Disney is having a successful 2019 at the box office, thanks to films like Captain Marvel, Aladdin, and Avengers: Endgame. With movies like Toy Story 4, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Frozen 2, and Episode IX it’s safe to say it’ll be another record-breaking year for the house of mouse.
Announced back in 2010, Jon Favreau was attached to direct this Night at the Museum-esque film, that would have centered on a family went to Disneyland, and all of the attractions came to life and started interacting. The Iron Man director would have to put that project on the backburner in favor of 2016’s Jungle Book remake, with the enormous critical and financial success of the film, Magic Kingdom seemed less likely.
While speaking with Collider in 2016, Favreau shared that the film was indeed still in the works stating: Magic Kingdom is a story I’ve been developing. Michael Chabon wrote the draft about Disneyland coming to life, and all of the different lands and attractions all overlapping one another and creating a big adventure that a family gets caught up in. It’s something I feel very passionate about. Part of the reason I explored this technology I used on Jungle Book is that I was considering it for that film, and maybe it might be something we work together on. However, shortly after the release of Jungle Book, Favreau had announced that he and his team would be bringing another Disney animated film to life, The Lion King, hitting theaters next month.
Favreau will be receiving the Disney Legend award this year at Disney’s bi-annual D23 Expo, and based on what we are hearing about The Lion King; it sounds like Disney has struck gold yet again with Favreau and will be eager to work with him again, which could mean Magic Kingdom could finally move forward.
Announced over ten years ago, 1906 was expected to be Brad Birds first live-action directorial effort after back to back to back hits with animated films The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. Bird eventually went on to make his live-action debut on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and followed that up with the Disney film Tomorrowland, and went back to Pixar to make Incredibles 2, which grossed over $180 million opening weekend. 1906 was to be centered on a college student whose investigation of his father’s murder uncovers a web of deceit that has left the city vulnerable to the sort of fire that breaks out in the aftermath of the great quake. The original script was written by John Logan (Sweeney Todd), with Bird is doing a rewrite. The project was expected to be a co-production between Warner Bros. and Disney/Pixar.
Last year, Bird sat down with Appearing on the podcast Playback with Kristopher Tapley, Bird revealed that the issue with 1906 is that it’s too big for a movie, but he’s convinced the earthquake needs to be seen on the big screen:
It wants to be a longer story. It’s a really fascinating moment in history. Prior to the earthquake, San Francisco is this really happening city that’s somewhere between the Old West and the 20th Century. I mean, they still had bars where people were getting Shanghai’d—getting slipped Mickey Finns and you would wake up on a boat, and if you didn’t work the boat, you’d be thrown overboard. So that was still happening, and the people who owned those kinds of bars were in the California legislature. In other words, it was somewhere between the Wild West and the sophisticated city San Francisco would like to see itself as and was in many ways.
So it’s this fascinating moment in history where gaslight and electric light were co-existing, and cars and horses were co-existing. Getting it in a movie-sized box, it’s too big a story for. If you do it for TV, you’re missing the scale of motion pictures, so I keep trying to get it to kind of straddle these two worlds.
It seems 1906 is still in the works, but it’s a long road ahead before we see the project. Bird is currently developing an untitled animated musical-comedy with his Incredibles composer Michael Giacchino.
The sequel to the musical-fantasy Enchanted, Disenchanted was never officially green-lit but in the works at Disney. Adam Shankman (Bedtime Stories) was hired to direct the film in 2016, with the films original cast Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, and Idina Menzel all set to return, as well as composer Alan Menken. The film was to be set 10 years after the first movie, with Giselle finding herself questioning her happily-ever-after life and accidentally triggering events that make everyone’s lives turn upside down in both the real world and in the animated kingdom of Andalasia.
In February 2019, Shankman was a guest on Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast, and offered hope for the sequel: “We’re all here, we’re ready to go. We love what the story is about.”
In July 2018, Amy Adams spoke about the sequel during an appearance on The Talk. When asked about reprising her role as Giselle, she said: “I am absolutely up for that. We’re working on it — so hopefully.”
Enchanted is a property Disney fans have been wanting to revisit since the first films release back in 2007. With fans desire to see 2D animation again on the big screen, Disenchanted could be a great way to tell the story in the animated world of Andalasia, wherein the first film it was mainly live-action. Disney needs to hurry if they want to get this done as Amy Adams has become a hot commodity amongst studios and could keep her from this project even longer.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
A reboot to the classic Walt Disney live-action film (one could say was the film broke the studio out as a powerhouse movie studio outside of animation) has been in development for years and last we heard thanks to our friends at HN Entertainment back in March 2019 the film is still in the works with Logan director James Mangold. The film is said to be a prequel called Captain Nemo. The most recent draft of the Captain Nemo script was reportedly penned Sebastian Gutierrez (Snakes on a Plane, Gothika). The film was originally in development back in 2013 with David Fincher directing, but he couldn’t find an approach that worked with the studio’s commercial aims.
Captain Nemo is expected to provide an origin story of sorts for the antihero character, who was first introduced in Jules Verne’s 1870 story Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and later brought to the screen in Disney’s 1954 film of the same name. Oscar-nominated A Star is Born, and The Verdict actor James Mason portrayed Nemo in that film, which also earned a pair of Academy Awards for its special effects and art direction.
After the success of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl, Disney released another film based on a popular Disneyland attraction The Haunted Mansion. The film starring Eddie Murphy, Terrence Stamp, Jennifer Tilly, and directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) opened to negative critic and audience reviews, and the film never garnered the box office success as Pirates only making $174 million worldwide.
Fast forward ten years to San Diego Comic-Con 2010. It was announced that Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro would be writing and producing a new movie based on The Haunted Mansion. When asked about his involvement Del Toro said ‘The thing I want to do is remake it” Del Toro went on to say “The movie I see in my head of Haunted Mansion is not, I believe, what everyone is imagining it to be. Its not just a regular world with a Haunted Mansion plopped in the middle. I really am thinking of a movie that has a heightened reality.” Del Toro said The fan favorite Hatbox Ghost would be the main haunting. And added, “We are not making it a comedy. We are making it scary and fun at the same time, but the scary will be scary.”
In 2012 when speaking with Collider Del Toro said he submitted a final draft to Disney and that “They like the screenplay” because “their reaction to the draft was good.” Del Toro also said he would be writing and producing the film and that Disney was waiting on Del Toro for a confirmation to direct or not. In 2015 Variety reported that Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, La La Land) was in talks to star in the film with D.V. DeVincentis (High Fidelity) working on the script. In that same report, it stated that Del Toro would direct.
So what’s happened since Del Toro went on to direct Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, and The Shape of Water, Which earned Del Toro a Best Director Oscar, not to mention the countless films and TV series he’s producing and at least ten other projects he attached to direct in the future. Del Toro has offered little updates via social media.
So what do I think should happen next? Disney should push to work with Del Toro in some capacity on this project. A director I would like to see helm the film is Gil Kenan who directed the 2015 remake of Poltergeist, a PG-13 movie that still had a nice amount of scares. Kenan also directed 2006’s Monster House an animated movie with scares, adventure, and fun. According to IMDB.com, Gosling is still attached to the project. Another actor that I would look to involve is Andy Serkis outside of his fantastic Motion Capture performances as Caeser in the Apes franchise and Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Serkis is a strong actor with amazing performances in The Prestige and more. He also has an established working relationship with Disney as he was in the MCU as Black Panther villain Ullyses Klaw and in a galaxy far far away as Supreme Leader Snoke. Serkis is a chameleon that would fit this project perfectly.