While the Pink Panther movies are known for the animated openings featuring a cartoon Pink Panther, the character never appeared in the movies themselves. That could change with a new Pink Panther movie, with Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler and Bad Boys for Life co-writer Chris Bremner at the helm. The new project will include several behind-the-scenes ties to the original franchise, with original producer Walter Mirisch executive producing with his son, producer Lawrence Mirisch. Julie Andrews, the widow of original franchise director Blake Edwards, is also a producer on the project, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The new Pink Panther movie will finally bring the famous Pink Panther cartoon character into the main film. Sources told THR the plot will include a "smooth operating inspector" who has a pink panther as his imaginary friend following a traumatic experience. The pink panther does not talk but helps the inspector solve the film's central case. The movie will be produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich's Rideback banner, with Andrews and Lawrence Mirisch.
"Popular the world over, the legacy of the iconic Pink Panther has endured for more than 50 years and continues to be discovered by new generations," Michael De Luca, MGM Film Group chairman, and Pamela Abdy, MGM Film Group president, said in a statement to THR. "We are so happy to come together with Jeff, Chris, Larry, Julie, Dan, Jonathan, Walter, and Ryan to bring one of MGM's most well-loved franchise back to the big screen and in a way audience have never seen before."
Fowler made his directorial debut with Sonic the Hedgehog, which was released to theaters in the weeks before the coronavirus pandemic. The film grossed over $306 million worldwide. Before making Sonic, Fowler worked in animation and earned an Oscar nomination for the short Gopher Broke, co-directed by Tim Miller. As for Bremmer, he is also working on Paramount's M.A.S.K., Disney's National Treasure 3, and a fourth Bad Boys movie at Sony.
The Pink Panther franchise started in 1963, with Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, who tries to stop the theft of the Pink Panther diamond. Aside from the 1968 film Inspector Clouseau, every film in the original series was directed by Edwards. In 2006, Shawn Levy directed a successful reboot with Steve Martin as Clouseau. The last Pink Panther film was the Martin-starring sequel The Pink Panther 2, released in 2009. Most of the films feature beloved animated opening sequences with the Pink Panther character, who also starred in his own theatrical shorts and TV series.