Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, And More Weird Cartoons Based On Movies

When it comes to figuring out how successful a movie was with audiences, the box office returns are normally a pretty good thing to research. However, once upon a time, there was another way to figure out how big of an impact your film had.

During the 1980s and 1990s, a slew of movies were adapted into cartoons to further appeal to kids. After all, if your movie becomes a cartoon, you can make more toys to sell, and more toys equals more money. And while most of the animated series made perfect sense–of course Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures made a great cartoon–others were a bit questionable. The very idea of a Rambo cartoon is puzzling.

GameSpot dug back through cartoon history to dig up the best and craziest cartoons based on old movies for your viewing pleasure. How many of these did you watch? And what did we miss when it comes to your favorites? Sound off in the comments below!

1. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1995-2000)

You might not remember it, but Ace Ventura: Pet Detective ran for three seasons over five years. After two years on CBS, it took a nearly two-year break before jumping to Nickelodeon for its final 15 episodes. Surprisingly, there was also a computer game based on the cartoon–but not on the movie.

Image: Warner Bros. TV

2. The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991)

This is the gold standard of cartoons adapted from movies. The Real Ghostbusters–which also became Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters for a time–ran for seven seasons and turned the movies into an even more kid-friendly adventure. It also led to a massive toy line.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

3. Extreme Ghostbusters (1997)

This sequel to The Real Ghostbusters introduces a new crop of heroes, with Egon returning as the lone original. Taking advantage of the late-’90s obsession with the word "extreme," this new Ghostbusters was anything but. However, it was a fun, short-lived way to expand the Ghostbusters animated universe.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

4. Back to the Future (1991-1992)

While Back to the Future Part III was a pretty definitive end for the franchise, that didn’t stop them from making a cartoon, following Marty, Doc, Doc’s Family, and Einstein the dog. Naturally, Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox did not return to voice their characters, though the former did appear in live-action segments at the beginning and end of each episode. What may surprise you, though, is both Mary Steenburgen (Clara Clayton Brown) and Thomas F. Wilson (Biff Tannen) did reprise their roles for the animated series.

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

5. Clerks: The Animated Series (2000)

This one is weird for a number of reasons. Based on the Kevin Smith movie, this was not a cartoon for children. It saw the return of practically the entire Clerks cast, plus the addition of Alec Baldwin as rich weirdo Leonardo Leonardo. It was also canceled after two episodes by ABC. However, six episodes were produced and eventually released on DVD.

Image: Buena Vista Television

6. Beetlejuice (1989-1991)

If you watch Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice movie, which can be pretty graphic, it may be surprising that they turned it into a children’s cartoon. That said, the animated Beetlejuice series ran for four seasons and even got its own line of toys. As you can probably guess, Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder did not return to voice their characters.

Image: Warner Bros. TV

7. The Karate Kid (1989)

Instead of a fighting tournament, The Karate Kid sends Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi on an adventure around the world to find a magical shrine, with a new sidekick joining their quest. The cartoon is such an insane departure from the movies, that it should come as no surprise it only lasted a single season. Thank goodness for Cobra Kai.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

8. The Mummy: The Animated Series (2001-2003)

While based on Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy movie, this cartoon centers on the 14-year-old son of the main characters, as their family is chased around the world by Imhotep.

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

9. Dumb & Dumber (1995-1996)

Yet another Jim Carrey movie adapted into an animated series. It follows the film, continuing the adventures of Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas as they continued to be incredibly stupid. Now, though, they have the purple beaver as a sidekick. Why not?

Image: Warner Bros. TV

10. Jumanji (1996-1999)

Though based on the original movie, the Jumanji animated series has a lot in common with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. In this cartoon, two kids are sucked into the game’s jungle on each turn and have to solve clues to go back home. While there, they befriend Alan Parrish–played by Robin Williams in the movie–and explore the wild with him.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

11. Police Academy: The Animated Series (1988-1989)

This is another bizarre example. The original Police Academy film was rated R by the MPAA. The sequels that followed ranged from PG-13 to PG, but basing a cartoon for children on a Rated-R movie is a risky bet–though it’s one that happened a few times in the ’80s. It worked well enough to earn the series 65 episodes and an extensive line of toys, though. It should be noted that the Zed action figure dropped his pants, if you were wondering how classy these toys were.

