It's official — the pizza party remains open for business.
After opening to an estimated $65 million, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" has done well enough to warrant a sequel. Paramount and producer Michael Bay have set June 3, 2016 as the official date for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2," promising one more big-screen battle for the Heroes in a Half Shell.
With the sequel confirmed, but the release date far enough away, there's still plenty of time to think about what worked and what didn't with the first "Ninja Turtles," and apply those lessons for the sequel. Here are seven suggestions for the franchise as it preps its second round of pizza-pounding action.
1. More Time with the Turtles
Lean into the strengths of the characters. Develop the rivalry between Leonardo and Raph — show us why they butt heads. Come up with ways for Donatello's proficiency with technology to actively factor into the main story. Let Michelangelo release some steam and go out on an actual date. (Er, actually, don't do that.) However you slice it, the Turtles need individual stories, and increased screen time, to distinguish themselves from each other and their relationship with April.
2. Less Time with the Shredder
The Foot Clan head honcho is the de facto Turtles baddie at all times, but he needs to take a spot on the shelf. There are other villains the Turtles can face off against — Krang, Baxter Stockman, Slash — but even after one film in the new series, Shredder is ready for retirement. Time to move on to bigger and badder things.
3. More Story for April O'Neil
Yes, Megan Fox had plenty of screen time, but not a whole lot to do. After she discovers the Turtles, and her role in their existence, she's more or less just along for the ride. The sequel needs to give Fox's April an actual storyline with its own weight, something that proves why she needs to be in the mix.
4. Less Story for Vern Fenwick
Will Arnett's smarmy cameraman added little to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," other than ogling April from time to time. The Turtles provide more than enough comic relief on their own; there's little that Fenwick adds to the mix that the Turtles aren't already bringing to the table. Next time, less Fenwick, more Turtles, please.
5. More Exposure to New York City
The Turtles are heroes of the people — they just don't know it yet. After spending most of their lives in isolation, the sequel offers the chance to break the Turtles out of the sewers and show them everything New York has to offer. Let them visit the Highline, let them skate at Rockefeller Center, or let them attend a pizza party in Williamsburg. (Donatello would fit right in with those glasses) Wherever they want to go, really. They have a Turtle Van now, after all; they don't even need to rely on MTA!
6. Less Pizza Hut
Not that Pizza Hut doesn't have its place, but come on. This is New York City, home of Lombardi's, Di Fara, Spumoni Gardens and countless other pizza institutions. After everything they've done for the Big Apple, the Turtles deserve a pizza party upgrade.
7. More Snowball Fights
Which is to say, more of the Turtles working together in battle. The best action scene of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," by far and away, was the one with all four of the brothers sledding down a snow-covered slope, using each other's strengths and weaknesses to beat down the Foot Clan. That kind of camaraderie needs to be increased even further when the Turtles return to the big-screen. Enough of Raph going rogue — these four need to stick together and work together throughout round two.
What do you want to see in a "Ninja Turtles" sequel?