Woody Woodpecker movie knocks at Universal’s door

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Illumination Entertainment

Illumination Entertainment

Universal-based animation studio Illumination Entertainment is working on a feature film starring Woody Woodpecker.

John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, co-writers of the Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory, are in talks to develop a story about the mischievous bird, who first appeared in the 1940 Andy Panda short Knock Knock.

Illumination and the writers will try making a story that modernizes Woody in the hopes of starting a franchise.

Co-created by cartoonist Walter Lantz, Woody was first voiced by Mel Blanc. Later, Lantz’s wife, Grace Stafford, became the voice of the bird.

Woody Woodpecker cartoons first had a theme song in 1947. “The Woody Woodpecker Song” was heard in the following year’s Wet Blanket Policy. It was nominated for an Oscar for best song, becoming the only song from a short film ever nominated in the category.

In 1985, Universal bought the library of shorts and the rights to the Woody character from Lantz.

Altschuler and Krinsky were executive producers and writers on Fox’s King of the Hill. They also worked on the feature film incarnation of The Jetsons.

Illumination Entertainment made Despicable Me and next year’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

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