When it comes to reboots of popular franchises, there’s no mystery: Hollywood is forever on the hunt for a sure thing, and a well-established brand, with entrenched fans (and thus as large potential customer base) makes for as close to a winning bet as you can get.
And so almost everything made by Hollywood these days is based on something else. Movies based on old movies, TV series continuing old TV series — and sometimes movies based on old TV series. That brings us to this: The news that the long-running mystery series Murder, She Wrote is now going to be a movie.
The original Murder, She Wrote, which ran for a slightly mind-boggling 264 episodes (plus several TV movies) from 1984 to 1996 starred Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a writer of mystery novels and an amateur sleuth who winds up solving murder cases in her spare time. The show was one of CBS’ highest-rated dramas for much of its run, and remains a perennial favorite in syndication and other outlets.
Lansbury passed away in 2022 at the age of 96, but now Variety says Universal is looking to relaunch Murder, She Wrote as a film. Prior to the ongoing writers’ strike, they reportedly tapped Dumb Money screenwriters Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo to develop the material; after the strike is resolved, they will return to the project.
Detective fiction is one of those evergreen genres that never seems to go out of style. In recent years, even as mega-franchises have dominated the studios’ output, several sleuths have maintained a presence on the big screen. Rian Johnson turned Daniel Craig from James Bond into debonair detective Benoit Blanc in a series of Knives Out movies; at least one more is expected on Netflix. And Kenneth Branagh has directed himself in a trio of Hercule Poirot movies based on the famous Agatha Christie books; the most recent, A Haunting in Venice, opens in theaters this Friday.
It doesn’t take a world-class brain to see why, in this environment, a movie studio is trying to relaunch another iconic mystery franchise.
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