×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sony’s ‘Popeye’ to pop eyes in 3D

Studio prepping CGI adaptation of classic series

Sony is bringing an all-CGI “Popeye” to the bigscreen, with the iconic sailor man’s muscles set to pop in 3D.

Avi Arad, who teamed with Sony to turn Spider-Man into a powerhouse franchise, is producing. Scribe Mike Jones is in negotiations to adapt.

King Features Syndicate, which is owned by Hearst Entertainment and Syndication, controls the property and decided to bring it to Arad, who worked for years with Hearst president and former Marvel topper Scott Sassa. Popeye hasn’t been seen on the bigscreen since 1980 when Robin Williams starred in a live-action version helmed by Robert Altman.

“Scott called me and said, ‘I have something for you,'” said Arad, who grew up watching Popeye shorts in movie houses in his native Israel. “I literally started singing the famous Popeye song (after securing the rights). What always blew me away is the level of the animation. It was so beautiful and unbelievably detailed.”

Project was a natural fit for Sony, which is bringing a similar project to the bigscreen with “Smurfs.” Sony Pictures Digital Prod. topper Bob Osher also has long-standing relationship with Sassa, the former NBC Entertainment topper.

Jones landed the writing gig based on his buzzed-about screenplay “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break,” which is in development at the Gotham Group.

“I’m an unabashed, lifelong Popeye fan,” said Jones, who is a Variety alum. “Introducing this squinty-eyed sailor to a new generation also means reintroducing him to those who, like me, grew up with him.”

The logline is being kept under wraps, but Popeye’s love interest Olive Oyl, nemesis Bluto and adopted child Swee’Pea will be part of the adventure. Arad says the new version will cover the themes of friendship, love, greed and life, and focus on human strengths and human frailties.

“Popeye” will be made by Sony Pictures Animation, with Sony Pictures ImageWorks handling the CG.

“As one of the earliest animated characters … Popeye has become one of the most enduring and iconic cartoon characters of all time and indelibly linked to the evolution of animation,” said Hannah Minghella, president of production for Sony Pictures Animation.

Created by E.C. Segar, Popeye first appeared in the already established “Thimble Theater” comicstrip in 1929. Introduced as a walk-on character, Popeye eventually became the strip’s star.

The spinach-loving hero, who spawned the longest-running series of talking animated shorts, is considered a merchandising gold mine, with Popeye toys, books, puzzles and games. Studio says the character, whose likeness is used widely to hawk green veggies, is the world’s No. 1 licensing character in food.

“While each generation has discovered him in different incarnations, the fans have continued to embrace him through the years, coming back time and again to that quintessential collection of character traits that has made Popeye beloved around the world,” said T.R. “Rocky” Shepard III, president of King Features Syndicate.

Jones is repped by Gersh and Gotham Group.

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Star-Wars-The-Clone-Wars

    Netflix Will Lose Disney's 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars,' James Bond Movies in April 2019

    More Disney content is about to roll off Netflix: The 2008 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated movie as well as six seasons of the subsequent “Clone Wars” series are among the titles set to leave the streaming service next month. According to Netflix, the original Lucasfilm movie along with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content