Fans of the 1987 supernatural crime RoboCop have raised $50,000 to erect a giant statue in his honor in Detroit, the troubled city where the hit film was set.
The idea for a RoboCop tribute began with a Twitter message to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing that went viral earlier this year.
“Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky, RoboCop would kick Rocky’s butt. He’s a great ambassador for Detroit,” a Detroit resident Tweeted.
The mayor responded: “There are not any plans to erect a statue of Robocop. Thank you for the suggestion.”
Despite the mayor’s lukewarm response the idea quickly sparked an Internet campaign. Soon a Facebook page, titled Detroiters for a RoboCop Statue, began gaining fans.
The rest, as they say, is history.
A local non-profit organization, titled ‘Imagination Station,” has set up a fund — “Detroit Needs A Statue of RoboCop!” — where people can donate to the statue effort online. Within days, $25,000 had flooded in from Detroit residents and fans of the classic sci-fi film.
Pete Hottelet, a lifelong RoboCop fan, then donated a whopping $25,000 of his own cash to double the money for the RoboCop tribute. The Los Angeles native owns a company called Omni Consumer Products, named after the fictional jumbo-conglomerate that controls the dystopian society featured in the movie.
Brandon Walley, who is the brainchild for the campaign, believes the statue will be a great boost for tourism in his hometown, which was left in financial ruins after the near collapse of the American automotive industry.
“It will bring people to visit. It’s also just a cool idea…”
Peter Weller, who played RoboCop in the movie, also believes the statue will be a great addition to the cash-strapped city.
“I think it’s a great thing as far as a public service. As far as a personal emblem, it doesn’t make any difference to me.”
The project has enlisted the help of robot-expert Fred Barton — whose company, Fred Barton Productions, makes high-tech replicas of famous Hollywood androids for museums and collectors. Barton, 53, has been restoring the original silicone RoboCop suit for the last five years and will provide the pieces so the iconic figure can be digitally-rendered and enlarged for the statue.
“It’s a very exciting project. As soon as I heard about it I wanted to be involved. I’m not sure what pose RoboCop will have yet, but we’re thinking of going for something non-threatening yet majestic,” he explains. “So we won’t have him pointing a gun in your face. We want it to be a positive symbol of hope for the new Detroit.”
We’re still waiting to hear when construction on the RoboCop monument will begin.