Columbia Pictures has optioned the rights to the Green Hornet, the classic crime-fighting hero whose adventures were chronicled over the generations on radio, television, and in comic books. The studio will adapt The Green Hornet into a feature film produced by Neal H. Moritz and Original Film, it was announced today by Matt Tolmach and Doug Belgrad, presidents of production for Columbia Pictures.
Columbia optioned the rights to The Green Hornet from Moritz who acquired the rights from Green Hornet Inc. Commenting on the announcement, Moritz said, "I couldn't be more thrilled to be developing this world renowned property with the people who brought Spider-Man to the screen. I can't imagine a studio better equipped or more prepared to handle this kind of material than Sony. With the radio show, television program, comic books, and novels, there is ample source material to bring this classic crime-fighter to life."
Tolmach said, "We have an enormous amount of passion and commitment to this character and are looking forward to developing The Green Hornet into what we hope will be an amazing new franchise for the studio."
The Green Hornet made his debut on January 31, 1936 on WXYZ Detroit, the creation of the station's George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, who also created the Lone Ranger. The series, which ran until 1952 on the Mutual and NBC Blue networks, followed the adventures of Britt Reid, a bored playboy whose life is changed when he inherits his father's crusading newspaper, The Daily Sentinel. He saves the life of Kato, a Japanese man with incredible technical and martial-arts skills, who becomes Britt's closest ally -- and transforms Britt's car into the supercharged Black Beauty, which gives them an edge as they search for evidence to expose the city's underworld in the newspaper. When Britt and Kato witness a brutal mob hit, Britt invents his secret identity -- taking his name from his powerful car's defective horn. A skilled fighter and expert marksman, the Green Hornet uses two special, non-lethal guns to subdue criminals: one fires a potent knock-out gas while the other produces the "Hornet's Sting" -- an electric shock.
Following its successful run on radio, the Green Hornet ran in several comic books. In 1966, the character made the jump to the small screen for one season on the ABC television network, starring Van Williams as the Green Hornet and catapulting Bruce Lee, who played Kato, to stardom.
Original Film's Ori Marmur will oversee development of the project on behalf of Moritz's production company. David Grace or Loeb and Loeb negotiated on behalf of Green Hornet, Inc. Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson & Kaller represented Moritz.
Neal H. Moritz is the owner of Original Film, an established feature film and television company. Moritz has a degree in economics from UCLA and a graduate degree from the Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing Program at the University of Southern California.
Moritz recently produced Gridiron Gang, which starred Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and opened to #1; Universal Pictures' The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift; and the Columbia Pictures/Revolution Studios hit comedy Click, starring Adam Sandler and Kate Beckinsale.
Moritz's upcoming films include Columbia Pictures' thriller Vantage Point; the comedy Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carell; I Am Legend, starring Will Smith; Columbia's romantic comedy "Maid of Honor", starring Patrick Dempsey; and Screen Gems' Prom Night.