Sony has put its plans for a CGI Popeye move from animation director Genndy Tartakovsky into dry-dock.
The Hotel Transylvania director has told Moviefone that the studio has decided not to be going forward with the project he had been developing starring the iconic animated, pipe-chomping sailor.
Popeye, at least, we put up a great screening, everybody really liked that sizzle, we got a positive reaction. I was in love with what we were doing, but I think the studio is going through changes and I don’t know if they want to make the Popeye that I want to make. So they’ve got to make a decision…It was hard to let Popeye go, but that’s the business.
The changes that Tartakovsky is referring to range from the recent departures of Sony studio head Amu Pascal and Sony Pictures Digital Productions president Bob Osher as well as former DreamWorks producer Kristine Belson being brought in as the new president of Sony Pictures Animation.
And here is where we run into a rather sad and ongoing problem in Hollywood, brought about by the egos and politics that come into play when studio’s undergo personnel changes in the executive suites. When there are changes in a studio’s leadership, the incoming executives will sometimes kill their previous office inhabitant’s pet projects lest they become big successes and embarrass the studio for having fired the person who instigated them. It’s a shame because, as you can see from the test reel below, Tartakovsky was developing something that looked interesting and fun, which is the standard we’ve come to expect from his work. And from his introduction, it was something he felt personally involved with.
While I wouldn’t be surprised though if Sony were to set a new creative team to work on Popeye, I doubt that they will bring the same passion to the film that Tartakovsky would have.
Meanwhile, Tartakovsky is finishing up work on Hotel Transylvania 2, due in theaters this September 25, and will now be concentrating more on the previously announced original project Can You Imagine?.