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Popeye the Sailor Man live-action movie is coming, 40 years after the dramatically challenging Robin Williams film

If he doesn't have giant prosthetics on his forearms, will it even be worth it?

Live Action Popeye screenshot
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

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In the annals of animation history, few characters have been around as long as Popeye the Sailor Man. The character has bounded from comics to animation, with a few brief forays into live-action films along the way. Now, the iconic spinach-eating, bully-busting cartoon hero is making another trip to cinemas with a Popeye the Sailor Man live-action movie in development.

Popeye has been a fixture in the entertainment industry since the late 1920s when his comic strips appeared in newspapers around the country, so it was inevitable that Hollywood would bring him back for another trip to cinemas. It has been more than 40 years since their last attempt at a live-action Popeye film – 1980’s Popeye starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall was a critical flop even if it managed to pull a profit at the box office. It is hard to describe how weird yet oddly watchable that movie was, which is probably why no one has tried to replicate it in the past four decades. We've had some animated Popeye films over the years, but not something quite like this.

Whether or not the new film will fare any better remains to be seen. Chernin Entertainment, who is best known for the current Planet of the Apes films, is the studio behind the movie while Michael Caleo has been attached to write the script, according to a report from Variety. This feels like an odd pairing, with Caleo best known for his work on TV series like Sexy Beast, Ironside, and The Sopranos, but even making a live-action Popeye film is a strange idea, so it feels perfectly in keeping with the rest of this story.

The new Popeye movie is still in the early development stages, so it will probably be a long time before we hear anything else, giving us plenty of time to stock up on canned spinach.

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About the Author
Trent Cannon avatar

Trent Cannon


Trent is a freelance writer who has been covering anime, video games, and pop culture for a decade. (He/Him)