The Pink Panther is coming (back) to the big screen.
MGM announced Monday it planned to reboot the franchise in a live-action/animation hybrid, focusing on the rosy-colored cat who soft-shoed his way through the intros to most of the films, rather than on the aloof Inspector Clouseau. They’ve tapped The Simpsons Movie director David Silverman to helm the project.
Based on Friz Freleng and David De Patie’s cartoons, the Pink Panther’s 11-feature film cinematic history has spanned five decades — made iconic by the collaboration between director Blake Edwards and star Peter Sellers, who portrayed Clouseau. MGM tried their hand at a few reboots — including one in 1993 with Roberto Benigni and two with Steve Martin in 2006 and 2009. Both Martin attempts were very poorly reviewed, and the second film grossed only $35.9 million domestically on a $70 budget. There have also been a slew of animated Pink Panther films.
The new film will focus on a jewel heist and, reports say that, paying homage to its origin, the Panther will not speak. Mancini’s theme will be used as well. Both Walter Mirisch, executive producer of the original films and shows, and Julie Andrews (Edwards’ widow) will serve in a producing capacity.
“We are incredibly proud to re-introduce the Pink Panther to a brand new generation in such a fresh way. Even more exciting is the chance to work again with our dear friends Walter Mirisch and Julie Andrews, as well as the talented David Silverman, whose enthusiasm convinced us to ‘Think Pink!’,” said MGM chairman and CEO Jonathan Glickman in the press release announcing the news.
Andrews added: “I am delighted that the legacy of Blake’s iconic Pink Panther franchise will continue to grow in its new hybrid form. It is exciting that the quintessential ‘next step’ for our beloved Panther will be enjoyed by a 4th generation of audiences. I feel that Blake is encouraging us on.”