Illumination Entertainment is developing Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! with Pete Candeland set to direct. According to a report by Variety, Universal Pictures will handle worldwide distribution with Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri producing. Audrey Geisel will serve as Executive Producer.
Though the Chuck Jones 1966 animated feature is widely considered one of the most popular adaptations of any Seuss book, it's no surprise that Illumination is putting a new spin on Grinch, given the relationship the studio has built with the Seuss estate.
The animated feature will mark Meledandri's third Dr. Seuss adaptation after Horton Hears a Who -- which was through Fox and his Blue Sky Studios banner -- and The Lorax, which made $348 million worldwide. Illumination is also developing a Cat in the Hat adaptation and an untitled Dr. Seuss live-action biopic.
While no release date has been set and a writer is now being sought, insiders say How The Grinch Stole Christmas will be the next Dr. Seuss adaptation from Illumination to screen in theaters.
The plan is reportedly to stay faithful to the book, and that given how the original story organically lends itself to a three-act structure, there won't be as much of a need to invent certain material like with Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax.
There will opportunity to explore the story from a perspective more in line with underlying tones of the book -- and distinguish it from the Universal's 2000 live-action remake starring Jim Carrey.
By the time the film makes it to theaters, it should be close to the 50th anniversary of the Chuck Jones pic's debut on television. Initial plans are to put the element of Cindy Lou Who's ultimate optimistic attitude and the Grinch's ultimate pessimitic attitude at the heart of the story.
There is also the opportunity to reach new audiences around the world: "The Grinch" is a completely known property in English-speaking territories but not so much in others.
Best known for his work on music videos for The Gorillaz, Candeland has worked as an animator on such projects as Balto and Aladdin: The Animated series. He is also currently developing Mr. Toad's Wild Ride for Disney.