Bolstered by the success of Hotel Transylvania 2, Sony Pictures Animation has steadily added to their revamped stockpile of upcoming projects. Those high-profile projects include an animated Ghostbusters movie, a Danger Mouse film, and a live-action/stop-motion adaptation of the Rabbids video game franchise. Now they are adding another project to that list: one that’s based around a series of books that has long been a childhood favorite of many a generation.
The Tracking Board recently reported that Sony is moving forward on a live-action/animated hybrid adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit series of children’s books. Will Gluck, a rising multi-talent whose directorial efforts include Easy A, Friends with Benefits, About Last Night, and last year’s Annie remake, will pen the screenplay and produce the film through his Olive Branch Entertainment shingle, which is currently based at Sony via a film and television deal. Gluck will work from a previous draft by Rob Lieber, who wrote Disney’s adaptation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
The project was first brought to light when it was referenced in emails leaked from the now infamous hacking scandal that occurred at the end of last year. But, as it happens, the bad publicity brought on by the emails hasn’t stopped the project from being commissioned under the new direction of Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson.
The character of Peter Rabbit made his first appearance in the 1902 novel The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Following the instant success of that book the character starred in three more books (and made cameo appearances in two others) and went on to become a beloved icon in children’s literature, long after Potter’s death in 1943.
Peter Rabbit made his first film appearance in a 1971 ballet film titled The Tales of Beatrix Potter. On TV, his first book was adapted as an episode of HBO’s Storybook Musical in 1991. The following year, Peter Rabbit and various other characters from Potter’s books became the subject of The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, a nine-episode anthology series on BBC. Most recently, a CG-animated series (simply titled Peter Rabbit) aired on Nickelodeon for two seasons.
As always plot details remain under tight wraps, but the film will reportedly combine elements of several Peter Rabbit stories. This is consistent with previous Peter Rabbit adaptations, especially since the Nickelodeon series occasionally threw in characters from other Beatrix Potter books.
Once again, Sony wades into a curious territory with this project by making it a live-action/CG hybrid. Last I checked, there are not very many of these films that are actually good. Likewise, while Annie did relatively well at the box office, the critical reception wasn’t exactly shining. That being said, Annie was Gluck’s first pass at family-friendly material, so it’s possible his approach to Peter Rabbit might see some improvement with his skill and finesse in this area.
What do you think? Are you excited for a new on-screen depiction of Peter Rabbit?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes