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The Pink Panther Will Return In A New Movie

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MGM revealed today that the Pink Panther is preparing to return to theaters. The proposed reboot will be directed by Jeff Fowler (Sonic the Hedgehog) and Chris Bremner (Bad Boys for Life). Sitting in the producer’s chairs will be Lawrence Mirisch and Julie Andrews — yes, THAT one. She was married to Blake Edwards, co-creator of both franchises.

You see….there are two Pink Panthers. One is the literally pink bipedal cat who starred in many wordless Friz Freleng cartoon shorts during the 1970s, all scored with Henry Mancini’s smooth-jazz theme. He was successful enough to get several Saturday Morning TV shows, a line of merchandise and his own Macy’s Parade balloon, as well as his face on a certain brand of house insulation.

But he was actually a spinoff from a completely different franchise, a series of comedy films called “The Pink Panther” that were not actually about a panther, but a bumbllng French inspector named Clouseau played by Peter Sellers. In the first film Clouseau was on the trail of a missing valuable jewel, which went by the name of the Pink Panther. That first film had an animated opening where the cartoon Panther first appeared.

Until now, the two things have co-existed apart from each other. But for the first time in Pink Panther history, the two worlds will collide as an inspector (yet to be cast, or named) gets a bump on the head that causes him to see an animated panther everywhere he goes. You’d think this would be a problem, but the panther is quite good at helping him crack the case he’s on.

I grew up watching rented Pink Panther collections from the video store and never being aware the Sellers version even existed. The first time I ever heard of the movies was a throwaway reference on The Simpsons, which was mightily confusing at the time (“who’s this Clouseau guy they’re talking about?”)

The Pink Panther reboot currently has no release date.