Blow me down: SPA hires writers for 3D Popeye film

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Sony Pictures Animation

Sony Pictures Animation

Sony Pictures Animation has set screenwriters Jay Scherick and David Ronn to write the screenplay for an all-new Popeye animated feature, based on the iconic characters of comic strip and cartoon fame, the studio announced Thursday.

Popeye is the second project for Scherick and Ronn with Sony Pictures Animation following their success with this summer’s blockbuster The Smurfs, which has grossed more than $550 million worldwide since its July 29 opening. SPA and Arad Productions are producing the stereoscopic 3D animated feature.

“Scherick and Ronn have a remarkable talent in re-energizing beloved characters,” said Sony Pictures Digital Productions president Bob Osher. “As they demonstrated with The Smurfs, they embrace the iconic characteristics of these timeless characters and craft a story that really engages moviegoers today.”

“We’re thrilled that Jay and Dave are helping us reintroduce Popeye to a new generation,” commented Michelle Raimo Kouyate, president of production for Sony Pictures Animation. “Their take on the world of Popeye has just the right blend of comedy, adventure and heart — all the elements that made a great animated film.”

“Popeye has been my childhood favorite character,” said producer Avi Arad. “To me, he was always the everyday man who gets special powers and actually becomes the first superhero in the best meaning of the word. When Scott Sassa called, Ari and I were beyond excited to be working with Jay Scherick and David Ronn and Sony Pictures Animation to bring this iconic character to the big screen in glorious stereoscopic 3D. We enjoy working with the Sony Pictures Animation team and with Rocky and company from Hearst Publishing. I cannot wait to go sailing!”

Last spring, Scherick and Ronn began work on the sequel to The Smurfs. They also wrote the original script for the upcoming Baywatch adaptation for Paramount, and the pair is currently working on a comedy pilot for ABC.

Scherick and Ronn have written together since they met when they both worked for a New York-based corporate bartering company. From a staff writing position at NBC, the team segued into three years on Spin City, where they served as writer/producers.

Sony Pictures Animation is scheduling the family comedy Hotel Transylvania for release in the fall of 2012. The division is also in production with Aardman Animations on two feature films: the CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas (3D), in theaters this month, and the stop-frame animated high-seas adventure The Pirates! Band of Misfits (3D), due next March.

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