The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Fox 2000 is looking to bring Mr. Ed to the big screen. No talent is yet attached, but this is the sort of announcement that baffles. Seriously, Mr. Ed? Seriously? I guess that they would be following the Dr. Doolittle blueprint, which was successful enough for Fox to spawn at least one theatrical sequel. So this will be developed around their leading comic man, which could run from someone like Ben Stiller or Eddie Murphy to a Dane Cook.
This infuriates me for a number of reasons. The first is the use of name branding. What do you get with the name Mr. Ed? A talking horse. Which – ultimately – isn’t exactly a copyrighted premise. We’ve seen other talking animal pictures, and in the 1980′s there was Hot to Trot, which had a similar premise. And if these films are aimed at people under 35, Mr. Ed is just a name with little to no familiarity. The show stopped running in 1966, which was fifty-five years ago, so the youngest person who watched it while it aired would be around (at best) sixty. If the need to have a name brand is this desperate, we’re in terrible straights as filmgoers.
On top of that the genre itself of talking animal pictures is such that at best it’s a movie to send kids to. Less than stellar kids movies aren’t that offensive so much as par for the course, but still. Has it become that difficult to develop a crappy kids movie that Hollywood is pillaging the brand name of a franchise that could have grandkids?
Seriously, have you seen an episode of Mr. Ed?