Alcon co-founders and co-chief executive officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove made the announcement Monday. The company acquired the rights from Jim Davis, creator of the Garfield comic series and brand who will also serve as an executive producer.
Alcon said its goal is to build a franchise of fully CG-animated Garfield feature films. Alcon has a long-standing output deal through Warner Bros.
Kosove and Johnson said, “Jim Davis’s creation has been an international sensation for all ages for decades, and we are thrilled to bring an animated Garfield feature to the big screen.”
The Garfield comic strip debuted in 1978. It follows a cynical and lazy orange cat and his interactions with owner Jon Arbuckle and fellow pet Odie, a dog.
John Cohen, producer of “Despicable Me” and the recently released “The Angry Birds Movie,” and Steven P. Wegner brought the project to Alcon. Cohen and Wegner will produce along with Alcon principals Kosove and Johnson. Bridget McMeel from Amuse will executive produce with Davis.
“I’ve been so impressed with the quality of animation and storytelling coming out of Hollywood of late,” said Davis. “I can’t wait to get into production with the terrific team Alcon has assembled.”
Garfield originally appeared in 41 newspapers but ultimately appeared in 2,580 newspapers and journals, with an estimated readership of 260 million. Garfield currently holds the record for being the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world.
Fox released “Garfield: The Movie” in 2004 as a family comedy directed by Peter Hewitt, starring Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson with Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield, which was created with computer animation. The film was produced by Davis Entertainment, grossed $200 million worldwide and generated 2006 sequel “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.”
Alcon’s upcoming projects include the road trip comedy “Bastards,” now in post-production starring Owen Wilson and Ed Helms, and a sequel to “Blade Runner,” in pre-production with Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista and Ana de Armas.
The “Garfield” rights deal was negotiated on behalf of Alcon by Scott Parish and Jeannette Hill-Yonis.