Universal is continuing to fling everything against the wall to see what sticks when it comes to the studio’s cherished monster movie brand. The latest project is ‘Little Monsters’, a family flick, to be written and directed by ‘Toy Story 4’s Josh Cooley. The film will be a live-action hybrid, meaning the titular ghouls will likely be CGI or motion capture. The characters will be based on “the artistic outlines and character designs” by concept artist Mark “Crash” McCreery, who has done creature design work on ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ brand, ‘Jurassic World’, ‘Kong: Skull Island’, ‘Bird Box’, and another less successful Universal monster pic, ‘The Mummy’.
According to sources, via The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Little Monsters’ is “a love letter to classic Hollywood and the history of filmmaking with a story that takes a multigenerational approach to the monsters.”
This is not connected in any way to the 1989 movie ‘Little Monsters’, which starred Fred Savage and Howie Mandel, or the excellent 2019 zombie comedy, also called ‘Little Monsters’, directed by Abe Forsythe and starring Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad.
After the failure of ‘The Mummy’, Universal has been greenlighting all manner of films that could possibly reboot their monster franchise. The first arrival was ‘The Invisible Man’ earlier this year, which was produced by low-budget hit-makers Blumhouse. Directed by Leigh Whannell, the picture was made for $7 million and grossed $129.4 million at the box office. It would have made a lot more if theaters around the world hadn’t been forced to close the next weekend due to COVID-19. It made up some of that lost revenue with a successful accelerated PVOD release.
Whannell is returning to helm another low-budget reboot, ‘The Wolfman’ starring Ryan Gosling. Blumhouse is also reportedly working on a take on ‘Dracula’. But rather than putting all their eggs in one basket, Universal is looking to other ways to keep its monsters thriving.
Paul Feig is directing the action-comedy ‘Dark Army’. Elizabeth Banks is producing, directing, and starring in ‘The Invisible Woman’, a remake of a screwball comedy from 1940. And music video director Matt Stawski will make his film debut with ‘Monster Mash’, a musical inspired by the classic novelty record.
Now add family movie to that list.
Check back for updates on this project as they arrive. What do you think of a kids monster movie from Universal?