Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (formerly known as Ninja Turtles) is a 2014 American action film based on the characters of the same name. A reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series, the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, Danny Woodburn, and Will Arnett. The film was announced shortly before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird sold the rights to the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. The film is to be produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, and distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Following the news of the buyout, it was announced that Nickelodeon would produce a new film through Paramount Pictures with an expected release date sometime in 2012. In late May 2011, it was announced that Paramount and Nickelodeon had brought Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form on to produce the next film that will reboot the film series. Bay, Fuller, and Form would produce alongside Walker and Mednick. For the script, the studio originally hired Matt Holloway and Art Marcum to write the film for close to a million dollars. According to TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, the John Fusco version was a little too edgy for what Paramount wanted. A year later the Studio turns to writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec to rewrite the script. In February 2012, Jonathan Liebesman was brought in to negotiations to direct the film beating out Brett Ratner. Later in March, it was announced that Paramount had pushed back film's release date to Christmas Day 2013.
In early March, Michael Bay revealed at Nickelodeon's 2012 upfront presentation that the film will be simply titled Ninja Turtles and that the turtles will be "from an alien race". News of Bay's creative change was met with criticism from within the fan community. In response to the announcement, actor Robbie Rist who voiced Michaelangelo the first three films, wrote to Bay accusing him of "sodomizing" the franchise. Rist later remarked that he could have been out of line since Bay makes more money than he does. In response to the feedback, Bay issued a statement asking fans to calm down since a script had not been revealed, his team was working closely with the creators, and would include all the elements that made them fans to begin with. Both Brian Tochi, who voiced Leonardo in the first three films, and Judith Hoag, who played April O'Neil in first film, have voiced their support towards the creative change. TMNT co-creator Peter Laird expressed his thoughts on the change asking fans to take Bay's advice and wait until more of Bay's plan is made available. Laird also stated that he felt the "ill-conceived plan" could be a "genius notion," as it would allow fans to have the multitude of bipedal anthropomorphic turtles that they have been asking for. He would point out that while the concept of a turtle-planet backstory made for a great run-of-the-mill science fiction story, it had no real place in the Ninja Turtles universe. The franchise's co-creator Kevin Eastman stated that he had been invited behind the scenes of the film, and concluded that he was officially on board with the project and that, although he could not say much, he believes it to be "awesome". Via Twitter, Corey Feldman, who voiced Donatello in the first and third films, voiced his support for the film saying that he loves Bay's remakes and he is eager to reprise his role. In response to the backlash, Liebesman stated that he was glad to hear about the fan's response, since he and Eastman had been locked in a room working on ideas that, from his own perspective as a fan, everybody will love. While he would not confirm whether or not Bay's comment did represent the film's premise, he did stress on the ooze itself and its background in the original comic, reminding that the ooze was the product of alien technology. In regards to how the Turtles would be rendered, Liebesman would not say exactly what visual direction would be taken, but he did state that he did enjoy Weta Digital's work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He also pointed out that the film would not be exclusively about action but will also focus on brotherhood, friendship, and responsibility.
In late March, Michael Bay posted on his website explaining the title change and stressing that nothing had changed regarding the Turtles. He stated the reason the title was shortened was a request by Paramount to make the title "simple". He continued that the Turtles were the same as fans remember and regardless of the title change they still act like teenagers. He urged everyone to give everybody who was involved a chance, as they had the fans interest at top priority and would not let anybody down. On June 12, Eastman revealed some of the things for the film stating that April would not be 16 years old like in the 2012 cartoon series, he feels Ken Watanabe would make a great Shredder, he would like to bring Reyes back as a Foot lieutenant, and martial arts wise they are looking at Fist of Legend and The Raid: Redemption. Three days later, it was reported that production for this project has been shut down. While the release date has been pushed back five months, the work stoppage for the film was said to be "indefinite". However, other sources said that the film would be released on May 16, 2014 due to problems in that script that need to be corrected. In July 2012, Eastman called it "easily the best Turtle movie yet". Kevin Eastman stated that the movie is creating its own story but has to be true to the source material or else they will get "fucking murdered".
An early version of the script, dated 1/30/12, titled "The Blue Door" and written by Appelbaum and Nemec, was leaked online. It features major changes to the origins: the Turtles hail from another dimension that consists of turtle warriors, Splinter is an alien from the same dimension as well, Shredder is "Colonel Schrader", a government agent who is secretly an alien who can grow blades from his body, "The Foot Clan" is just "The Foot", an elite Black Ops unit led by Col. Schrader, Casey Jones is an 18 year old security guard/amateur hockey player that finds the Turtles and is the focus of the movie, April is also 18 and is having relationship troubles with Casey because she is moving to New York due to an internship at CBS, Raphael is the comic relief instead of Michelangelo, and Michelangelo falls in love with a turtle woman from his home planet. A cease and desist order was sent by Paramount Pictures to a website that was hosting the script. Peter Laird read the script and commented on his blog that "all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new 'powers that be' that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further." In response to The Blue Door, Bay stated that the draft had been written before he and Platinum Dunes joined the project and was promptly rejected some time before. On January 12, 2013, Production Weekly revealed the film will start filming in April 2013 in New York. That same month, the studio pushed back the film's release date until June 6, 2014, and a new writer Evan Daugherty was brought on board.
In mid February 2013, actress Megan Fox had been reported to be cast as April, reuniting her with Michael Bay after he fired her from Transformers: Dark of the Moon at behest of Steven Spielberg for comparing Bay to Hitler. Bay confirmed Fox is back in good terms with him as early as April 2011 but a source told Radar Online that Fox had to personally apologize again to get the role of April. Jessica Biel had expressed interest in playing the part. In regards to Fox's casting, Laird commented that he felt there were better choices to play April, but that he would prefer not to get too worked up over the issue.
A month later, it was reported that Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard and Noel Fisher were cast as Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo respectively. In early April, Will Arnett was cast in a role that was being kept secret until leaked photos revealed that he had been cast as April's cameraman and rival, Vernon Fenwick. Shortly after, actor Danny Woodburn joined the cast as Splinter.
In early May, William Fichtner was cast in the film as a lead with iconic stature in the Turtles’ mythology. That same month, Saturday Night Live star Abby Elliott was cast a role in the film. Whoopi Goldberg appeared on set, she revealed that she is portraying Bernadette Thompson, a female version of Burne Thompson. On June 22, 2013, Fichtner revealed to the Huffington Post that he is playing The Shredder. Fichtner revealed to screenrant that the Shredder won't be called as Oroku Saki, but as Eric Sachs.
On August 3, 2013 Kevin Eastman posted on his facebook page that he was heading to New York to shoot a cameo in the movie.
Filming began March 22, 2013 in Tupper Lake, New York. Shooting began in April in New York City and at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh on Long Island, New York under the code words "four squared" (4SQ). On April 20, 2013, the film was renamed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. On April 29, 2013, Michael Bay retracted comments that the turtles will be aliens. Early set photos were made public showing the turtles' actors in black and grey motion capture suits, complete with life-sized turtle shells, with each actor wearing arm bands and accents of their corresponding turtle's signature color.
Brian Tyler composed the film.
Amongst the many posters released for the movie, Paramount Pictures Australia tweeted an ad on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 for the release of the movie in that country on September 11. The poster featured in that ad showed the turtles falling from a building with an explosion in the building behind them. The combination of the film being set in New York City, the Australian release date and the content of the poster was viewed as being insensitive and unwise in light of the September 11 attacks in the United States that brought down the World Trade Center towers. Paramount removed the tweet and apologized for the incident.