Illumination Entertainment’s fully-animated adaptation of a classic children’s book will be in theaters a little earlier than expected.
Universal Pictures confirmed to Deadline this week that Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas will now open in theaters November 10, 2017.
As with most things, the film’s original pre-Thanksgiving Friday release of November 17 is currently occupied by the soon-to-be superhero behemoth that is Warner Bros./DC’s Justice League Part One.
In a classic case of counter-programming, Grinch will now compete against 20th Century Fox’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express.
Illumination’s new take on Dr. Seuss’ timeless tale will be the third major film adaptation thus far. The original story, written and published in 1957, was immortalized in animation history with Chuck Jones’ 1966 animated special. Famously narrated by Boris Karloff (who also provided the Grinch’s voice) the special is perhaps remembered best for its music, with songs written by Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) himself and composed by Albert Hague.
In 2000, Ron Howard produced and directed a live-action take on the tale, with Jim Carrey in the starring role. Despite mixed reviews, it became the second highest-grossing holiday film of all time and won the Academy Award that year for Best Makeup.
Aside from the new launch date, not much else is know about Illumination Entertainment’s new take on the story – other than that it will mark the feature film debut of Pete Candeland. Candeland is an up-and-coming director of commercials and music videos, such as the one for the British alternative band Gorillaz (for their song “Stylo”):
He also did some work in the animation industry as an animator on the 1994 Aladdin TV series and as an assistant animator on Balto.
At last year’s Annecy Film Festival, Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri didn’t elaborate much on what the film would be about, but he did say this during a Q&A conversation: “Grinch goes back to what Ted Geisel’s original intention was. Even though it is sometimes perceived as very American, the essence of what was driving Ted Geisel’s work is very universal. ”
With Grinch, Meledandri continues his relationship with Geisel’s estate, a relationship that began at Blue Sky Studios with 2008’s Horton Hears a Who (back when Meledandri was the president of 20th Century Fox Animation).
The last time Illumination Entertainment provided its own spin on a Dr. Seuss tale, the result was 2012’s The Lorax, its worst animated film thus far and one that was tonally and thematically out of sync with the themes of its source material.
Hopefully Illumination’s second go at a Dr. Seuss story won’t be so misguided.
What do you think? Are you still looking forward to Illumination’s take on Grinch?