Saturday, May 11, 2013

Out At Sea

Sony Pictures Animation's upcoming animated film based on the legendary sailor man Popeye has been removed from their release schedule, leaving 2014 blank. The film was initially pegged for a September 26th release, which seemed perfect since they tend to occupy that spot each year when it comes to a non-Smurfs release.

I'm bummed about this because I was actually curious about this one. I know I tend to be critical of animation studios that take beloved characters from the past and modernize them, but I didn't think this was going to happen with Popeye. Genndy Tartakovsky is going to direct it, as he had salvaged Hotel Transylvania, a film that could've been much worse than it was. He successfully made the animation good and the film certainly was frenetic, I was curious to see what he would bring to the table for the Popeye film. Tartakovsky, of course, is the man who created Dexter's Laboratory and Samuari Jack and he also heavily contributed to Craig McCracken's The Powerpuff Girls.

Tartakovsky wanted to go against the grain with Hotel Transylvania, going for cartoony slapstick and exaggerated takes that you would see in a Tex Avery cartoon. He respects classic Hollywood cartoons and what made them great, which was I wasn't worried about Popeye. He would definitely make it worthy of the original Fleischer Brothers cartoons while also pushing the boundaries for what you can do in computer animation. I fully believe that the medium can do the things that the classic hand-drawn cartoons did, contrary to what some might think. A lot of recent films show that you can do that with the medium.

Anyways, now that Sony Pictures Animation doesn't have a film set for release in 2014, will they add one to the line-up? The Smurfs 3 could be moved to late July/August 2014 since that slot is free, but it's already mid-2013 and it hasn't been worked on so they can't just hastily move it forward out of nowhere... Or can they? Hotel Transylvania 2? Probably not, but you never know. Maybe they'll just sit this one out. After all, they didn't have a film ready for release in 2010.

It's not off the schedule for good though, as Box Office Mojo simply has a 2015 date next to it, not TBD. I doubt that they'll release it in 2015 since The Smurfs 3 and Hotel Transylvania are already opening that year, and I don't see Sony Animation having three films ready for 2015... Heck, even DreamWorks doing that was a big feat. Popeye may end up coming out in 2016 unless one of the 2015 films is moved to either 2014 or 2016.

I just hope we don't have to wait too too long...

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