It seems that Warner Bros. is planning a full-length animated "Flintstones" project, with Will Ferrell and his frequent creative collaborator Adam McKay producing through their Gary Sanchez Production shingle (at least according to The Hollywood Reporter). What's more is that Chris Henchy, another partner in Gary Sanchez and a writer on such Sanchez projects as HBO's genuinely amazing "Eastbound & Down" and the somewhat less inspiring political comedy "The Campaign," will be writing the screenplay. While a cast hasn't been announced yet, we've already begun saying prayers for Ferrell and John C. Reilly to play Fred and Barney.
The prospect of remaking "The Flintstones" seems like a simple enough proposition. It's not the most sophisticated property to update (and the series itself is just a stone-age retelling of "The Honeymooners"). But it has become increasingly difficult to adapt the beloved Hanna-Barbera cartoon (which, before "The Simpsons," was the longest running prime time animated series in television history). Hopefully this new project will have better luck.
In the early '90s, Steven Spielberg spearheaded a live-action feature, complete with a script that required input from more than a dozen screenwriters and the latest cutting edge visual effects technology (much of it ported over from Spielberg's modern take on prehistory "Jurassic Park"), that proved cumbersome and costly. (The studio, desperate to cash in on their investment, mounted a cheaply produced prequel called "Viva Rock Vegas" that was more or less abysmal and probably should have been relegated to direct-to-video status.)
More recently "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane mounted a TV update for Fox. After Fox spent more than two years negotiating the pricey deal to get the rights from Warner Bros, the studio balked at what they perceived as a subpar script, fired the small creative team that had already been hired, and McFarlane, already spread thin due to his various show-running and directing commitments, let the project quietly fade away.
So hopefully this new "Flintstones" will have a smoother time transitioning to the big screen. McKay, Ferrell and Henchy have brought another beloved family series to the big screen once before and the results were the genuinely bizarre and deeply underrated "Land of the Lost" (seriously, that movie is so weird and awesome). This project also signifies a new aggressive approach to animation from Warner Bros, who more or less shuttered their animation operation after the disappointing results from 1999's masterpiece "The Iron Giant."
This was even more of a blow to animation super-fans considering the company's history as a trailblazer and innovator. Thankfully, the studio seems to have reclaimed its mojo following the success of "The Lego Movie" earlier this year, and has already scheduled two more, as-yet-unannounced animated projects for that late winter date that had "The Lego Movie" raking in the cash. Bring it on.