Image: LBS Communications

12. RoboCop: The Animated Series (1988)

RoboCop is an incredibly graphic and vulgar film, filled with violence. Yet, somehow, it got two cartoons. The first only ran for 12 episodes, but its very existence is remarkable. Naturally, it wasn’t as violent as the movie.

Image: MGM Television

13. RoboCop: Alpha Command (1998-1999)

The second RoboCop cartoon was far more successful, with a higher-quality animation style earning it 40 episodes before it was canceled.

Image: MGM Television

14. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures (1990-1991)

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure lends itself perfectly to an animated series and this cartoon is a lot of fun. However, what’s most notable about it is the cast. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter voiced their characters in the first season. The second season saw the duo replaced by two actors that were also going to star in a live-action adaptation that was canceled after seven episodes. The animated series was then dropped.

Image: MGM Television

15. The Mask Animated Series (1995-1997)

The last cartoon based on a Jim Carrey movie on this list but perhaps the craziest. This series crossed over with the Ace Ventura cartoon, creating some kind of shared Carrey universe. In the crossover, the green mask gets attached to Ace Ventura’s butt. That is not a joke.

Warner Bros. TV

16. Men in Black

Though based on the Men in Black film, the animated series takes place in an alternate timeline where Agent K doesn’t retire and have his memory wiped. He and Agent J are joined by Agent L, who was introduced at the end of the first movie, as they fought aliens invading the planet.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

17. Rambo: The Force of Freedom (1986)

As you’ve seen thus far, making cartoons out of adult movies was commonplace in the 1980s. However, even this is taking things to the extreme. First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II are intense and unsettling action movies about a Vietnam War veteran that goes on killing sprees. Yet somehow, they were adapted into an animated series that saw Rambo lead a team of heroes around the world to fight an evil organization known as S.A.V.A.G.E. And in case you’re wondering what that’s short for, it’s Specialist-Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy, and Global Extortion.

Image: StudioCanal

18. Godzilla: The Series (1998-2000)

If the world needed anything, it’s a cartoon based on the 1998 Godzilla movie starring Matthew Broderick, right? In this animated series, the giant lizard teams with Broderick’s character and a group of environmental crusaders (and a robot, of course) in a fight against other mutant monsters. Somehow it lasted two seasons.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

19. The Oz Kids (1996-1997)

What happens when The Wizard of Oz and Muppet Babies gets mashed up? The Oz Kids! In the series, Dorothy is a mom, and it’s her two kids, along with Toto Jr., that go on adventures to Oz. Once there, they meet up with the kids of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and more. If you’re wondering how the Scarecrow and Tin Man managed to have kids, you are not alone.

Image: Walt Disney Television

20. The Robonic Stooges (1977-1978)

Imagine a world where the Three Stooges are so popular that they get a cartoon set in the future, where they are bionic superheroes. It exists, and it’s as crazy as it sounds. Unfortunately, by the time the show was in production, the original Stooges had died, leading to them being voiced by other actors.

Image: Warner Bros. TV

21. Street Fighter (1995-1997)

This peculiar adaptation is based on a mix of the arcade game and the live-action movie. In it, Col. William F. Guile leads his team of Street Fighters around the world as they work undercover to defeat M. Bison and his criminal empire the only way they know how–through martial arts.

Image: Discotek Media

22. Alienators: Evolution Continues (2001-2002)

Evolution, starring David Duchovny, Seann William Scott, and Julianne Moore, was not a box office hit or a critical darling. And yet, somehow, it was turned into a cartoon. Of course, with a name like, Alienators: Evolution Continues, the animated series wasn’t very obvious about its status as a sequel to the film. However, in the United Kingdom, it was known as Evolution: The Animated Series.

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Source: GameSpot

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