With the overwhelming success and critical acclaim of movie franchises such as Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it would seem Hollywood has found its golden goose among the relics of the 80s and 90s, so it should be shocking and infuriating that more of your favorite childhood cartoons haven’t been mangled into meandering action set pieces with built-in audiences and 0 story or character development. So here is a list of classic cartoons that have yet to be adapted into films, yet deserve their own lucrative franchises.
The Mask was about an uptight loser named Stanley Ipkiss who finds a magical mask that unleashes his inner wildman. The title character, Stanley’s out of control alter ego, would get himself (and Stanley) into all kinds of trouble via cartoon hijinks, a la Bugs Bunny. This would make a great high-energy comedy caper, but technology is only now allowing filmmakers to pull off the kind of cartoon gags that were the trademark of the series. Certainly, a great physical comic would be desired for the title role.
Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters
This classic 80s cartoon about four scientists and their gluttonous pet ghost battling paranormal threats in NYC might be the only show on our list to be getting a movie any time soon, as filmmakers are now producing an all-female adaptation. The decision to cast the central characters as women has some purists annoyed, but was driven by the filmmakers wanting to give the series a dark, gritty reboot and further distance themselves from the cartoon comedy.
Based entirely on the Qur’an, Aladdin centered on a homeless teen and his magical genie whose powers he abuses for personal gain and to avoid responsibility. Overall, pretty dry and lifeless, the series’ crown jewel was the anachronistic humor and broad cartoon powers of the genie. If Disney were ever to produce a big screen version of this small screen favorite, they might focus on how Aladdin acquired his lamp and befriended the Genie, a detail never revealed in the series, but good luck finding an actor with the versatility to voice the larger than life Genie.
A weird animated series about an undead ghoul and his teenage friend. With its dark aesthetic, grim humor, and spooky cast, a director like Tim Burton would be a good fit, so, should it ever be made into a film, you could expect Johnny Depp in the titular role.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
This bizarre and colorful series about a detective who only works animal related cases pushed the boundaries of what was decent and acceptable for children’s TV. A natural ringer for a PG-13 comedy, with the right script, and a fearless lead actor to bring Ace to life.