Sony Pictures Animation: Alf is back, in movie form

sony pictures animation alf is back in movie form

The last twenty years have been pretty rough for Alf. At the tail-end of the 1980s he was one of the biggest stars in America, alongside Arsenio Hall, Roseanne Barr and Dana Carvey’s impression of George Bush (though not Carvey himself). The character, an alien from the planet Melmac whose sarcasm was only matched by his insatiable hunger for domesticated cats, had the world on a string, even if he was just a puppet, but that all changed when his titular NBC sitcom ended its run in March of 1990.

Since then he’s found scant work. His last notable appearance was being namechecked in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons in which Bart sells his soul to Milhouse (who then trades the soul for Alf pogs). Normally the article would end here and we’d all chuckle over a shared rememberance of the days when The Simpsons was regularly hilarious, but thanks to Sony Pictures Animation there is so much more to discuss! Specifically, that the studio has signed a deal to revive Alf’s career by putting him in an upcoming feature film.

True to its name, the Hollywood Reporter reports:

Sony Pictures Animation has closed a deal to acquire rights to the classic 1980s sitcom ALF and will develop the property into a hybrid CG/live action feature.

Jordan Kerner, who produced SPA’s adaptation of 1980s Saturday morning cartoon staple The Smurfs and helped turn it into a hybrid blockbuster franchise, will produce the project with show creators Tom Patchett, a veteran of 1970s comedies, and puppeteer Paul Fusco.


Though this project is still in the very early stages the Hollywood Reporter believes that Fusco, who voiced Alf throughout the original NBC sitcom, will return to his most famous vocal role.


While we certainly hope that Fusco returns, the rest of this news is confusing us a bit. We’re not at all surprised to see a Hollywood studio attempting to cash in on a property from the 1980s — that’s pretty much what they do now — but what is “hybrid CG/live action feature” supposed to mean? We know what it would normally mean: Something akin to the recent Smurfs films in which Neil Patrick Harris stars alongside computer-generated, miniscule blue people, but how is that supposed to work with Alf? He’s a puppet, so either Sony Pictures Animation is planning to use CGI to create a new iteration of Alf, or the aforementioned puppet is the only part of this film that’s going to be in live-action, while the rest of the cast is created by computers. We don’t need to explain why that second option is baffling, but if SPA opts for the first route, doesn’t that detract from Alf’s inherent appeal? We loved him because he was a cynical jerk who just so happened to be as cuddly looking as one of Jim Henson’s famous creations. A CGI version of Alf would be shiny and easier to animate, but it loses a certain hypothetical tactile appeal intrinsic to the character’s success back in the 80s.


Plus, Alf spent a major part of his time in the original series attempting to stuff cats down his gullet. How is that supposed to work if he’s been generated by computers? Cats are hard enough to act with for flesh-and-blood humans, so we have to assume that a finicky feline must be a total nightmare for people tasked with animating a believable, fuzzy alien around their flailing, kitty rage.


Then again, it’s also possible that SPA plans to completely rework Alf canon to make the character more palatable to modern audiences. Maybe he’ll be given a hip new attitude and contemporary interests like “surfing” and “being radical to the extreme.” Kids are still into neon skateboards, right?
Movies & TV

How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

With each film, Laika Studios pushes the bar higher for stop-motion animation. We explore Laika's latest techniques for its new adventure, Missing Link, which the studio it calls a Kaleidoscopic travelogue that ranks as its most ambitious…
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (March 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Captain Marvel continues to soar at the box office with huge second weekend

Captain Marvel blasted into theaters in a big way a week ago, and Marvel's first female-led solo superhero movie is showing no signs of slowing down after a big second week in theaters.
Movies & TV

Apple bet big on TV and movie projects. Here’s what we know about them so far

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing in recent years, so will the March 25 event finally reveal when — and where — we will be able to see some of these TV shows and movies?
Movies & TV

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood poster puts Pitt and DiCaprio front and center

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Home Theater

You can now watch four PlayStation Vue streams at once on a single Apple TV

PlayStation Vue subscribers can now watch March Madness in style via Apple TV, which can now stream up for four separate games to your TV at once, making it easy to catch all the on-court action.
Movies & TV

Bear Grylls goes interactive with Netflix’s Bandersnatch-esque You vs. Wild

Think you have what it takes to survive in the wilderness, Bear Grylls-style? You vs. Wild, an eight-episode interactive Netflix series that takes cues from Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, will let you prove it.
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.