Peter Hastings to direct, as studio begins development on new movie based on prolific ‘Captain Underpants’ author and illustrator’s #1 global bestselling series about a loveable canine superhero and his friends.
DreamWorks Animation has just announced they’ve optioned the rights to “Dog Man,” the #1 global bestselling series by author and illustrator Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) and have greenlit development of an animated feature based on the property.
Peter Hastings (Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain) is set to direct. Hastings, a six-time Emmy Award and Peabody winner, joined DreamWorks Animation in 2011, where he has worked on DWA TV programs including the Emmy-winning Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants, where he worked closely with Pilkey.
The “Dog Man” series, published by Scholastic, follows the hilarious adventures of the “Supa Buddies”: Dog Man, a lovable canine superhero, and his friends Li’l Petey, a curious kitten who embodies love, optimism, and hope, and 80-HD, a robot who expresses himself best through his art. Imbued with Pilkey’s trademark heart and humor, the books explore universally positive themes including empathy, kindness, persistence, becoming a better version of one’s self, and the importance of doing good. The unique style of the “Dog Man” graphic novels is intended to encourage the love of reading and creativity in kids.
“Dog Man: Grime & Punishment,” the most recent book in the “Dog Man” series, was published on September 1, 2020; it became the #1 bestselling book overall for its first week in the U.S. and Canada and swept the top spots on USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, Indie Bound, Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail bestseller lists.
All nine books in the “Dog Man” series released to date have reached the #1 spot on the bestseller list. Since the first book launched to critical acclaim four years ago, the series has nearly 40 million copies in print, and has been translated into 40 foreign languages. Scholastic will publish the 10th book in the series, “Dog Man: Mothering Heights,” on March 23, 2021.
Pilkey has written and illustrated a number of bestselling and award-winning children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor-winning picture book “The Paperboy” and the hugely successful “Captain Underpants” series, which has sold more than 90 million copies worldwide. Pilkey’s first-ever graphic novel, “The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby,” a spin-off of the Captain Underpants series, was published nearly 20 years ago and was an instant national bestseller. Pilkey’s most recent graphic novel series, “Cat Kid Comic Club,” launched this month to critical acclaim.
Pilkey and DreamWorks Animation previously collaborated on 2017’s animated feature film, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which grossed more than $125 million globally.
“As his readers all over the world know, Dav Pilkey is truly one of the most creative and talented storytellers of his generation,” said Kristin Lowe, Chief Creative Officer, Features, DreamWorks Animation, “And Peter Hastings is just the right person to bring this iconic character to the big screen and the legions of fans who are all eagerly awaiting the adaptation.”
“I am humbled and grateful to once again work with the brilliant Peter Hastings and the outstanding team at DreamWorks Animation,” said Pilkey.
“This is my second project based on Dav Pilkey's books and I'm very excited to take his funny, clever, emotional and ultimately inspirational Dog Man and make it move!” Hastings added. “Not just by telling the story, but by absorbing and building on his great sensibility, bringing it to the screen with deep respect to his gazillion fans - 'cause I'm one of them.”
Pilkey is represented by Amy Berkower at Writers House LLC, Kassie Evashevski at Anonymous Content and Jamie Coghill at Surpin, Mayersohn & Coghill, LLP. Hastings is represented by The Gotham Group.
Source: DreamWorks Animation
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.