David Katzenberg


So, there’s no way to ignore the fact that this bit of news is going to make a lot of people unhappy. As much as movie nerds like to pretend that they’re the sort of folks who are always looking for new voices and new ideas, like anyone else, we’re really just the sorts of little greed monsters who want to keep getting more of the stuff we like. That’s why film geeks have been calling for a third film in legendary director Joe Dante’s Gremlins series for years. Unfortunately for those who’ve been beating the Dante drum all this time, today the news broke that a Gremlins 3 isn’t likely going to ever happen. There has been a development for the property that’s either going to play like a consolation prize or a slap in the face though, depending on your perspective.


Looney Tunes

Given the shoddy treatment Jim Henson’s Muppets characters got through much of the ’90s and the ’00s, last year’s refresher of their property, The Muppets, was welcomed as a huge breath of fresh air. Finally somebody with true affection for these beloved characters gave them a big screen vehicle that skillfully treated them with the respect they deserve. Things are arguably looking worse for Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes franchise than they ever did for the Muppets though. The last time these characters hit the big screen was in 2003’s already-forgotten Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and the last time they felt remotely relevant was when they appeared in Space Jam in 1996. Here is a stable of characters that was beloved for decades, whose earliest animated works are still held up in knowledgeable circles as being enduring pieces of modern art, and we can’t even get them a decent Space Jam sequel? What gives? Hopefully all this is about to change, because the brothers Warner are putting together a new feature for Bugs, Daffy, and crew, and it sounds like they’re taking the The Muppets approach that resulted in that property enjoying newfound relevance. What are the similarities here? Well, according to THR [via Slashfilm], the studio is looking outside the insular animated world and giving the job of putting this film together to people who are known for doing other things, but still have a deep, abiding affection for animated weirdness.



When it was first reported that David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith were going to begin their producing partnership by working on a sequel to the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice, it didn’t really sound like a good idea to me. At first glance it seems like Beetlejuice is a very specifically Tim Burton movie, and the idea of somebody else working in that universe feels strange and off-putting. Why would you even want to make another Beetlejuice unless you were Tim Burton?  That would be like somebody who wasn’t Quentin Tarantino saying they were going to make a sequel to Pulp Fiction. But when Grahame-Smith said that he would only do the movie if he got Burton’s blessing and if Michael Keaton came back to star as the titular ghost with the most, the idea started to sound less crazy. I mean, seeing somebody else working in this world that is so visually Burton’s vision would still be a little weird, but who wouldn’t be interested at the possibility of Keaton slipping back into one of his most outlandish and iconic roles? I’ve found my skepticism about a Beetlejuice sequel waning over time. And that continues now that there’s some confirmation that Burton is, in fact, going to be involved with this movie in some way. While talking to the people at MTV about his current projects Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, Burton took a minute to address his own feelings about the developing sequel. On doing another Beetlejuice he said, “I […]



After it was announced that David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith were forming a production company whose first order of business was to develop a sequel to the Tim Burton comedy Beetlejuice, the biggest question on everybody’s mind was whether they would be casting a newer, younger actor in the title role and treating this film as something of a reboot, or if they would be getting Michael Keaton to once again don the zombie makeup and green hair of the iconic ghost with the most. As it turns out, Katzenberg and Grahame-Smith are very wise men who understand that Michael Keaton, quite frankly, is Beetlejuice. It didn’t even feel right when somebody else voiced him for the animated series and I was 8 when I watched that.



David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith, now together known as Katzsmith Productions, have signed a new feature producing deal with Warner Bros. Who are these guys? Katzenberg wrote and directed a short film about a teenage nerd with a big unit that he later developed into the MTV series The Hard Times of R.J. Berger, and Garahame-Smith is the guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The two have been working together for a while, and Warners likes what they see; so much so that they’re expected to be handed the reigns of a sequel to the 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice as their first project. Warner Bros. production president Greg Silverman explains the new deal, “We first got to know Seth through his fantastic work on Dark Shadows, and it immediately became a priority to expand our relationship with him. Seth introduced us to David, who greatly impressed us with the vision for KatzSmith from the very first meeting. We firmly believe in their talents and are extremely excited to welcome them to the Warners family.”

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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