Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
With three television shows to oversee at this point, it’s a wonder that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane even has time to think about a feature. But he’s sold Universal and Media Rights Capital on the idea of Ted, a hard-R comedy about a man and his teddy bear that MacFarlane will direct.
Deadline has basic info about the film, but not much more than I just gave you there — it is planned as a live-action and CGI hybrid, and MacFarlane will voice the teddy bear and co-star. (I’m assuming that co-star means that we’ll also see MacFarlane playing a human character, not just voicing the bear.)
MRC developed the film and Universal has bought into it, but I’m not sure where the distribution of cash comes from. MacFarlane and MRC are working together on Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, and this deal gives MacFarlane part ownership of Ted. Good for him, especially if he’s not having to put any of his own money into it.
But my first reaction here is: $65 million? What’s in this script, or what did MacFarlane do to convince MRC and Uni that such a price tag made sense? Is his name recognition really high enough to offset the risk that a new $100m (production budget plus p&a) concept represents? That seems outrageously overpriced. I mean, good for MacFarlane for managing to build such a big sandbox to play in, but still. That’s nuts.
There’s also interesting background with respect to Fox. The network and studio have wanted a Family Guy movie, but the report suggests that MacFarlane pushed for this picture first. (Which would make sense — take care of the ‘one for me’ half of the equation first.) Fox passed on Ted, Deadline says, because of the subject matter and the rating. That contributes to my skepticism about whether this makes any financial sense. As someone who isn’t much a fan of the last few years of MacFarlane’s work, and without knowing a lot more about this script, that’s the most interesting angle here so far.