Deadline reports that Sonic the Hedgehog has been picked up for development by Sony. A couple of newcomers are on scripting duty, and it looks like the animation will be handled by Marza Animation Planet, a company that started out as a department of Sega. Marza’s Takeshi Ito and Mie Onishi will produce, some guy named Toby Ascher will exec produce, and the whole thing will be shepherded by producer Neal H. Moritz under his Original Films shingle. No director has been named yet.
And here’s the kicker: This will be a live-action/CGI hybrid.
Where do I even begin?
First of all, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this news comes while gamers are in a lather over the ongoing E3. That said, even though my gaming days are long behind me, I still find it very hard to believe that any gamers out there would be thrilled by this news. After all, Sonic hasn’t had a truly great game since the days of the Sega Genesis. If the hedgehog is still relevant at all, that’s only out of nostalgia and Sega’s stubborn refusal to let the cash cow die.
Then we have the other side of the equation. By this point, the phrase “live-action/CGI hybrid” should be box office poison. The concept of animated characters starring next to live-action actors hasn’t yielded a single good kids’ movie since the days of Roger Rabbit. Yet for some reason, audiences keep showing up. Presumably because the target audience is too young to remember the past failures. That’s the only explanation I have for why Garfield got a sequel, The Smurfs got a sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks got a trilogy, and Yogi Bear made money.
Oh, and also: this is a video-game-to-movie adaptation, a genre that has yet to achieve a single bona fide success after two decades of attempts.
To recap, we’re looking at 1) a video game adaptation that’s 2) a live-action/CGI hybrid, 3) starring a mascot two decades past his prime, and 4) the only one involved so far with any kind of film cred is the producer behind “Fast and Furious,” 21 Jump Street, and R.I.P.D.
So far, I’m not exactly hopeful.