Tom and Jerry (released internationally in some markets as Tom & Jerry: The Movie) is an upcoming American live-action/computer-animated slapstick comedy film produced by Warner Animation Group and based on the characters of the same name created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

The film is directed by Tim Story and written by Kevin Costello. It stars the famous cat and mouse duo of the film, Tom and Jerry, both of whom will be voiced by Hanna, the pair’s long-time voice actor, as well as three other voice actors of theirs; Mel Blanc and June Foray via archival recordings, and Frank Welker reprising his role as a vocal effects artist from the 1990s TV series Tom and Jerry Kids Show and the 2002 film Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring. It will also star Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Rob Delaney, Colin Jost, and Ken Jeong.

Originally intended as a live-action/computer-animated film in 2009, the film languished in development hell, with plans going to an all-animated film promising to capture the same veins as the classic cartoons from the 1940s and 1950s in 2015. In 2018, the film was confirmed to keep these veins while officially being a live-action/animated film, which would begin filming in 2019. The film’s story follows Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse being left homeless after the loss of their home, until Jerry takes up residence in a fancy hotel to which Tom retaliates to prevent the mouse from ruining an important wedding.

Tom and Jerry is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on February 26, 2021, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film will also get a month-long simultaneous release on HBO Max, in time for the 81st anniversary of the original Tom and Jerry cartoon in 1940. Upon release, it will be the first theatrically released form of media to feature the Tom and Jerry characters in 16 years, after The Karate Guard in 2005.

The film marks the third time where the animated characters Tom and Jerry make an appearance with real life humans, after 1945’s Anchors Aweigh and 1953’s Dangerous When Wet, but is the first film where they are the focus rather than making a cameo appearance in a brief sequence. This movie is set in Manhattan as an homage to the 1945 Tom and Jerry cartoon, Mouse in Manhattan.

Premise

Tom gets disowned from the house after failing to do his job as a house cat and destroying the home because of his incompetence for the final time with his longtime rival Jerry, a mischievous mouse, who has now been left without a source of food. Now homeless, the cat and mouse duo are left wandering in the streets and decide to call a truce to their rivalry then go their separate ways and have a fresh start in their lives.

The two later cross paths in Manhattan, NYC, where Jerry has taken up residence in the city’s largest, exquisite and finest hotel, causing all sorts of trouble while the staff is preparing for the “wedding of the century.” Kayla, a young, newly employed staff member, is tasked by the hotel manager, Mr. DuBros, with planning the event and getting rid of Jerry.

Kayla hires Tom to catch Jerry, reigniting their never-ending fight. However, chaos unfolds when the cat-and-mouse slapstick battle threatens to destroy Kayla’s career, the wedding, and possibly even the hotel itself, as the chase causes widespread mayhem. But soon, an even bigger problem arises as the three may have to put their differences aside when they uncover a diabolical conspiracy that involves Kayla’s boss, Terrence.

Cast

Live-action cast

  • Chloë Grace Moretz as Kayla Montgomery, a young hotel employee and a wedding planner who hires Tom to get rid of Jerry before the wedding.
  • Michael Peña as Terrance, the deputy general manager of the hotel and Kayla’s boss.
  • Rob Delaney as Mr. DuBros, the wealthy hotel manager.
  • Colin Jost as Dwayne, the groom of the wedding that the hotel is planning and hosting.
  • Ken Jeong as Jackie, a chef at the hotel.
  • Pallavi Sharda as Preeta, the bride of the wedding and Dwayne’s wife-to-be.
  • Jordan Bolger as Cameron, the hotel bartender.
  • Patsy Ferran

Voice casts

  • William Hanna, Mel Blanc, June Foray (all through archival voice recordings), and Frank Welker as:
    • Tom, an alley cat hired by Kayla to get rid of Jerry.
    • Jerry, a mouse who has taken up residence at the hotel.
  • Nicky Jam as Butch, an unfriendly alley cat.
  • Lil Rel Howery

Additionally, Spike, the Goldfish, and Toodles Galore will also appear, as evidenced by a leaked footage on Framestore’s website.

Production

Development

Plans for a live-action Tom and Jerry film were announced in 2009 following the success of Alvin and the Chipmunks, and was to follow Tom and Jerry’s origins over a Chicago backdrop. The film was to be produced by Dan Lin, from a script written by Eric Gravning.

On April 6, 2015, plans shifted from a live-action film to a full on animated film, and was to stay “in the same vein as the source material”.

In October 2018, it was announced that Tim Story would direct a live-action/animated Tom and Jerry film for Warner Bros., which would begin filming in 2019. It was reported that Story was in discussions with Warner Bros. executives about what he was interested in directing, even before directing the new Shaft film. When the Tom and Jerry film was brought up, Story immediately “mentioned his admiration for the characters and how he’d love tackling that property.”

Casting

In March 2019, it was reported that Zoey Deutch and Olivia Cooke were frontrunners for the lead live-action role of Kayla, “who teams up with Tom to stop the pesky Jerry from ruining an important event for herself.” Additionally, Sofia Carson, Elle Fanning, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariel Winter, Naomi Scott, Meg Donnelly, Hailee Steinfeld, Yara Shahidi, Kelly Marie Tran, Becky G and Isabela Moner were all in consideration for the role.

Later that month, it was reported that Peter Dinklage was being considered for the role of Terrance, Kayla’s boss and the human antagonist of the film. In April, Chloë Grace Moretz was in final negotiations to star in the film. In May 2019, Michael Peña joined the cast in the role Dinklage was eyed for. Colin Jost, Ken Jeong, Rob Delaney, Jordan Bolger and Pallavi Sharda were added to the cast in July. Patsy Ferran was revealed to be part of the cast in September 2019.

In November 2020, Nicky Jam and Lil Rel Howery revealed that they have been cast in the film in voice roles. In December 2, 2020, Jam revealed that he will be the voice of Butch Cat in the film.

Filming

Principal photography began in July 2019 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Hertfordshire, England. Filming ended before the industry’s shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Animation

Animation services will be provided by Framestore, who hired 3D animators with a passion for 2D animation for the project. The strategy the animators used was to base the animation off a stylized 3D/CGI VFX modeling medium through a vintage 2D finish by creating innovative rigging, animation techniques used to create 2D animation, and custom tools such as lighting and rendering, resulting in the film’s 3D/CGI animation maintaining the look, feel, and spirit of 2D animation, in the veins of the original classic shorts in the 1940s and 1950s.

The animators also used early Tom and Jerry shorts as reference and inspiration for the animation sequences. Work on the animation was done remotely during the pandemic, with the filmmakers doing creative exploration on certain shots, and finalizing material through production groups.

Music

On July 22, 2020, it was announced that Tim Story’s recurring collaborator and composer Christopher Lennertz is set to compose the score of the film.

Merchandise

On September 1, 2020, it was announced that Australian toy company Moose Toys made a deal with Warner Bros. to make merchandise for the film along with the upcoming sequel to Space Jam.

Release

Tom and Jerry is scheduled to be released in the United States on February 26, 2021, by Warner Bros. Pictures, in theaters and on HBO Max. It was originally scheduled to be released on April 16, 2021, but was pushed up to December 23, 2020. The film was then pushed back to March 5, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before moving up a week, where it will be theatrically released in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX.

Marketing

A float based on the movie appeared in the 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to promote the film.

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