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New York Times on the New "Looney Tunes"

Today’s edition of The New York Times has a story casting a skeptical but nonjudgmental eye on Warner Bros.’ latest attempt to reinvigorate the Looney Tunes franchise.

The studio is producing The Looney Tunes Show, a 26-episode half-hour comedy that casts Bugs and Daffy as roommates and other characters as neighbors. The series, which costs a reported $750,000 per episode, is set to appear this fall on Cartoon Network. The studio is also producing a series of computer-animated shorts starring the Coyote and Roadrunner that it plans to release theatrically.

The newspaper reports that sales of Looney Tunes merchandise have fallen for eight years, and currently amount to about $1 billion on a global basis. The Times contrasts this figure with the $5 billion in sales that Disney realizes from Winnie the Pooh alone.

Executives at the studio admit that the iconic characters have been mishandled in recent years. Sam Register, the former Cartoon Network programmer who now works at Warner Bros. Animation, says that “The bar had gone so low that we could only go up,” and that artwork from the universally loathed Loonatics animated series now hangs in Warner Animation offices as “a reminder of what not to do.”

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