Night at the Museum director will produce BERENSTAIN BEARS live-action/CG movie


We reported yesterday that the long running comic- strip Marmaduke would be brought to the big-screen through the use of live-action/CG. Well, here's another beloved property that will be getting the same type of computer generated "love."

Walden Media(Chronicles of Narnia) has acquired the feature rights to the beloved series of children's books, The Berenstain Bears. Night at the Museum 1 & 2 director Shawn Levy will produce the comedy through his 21 Laps banner, which will be a mix of live-action and computer animation.

Walden Media CEO Michael Bostick says The Berenstain Bears--created by Jan and the late Stan Berenstain and first published in 1962--which have existed as 2D illustrated characters for so long(nearly half a century), will be getting...

...a slight makeover to bring it into the three-dimensional style buwe'll embrace the core design elements. It'll be a slightly modern spin on their look. To stand that kind of test of time is pretty formidable. People read them as kids and can now read them to their kids. Any piece of culture that proves that enduring has something special in its DNA.

Though writers have yet to be brought on, Levy says he wants the film to be an original story that will incorporate details from some of the more popular Berenstain books. Levy envisions the tone of the film to be along the lines of John Favreau's Elf, which starred Will Ferrell as sweet, earnest hero who clashed with his cynical surroundings.

I think the movie will be witty but never sarcastic. I'd like the film to be un-ironic about its family connections but have a wry comedic sensibility that isn't oblivious to the fact that they're bears. The comedy comes from this bear family coexisting in a more recognizably real world.

If it can walk that fine line as brilliantly as Favreau did, then it sounds promising. Even though Levy will next take on the adult geared Tina Fey and Steve Carell comedy Date Night, Levy says:

[The Berenstain films] happen to fit firmly within the wheelhouse of family-genre comedy I do, whether it's Cheaper by the Dozen or Night at the Museum. It's warm-hearted comedy about family, and a different kind of family.

Walden is aiming The Berenstain Bears for a late 2010 production start with a late 2011 release date. Bostick explains of the seemingly far off plans:

Believe it or not, in this business that's a fast-track.

No director, no writers, no cast, it's still pretty early to predict the paths this could go down. But the Elf reference sounds promising, and we know Levy can mix the live-action and CG elements convincingly. What do you think of The Berenstain Bears coming to the big-screen?

Source: USAToday