"Popeye" to go 3D with Sony

Variety reports Sony is set to sail into 3D with a computer animated version of comic strip classic "Popeye." Avi Arad, known for his involvement in the various Marvel productions is set to produce the film.

According to the Variety article, "The logline is being kept under wraps, but Popeye's love interest Olive Oyl, nemesis Bluto and adopted child Swee'Pea will be part of the adventure. Arad says the new version will cover the themes of friendship, love, greed and life, and focus on human strengths and human frailties." If the project follows the trend of major movies based on comic properties, it will probably touch on the character's origins as well.

Popeye first appeared in an episode of "Thimble Theater" by E.C. Segar in 1929. The strip -- which was in its tenth year at the time -- already featured the Oyl family, with Popeye taking Olive's brother Castor Oyl to a casino for a misadventure.  He proved popular with readers and eventually became the star of "Thimble Theater." The strip changed its name to "Popeye" in the 1970s.

The character first found his way to theatres in the form of animated shorts initially produced by the Fleischer Brothers in the 1930s. That series would run until 1957. The character has had a strong presence in various forms of media including television, comic books, and radio. In 1980, Robert Altman directed a film musical which starred Robin Williams as the titular sailor man with songs by Harry Nilsson.

Mike Jones is set to adapt the material. A self-described "lifelong Popeye fan," he tells Variety, "Introducing this squinty-eyed sailor to a new generation also means reintroducing him to those who, like me, grew up with him."

Though the character has spent the last few years off TV and movie screens, the studio tells Variety he is still "the world's No. 1 licensing character in food."

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