Genndy Tartakovsky is developing a Popeye animated feature…again. This latest news is according to a report in Animation Magazine that cites “close sources” to the project.
Per the report, Tartakovsky is working directly with Popeye owners King Features Syndicate. The first time that Tartakovsky developed the project, he was making it under the auspices of Sony Pictures Animation (SPA). That first attempt resulted in a proof of concept trailer (below), but then SPA went through management changes and the new group decided in 2015 to stop development on the film.
This time around, Tartakovsky is rebooting the idea with King Features (a unit of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication), which means that they would still have to partner with a third-party film studio or — more likely nowadays — a streaming service.
On its own, King Features launched a dreadful series of online Popeye shorts a couple years ago, in honor of the character’s 90th anniversary, and it made clear that they had very little understanding of the character’s personality or legacy. Hopefully Tartakovsky will be able to point them in the right direction.
King Features is also currently producing a series based on the Cuphead video game with Netflix. That’s the result of a deal that the syndicate inked in 2017 with Studio MDHR to represent Cuphead for licensing.
Though Popeye is a no-go at SPA, Tartakovsky is still developing two animated features for Sony’s newish alternative animation division: Black Knight and Fixed.