Thursday, June 07, 2018

Walden Media & Eugenio Derbez Join Paramount's Live-Action ‘Dora The Explorer’ Movie

The Overboard star is in talks to join Isabela Moner in the adaptation of the Nickelodeon show.

Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.

Mexican superstar Eugenio Derbez is in negotiations to join Dora the Explorer, Paramount’s live-action feature based on Nickelodeon's beloved animated preschool TV series.

At the same time, Walden Media is getting behind the project as co-financiers and co-producers. Platinum Dunes, run by Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, is producing, although Michael Bay is not thought to be directly involved with the movie.

Isabela Moner is starring as Dora; the movie version updates the character into a teenager, who will be moving to the city to live with her cousin.

Moner, 16, has starred in Nickelodeon’s 100 Things to Do Before High School comedy series, Legends of the Hidden Temple TV movie, and voiced the character Kate in Nickelodeon's 2014 Dora the Explorer animated spinoff Dora and Friends: Into the City!, as well as Paramount's Transformers: The Last Knight.

Character details for Derbez’s character were not revealed, however, its speculated that Derbez will play a roguish explorer named Alejandro Gutierrez who ends up being the villain in the movie.

In the works since 2015, the live-action Dora the Explorer movie is being developed through Paramount Players division, Paramount Pictures' production division that is charged with developing and producing features in conjunction with Viacom-owned brands, including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET.

James Bobin will direct from a script by Nick Stoller, the writer-director behind films including The Muppets, Zoolander 2 and Neighbors, and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel. The movie hails from Paramount's new Paramount Players division. Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes label and his partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller are producing the flick, although Michael Bay is not thought to be directly involved with the movie.

Dora the Explorer will fit right into Walden’s family-friendly slate. It previously has had a hand in such films as The Star, The Chronicles of Narnia, Nim’s Island, Amazing Grace and the smash-hit Wonder, which has grossed $300.6 million to date.

“Movies like Dora is what Walden Media is all about: creating content that sparks the imagination and entertains the whole family,” said Frank Smith, president and CEO of Walden Media. “We are so thrilled to be part of this incredible IP with Nickelodeon and Paramount.”

Walden also made waves recently when it announced it was adapting The Baby-Sitters Club into a TV series with Michael De Luca.

Dora the Explorer will be filmed on location in Queensland, Australia, including at Sound Stage 9 at Village Roadshow Studios. Cameras due to begin rolling on Monday, August 6. The film will be released in the US on Friday, August 2, 2019, followed shortly by a international roll-out.

Derbez broke out in Pantelion’s 2013 comedy Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. (it has earned just under $100 million worldwide), which he also directed and co-wrote, and How to Be a Latin Lover. He starred in and produced the recent remake of MGM’s remake of Overboard, and has also appeared in Geostorm, Miracles from Heaven and Adam Sandler’s Netflix movie Sandy Wexler. The actor will soon be seen in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, as well as heard as a voice in The Angry Birds Movie 2. As a producer, he’s also developing a Speedy Gonzales movie at Warner Bros. He’s represented by UTA.

Co-created by Eric Weiner, Chris Gifford, and Valerie Walsh, Dora the Explorer was a series that proved to be a massive hit for Nickelodeon, running from 2000 to 2014 with 172 episodes aired. It centered on an a seven-year-old American Latina who, along with her monkey, Boots, faced riddles and characters like a thieving fox named Swiper as she went on quests. She was notable for speaking in both English and Spanish at a time when that was not common on children's programming in the United States. The show spawned two spin-off series, Go, Diego, Go!, which follows Dpra's 8-year-old cousin Diego as he rescued animals around the world, and Dora and Friends: Into the City!, which follows the iconic character Dora living in a city, attending school and at the center of a new group of friends that works together to give back to the community--having both real-life and magical adventures along the way. The success of Dora spawned a number of toys and dolls, video games, DVDs, and a slew of merchandising, which industry estimates peg at more than $11 billion since 2000, as well as stage adaptations. It’s a generational evergreen.

The original series, which ran for more than 170 episodes between 2000 and 2014, spawned a number of toys, books, video games, and direct-to-DVD movies – so a live-action version is ripe for the taking.

Dora earned praise for its focus on diversity when it aired, and won a Peabody Award in 2003 for its outstanding efforts in making learning a pleasurable experience for pre-school viewers.

Platinum Dunes has a first-look deal with Paramount. Stoller’s writing credits include Get Him to the Greek, Neighbors, the Muppet movie reboots, animated films Storks and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, and Kevin Hart’s Night School.

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Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Variety; Additional source: Screen Rant.
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