With last week’s announcement that Columbia Pictures would be mashing together their Men in Black Series with the 21 Jump Street franchise, we figured that more studios would start exploring this angle to revitalize their brands. Listen, there are only so many big-budget cinematic universes that can be created from comic characters and Saturday morning cartoons. Maybe it’s time to stir the pot to see something unexpected rise to the top. It’s inevitable that in a few years (or sooner, given how movies are scheduled) we’ll be hearing an announcement from Sony about a Men in Black/Jump Street/Ghostbusters crossover. It’s going to be awesome, and it’ll probably change the movie game, but here at AE we don’t wait for the game to change, we change it ourselves. Studios take note, here are 5 franchise mash-ups that need to happen!
Independence Day of the Planet of the Apes
With the Apes series going strong and Independence Day: Resurgence likely to make over a billion dollars this summer, neither franchise needs the help. That being said, who doesn’t want to see militarized apes face-off against aliens? It’s been 20 years since the aliens’ last attack, 20 years of waiting and planning. It’s almost become a game to them, attacking on July 4th every two decades and seeing what the humans have learned. But this time when the massive warships enter our atmosphere, they look down on a world left to the wild with all of our world’s most famous landmarks overgrown. Alien scout troops land and scan the area. They think it’s finally happened, the humans have destroyed themselves and the game has ended. From the trees, a group of apes watch—cautious and curious. The alien scouts see movement in the tree-line. Spotted, the apes have no choices but to fight back. It’s a massacre, and only one of the apes escape. The ape runs back to his home, and tells his leader Blue Eyes (the son of Caesar) about what he has seen. And so after years of peace, the apes are once again drawn into war. We see clans of apes all over the world pulled into battle with aliens, using human weapons against the advanced technology of the creatures from space. The aliens thought the humans were the most worthy opponents in the universe, but they were wrong. Apes are attacking aliens on horseback, commandeering spaceships, and using guerilla tactics. A group of apes manage to capture 5 of the aliens, and an Orangutan scientist reprograms the aliens’ brains. The next day the apes ride out, not on horses, but on aliens. The apes are getting smarter, but the aliens have one last trick up their sleeve, a hybrid they created years ago. From the sky a massive alien lands, bigger than all the rest and flesh-colored. The alien face splits in two, revealing it’s true self: a human face, the face of Jeff Goldblum. The apes have never known a threat like this, but still they stand ready for the final attack. July 4th means nothing to them now, but it will. It will.
Hellboy: Here there be Monsters
Hellboy has managed to outrun the prophecy, but he’s tired and weary. Staving off the apocalypse has become a daily battle, one that sent Liz and the twins on the run, and one that cost the life of his dearest friend, Abe. The B.P.R.D. headquarters is no longer a government run-facility, but a desolate castle housing only one monster. When reports of mysterious disturbances emerge from Egypt, Hellboy travels to the great pyramids. “Smells like death,” he says entering the tomb. “Always does,” a voice beyond him says. Hellboy turns and comes face to face with Tom Cruise! Ok, not “actually” Tom Cruise but whatever his character’s name will be in this Mummy reboot. “Who the hell are you?” Hellboy asks. Cruise smiles that smile of his. “The only thing holding back the apocalypse.” Hellboy frowns. “That’s my job.” And thus, we’ve established the greatest buddy cop pairing to ever hit the screens. Hellboy learns that the monsters of legend are rising again. The Mummy, The Wolf-Man, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, they’re all real and they’re all pissed that the world has forgotten about them and become more afraid of terrorists, nuclear weapons, and the monster that is man instead of the monsters of old. Hellboy and Cruise travel the world, preventing these monster attacks, battling them and containing them. Hellboy fights against these creatures with a wild savagery, knowing that these lonely monsters are so much like him. He’s fighting his own reflection, and for a time it seems like he might actually win. In the swamplands of Florida, Hellboy grips the monstrous figure, his stone fist raised, before he stops and sees the figure beneath him clearly. “Abe?” The Creature from the Black Lagoon shakes his head. “No.” Hellboy brings his fist down. “Well, I’m calling you Abe,” Hellboy says.
Once Cruise and Hellboy have all the contained creatures back at the BPRD, Cruise tells them that they all have to work together to fight a much larger threat, one that lurks at the Mountains of Madness. That’s right, we’re going full Lovecraft! Assembled, our team of monsters heads to the artic to defeat an ancient evil. The battle is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. This is the Avengers of monster movies. With the evil seemingly defeated, the team heads back to the B.P.R.D., the lonely castle now full of life. For the first time in a long time Hellboy has friends again. As the team sits in the cobwebbed library drinking beer, Cruise retreats to the hallway. From the library we overhear The Wolf-Man ask, “What’s next?” Cruise pulls a weathered journal from his coat and turns to a page with a newspaper clipping that says Hellboy Sighted. “The Devil himself,” Cruise says. Cue credits and roll that Rob Zombie track.
