SyFy Jumping Into New Waterworld?

Possible further adventures for Mariner

Kevin Costner, Waterworld

You might think that one was enough, but with cult reputations come sizeable audiences, and that's possibly the only explanation necessary for the news that SyFy is considering revisiting Waterworld. Both a new theatrically-released film and TV series are apparently under discussion at the former Sci-Fi Channel.

The opportunity comes from SyFy's absorption into NBC/Universal (which brought about that name change). With all the mergers and consolidations, SyFy gained access to the extensive Universal back-catalogue. It's been thinking about dipping its toes into the choppy waters of a theatrical release for some time, and while nothing has yet surfaced, Waterworld seems to be one of a number of projects in "active development".

Waterworld, you'll know, is the story of Kevin Costner's mutant Mariner, looking for Dry Land in a drowned future world. It's basically Mad Max 2 at sea. It has a reputation as a particularly notorious financial disaster, which is not quite deserved, as it turns out: while the most expensive film ever made at the time (1995), it eventually more than made its $175m budget back in worldwide box office and video receipts. The film draws an unusually large audience when SyFy show it, hence their interest in the property.

SyFy's agenda for its projected slate is to produce lower-budget films, rather than massive tentpoles: "a different kind of science fiction film, one driven less by expensive stars and special effects than by storytelling." An infamously expensive and difficult property superficially seems like an odd choice to pluck from the vaults, then. But we'd imagine the destination this time out would be a nicely affordable and controllable green-screen studio, rather than the unpredictable Hawaiian Pacific.

It's early days yet: nothing is definitely moving. But, says SyFy's Dave Howe, a new Waterworld is "talked about endlessly" at the channel, and remains "a distinct possibility."