Veteran producer J. Todd Harris and Marc Marcum are launching a live-action/animated movie version of the 1958 children’s book “Danny and the Dinosaur” through their Branded Pictures Entertainment.
The light-hearted Syd Hoff story starts with a boy named Danny befriending a good-natured dinosaur at a museum with Danny riding out of the museum on the dinosaur’s neck. The two then spend the day together playing, going to the zoo, having ice cream and letting other children use the dinosaur as a slide.
The company has optioned all non-publishing rights to “Danny and the Dinosaur,” which has sold more than 10 million copies. The script has been adapted by David Bowers and writing team Brian Sawyer and Gregg Rossen.
“The writers have transformed this wonderful book series into a vehicle for a top comedy talent,” said Harris, who has the title of president. “We see the feature version of ‘Danny and the Dinosaur’ as the linchpin to a franchise that can play for movies, TV and stage with an accompanying host of licensing and merchandising opportunities.”
Branded Pictures has also optioned the English-language remake rights to “The Wishing Stairs,” part of the Korean horror film franchise known as “The Whispering Corridors” from CJ Entertainment. The company has hired Bo Yeon Kim (“Reign,” “Star Trek Discovery”) to adapt the first installment.
“This franchise explores the dangerous consequences of the intense academic pressure placed on millennials,” Marcum said. “It’s filled with a ton of scares at an international girls’ boarding school, where students quickly learn to be careful what they wish for.”
Branded Pictures is also working on its first television series based on the novel “The Blondes” by Emily Schultz. “It blends the visceral paranoia of ‘The Walking Dead with the feminist horror of ‘Rosemary’s Baby,'” said Marcum, who carries the VP title.
The company’s recent stage history includes the Off-Broadway “Heathers: The Musical” and recent Broadway musicals “Doctor Zhivago” and “American Psycho.” It’s become an early investor in the development of “Soul Train,” a musical inspired by the long-running TV show and spearheaded by “Rock of Ages” producer Matthew Weaver through his MediaWeaver company.
“I got my start in theatre,” Harris said, “and I grew up watching ‘Soul Train’ every weekend. The soundtrack to Soul Train is the soundtrack of the ’70s and of youth for a lot of the theatre-going public.’
Branded Pictures — which has stayed under the radar until recently — produced the upcoming feature film “So B. It,” starring Alfre Woodard, John Heard and newcomer Talitha Bateman, executive produced the upcoming Netflix movie “Wheelman.,” starring Frank Grillo.
Harris’ feature film credits include “Dudley Do-Right,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “Piranha 3-D,” “Jeepers Creepers” and “Bottle Shock.”
“We see a real opportunity to build a portfolio of brands, based on classic as well as new IP,” Harris said. “We’re creating these projects from the ground up by doing the heavy lifting in the acquisition and development stages.”