Toy Story 4 Director Making Family-Friendly Universal Monsters Movie

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Director Josh Cooley, who recently delivered the seeming conclusion of the Toy Story franchise with last year's Toy Story 4, has been confirmed to be developing a family-friendly adventure featuring the iconic Universal Monsters, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film, Little Monsters, is said to be a live-action hybrid and, while the complete details of the project have yet to be revealed, the outlet claims the project has been described as a "love letter to classic Hollywood and the history of filmmaking with a story that takes a multi-generational approach to the monsters." Cooley is currently attached to both write and direct the film.

Back in the earliest days of the Universal Monsters, pictures like Dracula, The Mummy, and Frankenstein leaned into the horrors of their premises, though as the franchise progressed, the characters had a number of run-ins with comedians Abbot and Costella, resulting in beloved entries into those series. Despite them not being the official Universal Monsters, 1987's The Monster Squad saw a group of teens have confrontations with a vampire, werewolf, and swamp creature, crafting a mad-cap adventure with surrogates of the famous figures.

While there is a long tradition of kid-friendly horror experiences, recent years have proven there's as much of an interest in that blend as ever, as evidenced by films like Goosebumps, The Addams Family, and the Hotel Transylvania series. As far as the monsters themselves, they've experienced a number of ups and downs in recent years, with the trend currently showing an increase in attention from studios.

Back in 2017, Universal Studios announced it was launching its Dark Universe of shared cinematic reboots, which was set to launch with The Mummy. Given that film's disappointing financial and critical reception, the franchise never earned another entry.

Earlier this year, Leigh Whannell's new take on The Invisible Man hit theaters and was a hit with audiences and critics alike. Much like the success Warner Bros. witnessed by delivering standalone adaptations of DC Comics characters, Universal experienced how much potential laid within a filmmaker taking a concept and reimagining it however they wanted. Thanks to that success, new takes on both Dracula and The Wolfman were confirmed, while interest in a Bride of Frankenstein movie was revived. Additionally, Paul Feig is developing the film Dark Army, which takes place in the world of the Universal Monsters but aims to be a comedic adventure.

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Stay tuned for updates on Little Monsters.

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