Studios mining moppet mania

Par, MGM greenlight Gosnell-helmed family pic

Paramount and MGM are seizing an opporunity to cash in on families and the holidays.

The studios have fast-tracked a remake of “Yours, Mine and Ours” — about two widowers dealing with a merged family of 18 children — for shooting in April and release Nov. 23. Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo topline; Raja Gosnell, who helmed both “Scooby-Doo” films, directs; Robert Simonds produces.

The reason for the rush is pretty much a no-brainer: Duplicating the mass appeal of recent comedies about families like “The Incredibles” ($258 million), “Meet the Fockers” ($275 million) and “Cheaper by the Dozen” ($139 million), which Simonds also produced. All three were released during the holiday season, presumably primetime for such fare.

The success of 2003’s “Cheaper,” a remake of the 1950 pic starring Clifton Webb, is particularly persuasive since it managed to deliver laughs while differentiating between 12 children. Fox is developing a “Cheaper” sequel.

“Yours, Mine and Ours” also marks a milestone for both studios. It’s probably the last MGM film to be greenlit before it becomes part of Sony around April 1; for Paramount, it’s likely the final greenlight from studio chief Sherry Lansing before Brad Grey takes over March 1.

Paramount has proclaimed it’s looking to aim its slate toward younger moviegoers. And what better way to do that than putting 18 different children up on the screen?

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