Remember when I talked about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies showing why it’s so important to have a thriving public domain? It’s taken a while, but the book has finally spawned a movie adaptation that’s just released a trailer to movie theaters. While the movie adaptation isn’t your traditional Disney-style public domain book adaptation—they did have to pay the author of the new work, Seth Grahame-Smith, for the film rights—it nonetheless continues the theme of why it’s so important for authors like Grahame-Smith to be able to craft new works from existing public-domain ones.
While knowing what the trailer is actually for kind of spoils the joke for us, you can only imagine how it will play in movie theaters to unsuspecting audiences. It opens like a traditional Austen adaptation, before taking a screeching Rickroll-esque veer into zombie movie territory at the thirty-second mark. In this, too, it demonstrates how important the public domain is. Without the original work being available to adapt into a new book that could be licensed for film, and having set audience expectations simply by existing and being so widely read, we would miss out on the opportunity to see it used for such fascinating social commentary.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies should hit theaters in February, 2016. Meanwhile, Seth Grahame-Smith isn’t resting on his laurels. He will be writing and directing the movie version of The Flash for Warner Brothers, and is involved in writing several other projects including The LEGO Batman Movie and a sequel to Beetlejuice.