Kids have always spent tons of time watching Saturday morning cartoons, but why haven't some of these classic cartoon series been on the big screen? The best live action adaptations of cartoons never made are huge missed opportunities. For the nostalgia factor alone, many of these cartoons would bring out huge crowds ready to spend their money and re-live their youth a bit.
Cartoons can be heartbreaking and incredibly human, and this would help many of them translate into feature films. Cartoons can also be dirty and adult. Say what you will about the Transformers film franchise, but just look how successful that 80s nostalgia cartoon has become — to the tune of nearly a $1.5 billion worldwide.
It doesn't always work out great, and sometimes the idea is much better than the execution. This is a reason why some of our favorite cartoons never see a film of their own, as most producers don't want to be responsible for butchering something so beloved by so many — think about the disasters Inspector Gadget and Mr. Magoo were. Here are some of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made.
The Jetsons have seen the big screen, but never in a live action format. It's one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made because of the sheer potential. Our technology has advanced so much since the 60s that the futuristic cartoon series could be done without looking cheap or cheesy.
The plot of the show would also work well on film. At its best and simplest, The Jetsons is about a family trying to do the best they can. George Jetson works at Spaceley's Sprockets, always trying to do right by his family. Throw in the hilarious misadventures and you got the outline of a script.
Thundercats was the second most popular cartoon of the 80s behind Transformers, and how it hasn't hit the big screen is beyond me. It's easily one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made, and would more than likely be a smash hit at the box office.
Thundercats was about a breed of humanoid cats that fought crime and injustices. They even had a super villain, Mumma-Ra, who would make for an interesting casting choice. This film would be full of ass kicking action, so let's hope it gets green lit in the near future.
Johnny Bravo is one of the most iconic characters in Cartoon Network history. Just his name likely brings images of the barrel chested dimwit with his yellow slicked back hair. The premise of the show usually revolved around Bravo trying to get women to date him — to poor results.
He ends up in all sorts of bizarre and hilarious predicaments. I could see it now as surreal comedy gold and it's one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made that makes me saddest. More than a decade back it was rumored that The Rock was going to play the titular character, but nothing ever came of it. Sad!
Gargoyles was a classic Saturday morning cartoon that began its run in 1994. It's one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made because of the CGI and IMAX potential. It's a kids cartoon but could easily be made darker to fit its now mid 30s demographic.
The premise of the show is probably what you think: In the Dark Ages, there was a race of heroic warrior monsters known as Gargoyles. These creatures existed as stone in the day, but become flesh and blood at night. Where the film decided to go from there would be okay with diehard fans.
Dinosaurs are already big at the box office (see the enduring fascination with Jurassic Park) but imagine if we got to ride them? This 80s classic animated series would surely bring out big numbers. Dino Riders is built on a pretty cool, high concept premise. Pursued by an intergalactic warlord, humans fly through a wormhole and end up on prehistoric Earth.
The warlord follows and becomes stuck in prehistory as well. Both sides then build dinosaur armies and engage in an epic battle for mankind. There are plenty of sci-fi directors who could have a field day with this, and let's hope they do as its one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made. Here's to hoping!
Daria was a hugely important animated series for many people in the 90s and early 2000s, and frankly it's shocking it hasn't been given a film treatment. Daria is an intelligent, unpopular, and super sarcastic teenager tolerating life among the idiots at Lawndale High. A film idea is basically built into the premise: have Daria experience her first year at college.
The perfect casting choice for Daria already presented herself to us (although she may be too old now). Back in 2013, Aubrey Plaza and College Humor did a Daria movie teaser that was just that, a tease. It's one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made mostly because we all missed out on a strong and hilarious female character, one who had the built-in fan base to become iconic.
Sailor Moon seems like a no doubt box office hit, so it's curious that it hasn't been given a live action adaptation. It could be made darker if it wanted to avoid looking to cheesy, as anime doesn't often translate great.
It's essentially about the magical adventures of a teenage girl who learns of her destiny as the legendary warrior Sailor Moon and must band together with the other Sailor Soldiers and defend the Galaxy. It's one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made because it's so full of possibilities and can potentially go in a million different artistic directions.
Ed, Edd, and Eddy
When I think of Ed, Edd, and Eddy I think of a hilarious suburban stoner comedy, in the same vane as a Superbad. The show revolves around life on a cul-de-sac, focusing on three brain cell challenged friends who have nearly identical names: Ed, Edd, and Eddy.
Most of the show is about them trying out various scams in the hopes of making money. As long as it's cast right and the jokes are punchy, it has the potential to become an iconic stoner comedy, and for that reason it's one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
With all the super hero movies constantly being jammed down our throats by Hollywood, how about a super hero with an important message? Captain Planet is all about preserving earth and saving the planet from ecological disasters, a show that was very ahead of its time when it debuted in 1990.
While it might sound a little corny, it's actually one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made. The Planeteers are a bunch of kids who have been contacted by Captain Planet to assist him in the fight. There goal is to fight back and educate others about how important the need to be environmentally responsible is.
Family Guy is a hilarious pop culture smash hit that would actually cross-over well onto the big screen. Seth Macfarlane has already proven he can do it with the success of Ted, so why wouldn't he be able to do it with his best known work?
It's one of the best live action adaptations of cartoons never made because it has the potential to be a surreal comic masterpiece if suburban idiot Peter Griffin is cast right. I just wish Chris Farley or John Candy were still alive to portray him. There are other actors who could fill the shoes, John C. Reilly and Kevin James come to mind. Plus, think of how amazing some of those Family Guy musical numbers would play out with real people.