For a film that reportedly got a young Tim Burton fired from Disney, that same studio sure seems set on making Frankenweenie a big event film for them this autumn. Burton’s film, an expanded version of his 1984 live-action short that apparently didn’t go over so well the Disney honchos way back when, will now be getting an IMAX release on its already-announced wide release date of October 5. The film will be both the first black and white film and the first stop-motion animated picture to hit IMAX screens.

Like Burton’s original short, Frankenweenie is a family-friendly spin on Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein.” In Burton’s world, Victor Frankenstein isn’t a doctor driven to extremes by his desire to reanimate the dead, however, he’s just a kid who has lost his beloved pet dog Sparky. Young Victor takes it upon himself to bring Sparky back from the dead and some sweet and clever hijinks ensue. I don’t think Sparky kills anyone, and I am pretty sure he’s not concerned with learning to read, but who knows just how deeply Burton committed to his source material.

Nathan showed us the teaser trailer for the film last week, and I’m still cooing over how perversely cute it looks (not to mention how cuddly Sparky, a dead animal brought back to life, appears to be). While I’ve never identified myself as a Tim Burton fan in the least, Frankenweenie looks to be both cute and clever, and I can’t stop myself from wanting to hug Sparky.

The film includes voice work by Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Charlie Tahan, and Atticus Shaffer.

The IMAX release of Frankenweenie will also be Burton’s second IMAX picture this year, as his Dark Shadows will be released in IMAX on May 11. That is a film I am significantly less excited about. [THR]

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