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With 'Curious George,' Illumination looks to make more animation mischief

July 30, 2010 |  1:04 pm


EXCLUSIVE: Filmgoers soon will have another round of adventures with the Man With the Yellow Hat.

Illumination Entertainment, the animation company founded by former Fox Animation President Chris Meledandri and whose movies Universal finances and distributes, is developing a new version of "Curious George."

The movie is expected to feature the wry animated images of "Despicable Me" and will spin a new story of George the monkey/chimpanzee (depending on whether you favor H.A. and Margret Rey's text or the tail-less images) who's taken out of the jungle by an eccentric explorer to live in the city, where mischief always seems to find him.

Universal and production company Imagine produced an animated "Curious George" just four years ago, in which Will Ferrell voiced the Man With the Yellow hat. Mired in development for years, the movie didn't entirely catch on with filmgoers, grossing just $58 million in the U.S. (A second installment, "Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey!," came out as a direct-to-DVD release in 2009.)

The Illumination film is expected to start from scratch. It's getting a script from Larry Stuckey, who wrote the upcoming "Little Fockers," the third installment in the "Meet the Parents" franchise, for Universal.

Universal is very keen on Illumination, which with "Despicable" gave the studio a long-awaited family-friendly animation hit. After the success of that film, Meledandri's company is also developing "Where's Waldo?" and "Dr. Seuss' the Lorax" movies as well as a sequel to "Despicable Me."

Reboots of movies that haven't been gone very long -- "Haunted Mansion" and  "Spider-Man" -- continue to remain in vogue in Hollywood. They'll be an adventure, but we suppose if any character is up for one, it's Curious George.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Curious George. Credit: Houghton Mifflin


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Comments () | Archives (4)

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I just love "Curious George" and my kids too. I have probably seen it 10 times at least. And the music by Jack Johnson is just the best!

ANOTHER one? I'd very much prefer the 2006 one, thank you very much.

They should make a crossover with the 28___Later franchise and call it "Furious George"

So now they are going to remake it with CG? I, personally, loved the hand-drawn look (even though things in the environment, cars, buildings, background stuff was CG, unfortunately) of the characters, it's a shame that Universal thinks a new "rebooted" Curious George movie might do better by filtering it through a computer with CG graphics.

The 2006 version was sweet, innocent, the character animation and music was wonderful .The only thing I may have not liked about it was Will Ferrel playing The Man in the Yellow Hat like he was a buffoon when you are supposed to look up to him (I think the PBS cartoon of Curious George pulls the man's fatherly personality off better with Jeff Bennett).

And another thing: they better keep Frank Welker for this reboot!!


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