The Three Stooges movie moves studios

They’re still stuck in development hell

The new Three Stooges film has just added another few months to its attempt to win the record of Longest Development (Comedy Department).

For a long time, a new take on laughter icons Curly, Larry and Mo was bubbling away at Warner Bros, where the Farrelly brothers were planning to bring them back for today’s audience. Sadly, today’s audience will have to wait, as casting couldn’t be locked down, the drafts of the script dragged on and – as the final nail in the coffin – the studio let the option lapse.

And the project has been through the hands of at least one other studio – Sony has the rights to the original Stooges’ movies and shorts, and tried to put the new movie’s deal together without success. And when even someone as respected as Mel Brooks can’t make it work, then you know you’re in trouble.

But production company First Look Studios, run by Henry Winterstern, thinks it has a shot and has grabbed what is increasingly looking like a poisoned chalice. The First Look team has nabbed the rights from the holders, C3 Entertainment, which was founded way back in 1959 by the Stooges themselves, who created their own characters. "Various people have had various ideas, but we want to keep the traditional wild-and-crazy aspect," C3’s CEO Earl Benjamin gushed to Variety. "We've been talking to a lot of the studios, but Henry Winterstern gets it."

He’s got it, all right. The question is, can he do anything with it? Watch this space.