When a series of murders patterned after the work of the Scorpio Killer send L.A. into a panic, Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs are pulled out of retirement to track down the killer. Several explosions and thousands of dollars in property damage later, they have their suspect detained. But the killings keep happening and the capabilities of our two favorite hero-cops are thrown into question. The LAPD decides that Riggs and Murtaugh need the help of a third man, someone to keep them in line and get this case solved quietly and without the constant media attention. The chief calls Riggs and Murtaugh into his office. “You guys have a new partner, courtesy of the San Francisco police department, someone with experience tracking down serial killers.” Of, course Riggs and Murtaugh put up a fuss, until a voice that sounds like broken glass silences them. “Quiet, boys. We’ve got work to do.” It’s Harry Callahan played by none other than Clint Eastwood. “Callahan? I thought you retired decades ago,” Riggs says. “That’s what you were supposed to think,” Callahan says. And so the three cops hit the streets of L.A. uncovering the work of not just one serial killer, but an entire clan of killers who call themselves the Children of the Scorpio.
The final battle takes place at a junkyard, with an army of serial killers against three cops. “I’m getting too old for this shit,” Murtaugh says. “No you’re not. Not yet,” Callahan wheezes. They’re pinned behind a row of crushed cars. Riggs suggests going out guns blazing, the crazy spark in his eyes is back. “No. I’ve got back-up. An old friend,” Callahan says. He takes a trigger button out of his jacket. “Fireworks?” Riggs says. “Something like that,” Callahan says. We cut to an apartment. We see an arm grab a gun strapped to the underside of his desk. The figure walks towards the door, stops, then turns around and grabs his sunglasses off the desk. We cut back to the junkyard, and the firefight is still going on. “So much for that plan of yours,” Murtaugh says. “He’ll be here,” Callahan responds. “Who?” says Riggs. “Don’t worry you’ll like him,” Callahan says before looking over his shoulder. “You’ll like him a lot.” Crashing through the chain link fence of the junkyard comes a custom 1950 Mercury Monterey. The window rolls down and we see a gloved hand holding a gun with a snake painted on the handle. The gun fires and several of the killers drop dead. The car pulls a figure eight, bullets rack the windshield, but the driver seems unperturbed and lays waste to the serial killers. When the Children of the Scorpio are dispatched off, the figure steps out of the car. Murtaugh, Riggs, and Callahan rise from their spot. “Boys, this is Marion Cobretti. Best cop L.A. ever had,” Callahan says. “How many times do I hafta tell ya, Harry? Call me Cobra.” That’s right, it’s Stallone. The cops size each other up. “Well now that this is over, can you two get the fuck out of our city?” Riggs says. “Your city? I been fighting scum like this before you even earned your badge.” As the men argue, Murtaugh steps off to the side and takes a call. He hangs up and returns to the bickering men. “There’s something you should know. It’s spread. The Children of the Scorpio just hit the east coast. No way we make it through another one” he says. “Death is a young man’s game, and I’m feelin’ pretty lucky,” Callahan says. They pile into the Mercury and set off into the night.
Fast and Furious to the Future
After the events of Spike Lee’s 2026 film Mo’ Fast, Mo’ Furious, Dominic Toretto is without a family. His crusade has left every member of his team dead or imprisoned. There’s nothing left for him to do but drive across America in search of his soul. He’s driving through Hill Valley, California, a ghost town, when suddenly he has to slam on his breaks. Something zooms by him leaving flaming tire tracks and burnt asphalt. At the end of the trail of fire sits a DeLorean DMC-12. “Hell of a ride,” Toretto says. He has no idea. Out of the car steps a man wearing a red vest and an old man in a lab coat. “Dominic Toretto?” The old man says. “Who wants to know?” Toretto says. “Hurry, there’s not much time. I’m Doc Brown and my friend here is Marty McFly. We need you to save the future.” Toretto laughs. “Right. Ok.” He starts walking back to his car when his ride is crashed into by another DeLorean, this one black and modified. “Who the hell?” Toretto says. “It’s death Dom, but we can outrun it if you hurry,” Marty says. The black DeLorean revs its engines and Toretto runs to Marty and Doc. Toretto moves towards the driver’s side. “No can do, big guy,” Doc says before climbing in the driver’s seat. Toretto grimaces and takes a look back at the black DeLorean before getting in the car. “Where we headed?” He asks. “To save your family,” Doc says. The DeLorean lurches forward as space and time bends around them. The three men step out of the car. “This is where it all went wrong,” Marty says. “This is where we lost the future.” Toretto looks around and realizes he’s back in the events of the first Fast & Furious. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Doc says. “Yeah Ok, but I’m driving,” Toretto says. That soundtrack cranks up, Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa begin singing a remixed version of “The Power of Love.” And so begins their journey across the franchise to put a family back together and outrun the mysterious black DeLorean.
