With Drop Dead Fred about to be remade, following the announcement of Lions, Tigers & Bears getting optioned and this summer's upcoming Imagine That, we have to ask: Why this sudden obsession with imaginary friends?

News broke yesterday that 1991's Drop Dead Fred โ€” in which Phoebe Cates' childhood imaginary friend returns and causes all manner of Hollywood havoc in her adult life โ€” is to be remade as a vehicle for Russell Brand. According to the Hollywood Reporter,

The take for the new "Fred" is to make a film in the tone of "Beetlejuice," building a universe around the concept of imaginary friends. Brand would play the trouble-making pal.

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This comes less than two weeks after Paramount announced that they plan on making a movie of Lions, Tigers and Bears, a comic about a child's toys that come to life each night to protect him from danger. But both of these returns to childhood will come years after this year's latest Eddie Murphy movie, Imagine That, where an overworked businessman discovers that his daughter's imaginary friends are better at picking successful stocks to invest in than he is.

So what's brought about this new rash of childhood imagination movies? Is the current climate of economic collapse and swine flu making us long for simpler days, or has Hollywood simply cycled through all of its other fads and circled back to this particular one? We're not sure, but we know one thing; Jonathan Carroll, whose Mr. Fiddlehead short story was an "inspiration" (Read: Shamelessly ripped off) for Fred, should sue.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i6832227f5a72401e04337dda02eb1b4b">Universal remaking 'Drop Dead Fred' [Hollywood Reporter], Producer stuffs 'Lions, Tigers' comic [Variety]

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