Hollywood can never be accused of failing to exploit the popularity of a franchise, and so the industry that brought us five Pirates Of The Caribbean movies – approximately four more than were reasonably required – is also threatening us with a fourth Men In Black instalment.
This extension of the series that began with Men In Black (1997) seems largely due to the positive reception of Men In Black 3 (2012) which followed the disappointing Men In Black 2 (2002), and will be the first film in the series not to involve Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones. Instead, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Liam Neeson take on the lead roles, with the action based on a plot that requires them to travel around the world thwarting alien attacks.
The movie was originally due to be released in May, though that date has since been put back to June, but when it does finally emerge, Men In Black: Internationalis not expected to trouble too many Awards judges. According to bookmaker Paddy Power, it is rated as a 150/1 shot to win the Best Picture Oscar at the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony. For reference, that places it as a less likely winner than The Lego Movie 2 (35/1), Dumbo (50/1) and Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (100/1).
Those long odds are only partially down to the low expectations for this alien-themed feature. Although science-fiction movies have regularly featured in the Best Visual Effects nominations, none from this genre has ever been a serious contender for Best Picture.
And even if Men In Black: International turns out to be a minor classic, it is still up against some pretty impressive rivals in the Best Picture market. Martin Scorcese’s long-awaited gangster thriller The Irishman, starring Al Pacino and Robert de Niro, is the current 3/1 favourite, while there are also serious contenders in the form of The Laundromat (4/1), starring Meryl Streep; Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (6/1) and the Tom Hanks vehicle, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood (9/1).