Abandon angles 'Hagar' for bigscreen pic

Gotham-based film and TV shingle Abandon Pictures has acquired the feature rights to Viking-themed comic strip “Hagar the Horrible” and plans a live-action movie based on the character.

Pic will be produced by Abandon president-CEO Karen Lauder with VP Deborah Marinoff.

Company was a partner in Collision Entertainment, co-owned by Miramax and producer Scott Faye. Abandon owns international film and TV rights to gaming franchises that include “Max Payne” and “Alice.”

Comic strip, created by Dik Browne and now in the hands of Browne’s son, Chris, is read by an estimated 240 million readers in more than 1,900 newspapers worldwide. Rights deal was brokered between Abandon and King Features.

“Since the early ’70s, Hagar has been one of the world’s best-known comic strip characters, and we are thrilled to be at the helm as he makes his live-action feature film debut,” said Lauder. “Hagar is one of a select few characters to be relatively unexploited in the marketplace, and with his level of international awareness and appeal, we’re looking to bring this timeless brand to the next level and build it as a franchise for the whole family.”

Added Chris Browne: “Every morning when I get up and sit down at my desk, it’s to continue working on my father’s dream. It means the world to me that I’m able to keep the Hagar torch lit for future generations. And, now, the thought that he’ll be walking and talking off the strip and on the bigscreen is almost too exciting for words.”

As yet, no screenwriter is attached to the pic. Film, like the upcoming 20th Century Fox “Garfield,” may use CGI to bring various characters in the comic strip to life.

Abandon is in development on a feature version of Steve Martin’s play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” and on feature versions of “Max Payne” and “Alice” through Collision.

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