Detroit Getting Its Very Own Robocop Statue

Posted: September 29, 2013 in Movies


The bankrupt city of Detroit obviously did not have the funds to do it.   Build a statue to the town most famous fictional law enforcement officer, Robocop.   So the citizens of Detroit turned to Kickstarter to get the job done.

The project is one born of civic pride, opportunity and marketing.   The statue started as a twitter idea, turned Facebook page and website, then exploded into a full blown social media campaign with Kickstrarter crowd sourcing and funding angels.  

Fans of the original Paul Verhoeven version of  Robocop and its three sequels proposed the idea in 2011, shortly after the remake version to be directed by Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) and starring Joel Kinnaman (The Killing cable series) was announced.  The remake was shot in Detroit with partial financing coming from a Michigan State film incentive fund.

The remake is scheduled to open February 2014.   The statue is scheduled to be erected summer 2014. 

g12c00000000000000077ee0f68035c96cbda653ea133caa9f2e37ccc5fAP Photo/The Detroit News, David Guralnick

“It’s just so amazing just how mind-blowing this whole project has been … ,” said Brandon Walley  in an interview with the Detroit Free Press.  Walley (pronounced Wall-E, just like the Pixar Robot) is the director of development of the nonprofit the Imagination Station, the organizers behind the drive to make the statue.   “Every city has pop-culture references from statues to public art and things like that, so I think this will add nicely to Detroit and the rejuvenation that’s happening here.”

Also,  John Leonard, a Detroit graphic designer, began a Facebook page that later inspired the Kickstarter campaign for the statue.  The Kickstarter campaign raised over $67,000 and is fully funded.  

Over $25,000 of that came from Pete Hottelet.  Hottelet is a graphic designer, and is such a big Robocop fan, that he named his company Omni Consumer Products after the evil mega corporation from the Verhoeven movie. Omni makes officially licensed products for the movies: Brawndo from Idiocracy, Sex Panther cologne from Anchorman and Fight Club soap.

2021893339AP Photo/The Detroit News, David Guralnick

The 10 foot statue in its final phase of construction is being made by Detroit based Venus Bronze Works and will be fully identical to the one that Peter Weller made famous in the 1987 movie. Venus Bronze works other restoration projects include the Spirit of Detroit statue, the Custer statue in Monroe and a Statue of Liberty replica on Mackinac Island.

The design was created by  Hollywood-based Fred Barton Productions, a producer of  robots for movies and TV show.  Additional help with scanning, digital enlarging,  fabrication and foam,wax,clay and steel  assembly was done by Across the Board Creations 3D in British Columbia, Canada, and Idaho.

The replica model of actor Peter Weller’s costume  has 24-inch feet and 2-by-1-foot hands.  Other attention to detail is displayed in the several intricate gauges and screws in the body along with the “OCP Police” engravings on its thigh and helmet.  The left hand alone is about 16 inches long and 1 foot wide.

“When you look at the armor up close, and you see it’s so big, you really get the understanding of how this character was really inspired by the Motor City,” said “RoboTeam” member John Leonard, speaking to the Detroit Free Press.   “When you look at the chest, it’s like the hood of a car — sort of like a person combined with an auto-chassis.

“You really get to see the poetry of it and see how inspired by the city it really is.  This is larger than even my wildest imagination.”

Leonard and Walley hope that the statue will get a prominent base in Downtown Detroit and become a tourist attraction like those of Rocky in Philadelphia and Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis.  

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