Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in film

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Tmnt2009bluray.jpg
2009 Blu-ray box set cover
Based onTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
Distributed byVarious
See below
Release date
1990-present
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1.2 billion

The fictional comic book team known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have appeared in six feature-length films since their debut. The first film, titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was released in 1990 at the height of the franchise's popularity and was a commercial success. The success of the film garnered two direct sequels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze in 1991 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III in 1993. A computer-generated imagery (CGI) film titled TMNT was released in 2007 and built on the success of the 2003–2009 TV series. A fifth film by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies was released on August 8, 2014, and served as a reboot to the original live-action films. A sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, was released on June 3, 2016. The six films have grossed $1.2 billion worldwide. A seventh film, which will be a CGI reboot, is in development.

Films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Original series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles March 30, 1990 (1990-03-30) Steve Barron Todd W. Langen and Bobby Herbeck Bobby Herbeck Simon Fields, David Chan and Kim Dawson
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze March 22, 1991 (1991-03-22) Michael Pressman Todd W. Langen Thomas K. Gray, Kim Dawson and David Chan
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III March 19, 1993 (1993-03-19) Stuart Gillard
Reboot series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles August 8, 2014 (2014-08-08) Jonathan Liebesman Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec and Evan Daugherty Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Galen Walker, Scott Mednick and Ian Bryce
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows June 3, 2016 (2016-06-03) Dave Green Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Galen Walker and Scott Mednick

Original series[edit]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)[edit]

The first film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, closely follows the storyline from the Mirage comic books, in addition to some of the more lighthearted elements of the cartoons. The film tells the origin story of Splinter and the Turtles, their initial encounters with April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) and Casey Jones (Elias Koteas), and their first confrontation with The Shredder and his Foot Clan. Directed by Steve Barron and released by New Line Cinema, the film showcases the innovative puppetry techniques of Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)[edit]

The first sequel, titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, expands on the Turtles' origin story while claiming the distinction as Vanilla Ice's film debut. The film was dedicated to puppeteer Jim Henson. It also introduced the Turtles' human friend Keno (Ernie Reyes Jr.) and Shredder's mutant henchmen Tokka and Rahzar. This film was internationally released by 20th Century Fox.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)[edit]

The third film in the series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, features Elias Koteas reprising his role as Casey Jones. The plot revolves around the "Sacred Sands of Time", a mystical scepter which transports the Turtles and April back in time to feudal Japan, where they become embroiled in a conflict between a daimyō and a group of rebellious villagers.

Reboot series[edit]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)[edit]

A new feature film, rebooting the film franchise, was originally scheduled to be released in December 2013 as part of the acquisition of the franchise by Viacom. It was announced on May 27, 2010, that Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company had landed the rights to the new film. The film is a co-production between Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.[1] The first film was directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox as April O'Neil, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, and features motion capture CGI for the Turtles and Splinter, the film was released on August 8, 2014.[2] The film became a box office success.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)[edit]

A sequel, Out of the Shadows was announced for June 3, 2016 with Dave Green directing.[3][4] The sequel was announced on August 10, 2014, two days after the first film was released. The original cast (with the exception of Johnny Knoxville) returns with Stephen Amell, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, and Gary Anthony Williams joining as Casey Jones, Shredder, Baxter Stockman, and Bebop respectively.[5][6][7] WWE wrestler Sheamus was later confirmed to portray Rocksteady.[8]

Animated films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
TMNT March 23, 2007 (2007-03-23) Kevin Munroe Thomas K. Gray, Galen Walker and Paul Wang

TMNT (2007)[edit]

A 2007 feature film, titled simply TMNT and written and directed by Kevin Munroe, was released March 23, 2007. Unlike the previous films, it used 100% computer-generated imagery, produced by Imagi Animation Studios and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company. It was the final Ninja Turtle movie to be distributed by Warner Bros. due to the franchise being purchased by Viacom.

