‘The Crow Reborn’: What To Know About The Cult Classic Film’s Plagued Reboot

Will' The Crow' ever fly again? The long-rumored, long-stalled reboot of the '90s franchise remains a mystery. Here's what we know about 'The Crow Reborn.'

View gallery
Image Credit: Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

The Crow Reborn is both dead and not dead. The reboot of the 90s franchise has been in development hell for years, but all seemed hopeful when Jason Momoa and director Corin Hardy were attached to the project. However, both have flown the coop, leaving the Crow reboot’s fate a mystery.

For those unaware, every one of The Crow movies is based on a similar theme: someone is usually murdered in a cruel way. Then, a mystical crow resurrects them while granting this new revenant magical powers to aid in their quest for justice. There is often a romantic element to the story – avenging lover, etc. – which adds even more of a tragic element to the story. In the films, the character of The Crow has always been a male, but in both the comics and the television show, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, there have been female Crows.

‘The Crow’ (Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection)

The Crow first arrived not on the big screen, but on the comic bookshelves, in 1989. The first issue of James O’Barr’s dark underground comic was adapted to the big screen by writers David J. Schow and John Shirley and directed by Alex Proyas. A young Brandon Lee was cast in the lead role of Eric Draven/The Crow. Sadly, an on-set accident with a handgun resulted in Brandon’s death, casting a grim shadow over the movie. The Crow was a sleeper hit at the box office, grossing $94 million worldwide. The film and its soundtrack – featuring The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, Rollins Band, Helmet, and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult – had a profound effect on alternative/goth culture.

The second film, The Crow: City of Angels, arrived in 1996. Directed by Tim Pope, City of Angels cast Vincent Pérez as Ashe Corven/The Crow and featured Iggy Pop and Deftones (as themselves.) It was less successful than the first, pulling $17.9 million domestic (on a reported $13 million budget) per Box Office Mojo. Despite these diminishing returns, a third movie – The Crow: Salvation – was released in 2000. This direct-to-video sequel has Eric Maibus as Alex Corvis/The Crow, and it features Kirsten Dunst as Erin Randall. It was met with a poor reception and a minimal theatrical run. The same can be said for the fourth (and currently, the last?) Crow film, 2005’s The Crow: Wicked Prayer. This time around, Edward Furlong is Jimmy Cuervo/The Crow. It also featured Tara Reid, Dennis Hopper, Danny Trejo, and David Boreanaz. Again, it was a poorly received project.

‘The Crow: City of Angels’ (Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection)

Yet, like the titular superhero, The Crow doesn’t stay dead. So, here’s what you need to know about The Crow Reborn.

Who Was Involved in the Project?

In 2009, producer Ryan Kavanaugh announced that his company, Relativity Media, was in negotiations for the rights to The Crow for a reboot, per Gizmodo. Steve Norrington, who directed Blade and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, was first attached to the project, but he left in 2011. 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo replaced him but left in the project a few months later, per Screen Rant. F. Javier Gutiérrez was tapped to take over, but he left in 2014. Corin Hardy stepped in and was with the project until leaving in 2018.

Similarly, the leading role became a game of “Hot Potato,” passing from one man to another. Jason Momoa seemingly had it last because, in November 2021, test footage of him in The Crow makeup leaked to the internet. Gone was Momoa’s trademark beard, and he sported the iconic white face with black eye paint.

“I’ve waited 8 years to play this dream role. I love you @corinhardy and @sonypictures unfortunately I may have to wait 8 more. Not our team,” Jason wrote in 2018 when he exited the project. “But I swear I will. James O’Barr [creator of the comic book series The Crow] sorry to let you down I won’t on the next. This film needs to be set free. And to the fans. Sorry. I can’t play anything but what this film deserves and it needs love. I’m ready when it’s right.”

Why Was It Cancelled?

In 2015, The Crow reboot stalled because Relativity declared bankruptcy, per The Hollywood Reporter. The following year, Samuel Hadida’s Davis Films, Highland Film Group, and Electric Shadow acquired the rights to The Crow, per THR, and a year later, Sony came on to distribute the film. However, financial issues between Samuel Hadida and Sony were credited to The Crow Reborn’s stalling and ultimate demise. The project last had an Oct. 11, 2019 release date.

‘The Crow: Wicked Prayer’ (Dimension Films/Courtesy Everett Collection)

 While Jason Momoa was the last person cast, he was not the first. Bradley Cooper, Mark Wahlberg, Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Alexander Skarsgard, Luke Evans, Sam Witwer, Jack Huston, Nicholas Hoult, and JackO’Connelll have been linked to the project, with some – Luke Evans, Bradley Cooper – either signing on or in talks to play the new Eric Draven, while others were merely rumored to play the part.

“I do think both James O’Barr’s original Crow graphic novel and the subsequent other iterations of that character in the comic books, there’s no reason not to do a lot more with that character, the concept of The Crow, the mythology of The Crow, and the tone and what that represents is still unique within the world we’re in at the moment,” he added.

—-

If The Crow movies are about anything, it’s that death is not the end. Nearly thirty years after the first movie, The Crow remains a cult classic whose influence can be felt to this very day. One day, the cinematic world might again hear the beating of crow’s wings. Until then, keep listening.

More From Our Partners