DreamWorks Animaton’s Ghost Sent Back to ‘Boo’ University

In my humlbe opinion, other than the first Shrek, and maybe Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks Animation’s films have been a disappointment. Anything they announce will be met with skepticism, no matter how intriguing it sounds. This evening it was announced that their next project will be horror related and send a young ghost back to Boo U. (tentative title) to learn how to be better at his job. Read on for the skinny.DreamWorks Animation must be spooked as the studio is pushing forward with a new untitled ghost project that is competing for a fourth-quarter 2012 release slot.

The good news is that the project, referred to internally as “Boo U.,” recently picked up writer Jon Vitti (“The Simpsons Movie”), who will pen the screenplay. The story line centers on a ghost who is bad at his job and must return to ghost school.

The bad news is that the project will be directed by Tony Leondis, who delivered the horrendous Igor to theaters.

Another ghost-centric film, referred to as “Freakers,” was being written by Joe Syracuse & Lisa Addario (“Surf’s Up”) and centers on a ghost story told from the ghosts’ point of view, in their world. That project is no longer active.

A third ghost-related story idea is in the pitch stage.

In late May, DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose contract recently was extended to 2013, said a “supersecret ghost project” was on the books for a potential late-2012 slot. “Boo U.” is that project.

“Puss in Boots” (March 30) and a third “Madagascar” movie (May) also are slated for release in 2012. The ghost picture would hit theaters Nov. 12, unless the caveman comedy “The Croods” or the Terry Pratchett adaptation “Truckers” makes the cut instead.

Katzenberg has mandated that all future projects will be made in the 3D format. The studio’s most recent 3D release, “Monsters vs. Aliens,” has grossed $362 million worldwide.

Vitti has been a writer and producer on “Saturday Night Live,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill.” He also worked as a story consultant and writer on “Ice Age,” “Robots,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Horton Hears a Who!” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” which hits theaters Christmas Day.

Leondis, repped by WME and Anonymous Content, has worked on the animated films “The Prince of Egypt,” “The Road to El Dorado” and “Home on the Range.”