Variety reports that Mattel Films, Daniel Kaluuya’s 59% banner, and Valparaiso Pictures are developing a live-action film based on Barney the dinosaur. The character was the star of Barney & Friends, which ran for 14 seasons from April 6, 1992 to September 18, 2009. It will be the second theatrical movie featuring Barney after 1998’s Barney’s Great Adventure.
On the film, Mattel Films’ Robbie Brenner said:
“Working with Daniel Kaluuya will enable us to take a completely new approach to ‘Barney’ that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations. The project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults, while entertaining today’s kids.”
On behalf of his 59% banner, Kaluuya said:
“Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.”
Mattel currently has live-action films based on Barbie and Hot Wheels also in the works. When you add Barney to that list, you sort of have to scratch your head and ask, “Who wants these films?” Barney’s first theatrical film bombed at the box office and that was released at the height of his popularity. Barbie has about a million direct-to-video animated movies, so a live-action film would need to go in a radical direction. Finally, Hot Wheels is essentially going to be Speed Racer.
Kaluuya’s comments on Barney being left misunderstood in the shadows is giving me a feeling that he wants to reboot Barney as a horror-thriller. Honestly, that purple dinosaur is scary enough to make that concept work. “I love you, you love me” alone is a worthy enough tagline for a horror film about a children’s icon that refused to let the now adults forget about him.
Dammit, did I just get myself interested in a Barney film that I know will never exist?!
Did you watch Barney & Friends when you were a kid? Would you take your kid to see this movie in theaters?