Warner Animation Group has joined with Dr. Seuss Enterprises Lp in a partnership to producer multiple feature films based on the iconic characters and stories created by Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel. The team-up will begin with an animated version of The Cat in the Hat as development gets underway.
A live-action version of Cat in the Hat starring Mike Myers as the Cat was released by Universal in 2003. Uni, which previously had rights, also distributed Ron Howard’s live-action How The Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey in 2000. Its Illumination Entertainment is bowing an animated The Grinch with Benedict Cumberbatch with a November 9 release date set.
“Our Pictures Group is home to some of the world’s most popular film franchises, and we’re honored to add Dr. Seuss titles to that roster,” Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich said in the announcement today, made jointly with Dr. Seuss Enterprises president Susan Brandt. “With Warner Animation Group, we’ve really revitalized our feature animation activities, and this partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises will continue our move into world-class, wide-appeal animated fare.”
ICM Partners reps the Seuss estate and brokered the deal.
It’s the latest move by WAG to bolster its position. In December, Warners announced that Allison Abbate and Chris Leahy were taking senior-level creative executive roles, Abbate as EVP and Leahy as SVP.
Abbate will manage the Seuss partnership on behalf of the studio. WAG is now assembling a team of writers, producers and directors for the projects.
“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to work on films based on Dr. Seuss’ wildly creative and iconic works,” she said. “Everybody knows and loves these characters, and the fun part of making these films will be staying true to the Seuss sensibilities while finding a dynamic cinematic expression of their beloved stories. We can’t wait to get started.”
WAG is currently producing Smallfoot featuring the voices of Zendaya and Channing Tatum (slated for release September 28, 2018) as well as The LEGO Movie sequel (February 8, 2019) and S.C.O.O.B. (May 15, 2020) among several animated and live-action/hybrid titles in development.