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Sony and producer Neal Moritz are bringing the best-selling Sega video game Sonic the Hedgehog to the big screen.
The studio is teaming with Japan-based production company Marza Animation Planet, a division of the Sega Sammy Group, to make a hybrid computer-animated/live-action feature.
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Upright Citizens Brigade alums Evan Susser and Van Robichaux are writing the screenplay, which will follow the antics of Sonic, the world’s fastest hedgehog. The film will also feature some of the franchise’s favorite characters, including the evil Dr. Eggman.
Sony-based Moritz (22 Jump Street) is producing through his Original Film banner alongside Marza’s Takeshi Ito and Mie Onishi. Toby Ascher is executive producing.
For more than two decades, the billion-dollar Sonic franchise has been one of the world’s biggest gaming phenomena, with more than 140 million games sold.
“There are limitless stories to tell with a character like Sonic the Hedgehog and a built-in international fan base,” Columbia Pictures president of production Hannah Minghella said. “Along with our wonderful creative partners at Marza, we’re looking to capture everything that generations of fans know and love about Sonic while also growing his audience wider than ever before.”
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Added Marza CEO Masanao Maeda: “Sonic has had dozens of adventures on the console and the small screen, and we’re thrilled that he’s now coming to the big screen. Sony Pictures has had great success with hybrid animated and live-action features, and we’re confident that this collaboration will bring a fresh take to Sonic while still capturing everything that the fans love about him.”
Sony’s hybrid animated/live-action Smurfs has spawned two films to date.
Moritz is the producer behind the Fast & Furious franchise. He has a Goosebumps adaptation coming up for Sony on Aug. 7, 2015, starring Jack Black.
Minghella and Andrea Giannetti will oversee the Sonic project for the studio.
Susser and Robichaux’s feature film screenplay Chewie was ranked No. 3 on the 2011 Black List. They are currently writing How to Grow Up, a series in development for CBS, and Fist Fight, a feature film with New Girl star Max Greenfield and producers Shawn Levy, Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen attached. They are also writing a live-action version of The Jetsons.
Attorneys Candace Carlo and Uri Fleming of Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo rep Marza.
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