PBS's "Clifford the Big Red Dog" PBS's "Clifford the Big Red Dog"

Paramount Pictures has set a release date for its upcoming live-action/cg hybrid movie based on Clifford the Big Red Dog. The feature will debut in theaters on November 13, 2020 in hopes of capitalizing on the Thanksgiving box office surge.

Walt Becker (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip) is directing the film about the adventures of the beloved 25-foot-tall canine and its young owner Emily Elizabeth. Created by Norman Bridwell, the character has been a children’s lit staple since 1963, and since 2000 as an animated series on PBS. Clifford also serves as book publisher Scholastic’s official mascot.

Back in 2017, Paramount announced Becker as the project’s director. At that point, Justin Malen (Father Figures) had already been working on the screenplay. Paramount later brought in Ellen Rapoport to rewrite it, and now Blaise Hemingway (Playmobil: The Movie) is also listed as a third writer on the film. Silvertongue Films’ Deborah Forte (Goosebumps, Mortal Engines) is producing.

A Clifford the Big Red Dog had been in development at Universal Studios since 2014, but never materialized despite the studio announcing a 2016 release date. Eventually, Paramount scooped up film rights once Universal’s option had lapsed.

Last year, the New York Times reported Scholastic was was planning a reboot of the Clifford animated series with a tentative premiere date of fall 2019, with Amazon Prime and PBS Kids running the series concurrently. Dublin, Ireland’s Brown Bag Films is producing the animation for the series in Toon Boom.

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