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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

New Live-Action "Popeye" Movie Is in Works

Wed 20 Mar 2024 | 11:19 AM
Yara Sameh

Popeye the Sailor Man, One of the most iconic pop culture characters of all time, is coasting back to the big screen with a new version to entertain modern audiences. 

The iconic sailor man and spinach fan, who first appeared in comic strips in the late 1920s, will be the subject of a new live-action feature film from Chernin Entertainment and King Features.

The project is currently in development as a big-budget feature and has attached screenwriter Michael Caleo.

This is the first live-action revisiting of the character since the 1980 film “Popeye" starring Robin Willians. 

Directed by Robert Altman and co-starring Shelley Duvall as the sailor’s quirky love interest Olive Oyl, the film was panned upon release but has since gained cult status and critical reconsideration. 

It was also profitable, released by Paramount Pictures at a $20 million budget before grossing roughly $60 million worldwide.

Popeye celebrated his 95th anniversary this year, after being created by E.C. Segar and introduced in 1929, in a comic strip titled "Thimble Theater". 

The character spawned both animated features and series in his heyday and could be one of the earliest templates for mass merchandising across multiple generations. 

His signature trait of his strong arms and his love for eating spinach are known worldwide, consolidating Popeye as a pop culture icon. 

Popeye Punch

Two years ago, Popeye was named a key inspiration for menswear collections from Moschino, Supreme, and A Bathing Ape. 

Popeye is still the face of McCall Farms spinach — in the cartoons, the vegetable offers the sailor superpowers to defeat his enemies — which carries the Popeye logo and face on the canned goods.

Some devout fans (which Popeye still has) crafted a series of self-made movie trailers this year, all fictional, which have racked up millions of views combined. 

These trailers imagined the character as a castaway warrior with Dwayne Johnson proportions, which may well be the direction this is headed creatively. Producers are in the process of attaching a studio partner.