What We Know – Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie


By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

The Captain Underpants series has been high on the list of most banned books in America for some time, even topping the list in 2012. If you enjoyed a childhood in the 90s or early millennium, you probably enjoyed at least one of the comic novels openly (or at your school’s library where your parents wouldn’t find out). This summer, the controversial underwear-clad superhero is making his way to theaters, and parents may not be able to keep the kids away! Here’s a brief (haha!) overview of what we know so far about Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie!

The first book, starring the dim-witted hero and 4th graders George and Harold, came out in 1997, and author Dav Pilkey never looked back! With 70 million copies sold worldwide (50 million alone in the U.S.), the series has been a hit with children for 20 years. And DreamWorks Animation knew they wanted Captain Underpants from the start, pursuing the film rights since the first of the series was released. Pilkey was reluctant until he saw their expert handling of book-based film How to Train Your Dragon in 2010. In October 2011, DreamWorks Animation finally acquired the rights. Two years later, the studio announced that Rob Letterman would direct the film with Nicholas Stoller (Storks) penning the script. Letterman eventually left the project, but David Soren (Turbo) stepped in to take the director’s chair. The cast of the film was announced in January 2014 and by June of the same year, a release date in January 2017 was projected (later changed to a summer release, most likely to cater to young viewers free from the shackles of school for their break).

The film has quite the representation, with production companies DreamWorks Animation and Scholastic Entertainment behind the movie with distribution by 20th Century Fox. After a restructuring of DreamWorks in 2015, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was the first DreamWorks projects to be outsourced to a non-DreamWorks studio. Canada-based studio Mikros Image (in Montreal) got the project, producing the film for a fraction of the cost (but it still looks fantastic and true to the source material)!

Produced by Mireille Soria and Mark Swift, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a bit of an origin story, the beginning of the adventures of the hero and his creators. The PG-rated film follows two elementary school pranksters, George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch), as they get into major shenanigans at Jerome Horowitz Elementary School. The two boys write and illustrate their own comic book stories. After major trouble at school with grumpy principal, Mr. Benny Krupp (Ed Helms), the only way out is to hypnotize Mr. Krupp and make him believe he is their dim-witted comic creation, Captain Underpants. With their hero, the boys set out to stop the villainous plans of Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll) with his Turbo Toilet 2000 and snitch Melvin Sneedly (Jordan Peele).

Actually, just watch the trailer for yourself. You’ll get a pretty accurate idea of what to expect from the movie, as well as some free laughs while you wait for its release!

If you’ve got kids, or just want a trip down memory lane, you can see Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie on June 2, 2017, in 2D and 3D. With great comedic voices like Helms, Hart, and Peele, along with a villain who became a mad scientist because he was made fun of for his name, you won’t be flushing your money buying tickets. Because who doesn’t love some good old-fashioned toilet humor?

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