Evil Dies Hard
This one’s a bit of a cheat because the properties belong to separate studios, but it was too awesome of an idea to pass up. We enter on John McClane driving through the woods. He’s on a weekend getaway, with the hopes that a little nature and some rest and relaxation will help him control his anger and sense of loss. He pulls up to a cabin in the woods. It’s not quite what he was promised, but he supposes it’ll do. He enters the cabin. It stinks, and there are blood stains on the floor. There’s a cellar door and against his better judgement he feels a need to pull to open it. He ventures down the steps until he reaches the bottom. Dead animal carcasses are hung from the ceiling and there’s a table with a book on it, a book that looks like it’s made from skin. McClane hears a car engine above him, but he can’t stop himself from moving closer to the book. The door to the cabin opens. McClane’s fingers moved over the dusty-cover. He opens it, and coughs as something that taste like death fills his lungs. He hears footsteps on the stairs but still he can’t turn away from the book. He sees the words written on the page and reads them slowly. “No! Don’t!” a voice behind him cries. McClane turns and sees a one armed girl. This is Mia, and she knows that book shouldn’t have been opened. In fact she came back to destroy it. Like McClane she was drawn to this place. It’s too late. A whirlwind spins loose from the book’s pages, and dead whispers fill the air. “What the hell is this?” McClane asks. Mia says nothing, her eyes only grow wider. The floor of the cabin splits and the find themselves tumbling down, down, into the fiery depths of Hell.
McClane and Mia open their eyes. They’re in a building, the Nakatomi building to be exact. But it’s wrong. Everything is upside down, and the walls are made of pulsating flesh. Mia reaches out and touches the wall and it begins bleeding. “No, no. Not here. Not here!” McClane says. Why am I back here?” Mia shakes her head. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. What did you read? In that book. What page did you read from?” McClane is lost. “I-I don’t know. But we need to get out of here.” He moves towards a window and sees nothing but fire and serpentine tendrils below him. “We need to get out of here now, he says.” Mia laughs. “You don’t understand. There is no getting out of here. There is-Scratching comes from a closed office door. “Miiiiia,” the voice seems to fill the room. “Mia, you brought us a friend.” There’s a pounding from the door. Louder and louder until the door splinters and out steps the naked demonic figure of Mia. “Run!” Mia says. She and McClane take off towards the stairs and start climbing up the building. McClane reaches for his gun, but there isn’t one. The building is filled with Deadites. This is 40 stories of hell. Mia breaks a glass case on the wall and takes out a fire axe. She enters one of the rooms, tears through the drawers until she finds duct tape. She tapes the axe to her stump and rejoins McClane. Mia tosses John a pair of scissors and they two make their way through levels of Deadites until they reach the 13th floor. The pair become surrounded by Deadites and the walls and floor are covered in gore. Mia’s axe breaks, and McClane’s scissors are nubs. The sound of a chainsaw echoes through the room, and a man with a black trunk and a chainsaw on his arm comes crashing down through the ceiling. This is Ash. “Bout time someone else showed up to the party,” he says. He cuts his way through the Deadites until the room is clear. The three of them are panting and covered in blood. Ash looks at Mia’s arm. “Hey hot-stuff. I’ve got just the fix for that. He opens up the trunk and tosses Mia a second chainsaw. McClane looks at Ash incredulously. Ash shrugs. “I always carry a spare. What about you, Cue ball? Whatcha packin’?” McClane looks down at the worn pair of scissors. “Got another one of those?” he asks gesturing towards the chainsaw. “No, but I’ve got just the thing.” Ash bends down and takes a tiny pistol from his boot and hands it to McClane. “Here you go cowboy.” McClane looks at the shotgun Ash has strapped to his back. “What about that?” McClane asks. “My boomstick? No sir. No one puts their hands on this baby except me.”
Ash, Mia, and McClane continue their way up the Nakatomi building with the Deadites becoming more and more ferocious. When they reach the top floor, McClane spots the Book of the Dead, their ticket home. But a figure steps out of the shadows. “Hello, Dad.” It’s Deadite Jack McClane played by non-other than Jai Courtney. The four engage in an epic battle as the room becomes overrun with Deadites. A tentacle bursts through the window, creating even more havoc. “Ash! Boomstick!” McClane yells. Ash hesitates before throwing it two him. Ash and Mia position themselves back to back and carve a path for McClane. McClane fires at Deadite Jack and blows him away. “Yippee-Ki-Yay-“ McClane begins. “Motherfucker!” Ash, who’s no longer paying attention to the battle, yells as he turns through the pages of the Book of the Dead. “This isn’t our book,” Ash says. “Read it! We can’t survive here much longer,” Mia yells as she battles off more Deadites. Ash reads the words, the whirlwind and voices start again. Ash, McClane and Mia float up, their vision goes white. They wake up in a dirt road. There’s a Tavern with swinging doors in front of them. They realize they’re in the Old West. “Groovy. I could use a drink,” Ash says. They enter the tavern. The bartender turns to greet them and it’s a Deadite. The creature’s head-explodes. The trio turn and face a man sitting calmly in the corner. It’s Kurt Russell. “What I wouldn’t give to have a ‘stache like that,” Ash says. Pan out of the bar and we see an entire Western Town, one that’s about to be under-siege from Deadites.
Featured Image: 20th Century Fox