More than 60 years after its publication, The Cat in the Hat remains one Dr. Seuss' most cherished books, not to mention one of the most popular works of children's literature. Its first theatrical adaptation, one the other hand, hardly measures up, as the live action 2003 movie starring Mike Myers as the eponymous feline was met with critical derision. It was so bad that not only was a sequel cancelled, but any other live action adaptations of Dr. Seuss stories were killed. However, back in 2012, an animated Cat in the Hat movie was announced, and six years later, it's finally moving forward thanks to finding a new studio home.
Initially the animated Cat in the Hat movie was going to be made by Universal and Illumination Entertainment, making it the third of their Dr. Seuss-related projects behind The Lorax and the upcoming Grinch movie. However, it was announced today (via THR) that Warner Bros Animation Group has signed a deal with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to create a series of movies based around the characters and stories created by Theodore Geisel, and The Cat in the Hat will be the first of these projects. Right now this animated adaptation is only in the developmental stage, and the search for a writer will begin soon. Warner Bros is the third studio that's scored the rights to make an animated Dr. Seuss movie, behind the previously-mentioned Universal and 20th Century Fox, which made 2008's Horton Hears a Who through its Blue Sky Studios subsidiary.
Although Illumination Entertainment has had great success in recent years through its Despicable Me movies, The Secret Life of Pets and Sing, the lack of updates for years about The Cat in the Hat suggested that the project was dead. Now it has a second life, and judging by how much the exclusive deal was publicized, it sounds like Warner Bros Animation Group and Dr. Seuss Enterprises are making this a priority. It definitely won't take much to ensure that this Cat in the Hat movie is better than the live action one, as that ranks at a depressing 10% on Rotten Tomatoes and bombed at the box office. One of the reasons that version was torn apart was because it was peppered with raunchy humor, some of which I'm frankly shocked was considered suitable for a PG rating. So ideally this animated Cat in the Hat movie will a more faithful adaptation, though obviously some creative liberties will need to be taken in order for it to fit least a 90-100 minute running time.
Looking beyond The Cat in the Hat, this new deal also presents opportunities to adapt the many Dr. Seuss stories that haven't had any time on the big screen yet. A Green Eggs and Ham series is already in development for Netflix, but let's not forget candidates like Yertle the Turtle, Fox in Socks, The Sneetches and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, just to name a few. In other words, Warner Bros will have no shortage of possibilities to build a Dr. Seuss film franchise. Could a cinematic universe even be in store? Actually, let's not get carried away with that idea just yet.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more news concerning this animated Cat in the Hat movie, and check out our 2018 premiere guide to learn what movies are being released this year.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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