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Sony to produce CG 3D Popeye feature

Once again we take note of a new Popeye project, again in CG, and for the second time in his career – in 3D. Variety is reporting on Sony’s plans to bring the Segar comic strip classic to theatres in a big screen adventure. Avi Arad (Spider-Man) is producing and writer Mike Jones is creating a screenplay. Popeye will be made by Sony Pictures Animation, with Sony Pictures ImageWorks handling the CG. We cannot predict when this film will come out, but hopefully it will push Warner Home Video into restoring the rest of their Popeye cartoon library for DVD, perhaps persuade Cartoon Network will revive The Popeye Show, and maybe inspire Warner Bros. to attach the 1954 Popeye The Ace Of Space 3D animated short to one of their upcoming 3D features.

  • Wasn’t there a Popeye special a few years back that was CG? I seem to recall it had Sea Hag and Poopdeck Pappy in it. A Halloween special? I just remember it wasn’t that good.

  • “Back Then She Ain’t Want Me, Now I’m Hot They All on Me: The Popeye Story”

    Screenplay by Mike Jones

    (I know it’s a completely different Mike Jones, but I couldn’t help m’self.)

    But yeah; I’ve already complained to everyone in earshot about this. I let Alvin go, I let Smurfs go, I even tried to pretend I didn’t hear nything about Tom & Jerry or Yogi Bear…but not Popeye. Anyone but Popeye.

    Granted, this is Sony Pictures Animation, who made “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, so maybe they can pull it off better than the folks who made that TV special…but Popeye just looks…weird…in three dimensions.

    Hopefully, no unqualified celeb voice actor is cast as Popeye (Robin Williams is the only choice if they want a big name, but Billy West could do the job just fine as well).

  • FP

    Wow. Here’s hoping Popeye looks better this time in cg. His voice sounded great in Mainframe’s cg Popeye, but otherwise the production was a total mess. Popeye’s chin looked like horribly swollen giant shaved testicles.

  • droosan

    @BrandonC: “Popeye just looks…weird…in three dimensions.”

    A number of statuettes and toys made in recent years have actually been quite appealing .. particularly, Electric Tiki’s mini-maquettes.

    A CG Popeye film -could- resemble a modern-day Puppetoon, in the right creative hands.

    CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS was definitely a ‘baby-step’ toward that design sense.

  • If this is another loose adaptation of Segar’s “Search For Popeye’s Poppa” storyline (which would make it, what, number six?), I’ll take a few points off for originality.

    In case anyone from Sony is reading this, how about a story containing elements of Segar’s “Eighth Sea” and “Plunder Island”?
    They’re just one bookshelf away—adventurous and hilarious.

  • Holy crap, no. NO NO NO NO NO!!
    The Beauty of Popeye is the DRAWINGS! When will people realize this? I agree with Brandon – Popeye should always be DRAWN.

  • captainmurphy

    Be nice if the new 3d production paid homage to the revolving turntable set of sinbad in some way, for a shot or two.

  • Ian Merch

    Sony has a pretty good 3D division, but I just have a feeling they’re going to go with the overly-friendly not-enough-punching-things-into-other-thingsy way that the shorts went to after they moved the studio to Los Angeles. I’ll cross my fingers to see a cow punched into a bunch of individually wrapped steaks.

  • fishmorgjp

    There’s already a CG Popeye thing floating around (no, I don’t care to look it up)… the characters looked weird, especially Popeye with some of his facial expressions. I’d rather have a real cartoon, not more computer puppets.

  • Ron

    @Ian- the studio moved to Miami not Los Angeles.

    Everyone else- I think Sony of all studios could handle this. They are the unsung heroes of the animation industry and have a very unapologetically cartoony style that I find really appealing. I have high hopes. It’s about time Popeye made a comeback.

  • Tim Sanchez

    Popeye is a classic. A buddy of mine works shipping cars overseas , with Auto Shipping Network, and brings back cartoons and whatnot from overseas. Great stuff.

  • It’s interesting that POPEYE’S VOYAGE:The Quest For Pappy only came out in 2004 and already its a faded memory to many people. Without a good story and animation I won’t be surprised that this latest project will end up the same way. I second David Gerstein’s suggestion for the Sony team to find a story other than another rehash of the Pappy tale (he found him, move on folks!). Personally, I think if they wanted to try something that might work with Segar’s strip then make it into a mini-series. Break up one of Segar’s continuities over five nights where all the little nuances and secondary characters can be explored. I realize that’s a bit of a stretch for studio execs who want a quick payday but I figured I’d throw it out there.

