Another beloved childhood character is heading to the big screen. Universal recently announced that an adaptation of Clifford the Big Red Dog, based on the children’s book series by Norman Bridwell, will be hitting theaters on April 8th, 2016.
Plot details for the film are scarce, but Bridwell’s series centered on a dog named Clifford, born the runt of the litter. When he was given to Emily Elizabeth as a birthday present, the little girl’s love for him caused Clifford to swell in size to a height of over 25 feet. Given the dog’s size, his owner’s family had no choice but to move to the wide open spaces of Bridwell Island, where Clifford encountered new friends like Cleo, Mac and T-Bone. Over 70 installments of the book series, which also spawned a popular PBS Kids TV show, have been released.
As for the film, it’s being sold as a mixture of live-action and 3D animation. David Bowers (Flushed Away) is directing from a script currently being penned by Matt Lopez (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).
Though there have been some absolutely awful, kid-targeted live-action/animation hybrids in recent years (Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, Hop, Yogi Bear – the list is depressingly long), Clifford the Big Red Dog is already off to a more promising start than any of those titles. After all, Bowers’ Flushed Away was one of the best animated films of the last ten years, brimming with imagination, humor and style. The director followed it up with the little-seen Astro Boy then helmed two enjoyable installments of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, proving that he has the skill-set to successfully adapt a beloved series.
Of course, there’s a chance that Clifford the Big Red Dog could be a terrible idea (especially if it ends up looking as bizarre as The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water), but Deborah Forte (The Golden Compass) is also on board as a producer, and her familiarity with the property is another reason to stay positive. Forte previously produced multiple Clifford TV series as well as the 2004 film Clifford’s Really Big Movie.
Again, Clifford the Big Red Dog will arrive on April 8th, 2016.