Another day, another report on a childhood classic that’s being repackaged for modern audiences. Today’s news hails from The Tracking Board, who reveal that a brand new animated feature based on the iconic Hanna Barbera characters Tom and Jerry has entered development. In the second theatrical outing for the mismatched pair, Warner Bros. intend to “reinvent the characters for a mass audience,” with studio executives Cate Adams and Jesse Ehrman set to oversee the project.
Currently, there’s no talent attached, as the studio are searching for a writer to pen “the right take on the characters.” Whoever Warner signs to command the flick will be following in the footsteps of noted Charlie Brownanimator Phil Roman, who shepherded Tom and Jerry: The Movie to the big screen in 1992. While that misfire received a critical mauling, there’s every hope this new incarnation will avoid those same pitfalls.
Since the studio acquired the rights in 2006, it produced a series of small screen animated series around the titular pair, and even began developing a live-action version in the style of Alvin and The Chipmunks. That iteration had Sherlock Holmes’ Dan Lin set to produce from a script by Eric Gravning, but stalled after the studio got cold feet and decided to back out. The most recent title was released straight-to-video in 2014 under the name Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon.
In order to cut their losses from the start, the new Tom and Jerry outing won’t include any live-action actors and is set to be just an animated film, “in the vein of the source material.” That material stretches way back in history to 1940 when William Hanna and Joseph Barbera created the slapstick pair for MGM.
The trend for reviving pre-existing children’s classics has spiked in recent weeks, with news that Disney is prepping updates of Mulan and Winnie The Pooh. If Warners’ attempt to get in on the action with Tom and Jerry turns out to be a success, could we be hearing about more cartoon favorites heading to the big screen?