  • Christopher Cook

    Boomerang currently runs Popeye (Famous Studios, redrawn Fleischers) weekdays at 3 PM.

  • Thomas Dee

    This studio is in my mind right behind Pixar in quality. They’ve had a really high quality run so far, and I think they can pull this off.

    Everyone connected with that 2004 special should be blacklisted from animation though. Gahd that was homely.

  • As I recall, “Mad About You”‘s Paul Reiser had a hand in that last Popeye 3D debacle.

    I wish these animated re-treads would go back to the source material, not old animated cartoons, for inspiration. Plunder Island would make a hell of a movie.

  • pappy d

    I feel sorry for the person who has to model Popeye. I feel sorry for Popeye, too.

  • Popeye’s been done a number of times, animated and in live action. Popeye has had too many failed revivals in recent years, including the 2004 CGI film. I question how marketable the character is in this day and age.

    What I’d like to see is a proper animated adaptation of Little Orphan Annie. People have forgotten how violent and/or strange that strip could (and can) be. I think a revival could work.

  • Scarabim

    Oh god no. The Pfeiffer/Robin Williams version put me off of Popeye “updates” forever.

  • David

    This Popeye feature will have to approach a level of awfulness we’ve yet to imagine possible not to be worth it IF it motivates Warner to restore the rest of the Popeye theatricals for DVD. I’d love to see some of those early Technicolor shorts restored to their full glory. Cartoons like “We’re on Our Way to Rio,” which don’t seem to exist in anything but faded, washed-out prints.

  • Well at least it’d be in the hands of the guys responsive for the closet thing to classic cartoon style animation in CGI with Cloudy (which i just saw on blu-ray last week and was really pleasantly surprised by) though this is what, the third Popeye revival since the 90s? Are new characters and stories really that hard to come up with? :(

  • I’ll go with what David Gerstein says: Please do another story than “Popeye finds his long-lost father” once again. And I’d love to see another of Segar’s original strip stories on the big screen, as long as it’s done right.

    Hand-drawn would be terrific, but sadly enough, something like that doesn’t seem very likely in the nearest future anyway. For the moment, I’m only hoping that Sony is up to this task. Judging by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this is one adaption that they could actually have a chance of doing very well. Imagine if they managed to combine the forces of the Fleischers’ brilliantly funny Popeye cartoons with Segar’s fantastic stories and universe – it could be a real treat:)

    Popeye is what he is and that’s all what he is. Here’s hoping they find him.

  • William

    “We cannot predict when this film will come out, but hopefully it will push Warner Home Video into restoring the rest of their Popeye cartoon library for DVD…”

    My biggest hope for this new film.

  • Christopher Smigliano

    The main thing that bugged me about the QUEST FOR PAPPY was the bland story.Pappy deserting Popeye out of love? Bull. Butchering classic characters for the sake of PC ‘Moral values” does not make for a good story- or a franchise, for that matter. Not that the LACK of “violence” helped as well, there was WAY more fisticuffs in an episode of say, THE POWERPUFF GIRLS than in the entire Quest for Pappy. Isn’t it ironic that little girls can go around beating THEIR villians up but yet Popeye can’t sock around Bluto anymore? That’s progress in animation, folks..Plus, there’s the usual nit-picky question,Will they allow Popeye to keep his pipe??
    Forgive me, I’m raving again…

  • Rooniman

    Segars rolling in his grave. Thanks alot, Sony!

    (though it may not be TOO bad… they did do “Cloudy”, which was, although crappy, was MUCH better compared to those other CG movies. So I’m hoping they’ll at LEAST not screw this one up badly…… hopefully.)

  • I thought the live action Popeye movie was actually pretty good as long as you skipped through the songs. There were a couple of sequences that really captured the Segar strips, specifically the scene in the gambling casino and the prize fight. In some ways, the film was closer to Segar’s Popeye than any animated version, including the Fleischer’s, which largely became very formulaic.

    I never saw the CG Popeye though I know that Paul Reiser is a HUGE Popeye fan. I believe he financed the TV special in large part himself.

    I’m keeping an open mind but so many of these adaptations are largely disappointing. I had such high hopes for Astroboy but that had to go and put a suit of clothes on him so he didn’t look like he was flying around in his underwear. I too really enjoyed Cloudy so I hope that this Popeye turns out to be on the money.

  • top cat james

    “…but hopefully, it will push Warner Home Video into restoring the rest of their Popeye cartoon library for DVD…”

    Yeah, I’m still waiting for that release of the complete season of “The Alvin Show” that was supposed to result from the success of the Chipmunk movies. I wouldn’t hold my breath, Jerry.

  • John

    This is the end.

    Abandon all hope.

