Universal is continuing to expand its Monsters universe in interesting ways by bringing in Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley to direct the family-friendly Little Monsters. To be clear, this is an original film, and not a reboot of the Howie Mandel / Fred Savage movie, which is a mistake I absolutely made.
As reported by THR, the movie will be a live-action hybrid featuring characters from the entire history of Universal’s monster movies, based on designs by concept artist Crash McCreery. McCreery has worked on a number of visually striking movies, including Batman Returns, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Rango, among many others. Meanwhile, Cooley’s work includes almost two decades as an artist and writer at Pixar, with his feature-length directing debut Toy Story 4 grossing over $1 billion and nabbing a Best Animated Feature Oscar. He’s also been tapped to helm the first theatrical animated Transformers movie since the 1986 film The Transformers: The Movie.
After abandoning the shared universe approach of its ill-fated Dark Universe, AKA the most embarrassing called shot in cinema history, Universal has decided to revive their monsters with a series of filmmaker-centric movies. The massive success of Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man inspired the studio to commission Whannell for a sequel, as well as a re-imagining of The Wolfman with Ryan Gosling in the title role. David Koepp is drafting The Bride of Frankenstein, Elizabeth Banks is reportedly working on a reboot of The Invisible Woman, Paul Feig is writing and directing a new Monsters film called Dark Army, and Karyn Kusama has been attached to direct a re-imagining of Dracula. And in what is arguably the most intriguing decision, Grammy nominee Matt Stawski is directing a musical titled Monster Mash. Cooley’s Little Monsters looks to be the first title specifically aimed at a family audience. It’s admittedly refreshing that the studio seems game to try just about anything in a world where virtually every other franchise is stuck on the cinematic universe angle.