The director told Moviefone that he’s “off that project” essentially over a difference of opinion in the direction the movie was headed. However, the film is still in active development, according to Sony Pictures Animation.
“I was in love with what we were doing, but I think the studio is going through changes and I don’t know if they want to make the ‘Popeye’ that I want to make,” he told Moviefone. “So they’ve got to make a decision.”
Those changes include Tom Rothman stepping in as chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment following Amy Pascal’s ousting. Sony Pictures Digital president Bob Osher was fired soon thereafter, and DreamWorks Animation producer Kristine Belson was hired to take a newly created post as president of Sony Pictures Animation in two other shakeups following the Sony hacking attack.
Tartakovsky, whose “Hotel Transylvania 2” hits theaters on September 25, says that he’s now working on the animated film “Can You Imagine?”
“Right now, I’m off that project and moving on to the other one that we soft-announced, which is ‘Can You Imagine?,’ which is an original idea of my own and a very personal story,” he said. “It was hard to let ‘Popeye’ go, but that’s the business.”
Sony released CGI-animated test footage of “Popeye” last September. It included a behind-the-scenes look at Tartakovsky at work and an interview in which he said he was “destined” to make the film.
“Popeye” was slated for release in 2016.