A new chapter in the decades-long saga to get a Mighty Mouse feature off the ground has begun. Paramount Animation has once again announced plans to produce a film based on the cartoon character originally created by Isadore ‘Izzy’ Klein and Paul Terry in 1942.
This week, Deadline reported that for its latest attempt, Paramount has enlisted brothers Jon and Erich Hoeber to write the screenplay and that the studio plans to make this a hybrid project using animation and live-action elements. The Hoeber writing duo was most recently behind the unexpected genre hit The Meg. Karen Rosenfelt and Robert Cort are set to produce the movie.
A feature film project has been floated around since at least 1995, back when Cartoon Brew co-founder Jerry Beck initiated development on a film when he worked at Nickelodeon Movies. Subsequent false starts took place in the aughts.
Nine years ago, Paramount seemed to be getting serious about actually making the movie. At that point, the Los Angeles Times reported that, once again, the studio was looking for a new director and writer to fast-track the project.
Throughout the time that this project has been considered, wave after wave of hybrid films with illustrated and animation characters have appeared, with varying degrees of success at the box office. Hybrid adaptations include Garfield, Scooby-Doo, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Yogi Bear, Paddington, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and The Smurfs. The trend does not appear to be dying down, as Warner Bros. is currently moving forwarded with multiple hybrids, including Space Jam 2 and Tom & Jerry.
Mighty Mouse was first envisioned as a parody of Superman, debuting as “Super Mouse” in the theatrical animated short The Mouse of Tomorrow in 1942. The character became even more popular during the 1950s and ’60s thanks to the tv series Mighty Mouse Playhouse, which aired Saturday mornings on CBS.
In the late 1970s a new show centered on heroic mouse emerged, The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, which was then followed by yet another show in the 1980s, this time created by Ralph Bakshi, titled Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.
It’s difficult to gauge how much interest today’s viewers will have for this character if the film actually comes to fruition. Last year, a new history book titled Terrytoons: The Story of Paul Terry and His Classic Cartoon Factory by Gerald Hamonic was published. The title details Paul Terry’s career and features Mighty Mouse prominently on its cover.