Though it kicks up a small storm of cognitive dissonance to say so, the following question is for real: What do Quentin Tarantino’s blood guts and swearing, viciously adult films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and the Kill Bills have in common with kids entertainment monolith Nickelodeon?
Are Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants strapping on samurai swords for a cocaine-fueled, limb-lopping bank-robbing spree?
Not yet anyway.
Give up? The connection is Tarantino collaborator, film producer Lawrence Bender, who just signed with Nickelodeon Movies to bring author Jeff Stone’s The Five Ancestors book series to the big screen.
“This important alliance with Lawrence re-emphasizes Nick Movies’ commitment to deliver groundbreaking, edgy fare into the family marketplace and we are extremely pleased about this collaboration,” said Nick Movies VP Julia Pistor on Tuesday.
“Edgy”? Well they do run fart and snot PSAs on the TV network, and Nick Movies’ Lemony Snicket was about as literally and figuratively dark as kid’s movies get.
They appear to be warning us of greater edginess to come.
The Ancestors films will be adapted from Stone’s seven book series from Random House, the first two of which, Tiger and Monkey were released last year. The third book in the series, Snake, will be released in March. The teens and tweens books are set in 17th century China and follow the adventures of five young monks, each of whom specialize in a different style of “animal” kung fu which reflect their individual personalities. After a renegade brother monk leads a brutal attack on their secret Shaolin temple, the young monks are forced to flee and must rely on their training and instincts to survive and uncover the mysteries of the past.
To date, Nick Movies releases have grossed over one billion dollars at the box office and include the Oscar nominated Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius as well as The SpongeBob Square Pants Movie, the Rugrats movies, critically acclaimed documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, and current release Yours, Mine and Ours starring Renee Russo and Dennis Quaid.
Upcoming releases include Charlotte’s Web, based on the classic E.B. White children’s book with a cast including Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Buscemi; and Barnyard, a CGI animated film written and directed by award-winning writer and director Steve Oedekerk. Currently in production is Nacho Libre, written by Jared Hess and Mike White, directed by Jared Hess and starring Jack Black.
In other news from the Nick/film nexus, tonight at 8 pm, Nickelodeon will air the first 5 minutes of the new CGI animated family film Hoodwinked featuring voiceovers by Glenn Close, Jim Belushi, Anne Hathaway, Anthony Anderson, Patrick Warburton, Andy Dick, Xzibit among many others.
In this re-telling of the classic fable of Little Red Riding Hood, the story begins at the end as cops from the animal world investigate a domestic disturbance at Granny’s cottage, involving a karate-kicking Red, a sarcastic Wolf, an oafish Woodsman and a thrill-seeking Granny. The charges are many: breaking and entering, disturbing the peace, intent to eat and wielding an axe without a license.
Hoodwinked will be released in theaters nationwide tomorrow, Friday, January 13th.