Let’s see a show of hands…how many of you remember the NBC series Manimal? Yeah, not too many. And with good reason. Manimal was a ridiculous show about a college professor who had the ability to turn himself into animals. What would you imagine a stuffy, academic type would do once he gained such phenomenal abilities? Why, he fights crime alongside a sexy police lady and one of his old ‘Nam buddies, of course. Manimal debuted in 1983 to abysmal ratings and even worse reviews, and only aired 8 episodes before the plug was pulled.
It being something from the ’80s that someone somewhere might remember, however, still makes it a prime candidate to get a big screen adaptation, so THR is reporting that Sony Pictures Animation has won what was most likely an intense bidding war to acquire the rights to the property.
If you’ll remember, Sony made quite a bit of money last year with their live action/CG animation hybrid adaptation of The Smurfs, which was another relic from the ’80s, so it shouldn’t really shock anybody that they’re trying to recreate that success by putting together things like that prospective ALF movie and this possible project, which will also be a live action and CG mix. The only question is, how far can a reliance on ’80s nostalgia take them at the box office? Sure, everybody remembers watching The Smurfs on Saturday mornings, but is the name Manimal even going to register with anyone?
Not that a lack of name value should preclude a—perhaps—underappreciated concept from seeing a remake. Surely there’s value to be had in the concept of a British college professor using his ability to turn into a panther to stop purse snatchers. They’ll simply need to find the right take on the material. Which is good news for anybody who’s got their work from any old Manimal fan-fiction sites they used to host on Angelfire still lying around. Sony is currently putting out the call for writers, so this is your chance to shine.