Historical past of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Popeye Film, Defined

It’s spectacular simply how recognizable Popeye stays within the popular culture consciousness regardless of the character not being in something main in years. Simply say the phrases “I yam what I yam” or crack open some spinach, and folks of all ages are sure to invoke the title of Popeye. At one level, although, the fashionable notion of the character was set to get an enormous enhance from a brand new animated function movie by director Genndy Tartakovsky. This undertaking, initially arrange at Sony Photos Animation, would by no means see the sunshine of day, even when it did continuously present a way of resilience on par with its titular sailor.

When Did Improvement on the Popeye Film First Start?

The saga of this Popeye film begins a number of years earlier than Tartakovsky set his eyes on this undertaking. In March 2010, Sony introduced that an upcoming undertaking from its Sony Photos Animation division could be a Popeye film. Avi Arad was connected as a producer at this stage. Although his title might not be acquainted to all moviegoers, Arad is the producer of all of the Spider-Man motion pictures, together with offshoots like Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Being a gentle presence throughout this franchise put Arad in Sony’s good graces and it’s no shock that they’d need him to supervise one other comedian e book adaptation for the studio.


Nonetheless, Popeye would quickly be pushed by one other one that’d gotten on Sony’s good aspect. Within the Summer season of 2012, Genndy Tartakovsky was wrapping up Lodge Transylvania, which wouldn’t be launched till that September. After years of failed begins with different filmmakers, Lodge Transylvania to the end line because of the work of Tarkovsky, which felt like a momentous feat itself even earlier than the function turned a smash hit. It’s clear Sony/Columbia Photos would each need to preserve this man round in addition to put him in control of a contemporary tackle Popeye.

Tartakovsky’s Attachment to Popeye Wasn’t Only a Option to Please Sony Brass

Speaking to MTV in 2012, this filmmaker revealed that Popeye and different comedian e book characters have been chargeable for inspiring his lifelong love for animation. He additionally expressed pleasure over attending to make an enormous animated film the place the comedy would come from visible gags and physicality fairly than quippy one-liners or popular culture references. On the time, he talked about that his best problem was determining learn how to make a traditional character like Popeye work for up to date audiences, an issue that will preserve cropping up because the function strikes additional and additional into manufacturing.

By the tip of 2012, Popeye was in ok form to safe a September 2014 launch date, which was rapidly delayed to an unspecified 2015 slot. At this level, Lodge Transylvania was fairly clearly a field workplace smash and Sony Photos Animation was seeking to flip it right into a franchise. Initially, that sequel had no director connected, however by early 2014, it was revealed that Tarkovsky could be helming Lodge Transylvania 2 along with directing Popeye, which was now additional postponed to a 2016 drop. Sony Photos Animation hoped that Tarkovsky’s expertise juggling a number of episodes of a TV present directly in his days on the small display screen would imply that he’d be able to directing a number of potential field workplace hits for this studio.

In September 2014, most people acquired a peek at Tarkovsky’s ambitions for Popeye by an animation take a look at that was dropped on YouTube. The fast video, making use of Tom Kenny and Gray DeLisle as Popeye and Olive Oyl, respectively, gave an instantaneous really feel for a way Tarkovsky could be translating the zany physicality of this traditional character into CG animation. As a manner of getting folks excited for a brand new tackle this sailor, it did its job after which some. This recent imaginative and prescient of Popeye loaded with potential, even simply by way of being a automobile for visible gags.

Good Vibes for Popeye Would Not Final Lengthy

In March 2015, Tartakovsky left Popeye. In an interview with Cartoon Brew six months later, Tartakovsky delved into the specifics of why Popeye had failed to maneuver ahead. Whereas a screening of a tough minimize of the film went nicely, afterward, no Sony executives would actually speak to Tartakovsky about Popeye. finally, the filmmaker reached out to the previous head of Sony Photos, Amy Pascal, for readability on what was happening. That is the place Pascal stated plainly that the studio simply wasn’t within the Popeye character, or not less than, not the best way Tartakovsky was desirous to discover the character.

The director additionally famous that the preliminary screening of the movie occurred across the identical time because the Sony hack within the ultimate months of 2014, which left the studio in a weak house. It wouldn’t be a shock if the demise of this incarnation of Popeye was partially as a consequence of Sony not desirous to take any main dangers whereas something connected to the title Sony was underneath a lot scrutiny. Afterward, occasional information items would emerge over the thought of Sony Photos Animation persevering with to pursue a brand new tackle Popeye with a recent artistic crew, however nothing ever got here of it.

King Options Syndicate Regained the Rights to Popeye in 2020

In 2020, it appeared {that a} miracle had occurred for Tartakovsky’s Popeye with the information that King Options Syndicate (which owns the rights to Popeye as a comics character) was now answerable for movie rights to the sailor. With this improvement, the corporate needed this director to helm a Popeye movement image as soon as once more. It was an excellent second, however it wouldn’t quantity to a lot in the long term. Tartakovsky confirmed in July 2022 that his Popeye was as soon as once more useless within the water for unspecified causes.

The struggles that Genndy Tartakovsky confronted in even making an attempt to get his Popeye film off the bottom replicate the troubles that plague so many artists making an attempt to reinvent a property they maintain close to and pricey to their hearts. Film studios and the executives that run them love acquainted characters, however they typically love the qualities that made them so well-known within the first place. In making an attempt to make a Popeye film true to each the character’s roots and Tartakovsky’s imaginative and prescient, this director ran up in opposition to Sony brass who have been participating on this exact same paradox. Popeye stays an extremely recognizable fictional character, however it may be a battle to get folks with cash and energy to know why and the way he acquired to that degree of visibility.

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