Each year in the waning moments of September, supermarkets and big-box stores across the land are stockpiled with the monster cereals from General Mills. The likes of Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Frankenberry haunt the aisles looking to find a pantry to call home until spooky season sets into the sunset a few weeks later. Some years, we're even treated to the trio's less-popular cousins Fruit Brute and the Yummy Mummy, but that's beside the point.
Since being introduced in the early 1970s, the General Mills products have become engrained in the threads that make up pop culture itself. Despite being a seasonal item, the popularity of the products create a substantial buzz – something Cap'n Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Frosted Flakes cower at each fall. So how does that translate into a billion-dollar Hollywood franchise?
Why, nostalgia, of course! Despite Hollywood insisting it always has the filmmaker's best interest at mind, we all know it all comes down to the checks that flow into a bank account – right? At the end of the day, adapting Frankenberry or Count Chocula to a feature film or television series isn't all too different than what Disney has done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or what Paramount continues to do with the toylines crafted by Hasbro.
The monster cereals are an existing product with brand recognition and a built-in fanbase. Better yet, the cereals are novelty items, with the limited release windows each year creating a sense of importance and urgency.
Entertain us for a second. Imagine the Monster Cereals Cinematic Universe, a family-friendly animated universe not unlike WarnerMedia's Hanna-Barbera or the DC Animated Universe. Not unlike the Despicable Me franchise; not unlike any tentpole franchises from Pixar. Using pre-made characters and building a world around them that could lead to an annual feature released coinciding with the cereal's release in stores. Both the movie and cereals would sell themselves – after all, the cereal already does.
If you're reading this, you likely already know we all spend a hefty amount based on nostalgia. That's why I buy any Gargoyles toy I can get my hands on. That's why Hollywood prioritizes reboots and adaptations. That's why General Mills has gone public with soliciting ideas from screenwriters on how the characters can be adapted into movies or television shows.0comments
"We’re calling all filmmakers, actors, agents, writers, producers, animators, tastemakers, dealmakers, movers and shakers," General Mills shared in 2018. "We want to work with you to bring great stories to life. From mythical fables to magical journeys. Fairy tales to folk tales. Cliffhangers to nail-biters. Heroic sagas to cosmic battles. Binge-worthy dramas to historical epics. Blockbusters to indies. Serials to sequels. Together, let’s captivate the hearts and minds of teens and adults. This isn’t a contest. This isn’t a pitch for free ideas. We humbly submit this brief to you, Hollywood."
With everything we've seen come out of Hollywood the past decade alone, a franchise built from beloved cereal characters wouldn't be the craziest idea.
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