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‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ Prequel Feature in Works as Producers Look to Emulate ‘Paddington,’ ‘Peter Rabbit’ Reboot Success



With Paddington Bear and Peter Rabbit having been given hugely successful big-screen reboots, a group of DreamWorks alumni are hoping to do the same for another beloved British children’s creation: Winnie-the-Pooh.

A prequel feature to AA Milne’s classic book about the honey-loving teddy bear is in development, with Mike de Seve (Madagascar, Monsters vs. Aliens) lined up to direct and co-write with John Reynolds (The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show). In a similar vein to Paddingtonthe film — which has a planned release date of 2024 — is set to be immediately followed by a TV series.

“We’re telling the surprising origin story of the ‘silly young bear’ and his friends, when they were still kids, in a way designed to connect with 21st-century kids,” says Reynolds.

De Seve’s animation studio Baboon (Angry Birds, Gigantosaurus) has teamed up with content incubator lab and Winvest Group subsidiary IQI to produce the prequel feature. Fellow DreamWorks alum Charlene Kelly (Next Gen), now CIO at Winvest, and Khiow Hui Lim, the founder of IQI and CSO of Winvest, will executive-produce.

“I think this unsinkable young cub is totally relatable for today’s kids, with his hell-bent craving for honey and his ludicrous schemes to get it,” said de Seve, who directed the original. Beavis and Butt-Head series and feature and story-consulted on Shrek 2. “The whole gang is hilarious, and are even more hilarious as kids, we’re finding out.”

Added Kelly: “AA Milne’s bear has aged gracefully in the last hundred years. But what happened, back when, that made him and his pals who they are in the book? A heck of a big adventure, that’s what – one that needs a big screen. Audiences will be transported to somewhere they never expected.”

It’s been a big year for Winnie, with Milne’s original 1926 book having entered the public realm in January. Taking advantage of this, a low-budget horror reimagining — Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood & Honey — was written and shot by Brit filmmaker Rhys Frake-Waterfield. A blood-splattered story in which Pooh and his friend Piglet have gone feral and turned into homicidal maniacs, the project became a viral sensation when it first came to light, and is now set to get a theatrical release in 2023.

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