  • Jon

    The original Popeye shorts were great although I’m more familar with the Hanna Barbera series, Popeye doesn’t strike me as a sort of character that would suit a 80-90 minute film. An adventure comedy would be the best idea as suggested in previous comments.

    Sony have a good track record with Cloudy, Surf’s Up and to an extent Open Season. The Smurfs is their next movie but that’s a live action/animation movie plus the two Aardman films what happened to Hotel Transylvania?

  • I like the live action Popeye too as it captured the character of the strip………….I agree with brandonn c that Popeye doesnt translate well to CG but maybe sony can do something with that? eh at least its animated

  • I am looking forwars for the release of “Bucky and Pepito” in motion capture!

  • If it’s not “Spumco presents Popeye VS One Piece” then I’m not interested.

  • Did anyone really expect to see any “Hip-Hip Hooray!” comments?

    I too, would rather see a 2-D feature adaptation of something other than the search for Pappy (maybe with Bob Jaques overseeing the animation?), and I kinda dread another CGI film. I also question if there is an audience for this character anymore.

    Still, if, as Jerry hopes, this gets Warner’s to release the rest of the cartoons on DVD, bring it on!

  • Thomas Dee

    There is so much pointless negativity in this thread.

  • FP

    –Paul Reiser is a HUGE Popeye fan. I believe he financed the TV special in large part himself–

    Sometimes it’s a mistake to let people who love a property produce it. They might love it “wrong”. It’s best to let competent creators who distantly respect a property take charge, rather than devotees. As examples: the best STAR TREK film by a huge margin (2009) was made by J J Abrams, who didn’t give half an ass about STAR TREK before he made the movie. Some of the weirdest SUPERMAN appearances were spearheaded for commercials by Jerry Seinfeld, a lifelong SUPERMAN fanatic. And how many superhero “fan films” are even watchable? Bleh. Remember the one in which Batman got captured, buggered and killed? Forgot the name of it…

    I’d like to see the SUPERJAIL guys do POPEYE. Most of them are probably young enough so that they’re not extremely emotionally bound to the property, as are codger cartoon fans who watched POPEYE every afternoon a million years ago.

  • Giovanni Jones

    “It’s best to let competent creators who distantly respect a property take charge, rather than devotees.”

    Actually, Abrams is an exception to the rule. Nora Ephron “distantly respected” BEWITCHED and look what happened.

    True, a creative person should be well-suited to a project whether they’re a fan or not, but age and passion are not detriments to outstanding work. They can also be assets.

    Someday, you’ll realize that. When you’re a little older.

  • FP

    –Nora Ephron “distantly respected” BEWITCHED and look what happened–

    I heard that film was awful – so that makes it true to the spirit of the show, which was awful.


  • Giovanni Jones

    “I heard that film was awful – so that makes it true to the spirit of the show, which was awful.”

    Quite a snappy retort, like “nyah nyah nyah. Didn’t see the film either, just heard about it.

    Nora Ephron was barely familiar with the original BEWITCHED. The movie was not true to the series and was a critical and financial disappointment. She is a fine writer/director, but it might have helped to get to know the series better. It’s interesting that you defend her and the film even she may have sadly passed the springtime age level at which you seem to measure competence.

    My issue is not with Star Trek or Bewitched, nor the relative merits of either, but with sweeping generalizations about age and enthusiasm.

  • Here’s a short student film by Sylvain Huard that does a pretty good job of translating Popeye’s design into 3D CG (FP mentioned this one on the Animation Nation forum a while back):

  • Kevin Martinez

    “hopefully it will push Warner Home Video into restoring the rest of their Popeye cartoon library for DVD”

    WTF? Warner is so dedicated to not finishing Popeye that they’d need this as an incentive to do so?

    License them out to Criterion or Shout Factory, but don’t let them rot.

  • Brad Constantine

    My Popeye Film Check list…Producers take note.
    2.Love Triangle Intact..
    4.That walk he does with the shuffle step.
    5.Creepy anthromorphic objects ( ala fleischer b & W)
    6. Beatings
    7.More Beatings!
    Jerry, Can you work on this one so It doesn’t suck?

  • Keith Paynter

    Brad, you forgot the most important thing.

    8. Mouths do not move when characters talk or mutter!

  • Sam S

    Please guys, get Billy West to voice Popeye. He is exactly like Jack Mercer and does it so good. Not Robin Williams. No one will compare like Billy West. Do this for all us fans…also not Jim Carrey.

  • Marcia Goldberg

    Billy West 100% for Popeye NOT Tom Kenny. 2. More scatting while walking. Hate Kenny and hes NOT Popeye.