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With 'Mighty Mouse' reboot, Paramount is here to save the franchise

April 15, 2010 |  5:32 pm

EXCLUSIVE: With "Alvin & the Chipmunks" showing that a classic animated property can have a prosperous life on the modern film screen, Paramount is pushing forward with a reboot of "Mighty Mouse."

The project, based on the vintage cartoon about a crime-fighting super-mouse (which will surely get a modern spin) has been in development for several years at Paramount and its Nickelodeon Movies label. A number of writers have taken stabs at a script over that time, including the Gunn brothers (Brian and Mark), who also count the "Journey to the Center of Earth" sequel among their credits.

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.

--Steven Zeitchik

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Photo: Mighty Mouse. Credit: Terytoons Inc.

Comments () | Archives (6)

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Mark and Brian are cousins, not brothers.


I would love to see this as a CGI film. And yes, it needs to be CGI not crossover into live-action slash CGI as in "Underdog". And someone in Hollywood, needs to learn that certain animated characters or animated TV shows needs to be treated with respect. What "Underdog" lacked was that it was an animated series, not something that could work as a Live-Action movie. "Underdog" needs to be rebooted and be sold to audiences as a CGI movie not what we got at the movie houses. "Mighty Mouse" needs to be CGI becuase of the fact that all the characters that associated with this character are animated characters, not humans that need to be fluxied with CGI mixed with real actors. Hope it works, we need cartoon movies for laughs....this world is tooo serious as it is.

I fully agree with Tim. CGI completely. If it's part live action part cgi or cartoon, it WILL FLOP. I mean, even kids get irritated by that. Campy=Crappy. And Howard The Duck pretty much proved that puppets don't mesh well with live actors either. Why mighty mouse now anyway? Did the rights expire or something and they got it on the cheap? Or is the sad fact that there are no new ideas coming out, and like hip-hop the only thing they can do is sample better work from brighter days. They seem to really be scraping the bottom of the barrel with mighty mouse. I mean, Super Chicken I could understand. Super Chicken ruled. But Mighty Mouse...not so much.

Why CGI? What's wrong with doing it hand-drawn? As the success of The Princess and the Frog proved, there is still an audience for that medium, believe it or not?

CGI may have worked with Astro Boy, but I just don't see Mighty Mouse translating to computer-animation.

My name is Ed Power. I write a comic strip for King Features Syndicate called 'My Cage'.

I would do anything to even have a five minute pitch for this movie.


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