Tom and Jerry are coming to the big screen. Tim Story, director of the 2005 Fantastic Four movie, is in negotiations to helm a new take on the animated cat and mouse duo that will be a blend of live-action and CGI. This is viewed as part of a larger push to beef up the animation side of the studio's production, which will also include a new animated Scooby-Doo movie, which has brought on Home Alone director Chris Columbus as a creative producer.
According to a new report, Tom and Jerry will be the first of these new live-action/animated hybrid movies to enter production, which is slated to begin filming in 2019. The movie will feature a real-world setting, with CGI animated versions of the cat and mouse doing their usual thing. Interestingly, the report also notes that actors will not be cast to voice the duo and that they will be silent as they were typically depicted in the animated cartoons. It will rely, as a result, much more on physical comedy.
This comes after Tim Story recently finished up his Shaft sequel for Warner Bros., which apparently went over quite well. Story previously directed the first two live-action Fantastic Four movies, as well as the Kevin Hart and Ice Cube starring Ride Along movies. Some of his other credits include Barbershop, Tax and Think Like a Man Too.
Warner Bros. has quite a few more Hanna-Barbera movies in development currently. A Wile E. Coyote movie is also being developed with The LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay attached, in addition to new takes on The Jetsons, The Flintstones and Wacky Racers. Scooby-Doo is also on the docket and is expected to hit theaters in early 2020. Chris Columbus, who previously helmed the first two Harry Potter movies for the studio, won't be directing, but during the course of developing the long-awaited Gremlins 3 with the studio, his interest in the character came up and he was brought on board the creative team. Kelly Fremon Craig is currently rewriting the script, working from a previous draft by Jack Donaldson and Derek Elliott.
Much of this got moving once The LEGO Movie became a huge success for the studio. They then decided to beef up their animation efforts. It also comes as part of their effort to become more franchise-focused, as most studios are right now. The report notes that they will give the Hanna-Barbera characters as much attention as the Harry Potter and DC Comics franchises, which is saying something.
Currently, there is no release date slated for the Tom and Jerry movie, but a 2020 release date would be likely, given that it's expected to film in 2019. The characters were previously given the big screen treatment with 1993's Tom and Jerry: The Movie, which was far from a hit, nor did it do particularly well with the critical community at the time. This news was first reported by Variety.