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The Crow Reboot Has Been Cursed From the Start


Summary

  • The upcoming reboot of The Crow aims to break free from the cursed history of the franchise, which has been tied to tragedy and grief since its inception.
  • Brandon Lee’s untimely death during the filming of the original film had a paralyzing effect on everyone involved, but the film was ultimately completed as a tribute to him and his fiancée.
  • Despite the haunted legacy surrounding The Crow, the reboot was filmed without any major difficulties or tragedies, and it will likely evoke strong emotions among those who remember the impact of the original film and Lee’s tragic fate.


The upcoming The Crow reboot, a remake of the 1994 film of the same name, hopes to erase the cursed history of the franchise, which has seemingly been steeped in grief and tragedy since its inception. Indeed, the Crow franchise began with the 1989 comic book limited series of the same name, which was inspired by the death of creator James O’Barr’s fiancée, Beverly, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1978.

O’ Barr channeled his anger and sadness into titular protagonist Eric Draven, a former rock guitar player who, after being brutally murdered alongside his fiancée, Shelly, is brought back to life by a supernatural crow to avenge his murder and that of his fiancée.

However, the franchise’s central theme of loss is most clearly attached to the star of the 1994 film, Brandon Lee, who was, of course, accidentally shot and killed on March 31, 1993, at the age of 28, after Lee was struck in his abdomen by a bullet fragment that was discharged from a prop gun.

Lee’s death came nearly twenty years after the equally shocking death of his father, legendary actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, who died in 1973 at the age of 32 after slipping into a mysterious coma.

Indeed, Lee’s haunting, soulful performance in The Crow, which continues to radiate melancholy and sad irony due to its eerie parallels to reality, continually suggests that Lee might have transcended his father’s legacy and become a major star.


The Crow Tragedy

The Crow

Release Date
May 11, 1994

Rating
R

Runtime
102

At the time of his death, Brandon Lee was only three days of filming away from completing his work on The Crow, which was ultimately completed following Lee’s death through digital effects, script rewrites, and stunt doubles.

Lee died approximately two and a half weeks before Lee was scheduled to marry his fiancée, Eliza Hutton, who wore her wedding dress to Lee’s funeral. The film was dedicated to both of them.

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Lee’s death had, to varying degrees, a paralyzing effect on seemingly everyone who worked on the film. Following Lee’s death, the director of The Crow, Alex Proyas, wanted to abandon the film but was urged by Lee’s family to finish the movie. Following the release of The Crow, Proyas didn’t direct another film until the visionary 1998 science-fiction film Dark City. Proyas has only directed two films in the past fifteen years.

Actor Michael Massee, who plays the gangster Funboy in the film, fired the prop gun that accidentally killed Lee and was devastated by Lee’s death. While Massee continued to work steadily as an actor in the ensuing decades, his career and life were never the same. Massee died of cancer in 2016.

Following Lee’s death, The Crow creator James O’Barr, who had formed a close friendship with Lee and Lee’s fiancée, said that Lee’s death made O’Barr wish that he’d never created the comic book series on which the 1994 film was based.

The Crow Spawned a Short-Lived Series and Three Horrible Sequels

The morbid sense of fascination that was generated by Brandon Lee’s death doubtlessly boosted The Crow at the box office, where the film grossed approximately $94 million against a production cost of $23 million.

Indeed, while many people, including director Proyas and creator O’Barr, expressed the opinion that the movie was an epitaph to Lee and that this legacy shouldn’t be tampered with in the form of a sequel, the box-office success of The Crow nonetheless launched an ill-fated film series.

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The first sequel to the film, The Crow: City of Angels, which was directed by Tim Pope and features Vincent Perez in the titular role of resurrected vigilante Ashe Corven, was released in 1996 and was a commercial and critical failure.

The second sequel in the franchise, The Crow: Salvation, which features Eric Mabius in the titular role of Alexander Corvis, was released to video in 2000 after a limited theatrical engagement. The film was followed by the 2005 standalone sequel The Crow: Wicked Prayer, with Edward Furlong in the titular role of James Cuervo, which was also released to video.

Indeed, between Lee’s portrayal of Eric Draven in The Crow and Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal in the upcoming reboot, the only other actor who portrayed the character on screen was Mark Dacascos in the television series The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, which debuted in 1998 and lasted twenty-two episodes.

The Crow Reboot Aims to Transcend the Franchise’s Haunted History

Bill Skarsgard, who stars as Eric Draven in the upcoming reboot, was only two years old when Brandon Lee was killed during the filming of The Crow, which will mark its somber thirtieth anniversary in May 2024.

However, despite this ominous legacy, the filming of the reboot, which commenced in July 2022 under the direction of Rupert Sanders, was seemingly completed without any major difficulties, much less tragedy.

While audiences under the age of forty may approach the reboot with a limited appreciation of Lee’s legacy, for those who are old enough to remember how deeply interconnected Lee’s death became with the original film’s tragic themes at the time of the film’s release, the upcoming reboot will likely trigger strong emotions.

Indeed, as Lee is forever immortalized as a heartbreaking symbol of the tragedy of unfulfilled potential, The Crow reboot will doubtlessly perpetuate the undying speculation about Lee’s unknowable future, specifically in terms of visualizing Lee, the actor, and person, in the present, as if Lee, who would have turned fifty-nine in February 2024, were still alive.

For better or worse, The Crow is set to be released in theaters in 2024.



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