MGM got a lot of mileage out of Blake Edwards’ “Pink Panther” series. Five films with Peter Sellers (including a 6th after his death with unused footage and stand-ins to help complete it), one with Alan Arkin, two one-offs with Roger Moore and Roberto Benigni and a rebooted series in the aughts with Steve Martin. Adjusted for inflation, the movies made a collected $875 million worldwide. But what about the signature cartoon Pink Panther himself? It was a cartoon in the ‘70s, but not fully exploited on the big screen. Hmmm… we smell a new franchise.
Hybrid animation, live-action is all the rage these days (though “The Smurfs 3” is apparently just going back to straight animation) and MGM announced today that a hybrid animation/live-action version of “The Pink Panther” is in the works and this new caper film will focus on the Pink Panther character, rather than Inspector Clouseau. The tone will evidently harken back to the one shared by the original Friz Freleng and David DePatie cartoons as well as that of Blake Edwards’ films.
The rest of the press release below as follows. David Silverman of (“The Simpsons Movie,” “Monsters, Inc.”) will direct.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) is developing for production a full-length hybrid animation and live-action feature film based on the animated “Pink Panther” character, it was announced today by Gary Barber, chairman and CEO of MGM and Jonathan Glickman, president of the studio’s motion picture group. Walter Mirisch, executive producer of the original “Pink Panther” films and television series will serve as the producer of the new film, along with Academy Award®-winning actress, Julie Andrews, wife of the late director Blake Edwards. David Silverman (“The Simpsons Movie,” “Monsters, Inc”) will direct. The Pink Panther character originated a remarkable fifty years ago.
The new caper film will focus on the Pink Panther character, rather than Inspector Clouseau, and will harken back to the tone shared by the original Friz Freleng and David De Patie cartoons as well as that of Blake Edwards’ films.
"We are incredibly proud to re-introduce the Pink Panther to a brand new generation in such a fresh way. Even more exciting is the chance to work again with our dear friends Walter Mirisch and Julie Andrews, as well as the talented David Silverman, whose enthusiasm convinced us to ‘Think Pink!’," said Glickman.
“I am proud that the ‘Pink Panther’-- both the feature films and the great library of cartoons created by David De Patie and Friz Freleng that sprang from it-- continues to be one of the brightest jewels in the crown of Mirisch films. Now, for the first time, the live action franchise will be united with the world- famous cartoon character in a new hybrid feature film. I am excited by our concept and I look forward to an outstanding movie entertainment,” said Mirisch.