I checked out the source material over at Deadline and learned more about this project:
Sabrina The Teenage Witch is getting a makeover at Sony Pictures. The precocious teen witch who originated in 60s Archie Comics, is being recast as a superhero. The live action film will be an origin story in the vein of Spider-Man, about a young girl coming to terms with her remarkable powers.I'm a little nervous about this project. As you can see from item #8 of this 10-point list, changing a comic book character too much from her source material can really piss off her pre-existing fans. That translates into long-term critical pans and box-office floppage.
Scribes Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari (they wrote Die In A Gunfight for MRC) will write the script, and Real Steel producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford are producing. Mark Waters, who worked on the presentation that Sony Pictures sparked to, might direct depending on scheduling. Archie Comics’ Jon Goldwater will be executive producer and screenwriter Jeff Stockwell, who also worked on the presentation, will be co-producer.
Sabrina previously had been turned into animated tv series in 1969, 1971 and again in 1999 and the source material was turned into the Melissa Joan Hart sitcom that ran seven seasons. While the tone of the movie will be edgier, they are keeping her talking black cat Salem, who here is a transformed prince creating unique love stories for Sabrina. The project is a priority for the studio with Doug Belgrad and Hannah Minghella fast tracking the negotiations.
Sony Pictures would be wise to keep Sabrina as a witch, even if she also serves as some form of heroine. But even that is pretty different from the character design that originally made her famous. If they really want to make a film about a super-heroic witch, why not look at Marvel's Scarlet Witch or DC's Zatana?
Anyway, I'm going to keep an open mind and I'll likely be there on opening weekend to see my favorite Teenage Witch in action. I just hope the studio heads don't decide to transform Sabrina into something that she's not.
Updated on 07/16/12: The annual San Diego Comic Con has been going on all weekend. There was a lot of ARCHIE COMICS news leading up to the convention, but I haven't heard too much about ARCHIE COMICS being revealed at the convention itself. I finally did some searching and found out some fun information about the "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" movie that's being planned, as well as information about a Sabrina the Teenage Witch cartoon:
The Sabrina, the Teenage Witch film was discussed as well, and Don Murphy spoke about that. “We really want this character to be a franchise character. This will not just be a one and done movie. We really want to explore her origin more. Where are her parents? What happened to them? She still has her two aunts, but what about the rest of her origin? We talked to over thirty different screenwriters about what they would do with that character. We didn’t want to go the route of the sitcom, so we had to make that very clear to anyone who was developing that film. I hope that at next year’s convention we can do more discussion about casting and such, but right now we’re excited that it is moving forward.”I have to say, the more I learn about this project -- especially the movie -- the more excited I am about it. I'll share more details as I learn about them.
A short clip was then shown from the new Sabrina the Teenage Witch animated series. Mike Young said that they couldn’t share yet which networks had picked up the series for release, but it will be American based with an international release. “We wanted to push the show more towards the Buffy end of the scale. She lives in both worlds, the supernatural and Earth, and she has her two aunts. The art development with this show, it’s CGI, is very fresh and we think it will be one of the big shows for next year.” Another series based on Archie in junior high was teased, but no official announcements on that at this time.