EXCLUSIVE: Family-based production outfit Waterman Entertainment has made a deal to develop a feature film based on Mr. Ed, the sitcom about a man and his talking horse that ran on CBS from 1961-66. The company is trying to build a stable of successful family brands that can be developed into live-action/CGI feature film properties and Mr. Ed certainly seems to fit that bill. Based on the VFX advancements that allowed for primate facial expressions in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, there is an opportunity to depict Mr Ed talking more convincingly than he did on the old TV series. There, the horse’s deep voice was accompanied by a visual that looked like someone put peanut butter on the roof of the horse’s mouth.
Mr. Ed has run a few laps around the development track before, with proposed TV series and several movies, including most recently one at Fox 2000. Past attempts never got to the start gate, but maybe Waterman Entertainment will fare better. The show has a distinctive theme song, and while I don’t consider myself completely fossilized yet, I strangely remember every word of it. Over the past 12 months, Waterman has been aggressively seeking out family-friendly brands that have franchise potential and ancillary viability on platforms including television, digital, literary, and merchandising. There is a track record of making movies that put words in critters’ mouths with great success.
Steve Waterman, who founded and manages the company along with his sons Tucker and Cooper, has served as an executive producer on theatrical features including Casper with Universal, Alvin And The Chipmunks and two sequels at Fox, and Stuart Little and its sequel at Sony Pictures.
“We are identifying properties that have had success with multiple generations of parents who feel comfortable and have excitement about reintroducing the characters and storylines to their own kids and grandkids,” said Cooper Waterman. “While each property remains independent of each other, they will share the commonality of addressing social values, morality lessons, and characteristics that are clearly identifiable for kids with comedic elements for all age groups.” Waterman recently acquired The Brave Little Toaster for a reboot as a CGI/live-action family film.
Now that I can’t get that blasted theme song out of my head, I’ll share the pain. Here it is: