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This may be a sign that the apocalypse is upon us.
Sony Pictures Animation wants to mine the long-since forgotten vaults of NBC television for a possible new feature film based on the camp show Manimal.
If your memories of the show have been overwritten by better ones (or you weren't even alive at the time), Manimal was an hour-long series that debuted in the fall of 1983 on the peacock network. British thespian Simon MacCorkindale played a suave doctor named Jonathan Chase who had picked up the ability to shapechange into different animals. This was well before the days of morphing software technology, so Manimal relied on puppet animatronics and cutaways when Chase turned into the show's furry and feathered creatures (like a black panther.)
Manimal was created by Glen A. Larson, the same guy who made Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I. and Knight Rider. Unlike those latter three TV franchises, Manimal was killed by critics and forgotten by audiences, and then cancelled after only eight episodes were aired.
So why would a Hollywood movie studio look to a lame and almost forgotten TV series like Manimal for movie ideas?
Likely it's due to a number of factors:
- It's a high concept: doctor changes into animals to fight crime.
- Sony Pictures Animation had success with The Smurfs movie, and that came from the '80s.
- Glen Larson's agent is worth every dollar he gets.
THR states that SPA wants to make a Manimal movie that's a live-action/CG hybrid, just like The Smurfs movie that came out this past summer. The project is out to writers, likely the ones that need to find a job in this depressed economy.