This film opens with the Turtles scattered as Leonardo is training in Central America, Donatello and Michelangelo have jobs, and Raphael spends his time as the vigilante crimefighter "Nightwatcher". Leo returns to New York City due to the events surrounding a series of monsters being hunted by the mysterious businessman Max Winters, but tensions begin to rise between Raph and Leo over the leadership of the team. The Foot Clan also appear, with Karai leading them. While not strictly keeping to the continuity of the prior films,[9] it did include references to the prior 3 films in a scene near the end of the film.

Untitled CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot[edit]

On June 20, 2018, it was reported that Paramount Pictures will once again reboot the series with Bay, Fuller and Form returning to produce the film and Andrew Dodge writing the script.[10][11] Fuller and Form announced while at the 24th Critics' Choice Awards that production on the reboot is set to start in 2019.[12] However, in July 2019, TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman revealed that the film is still in development and believed that Paramount took the reactions to the 2014 and 2016 films "to heart", and that "its going to be a next-level type of stuff".[13]

On June 30, 2020, it was reported that the reboot will be a CG animated film with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg producing through their Point Grey Pictures production company. It will be the second animated film in the franchise following 2007's TMNT. The film will be directed by Connected co-director Jeff Rowe with a script by Neighbors screenwriter Brendan O'Brien. Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins has described the project as a "next-level reinvention of the property".[14]

Television films[edit]

Mutant Turtles: Superman Legend (1996)[edit]

Turtles Forever (2009)[edit]

Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past (2015)[edit]

Direct-to-video films[edit]

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)[edit]

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie[edit]

On February 5, 2019, Variety revealed that Nickelodeon is developing a film adaptation of the 2018 TV series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is set to be released on Netflix.[15] It marks the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film to be animated, as well as the second film in the franchise without a theatrical release.

Recurring cast and crew[edit]

Character Original series Animated film Reboot series television films Direct-to-video films
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III TMNT Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Mutant Turtles: Superman Legend Turtles Forever Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1990 1991 1993 2007 2014 2016 1996 2009 2016 2019
Leonardo Brian Tochi
(voice)
James Arnold Taylor Johnny Knoxville
(voice)
Pete Ploszek Daiki Nakamura Jason Griffith Seth Green Eric Bauza
David Forman
(costume)
Mark Caso
(costume)
Pete Ploszek
(motion capture)
Dan Green
(80's)
Martin P. Robinson
(puppetry)
Rob Tygner
(puppetry)
Jim Martin
(puppetry)
Michael Sinterniklaas
(2003)
Raphael Josh Pais
(voice and costume)
Laurie Faso
(voice)
Tim Kelleher
(voice)
Nolan North Alan Ritchson Hiroyuki Shibamoto Sean Schemmel Sean Astin Darren Criss
Kenn Troum
(costume)
Matt Hill
(costume)
Sebastian Arcelus
(80's)
David Greenaway
(puppetry)
Noel MacNeal
(puppetry)
Greg Abbey
(2003)
Donatello Corey Feldman
(voice)
Adam Carl
(voice)
Corey Feldman
(voice)
Mitchell Whitfield Jeremy Howard Hidenari Ugaki Clay Adams Rob Paulsen Baron Vaughn
Leif Tilden
(costume)
Jim Raposa
(costume)
Tony Salerno
(80's)
David Rudman
(puppetry)
Rob Mills
(puppetry)
Rick Lyon
(puppetry)
Sam Riegel
(2003)
Michelangelo Robbie Rist
(voice)
Mikey Kelley Noel Fisher Toshiharu Sakurai Bradford Cameron Greg Cipes Kyle Mooney
Michelan Sisti
(costume)
David Fraser
(costume)
Johnny Castro
(80's)
Mak Wilson
(puppetry)
Gord Robertson
(puppetry)
Wayne Grayson
(2003)
Splinter Kevin Clash
(voice)
James Murray
(voice and puppetry)
Mako Tony Shalhoub
(voice)
Hideyuki Umezu David Wills
(80's)
Silent cameo
Ricky Boyd
(puppetry)
Lisa Sturz
(puppetry)
Danny Woodburn
(motion capture)
Peter Donald Badalamenti II
(motion capture)
Darren Dunstan
(2003)
Rob Tygner
(puppetry)
Susan Dacre
(puppetry)
Tim Lawrence
(puppetry)
Greg Baldwin
(uncredited stand-in)
April O'Neil Judith Hoag Paige Turco Sarah Michelle Gellar Megan Fox Megan Fox Emi Shinohara Rebecca Soler
(80's)
Malina Weissman
(young)
Veronica Taylor
(2003)
Oroku Saki / The Shredder James Saito François Chau Silent cameo Tohoru Masamune Brian Tee Kiyoyuki Yanada David Wills Silent cameo Andrew Kishino
Kevin Nash
(Super Shredder)
Load Williams
(80's)
David McCharen
(voice)
Scottie Ray
(2003)
Casey Jones Elias Koteas Elias Koteas Chris Evans Stephen Amell Marc Thompson
Chief Sterns Raymond Serra
Tatsu Toshishiro Obata
Michael McConnohie
(voice)
Karai Zhang Ziyi Minae Noji Brittany Ishibashi Karen Neil
Vern Fenwick Will Arnett
Baxter Stockman K. Todd Freeman Tyler Perry Keith Ferguson
Krang Brad Garrett Hideyuki Umezu Bradford Cameron
Bebop Gary Anthony Williams Kyousei Tsukui J. B. Smoove
Rocksteady Sheamus Hidetoshi Nakamura Johnny Castro Fred Tatasciore
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.

