Waterman Entertainment has acquired the right to “The Brave Little Toaster” and is planning to turn the property into a CGI/live-action hybrid feature, a representative of the company told TheWrap.
The acquisition comes as Waterman, launched in 1999, has put together a development fund through private equity, which is enabling it to expand its operation.
Waterman Entertainment was originally focused on executive producing family entertainment properties and has worked on a number of high-profile films, including “Stuart Little” and “Casper.”
Now Waterman will also develop and acquire family entertainment projects, which few companies outside of the major studios do.
“Waterman has raised a development fund to acquire, option and develop well-recognized family properties and brands that adhere to specific elements that we deem suitable to create CGI/live action hybrid films with potential for licensing and merchandising,” the company’s Tucker Waterman told TheWrap.
The company has also optioned the rights to “Born Free – The Story of Elsa the Lion,” and plans to tell the story from the animal’s perspective for the first time.
“We are increasing the amount of acquisitions as well as the number of films we intend to produce in the coming years. The company will also act as a rights-management company, focused on the exploitation of each property on multiple platforms in addition to and in coordination with the films,” Waterman said.
Following the adventures of a toaster, a vacuum cleaner, a lamp and a blanket, “The Brave Little Toaster” was made into a film in 1987, produced by Hyperion Pictures and Kushner-Locke and distributed by Disney.
This story about a group of household appliances will be updated to include technology that didn’t exist back in 1987, including the iPhone. The company is in pre-production on the film.
“The Brave Little Toaster” was the first feature-length film that John Lasseter pitched to use computer-generated animation while at Disney. Lasseter left Disney shortly thereafter, and the development was taken over by Hyperion Pictures.
The screenplay was written by Joe Ranft, who later rejoined Lasseter at Pixar to write “Toy Story,” “A Bug's Life” and “Cars,” among others. Waterman brought the rights from Kushner-Locke.
“’Toaster’ continues to be a top 100 best selling DVD for kids and family on Amazon, over a decade later. “The company has the opportunity to update the classic property, utilizing CG animation beyond what was technologically possible when Lasseter pitched the project,” said Waterman.
Waterman has worked on a long line of films. Founder Steve Waterman served as a co-producer on “Casper” and an executive producer on “Stuart Little” and “Stuart Little 2,” and as an executive producer on “Alvin and the Chipmunks” 1, 2 and 3.
Keeping it in the family, the company is now managed by Steve Waterman, Tucker Waterman and Cooper Waterman.