Friday, March 18, 2016
It Flies Again: 'Captain Underpants' Back on DreamWorks' Slate
It looks like DreamWorks' Captain Underpants is back on...
DreamWorks had gotten the rights to Captain Underpants years ago. The Dav Pilkey-penned children's book series was always a staple at my elementary school's book fairs when I was young, and I'm sure they still are something of a hit today. The series was unabashedly gross and filled to the brim with toilet-humor, and it'll be interesting to see how DreamWorks can make a whole movie based on that without the disgusting side overstaying its welcome.
It's easy to snark about DreamWorks, given that they used to frequently use gross-out humor in their movies. They dialed back on that once we started seeing the likes of Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon, though those who like to generalize still assume that every new DreamWorks movie is a fart-fest, without even seeing a trailer for it. Again, I have no idea if they can pull this off or not. If done well, it could be a wacky and silly movie.
With a cast locked, the movie was originally set to be directed by Rob Letterman (Goosebumps, Monsters vs. Aliens), but then the project went through some trouble. Last we heard, Turbo director David Soren was in the running to take his place, but we heard nothing since then. Fox then quietly removed the film from the slate last year...
Captain Underpants is interesting for another reason. After DreamWorks saw their internal shake-up at the beginning of 2015, their slate was completely rearranged. When this all happened, Captain Underpants, as confirmed by many sources, ended up going a different route: It wouldn't be made by DreamWorks themselves... But rather a studio called Mikros Image, for a "significantly" smaller budget than DreamWorks' usual hefty $120m price tags. I think a smaller budget suits a picture like this, so it's a smart idea. When that particular announcement was made, Letterman was still attached to direct.
A while after Letterman left, the film disappeared from the slate altogether. It got relegated to the black hole that is the "TBD" slot. Now it's back. Previously thought to be a 3/10/2017 (DreamWorks' Boss Baby now occupies that slot) release, it's now set for 6/2/2017. This puts it two weeks before Cars 3, and one week after Pirates of the Caribbean 5. It should be fine, as long as that budget stays below, say, $100 million.
Fox made some other alterations to their overall slate, though nothing major. Nothing concerning X-Men/Deadpool, tentpoles, or Blue Sky... So this little update is a bit of a surprise.
So I guess there's a director attached, and I guess it's ready to go again. What do you think is going on with this DreamWorks picture?