It's Back to 'Futurama' for Fox With New DTV Release26 Jul, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold
“Futurama” is coming back. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment at San Diego Comic-Con International is expected to announce more details about the first original “Futurama” productions since the animated show went off the air in 2003.
Futurama: Bender's Big Score will be released Nov. 27 directly to DVD. It's the first full-length “Futurama” feature based on the TV series; three more films will be released individually through 2008, all with the original creative team and voice cast on board.
The plot finds the “Futurama” crew fighting to save Earth in an epic battle against nudist alien Internet scammers. Bender the robot soon comes under the aliens' spell and is sent back in time to loot the Earth of its greatest treasures. At one point he runs into Al Gore, who guest stars as himself, during the 2000 Presidential recount. Other guest stars include Coolio and Sarah Silverman.
“Futurama” is the second Fox TV series to spawn a made-for-DVD program. Two years ago Fox's home entertainment unit released a direct-to-video feature based on the “Family Guy” series, Family Guy Presents: Stewie Griffin — The Untold Story.
In fact, DVD sales of “Family Guy” helped bring the show back to network TV.
For her part, Claudia Katz, a partner at Rough Draft Studios, which produced the animation for “Futurama,” hopes history repeats.
“I think for business models anytime you can look at a successful example or formula it helps,” she said. “We're thrilled to have the opportunity to go back and work on this again.”
While the DTV movies will be feature-length, they likely will show up as episodes on Comedy Central, which is slated to air reruns on the show starting next year, or on some other outlet, she said.
“I think they can — and probably will — be divided into episodes,” Katz said.
She said the DVD sales potential helped boost the budget for the project.
“It's really well-written and from an animation standpoint very well-produced,” she said.
As for future prospects for the show, she said DVD could help there, too.
“I think if [the DTV titles] sell really well, that's a huge vote of confidence in the property,” she said.
Additional reporting by Stephanie Prange.