CGIFeature Film

Trailer: ‘Top Cat Begins,’ Another Top Cat Film From Mexico

Top Cat and Benny terrorize a violin, and New York’s eardrums, while hustling for money in the new trailer for Anima Estudios’ Top Cat Begins (Don Gato: El Inicio de la Pandilla), arriving October 9 in Mexico from Warner Bros. Pictures. No American release date or distributor is set at this time.

Explaining the origins of the slightly famous feline street gang before it landed in Hoagy’s Alley, the CGI “companion piece” to Anima’s 2011 Top Cat: The Movie is “the most ambitious project in our studio’s history and the one with the most international potential,” Anima chairman Fernando De Fuentes told Variety last year. Both are based on Hanna-Barbera’s short-lived Top Cat cartoon series, which ran for 30 episodes from 1961-1962.

As Cartoon Brew reported last year, Top Cat: The Movie was Mexico’s highest-grossing homegrown movie of 2011, earning $8.2 million from local filmgoers. That’s about the budget of Top Cat Begins, which takes place after the first meeting between Top Cat and Benny, whose adventures lead them to Panza, Espanto, Demosthenes, and Cucho, as well as the sympathetic police officer Matute, who helps the gang outwit New York mobsters.

Its story “flowed with relative ease,” director Andres Couturier told Chilango magazine in a May profile of Anima. The follow-up movie is “very different from the first film,” he added, because it “no longer seek[s] to make references to the series, but get to the new generation that didn’t grow up with the cartoon.”

Anima’s Top Cat film series is just one in a line of feature films for the busy Mexico City-based studio. The story for its most recent release, Wicked Flying Monkeys, was based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz universe and written by The Book of Life director Jorge Gutierrez, who also co-wrote the screenplay and exec-produced the film. The studio is reportedly working on a film adaptation of DePatie-Freleng’s Here Comes the Grump, another short-lived TV series from the 1960s.