Live-Action Popeye Film in the Works

The iconic sailor man and spinach chugger, who first appeared in comic strips in the late 1920s, will be the subject of a new live-action feature film from Chernin Entertainment and King Features.

This is the first live-action revisiting of the character since the 1980 film “Popeye,” led by Robin Williams. Directed by Robert Altman and co-starring Shelley Duvall as the sailor’s quirky love interest Olive Oyl, the musical-comedy was panned upon release but has since gained cult status and critical reconsideration. It was also profitable, released by Paramount Pictures at a $20 million budget before grossing roughly $60 million worldwide.

Popeye celebrated his 95th anniversary this year, after appearing in the 1929 comic “Thimble Theater.” The character spawned both animated features and series in his heyday, and could be one of the earliest templates for mass merchandising across multiple generations.

GenXers watched reruns of older shows and film shorts on TV throughout our childhood.

On September 9, 1978, The All New Popeye Hour debuted on the CBS Saturday morning lineup. It was an hour-long animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, which tried its best to retain the style of the original comic strip, while complying with the prevailing content restrictions on violence.

The All New Popeye Hour ran on CBS until September 1981, when it was cut to a half-hour and retitled The Popeye and Olive Comedy Show. It was removed from the CBS lineup in September 1983.

Popeye briefly returned to CBS in 1987 for Popeye and Son, another Hanna-Barbera series, which featured Popeye and Olive as a married couple with a son named Popeye Jr., who hates the taste of spinach, but eats it to boost his strength. The show only lasted for one year.

While his pipe also proves to be highly versatile—as a cutting torch, jet engine, propeller, periscope, musical instrument, a vacuum for spinach—since the 1970s, Popeye is seldom depicted using his pipe to smoke tobacco.

Variety: Popeye the Sailor Man Live-Action Film



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