Additional crew[edit]

Film Crew/Detail
Composer Cinematographer(s) Editor Production companies Distributing company Running time
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles John Du Prez John Fenner William D. Gordean, Sally Menke & James R. Symons Golden Harvest, Limelight Entertainment, 888 Productions, Mirage Enterprises, Northshore Investments New Line Cinema 93 minutes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze Shelly Johnson Steve Mirkovich & John Wright Golden Harvest,
Mirage Enterprises,
Northshore Investments
88 minutes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III David Gurfinkel William D. Gordean & James R. Symons Golden Harvest,
Clearwater Holdings
96 minutes
TMNT Klaus Badelt Steve Lumley John Damien Ryan Imagi Animation Studios Warner Bros. Pictures 87 minutes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Brian Tyler Lula Carvalho Joel Negron & Glen Scantlebury Nickelodeon Movies, Platinum Dunes, Gama Entertainment, Mednick Productions, Heavy Metal Paramount Pictures 101 minutes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Steve Jablonsky Jim May, Debra Neil-Fisher & Bob Ducsay Nickelodeon Movies, Movie Media Group, Alibaba Pictures, Platinum Dunes, Gama Entertainment, Mednick Productions, Smithrowe Entertainment 122 minutes

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref.
North America Other
territories
Worldwide All time
North America
All time
worldwide
Original series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles March 30, 1990 $135,265,915 $66,700,000 $201,965,915 #331 #568 $13,500,000 [16]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze March 12, 1991 $78,656,813 $12,000,000* $90,656,813* #804 N/A $25,000,000 [17][18]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III March 19, 1993 $42,273,609 $12,214,177 $54,487,786 #1,665 $21,000,000 [19][20]
Animated film
TMNT March 23, 2007 $54,149,098 $41,653,818 $95,802,916 #1,289 N/A $34,000,000 [21]
Reboot series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles August 8, 2014 $191,204,754 $302,128,830 $493,333,584 #183 #157 $125,000,000 [22]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows June 3, 2016 $82,051,601 $163,538,376 $245,589,977 #829 #512 $135,000,000 [23]
Total $583,601,790 $598,235,201 $1,181,836,991 $353,500,000 [24]
* The international gross listed above for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is actually the theatrical rentals, which is the distributor's share of the gross. In the United States and Canada, the film earned theatrical rentals of $41.9 million.[25] If the ratio of gross to rental achieved in the United States was matched overseas, the film would have an international gross of around $22 million and a worldwide gross of around $100 million.

