RoboCop statue coming to Detroit

Despite Mayor Dave Bing's polite rejections, a statue of Robocop is coming to Detroit.
An online campaign raised $50,000 in six days to erect a statue of RoboCop in the city of Detroit, Michigan. ((Courtesy: MGM Studios Inc.))
Despite Mayor Dave Bing's polite rejections, a statue of RoboCop is coming to Detroit.

The people behind an online fundraising campaign raised $50,000 in less than a week when a conversation between Bing and a Twitter user went viral ten days ago.

Bing and his communication team asked Twitter users for suggestions on making improvements to the city, to which a user called @MT responded, "Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky and RoboCop would kick Rocky's butt. He's a great ambassador for Detroit."

RoboCop was a 1987 action movie set in a crime-ridden futuristic Detroit. It's about a police officer who is murdered, then re-created as a superhuman cyborg.

The mayor politely rejected the suggestion, but the idea spawned Facebook groups, and eventually an world-wide campaign to raise money for a statue of the butt-kicking cyborg. As recently as Wednesday morning, "RoboCop" was still one of the 10 most-searched terms on Yahoo!

Promoters hope the statue will be as popular as the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia or the Fonzie statue in Milwaukee.

Organizer Jerry Paffendorf, said he's thrilled with the debate — for and against — since word of the plan emerged.

"This was a really good guy who went through these things, and he never faltered, and he was reborn, and this is what's happening with the auto industry and with the city and it represents our toughness, and all this kind of stuff," Paffendorf said. "I think it's beautiful the way all those ideas mingle and people share them, and it's been really constructive."

Even though Detroit's mayor isn't crazy about the idea, the group of artists who raised the money told CBC News the statue will be built anyway — on private property still to be selected, and the group is still soliciting ideas on the final Robocop design.

Mayor Dave Bing has said he doesn't believe the statue adds any value to the city of Detroit.
"I firmly believe this is going to add a lot more value to the city," Paffendorf said. "Robocop has a real chance of becoming this kind of avatar for goodness and newness and collective action in Detroit, which is just really exciting."

Peter Weller, the actor who played RoboCop, weighed in on the idea that his likeness would be cast on a 7-foot statue. He said he doesn't care about the statue depicting him personally. On one hand, he said he understands people who say that Detroit has more pressing issues to deal with, but he also sees that it's an emblem of what's great about Detroit.

"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," Weller said.

MGM Studios didn't seem to mind the idea either. On Thursday, the company was promoting the sci-fi movie as a download feature on its website.

With files from The Associated Press