The first film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, closely follows the storyline from the Mirage comic books, in addition to some of the more lighthearted elements of the cartoons. The film tells the origin story of Splinter and the Turtles, their initial encounters with April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) and Casey Jones (Elias Koteas), and their first confrontation with The Shredder and his Foot Clan. Directed by Steve Barron and released by New Line Cinema, the film showcases the innovative puppetry techniques of Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
The first sequel, titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, expands on the Turtles' origin story while claiming the distinction as Vanilla Ice's film debut. The film was dedicated to puppeteer Jim Henson. It also introduced the Turtles' human friend Keno (Ernie Reyes Jr.) and Shredder's mutant henchmen Tokka and Rahzar. This film was internationally released by 20th Century Fox.
The third film in the series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, features Elias Koteas reprising his role as Casey Jones. The plot revolves around the "Sacred Sands of Time", a mystical scepter which transports the Turtles and April back in time to feudal Japan, where they become embroiled in a conflict between a daimyō and a group of rebellious villagers.
A 2007 feature film, titled simply TMNT and written and directed by Kevin Munroe, was released March 23, 2007. Unlike the previous films, it used 100% computer-generated imagery, produced by Imagi Animation Studios and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company. It was the final Ninja Turtle movie to be distributed by Time Warner due to the franchise being purchased by Viacom.
This film opens with the Turtles scattered as Leonardo is training in Central America, Donatello and Michelangelo have jobs, and Raphael spends his time as the vigilante crimefighter "Nightwatcher". Leonardo returns to New York City due to the events surrounding a series of monsters being hunted by the mysterious businessman Max Winters, but tensions begin to rise between Raphael and Leonardo over the leadership of the team. The Foot Clan also appear, with Karai leading them. While not strictly keeping to the continuity of the prior films, it did include references to the prior three films in a scene near the end of the film.
A new feature film, rebooting the film franchise, was originally scheduled to be released in December 2013 as part of the acquisition of the franchise by Viacom. It was announced on May 27, 2010, that Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company had landed the rights to the new film. The film is a co-production between Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. The first film was directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox as April O'Neil, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, and features motion capture CGI for the Turtles and Splinter, the film was released on August 8, 2014. The film became a box office success.
A sequel, Out of the Shadows was announced for June 3, 2016 with Dave Green directing. The sequel was announced on August 10, 2014, two days after the first film was released. The original cast (with the exception of Johnny Knoxville) returns with Stephen Amell, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, and Gary Anthony Williams joining as Casey Jones, Shredder, Baxter Stockman, and Bebop respectively. WWE wrestler Sheamus was later confirmed to portray Rocksteady.
Kevin Eastman was working on a fourth Ninja Turtles film between 1995 and 1997 titled TMNT 4: The Next Mutation or TMNT 4: The Foot Walks Again. In 2012, Heritage Auctions published concept arts showing a fifth turtle named Kirby, but also featured are Fang, Shredder, Spyder, Nano Spyder, Super Shredder, Casey, Talbot, Lawson, Bugman and "Evil April". Peter Laird showed some concept art of the Turtles and Splinter on his blog. The main concept behind the film will have the turtles undergo a second mutation due to the mutagen in the heroes' bloodstream beginning to change with age and giving them new abilities and new problems. Also, the film would revolve around the return of the Shredder and proceeded to rebuild the Foot empire.
Kevin Munroe has stated that he would like to direct a possible sequel to TMNT, possibly involving the return of the Shredder. Munroe planned a trilogy. TMNT 2 would have loosely adapted the Turtles’ 13-part comic book saga "City At War". Michelangelo would have felt rejected and joined the Foot Clan. While the Turtles would have traveled to Japan and would have crossed paths with Karai and Shredder. TMNT 3 would have featured the Triceratons as well as the Technodrome’s arrival from Dimension X. Munroe wanted Michael Clarke Duncan to voice the Triceraton’s leader, Commander Mozar. In an interview, Peter Laird stated he was interested in the idea of having the next film be a live-action and CGI hybrid film, with the Turtles rendered in CGI and Sarah Michelle Gellar and Chris Evans reprising their TMNT roles in live-action.
In late April 2009, it was announced a new live-action film would be in the works for a 2011 release. Mirage Studios was partnering with producers Scott Mednick and Galen Walker, with Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick Fierst, Eric Crown would serve as executive producers, and 4Kids Entertainment would handle the film's merchandising. The film would have used animatronic suits whose facial expressions would be digitally enhanced in post-production. It was stated that the story would focus on the Turtles origin. In July 2009, an open casting call was made for extras to play as members of the Foot Clan, with Ernie Reyes, Jr. as an acting judge. "Ninja Turtles" co-creator Peter Laird said "there are a lot of positive feelings about a 'Batman Begins'-style 'reboot, while producer Galen Walker said the film would be headed in a darker direction. In July, 2009 it was announced that John Fusco would be the films writer. His version was to be inspired by the original dark and gritty black and white comics that Eastman created with Peter Laird, but Paramount wasn't on board. Kevin Eastman described the script as being "too edgy for what Paramount wanted". Peter Laird revealed the film would have been a direct sequel to the 1990 film ignoring its sequels. However, in mid October 2009, it was announced that Viacom's subsidiary network Nickelodeon had purchased all of Mirage's rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property for $9.75 million, thus terminating all deals with 4Kids and Time Warner.