Paramount Animation Looking to Tackle Monster Trucks

2013 has been an interesting year for animation with a few flops strung among the hits, but word comes out of Deadline that Paramount Animation, the division of Paramount Pictures formed following the success of Gore Verbinski’s Rango and the departure of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation, are looking to develop an animated movie based on the popular Monster Trucks phenomenon from an original idea. They’re hoping to create a “Transformers”-like franchise from that idea with the first movie planned for the summer of 2015.

What’s most interesting about this news is that they’ve tapped Chris Wedge, a founder at Blue Sky Studios and the co-creator of the “Ice Age” series, to helm the $100 million movie which is a priority project for Adam Goodman over at Paramount Animation with plans to start production in the first half of next year.

Wedge has been a huge part of Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox’s own animation development over the past twelve years, most recently helming their summer release Epic, but clearly he’s ready for a move now that DreamWorks Animation is getting so much of Fox’s focus and attention.

The screenplay for this “Monster Trucks” movie is by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger, who also wrote DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda and Paramount Animation’s upcoming “SpongeBob SquarePants” movie, both which are being produced by Mary Parent (Pacific Rim, Godzilla and Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming Noah).

Wedge has impressive credentials as a producer, director and voice actor–he voices the hugely popular role of Scrat in the “Ice Age” films and shorts–and he’s helped to turn the “Ice Age” franchise into one of 20th Century Fox’s most lucrative endeavors with the four movies grossing $2.8 billion worldwide. Wedge also directed Robots, which he co-created with author and animator Wiliam Joyce, won an 1998 Academy Award for his animated short film “Bunny” before tackling this year’s Epic, also loosely based on a William Joyce book called “The Leafmen.”

(Photo source: Andres Otero/WENN.com)

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