Marmaduke leaps onto Big Screen.

Fox is expanding their animal empire.

The studio has signed director Tom Dey to develop a big-screen adaptation of Marmaduke. The comic strip about a lovable and mischievous Great Dane and his owner, the Winslow’s, was created by Brad Anderson in 1954. More recently the big dog appeared in several animated episodes of Heathcliff and Garfield and Friends.

The studio declined comment on any specifics for the feature because the project is in the early stages of development.

But after the huge success of Alvin and the Chipmunks, which mixed live-action human characters and CG-animated rodent protagonists and grossed $358 million worldwide as well as it’s upcoming sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel it only makes sense that Fox would snag the rights to other animal centric family fair.

Fox also released Marley & Me, the story of an ill-mannered but lovable dog and his owners. It has grossed $166 million worldwide.

The studio also has We Bought a Zoo and the Farrelly brothers’ project Walter the Farting Dog in development.

It hasn’t been decided whether Marmaduke will be live-action, animated or a mutt.

Dey has previously directed Shanghai Noon, Showtime and Failure to Launch.

Hollywood Reporter

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