But the studio has, over the last few months, been seeking both a new writer and a new director for "Mouse," with a number of up-and-comers on the list. We''ll keep you posted when they're hired, but the very fact of development momentum is noteworthy. Paramount has had success distributing DreamWorks Animation's films – the studio currently has the hit "How to Train Your Dragon" out in theaters -- but also has made the most of its few forays into animation production. "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie," a Paramount/Nick collaboration, earned $140 million worldwide back in 2004 (and that was long before the 3-D and hybrid live/animation crazes hit full bore, which could give a jolt to this one if the studio went that way).
"Mighty Mouse" also has plenty of name recognition. The Terrytoons cartoon was a staple on Saturday morning television from the 1950s to the 1980s, meaning that pretty much anyone over the age of 30 is familiar with it (here are those theme-song lyrics, if they're not lodged in your head already; Mr. Trouble, indeed, never hangs around when he hears that mighty sound).But how studio executes update the property will be a key question. The original 1940s "Mighty Mouse" comic was designed as a a satire of the then-popular "Superman," a kind of subversive postmodern creation before entertainment (and most of the world) was familiar with subversive postmodern creations. Producers could still go that way -- especially in an era when big Marvel and DC superheroes are themselves getting subversive treatments -- though part of the reason to do a movie like "Mighty Mouse" in the first place is its broad, family-oriented appeal.
That said, there are plenty of cartoon staples here that writers can play with -- love interests like Mitzi and Pearl Pureheart, the villainous cat Oil Can Harry and the main character's ability to save the day with the help of his superpowers, to name a few. Hey, if so many of our other childhood memories are getting re-imagined by the Dream Factory, the yellow-costumed one might as well get re-imagined too.
Photo: Mighty Mouse. Credit: Terytoons Inc.