The Latest Animation News, Warner Animation

‘The Cat in the Hat’ Moves to Warner Bros.

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Warner Bros. kicked off its revitalized animation initiative with The LEGO Movie in 2014. That film worked out pretty well for the studio, but the films since then—Storks, The LEGO Batman Movie, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie—have been nowhere near as successful in terms of box office. Warner Bros. remains determined to succeed in animation despite these hiccups, however, with several more animated films on the way, including some inspired by the works of Dr. Seuss. The first of these new animated Seussian endeavors will be The Cat in the Hat, based of course on the book of the same name.

The deal was announced today by Warner Bros. and Dr. Seuss Enterprises and reported by The Hollywood Reporter among other outlets. The Cat in the Hat is the first title the companies intend to make, but you can expect more to be announced as that film moves forward.

Illumination Entertainment was previously developing an animated Cat in the Hat film for Universal, but word is that the project never quite got off the ground. Illumination produced the most recent Dr. Seuss film, The Lorax, released in 2012, and is currently in production on The Grinch, set to be released later this year. Prior to that, Blue Sky Studios produced an adaptation of Horton Hears a Who! with 20th Century Fox.

There is precedent for a Cat in the Hat feature film, but it’s safe to assume that whoever Warner recruits to shepherd the animated film will take a vastly different approach to the adaptation. The live-action Cat in the Hat, released in 2003, was ravaged by critics and veered so far from the source material that it inspired a mandate that a live-action adaptation of Seuss’ work should never be attempted again (as long as Audrey Giesel has a say, anyway).

I wonder if The Cat in the Hat moving from Illumination to Warner Bros. has anything to do with how Illumination’s Grinch is coming along. I mostly liked The Lorax, and I’ve had high hopes for the new Grinch film, but something about this news makes me worried that Illumination may have dropped the ball on this one. I honestly haven’t liked anything Warner Bros. has put out since relaunching its animation division, so I’m not sure what to make of this news just yet.

What do you make of this announcement? Are you looking forward to a new Cat in the Hat film? Let us know in the comments below! (Bonus points if your comment rhymes.)

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About Angelo Thomas

Angelo Thomas is a writer, director, and pop culture enthusiast. In addition to writing for Rotoscopers, he writes for The Royal Blog of Oz and guest hosts The Royal Podcast of Oz. Angelo was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently studying Film & Video in Columbus, Ohio at the Columbus College of Art & Design, where he has also worked as an assistant in Marketing & Communications. His favorite film of all time is The Wizard of Oz, which has influenced much of his personal and professional work. In terms of his love for animation, Tangled and Frozen aren't just great animated films in his opinion — they're some of the best films ever made. Angelo is always prepared to give and defend his opinions when it comes to film and animation, which he often does on social media. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr @imangelothomas.
  • Dave 52

    Honestly, I trust WAG to make more quality Seuss films than Illumination. WAG’s films are hilarious, creative and clever without having to reply on being out as pandering or bland like Illumination. They just have this distinctive style that harkens back to their Looney Tunes roots with a sense of anarchy and rapid fire jokes and gags with a “let the inmates run the asylum” approach by the studio. Yet, underneath that is genuine cleverness in the writing. Something I think suits a Seuss film needs. Imagine a Cat In The Hat film with the imagination of The LEGO Movie and the zany, Looney Tunes writing of Storks. It could be something amazing. Heck, If done right we could get a film that is on par with something like Horton Hears a Who. I mean it is kind of fitting seeing as how WB animation veterans like Chuck Jones, Friz Frieling, Bob Clampett worked on Seuss projects at the studio so it seems like it coming full circle. To me, this is exciting news and I look forward to see what WB will be doing with this project more than I look forward to seeing what Illumination is doing with The Grinch.

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  • Frank Coufal

    I believe Warner Bros. has the potential to finally be a major player in feature animation. I enjoyed The Lego Movie, Storks and last year’s The Lego Batman Movie (which I wish was nominated for the Oscars this year instead of The Boss Baby). Plus, The Iron Giant and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, two films they previously made are now two of the greatest animated features ever made, so maybe feature animation at Warner Bros. can do things other than comedy. I’m looking forward to seeing Smallfoot this fall, so I’m being open-minded for WAG’s work in the future.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I wasn’t interested in Storks but I like the three Lego movies so far equally.

    • Marielle

      I thought they would be big, but they haven’t had a hit since since The Lego Movie. Their movies were pleasant, but nothing really outstanding. I hope they go all out with Smallfoot.

      • Manuel Orozco

        Maybe a trailer for Smallfoot will convince me to see it too.

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  • Manuel Orozco

    This shocks me a whole lot. But it won’t make fear for the movie. It will not

  • Fadi Antwan

    I’ve enjoyed all WAG movies so far. They’re probably my favorite non-Disney mainstream animation studio (for now at least). I’m certain they’ll do a better job than Illumination could, but…I’m just so scarred by that awful, awful 2003 Cat in The Hat movie. I never wanted to see another adaptation of this story.

  • The Cat in the Hat doesn’t have enough meat for a movie. I have no interest in this whatsoever, no matter which studio is doing it.

  • Considering how the 2003 movie was, the bar is not set that high.

  • I’m intrigued, can’t wait to see what they’ll do with this story!! :333

  • Jeremiah

    Yay, some Seuss escapes from Illumination! That studio completely lacks the ambition to deliver on a tough adaption like Dr. Suess. The Lorax was better than most of their films and still no masterpiece. WAG is about keeping the energy level, the jokes coming, and then strum on your heartstrings too. That could make a terrific Cat in the Hat film.

  • Harith Sami

    Finally some good news, wasn’t a fan of the Lorax. And the Grinch movie looks meh (except casting the batch of cumber as the Grinch, interesting choice) other than that Illumination have become one of the most cynical and lazy animation studios I’ve seen.
    Looking back at WB animation, they were the complete opposite, they some how managed to turn the most obvious product placement (LEGO movie) into a creative well-made film. Most of their recent films (except Ninjago, perhaps) were great, I am looking forward for this.

  • sania