The rights to the short-lived 80s television series Manimal have been acquired by the folks over at Sony Pictures Animation, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Although the series only ran for eight episodes, apparently producers see plenty of potential in the program’s unique premise. If everything falls into place, the big screen adaptation of Manimal will use a combination of live action and CGI performers. Given the success of such like-minded endeavors as The Smurfs, it’s not surprising that Sony is attempting to apply this formula to other properties.
If you missed the program during its run in 1983, then you’re probably unfamiliar with the exploits of college professor Dr. Jonathan Chase, a man who has the ability to transform himself into any animal of his choosing. In order to put these unusual powers to good use, the professor teams up with a female cop to fight crime in the big city. Several hour-long adventures promptly ensued before the network pulled the plug on the program.
While Manimal has enjoyed a cult following after the complete series arrived on DVD, Sony Pictures Animation is probably banking more on the premise than the program’s popularity. According to Wikipedia, TV Guide listed Manimal as one of the worst television shows of all time. Apparently that isn’t going to stop Sony from attempting to make some money off the property.
Of course, Manimal isn’t the only 80s television show currently getting the big screen treatment. The beloved sitcom ALF, which followed the suburban adventures of a furry extraterrestrial with a penchant for eating cats, was recently acquired by the producers of The Smurfs.
According to Film School Rejects, the upcoming Manimal film is still in the early stages of development, so there’s always the chance this may not get off the ground. However, I’m sure there are plenty of people who are willing to pay top dollar to watch a shape-shifting college professor fight crime.