The Brave Little Toaster is a treasured childhood relic for the 20-30 something crowd; its popularity has endured over the 25 years that’ve passed since its initial theatrical release (see: its ranking on Amazon‘s Kids & Family bestselling list). That animated feature even spawned a couple of direct-to-video sequels in the late 1990s, including one with the eyebrow-raising title The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.
However, as seems to be happening with increasing (alarming?) frequency of late, Hollywood has come a knockin’ with plans to revisit the property – trading in the old-fashioned hand-drawn animation for a modern mix of live-action and CGI.
The Wrap reports that Waterman Entertainment has acquired the rights to Brave Little Toaster; as company co-head Tucker Waterman explains it, the brand is a well-recognized property that adheres to “specific elements we deem suitable to create CGI/live-action hybrid films with potential for licensing and merchandising.” Waterman also cites the multiple platform potential as motivation for acquiring the Brave Little Toaster franchise.
Ironically, the original animated feature (based on Thomas M. Disch’s novella “The Brave Little Toaster: A Bedtime Story for Small Appliances”) was not a commercial success in theaters; its subsequent home video success can be attributed to word-of-mouth. It was, however, an important stepping stone for the late Joe Ranft, who co-wrote the film before he worked on Disney Renaissance animated classics like Beauty and the Beast as well as The Lion King. Ranft thereafter moved on to Pixar Studios, where he co-wrote the screen stories for Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Cars with John Lasseter (who contributed to Brave Little Toaster during pre-production).
Waterman Entertainment, by comparison, co-executive produced Casper, Stuart Little, and the Alvin and the Chipmunks live-action/CGI movies. Most of these films have proven to be profitable in terms of ticket sales and merchandising tie-ins; the Stuart Little movies are even well-regarded critically. On the other hand, though, the Chipmunks adaptations are seen as harmless kid’s entertainment at best – the epitome of crass exploitation of popular brand names at worst.
Waterman Entertainment’s mixed track record, in other words, does not inspire loads of confidence for Brave Little Toaster. Nonetheless, the project has entered pre-production, with plans to modernize the story using
product placement new technology (ex. iPhones) – not to mention, taking advantage of the improvements in CGI to go beyond “what was technologically possible when Lasseter pitched the project” back in the 1980s.
Those out there who prefer to remember Brave Little Toaster as an oddly-heartwarming tale recounting the adventures of a toaster, vacuum cleaner, lamp, radio and blanket who go searching for their onetime owner, as brought to life with simple 2D animation… well, no one says you have to go see the remake.
More on The Brave Little Toaster as the story develops.
Source: The Wrap