thurber most recently directed Central Intelligence and he will next take on Dwayne Johnson's Skyscraper.