‘Looney Tunes’ Ditches Bugs Bunny in New Movie

in Entertainment, Movies

looney-tunes-thats-all-folks

Credit: Warner Bros. Animation

“A game of cat and mouse” may be a common idiom used in everyday life, but the world of animation began more like a game of bunny and mouse. As Walt Disney was building his entertainment empire with Mickey Mouse in 1928, Warner Bros. Animation became a direct rival with their creations called the Looney Tunes. These characters would also become cultural icons as they have maintained a cinematic presence for over 80 years. After their last box office disappointment, the Tunes are returning to the big screen but without their star rabbit in a new sci-fi buddy comedy.

roger rabbit
Credit: Disney

The Looney Tunes made their premiere in 1930 with a lesser known character called Bosko. The success of this cartoon monkey set the stage for legendary animators like Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones. While many associate Bugs Bunny as the face of the franchise, he was not the first hit character. That achievement belonged to classic characters Porky Pig in 1935, then Daffy Duck in 1937. Bugs did not make his debut until 1940.

looney-tunes-og-characters
Credit: ITM

Fast forward to the 1980s, Disney reclaimed a clear monopoly in animation with their Renaissance period which started with The Little Mermaid in 1989. Warner Brothers Animation not only had to compete with the Mouse House, but rising companies like DreamWorks Animation, Amblin Entertainment and Don Bluth Studios. They were additional contenders with churning out animated hits like The Prince of Egypt, An American Tail, and All Dogs Go to Heaven.

animated-classics
Credit: ITM

Warner Bros. Animation would rise to the occasion as they created classics such as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Cats Don’t Dance, The Iron Giant, and Space Jam. Space Jam (1995) was a huge success for the studio that brilliantly combined the popularity of the Looney Tunes brand with one of the world’s most recognized athletes, Michael Jordan. The movie remained such a generational hallmark that a 2021 sequel was made led by NBA star, LeBron James, in Space Jam: A New Legacy.

space-jam
Credit: ITM

Unfortunately, this much-anticipated follow-up underperformed at the box office, reaffirming the Looney Tunes franchise did not always generate a built-in audience. They also struggled with other major features in the past like The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie (1981), Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters (1988) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).

looney-tunes-back-in-action
Credit: Warner Bros.

Despite the inconsistency, Looney Tunes is making another comeback focusing on its two original stars, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. The Day the Earth Blew Up: A Looney Tunes Movie will be an animated sci-fi buddy comedy where the stuttering piglet and sassy water fowl will be the planet’s only chance of survival from an impending alien invasion.

looney-tunes-the-day-the-earth-blew-up
Credit: Warner Bros. Animation

Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, stated, “Our artists have created an incredible Looney Tunes film that follows in the cinematic tradition of when audiences first fell in love with these characters. GFM Animation are the perfect partners to help us bring Porky and Daffy back to their rightful place on the big screen.”

looney-tunes-the-day-the-earth-blew-up
Credit: Warner Bros. Animation

This partnership with GFM Animation prompted chairman, Guy Collins, to respond as well with, “It’s thrilling for the team here at GFM Animation to be handling the worldwide distribution sales on a movie with such an iconic IP, working with the terrific team at Warner Bros. Animation. It is great to see all their hard work in progress at this advanced stage of production. Independents rarely get to work on movies with such affinity awareness from fans worldwide and we know they are going to love Porky and Daffy’s sci-fi adventure just as much as we do.”

It is unfamiliar territory to have the Looney Tunes movies not be an ensemble with iconic characters like Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn. Yet, this new direction to go back to their roots with two of its original characters may be the key to success for this celebrated animated property.

The Day the Earth Blew Up: A Looney Tunes Movie is set to premiere in theaters in 2024. 

Are the Looney Tunes still a big draw anymore? Will focusing only on two characters help the franchise?

in Entertainment, Movies

Comments Off on ‘Looney Tunes’ Ditches Bugs Bunny in New Movie