According to Animation Scoop, veteran director Bill Kopp (known for Eek! The Cat, Schnookums and Meat, Dan Vs., and more) has been tapped by Universal Pictures to revive none other than Woody Woodpecker — in his original manic glory. In the article Mr. Kopp says that currently an animated feature and a new short cartoon are in development. Long a mascot of Universal Pictures, Walter Lantz’ most famous creation originally appeared in cartoons from 1940 until 1972. According to Animation Scoop, “A new Woody Woodpecker feature was first announced two years ago by Illumination Entertainment, then developing the film with co-writers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky – who were planning to ‘modernize the character for contemporary audiences’. ” That didn’t sit well with classic animation fans — including Bill Kopp, who has insisted that these new cartoons will feature Woody in his original silliness.
The International Licensing Expo, held every year in Las Vegas, is a great change to get a first look at cool upcoming new movies as various merchandise companies compete to get a chance to serve the movie studios with new character-themed lunchboxes, t-shirts, cel phone app’s and more. The folks at ComingSoon.net and Cartoon Brew recently presented a report on this year’s expo, with the latter of course mostly looking at animated films of note. Among them are two from Dreamworks, Madagasgar 3 and Rise of the Guardians, and one from Illumination, the Lorax. In Madagasgar 3, hitting theaters next June, Alex the Lion and his friends join a traveling circus in hopes of getting back to New York City. Rise of the Guardians (formerly The Guardians of Childhood) is based on an upcoming book by William Joyce (creator of Rolie Polie Olie and Meet the Robinsons). It tells the story of four childhood heroes — Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost — who join forces to prevent The Boogeyman from sending the world into eternal darkness. It’s scheduled for release in November of 2012. And of course The Lorax is based on the popular (and shamelessly controversial) children’s book by Dr. Seuss, telling the story of a forest spirit who attempts to save his home from destruction by industry. It’s coming to theaters next March from Universal Pictures.