EXCLUSIVE: Who hasn’t seen boys big and small intently watching monster trucks do their stuff? I’ve learned that there’s a combination live action/computer animation feature about them which is Adam Goodman‘s priority project for Paramount Animation right now. And he’s kicking off the toon division’s second project by going after one of Blue Sky Studios’ biggest names. Based on an original idea and planned for Summer 2015, Monster Trucks could hopefully become a Transformers-like franchise the way Paramount sees it. So my sources say the studio is in final negotiations with Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Robots, Epic) to direct the planned $100M budget film which should start production in the first half of 2014. Mary Parent is producing, and Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger writing. Those scribes also scripted DWA’s Kung Fu Panda and Paramount Animation’s first project, the untitled SpongeBob SquarePants, which Parent also is producing as well as Noah for big Paramount.
Wedge is the multi-hyphenate producer, helmer, and voice actor is best known as a co-founder of Blue Sky Studios and for directing that company’s first computer animated film, 2002’s Ice Age. Not only did he voiced Scrat in the film and its following sequels which he also executive produced, but the toon received a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination. That Twentieth Century Fox franchise went on to become the 11th highest grossing franchise of all time to make almost $2.8B worldwide. One of the principal animators/scene programmers on the 1982 original Disney film Tron, Wedge won a 1998 Academy Award for the short animated film Bunny. In 2005, Wedge directed Robots based on a story he created with William Joyce and in 2013 directed Epic loosely based on Joyce’s book. Wedge also is the owner of the film production banner WedgeWorks.
Nikki Finke is currently on vacation.