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Original series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 40% (50 reviews)[26] 51 (21 reviews)[27] N/A
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze 32% (41 reviews)[28] 40 (20 reviews)[29]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III 21% (29 reviews)[30] 40 (12 reviews)[31]
Animated film
TMNT 34% (115 reviews)[32] 41 (21 reviews)[33] A-[34]
Reboot series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 22% (133 reviews)[35] 31 (33 reviews)[36] B[34]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 38% (139 reviews)[37] 40 (27 reviews)[38] A-[34]

Cancelled projects[edit]

Canceled fourth film[edit]

Kevin Eastman was working on a fourth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film between 1995 and 1997 titled TMNT 4: The Next Mutation or TMNT 4: The Foot Walks Again. In 2012, Heritage Auctions published concept arts showing a fifth turtle named Kirby, but also featured are Fang, Shredder, Spyder, Nano Spyder, Super Shredder, Casey, Talbot, Lawson, Bugman and "Evil April". Peter Laird showed some concept art of the Turtles and Splinter on his blog.[39][40][41][42][43] The main concept behind the film would have the turtles undergo a second mutation due to the mutagen in the heroes' bloodstream beginning to change with age and giving them new abilities and new problems. Also, the film would revolve around the return of the Shredder and proceeded to rebuild the Foot empire.

Cancelled John Fusco-written film[edit]

In late April 2009, a new live-action film was announced to be in the works for a 2011 release. Mirage Studios was partnering with producers Scott Mednick and Galen Walker, with Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick Fierst, Eric Crown as executive producers, and 4Kids Entertainment handling the film's merchandising with Lightbox Productions, LLC. funding the project.[44] The film would have used animatronic suits whose facial expressions would be digitally enhanced in post-production.[45] It was stated that the story would focus on the Turtles origin.[46] Few months later, an open casting call was made for extras to play as members of the Foot Clan with Ernie Reyes, Jr. as an acting judge.[47] "Ninja Turtles" co-creator Peter Laird said "there were a lot of positive feelings about a Batman Begins-style reboot,[48] while producer Galen Walker said the film would be headed in a darker direction.[49] In July the same year, John Fusco was hired to be the film's writer.[50] His version was to be inspired by the original dark and gritty black and white comics that Eastman created with Peter Laird, but Paramount wasn't on board. Kevin Eastman described the script as being "too edgy for what Paramount wanted". Peter Laird revealed the film would have been a direct sequel to the 1990 film while ignoring its earlier sequels.[51] In October, Viacom's subsidiary network Nickelodeon had purchased all of Mirage's rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property for $9.75 million, thus terminating all deals with 4Kids and Time Warner.[52][53][54]

Cancelled TMNT sequels[edit]

In 2007 Kevin Munroe stated that he would like to direct a possible sequel to TMNT, possibly involving the return of the Shredder.[55] Munroe planned a trilogy. TMNT 2 would have loosely adapted the Turtles’ 13-part comic book saga "City At War". Michelangelo would have felt rejected and joined the Foot Clan, while the Turtles would have traveled to Japan and would have crossed paths with Karai and Shredder. TMNT 3 would have featured the Triceratons as well as the Technodrome’s arrival from Dimension X. Munroe wanted Michael Clarke Duncan to voice the Triceraton's leader, Commander Mozar.[45] In an interview, Peter Laird stated he was interested in the idea of having the next film be a live-action and CGI hybrid film, with the Turtles rendered in CGI and Sarah Michelle Gellar and Chris Evans reprising their TMNT roles in live-action.[56]

Cancelled third film in reboot series[edit]

On August 16, 2014, Noel Fisher stated in an interview that he and the other Turtle actors had signed on for three films.[57] Megan Fox had also signed on for three films.[58] On May 20, 2016, Tyler Perry said that if a third film was made, his character, Baxter Stockman, would probably mutate into his fly form during the movie.[59] Pete Ploszek also expressed his interests in reprising his role in a third film as Leonardo.[60] On October 29, 2016, in light of the film's financial failure, producer Andrew Form indicated that a third film was unlikely.[61]

References[edit]

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