Wishbone is making the jump to the big screen. Universal and Mattel Films are taking the PBS literary series starring an adorable Jack Russell terrier and putting together a feature film. Peter Farrelly will direct, following up his Oscar win for Green Book and his successful career with his brother with films like Dumb and Dumber according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Wishbone followed the titular pup throughout some of the more essential and influential literary stories in history. It helped introduce kids of all ages to classics from Homer, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley and many others. The original series ran from 1996 until 2001, holding a considerable fanbase online with many of the episodes landing on YouTube for new fans to experience.
Robbie Brenner is executive producing the film for Mattel Films and considers the property to be one of the prizes in the hole for the former toy company. It also revives a dormant genre of animal-centric films that had a popular run in the '90s, including Homeward Bound, Beethoven and Air Bud.
"Our deep library of iconic franchises continues to offer cinematic storytelling opportunities," said Brenner according to The Hollywood Reporter. "We're thrilled to be working with Peter Farrelly, Roy Parker and Universal to take the beloved dog classic into a new direction with a modern reimagination of the franchise."
The series joins other properties Mattel holds the cards to like Barbie, Masters of the Universe, Hot Wheels, American Girl and Barney the Dinosaur. Wishbone is the latest film to be announced from the company but also stands as one that initially wasn't under the Mattel umbrella.
The adaptation of the long running educational series also joins more slices from the '90s being revived for potential big screen success. Animorphs will soon make the jump to the big screen, going from the page to small screen to big screen during its time. There are also plans for Hasbro toys to have a shared universe strategy with their properties, including Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Dungeons & Dragons. There is also a film based on Monopoly in the works, an update of Clue and a second Power Rangers reboot.
Interestingly enough, Wishbone only produced 50 episodes according to creator Rick Duffield in Seductive Screens by Michael Brody. According to the entry, PBS ran the first 40 episodes as a first season of sorts, with the other 10 episodes used for a second season. No others were produced because PBS reportedly didn't believe the show had "merchandising potential." That idea must have changed for those making the film, but fans will wonder what type of story they'll be telling on the big screen.