Since there’s been a lot going on lately, you might have forgotten that Kevin Smith is working on a sequel to the cult classic comedy Mallrats. Despite the fact that the movie bombed at the box office when it was released back in 1995, it’s still beloved among kids of the ’90s, and especially Kevin Smith fans. But if the sequel, currently titled Twilight of the Mallrats, ever comes to fruition, it’ll have a plot element that might rub people the wrong way, because it will incorporate the coronavirus pandemic.
During Kevin Smith’s recent FatMan Beyond LIVE! podcast (via ScreenRant), discussion turned to the coronavirus pandemic that we’re all dealing with around the world. Eventually, Smith brought up Mallrats 2 because in his research about the current state of shopping malls, he found out the impact of the coronavirus on the economy is exacerbating the downfall of the the industry, which was already expected to get worse in 2020 with a stable economy. Here’s what Smith said during the show:
“I was working on Twilight of the Mallrats, the Mallrats 2 script, and so I had just read last night articles about the retail apocalypse, where 2020 was going to be the death knell for a bunch of stores anyway. But the pandemic has escalated that, made it worse, and we’re about see a lot big box stores, big name stores that you and I have known for most of our lives just go away forever. That means massive vacancies in malls, so they’re predicting the implosion, the entire implosion of malls–I mean, they were already teetering–but the entire implosion of malls across America. so, as a guy who’s writing a movie set in a mall, I’m like, ‘Well that’s useful information for my line of work.'”
Sure, the idea of shopping malls being on the verge of extinction is a good detail to work into Twilight of the Mallrats. But does he really need to bring in coronavirus to seal the deal? Smith seems to think so:
“So I had to start writing the pandemic into the movie because clearly this is going to be remembered for all time. It’s not like, ‘Oh, why would you make a–that’s so topical, the coronavirus happened last year.’ You’ll still be hearing corona-related stories and plotlines and drops for the next five to ten years the same way post-September 11th, that was everywhere.”
Smith is right about the obsession Hollywood had with stories that were either about 9/11 or tied to the events of the terrorist attacks that day, even if it’s tangentially. But a lot of those movies weren’t particularly good or memorable, and they didn’t necessarily handle the subject with any kind of tact. Is a Mallrats sequel the right kind of story to tackle a subject that people won’t be too keen to hear more about when the pandemic starts to wind down?
Personally, I don’t want to see any movies trying to approach the coronavirus as a plot element or story detail anytime in the near future. This has already been an upsetting enough situation without Hollywood writers trying to put a certain kind of spin or perspective on it. Once this pandemic is over, I’d rather we just move on with any other kind of story. Unless it’s a zombie movie. Then bring on the brain-eating madness.
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