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MGM’s Pink Panther is getting ready to purr once again.
Jeff Fowler, the director of Sonic the Hedgehog, and Chris Bremner, who co-wrote Bad Boys for Life, are teaming up for a brand new Pink Panther feature project.
Rideback, the banner run by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich and that was a behind Aladdin and The Two Popes, are producing. Also producing are Lawrence Mirisch and Julie Andrews, the screen icon who was married to Blake Edwards, the latter who co-wrote and directed the 1963 original as well as all of the Panther movie outings in the 20th century.
Walter Mirisch, who executive produced the original that launched the long-running series and who is the father of Lawrence Mirisch, will executive produce, as will Ryan Halprin of Rideback.
Panther has the distinction of being known concept-wise for two things: telling the comical adventures of bumbling Inspector Clouseau and whose initial movie featured a case involving a jewel named the Pink Panther, and being a cartoon character who first appeared in the opening credits but proved so popular that he became the star of numerous cartoon series in the ensuing decades. (The movies were also known for being a showcase for the physical comedy of Peter Sellers and for the Oscar-winning jazzy Henry Mancini score.)
Even with remakes and reboots, the two concepts have never merged, until now. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that, while plot details are being kept in a vault, the story will focus on a smooth operating inspector who, thanks to a traumatic event, now has a pink panther for an imaginary friend. The latter, although he doesn’t speak, does help solve the case.
The deal, complicated by several rights holders and a search for the right take, has been in the works since the beginning of the year.
“Popular the world over, the legacy of the iconic Pink Panther has endured for more than 50 years and continues to be discovered by new generations,” said Michael De Luca, MGM Film Group chairman, and Pamela Abdy, MGM Film Group president, in a statement. “We are so happy to come together with Jeff, Chris, Larry, Julie, Dan, Jonathan, Walter and Ryan to bring one of MGM’s most well-loved franchise back to the big screen and in a way audience have never seen before.”
Released earlier this year and grossing over $306 million worldwide, Sonic was Fowler’s feature directorial debut. He worked in visual effect and animation before that, and saw his short, Gopher Broke, which he co-directed with Tim Miller, score an Oscar nomination for best animated short. He is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.
Bremner co-wrote Bad Boys for Life, which is now the top grossing movie of 2020. He has slowly become an in-demand writer for studio franchises and is writing M.A.S.K. for Paramount, National Treasure 3 for Disney, and another Bad Boys project for Sony. He is repped by UTA, Kaplan/Perrone, and Ziffren Brittenham.
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival