Director Robert Altman used the character in Popeye, a 1980 live-action musical feature film, starring Robin Williams as Popeye (his first movie role), Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl, and Paul L. Smith as Bluto, with songs by Harry Nilsson. The script was by Jules Feiffer, who adapted the 1971 Nostalgia Press book of 1936 strips for his screenplay, thus retaining many of the characters created by Segar. A co-production of Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions, the movie was filmed almost entirely on Malta, in the village of Mellieħa on the northwest coast of the island. The set is now a tourist attraction called Popeye Village. The US box office earnings were double the film's budget, making it a success.
In March 2010, it was reported that Sony Pictures Animation is developing a 3-D computer-animated Popeye film, with Avi Arad producing it. In November 2011, Sony Pictures Animation announced that Jay Scherick and David Ronn, the writers of The Smurfs, are writing the screenplay for the film. In June 2012, it was reported that Genndy Tartakovsky has been set to direct the feature, which he plans to make "as artful and unrealistic as possible." In November 2012, Sony Pictures Animation set the release date for September 26, 2014, which was, in May 2013, pushed back to 2015. In March 2014, Sony Pictures Animation updated its slate, scheduling the film for 2016, and announcing Tartakovsky as the director of 2015 Hotel Transylvania 2, which he is directing concurrently with Popeye.