The most infamous studio of the 1980s, Cannon Films, is back and has a new slate of projects in development.
From box office number 1’s such as Death Wish III (1985) to the worst Superman movie ever made – the company specialized in ridiculous low budget films.
Cannon, which is now being steered by producer Richard Albiston, has released an extremely enthusiastic press release via their website.
During its heyday, the studio was run by charismatic Israelis Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus – who were known to be better salesmen than they were filmmakers.
The press release reveals that new chief Albiston spent years working under Golan – who died in 2014 and was the real driving force behind the company. And the new slate of movies looks distinctly Cannon-esque, including America Ninja Apprentice, Return of The Delta Force and U.S. Sniper.
Before the company folded in the mid-90s, Golan and Globus revolutionized how films were made and sold – utilizing aging stars such as Chuck Bronson and Chuck Norris, and producing low-budget action movies around them.
The pair created distinctive posters featuring their marquee stars, and would sell them as projects at Cannes – despite having no script and often no real story. The company’s strategy of producing pictures costing between $1 million and $5 million worked a treat during most of the 1980s.
However, Cannon effectively sealed its fate when it attempted to compete with the mainstream studios towards the end of the decade. The three commercial failures which spelled the end of the organisation were Masters of the Universe (1987), Sly Stallone arm-wrestling movie Over The Top (1987) and the notorious Superman IV: A Quest For Peace (1987).
Both Masters and Over The Top cost $25 million and tanked at the worldwide box office. However it was the ill-fated Superman movie which really demonstrated the ineptitude of Cannon’s new ‘big budget’ strategy.
The original Richard Donner directed Superman (1978) cost a staggering $55 million and grossed over $300 million – in comparison, Golan and Globus’ superhero dud cost a meager $17 million and contained special effects which would have been laughable in the 1970s, never mind in 1987.
For a comprehensive and humorous look at the studio check out the excellent documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, which is currently on Netflix.
There is still no word on whether the new Cannon intends to release its movies theatrically, or use Video-On-Demand. Stay tuned for more news.
Hat Tip: The Action Elite