Disney is currently discussing moving its upcoming live-action remake of Pinocchio to their forthcoming streaming service. Why you may ask?
According to Variety, the box office failures of Dumbo (which grossed $350M worldwide) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (sitting at just $250M, and not likely to come anywhere close to the $750M the first film made) has made Disney increasingly wary of committing to a full-fledged theatrical release of some of these films, and there is a sense they might work better for streaming. There was a time when Disney considered debuting its live-action version of Pinocchio on Disney+, but after hiring Robert Zemeckis to direct the film, a theatrical release seems more likely.
If Pinocchio ultimately moves to Disney+, this isn’t necessarily bad news as the studio is committed to giving the streaming films the same budget and care as their theatrical releases. Disney’s live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp will debut at the launch of the streamer, with Sword In The Stone and Peter Pan also hitting the service in the future.
Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz will produce Pinocchio through their company Depth of Field with Weitz penning the script. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Playwright Jack Thorne recently wrote a draft as well.
Paddington director Paul King had initially been tapped to direct but had to leave the project for unknown reasons at the beginning of the year. David Heyman, who was on board to produce, is also no longer involved with the film. Tom Hanks (Toy Story franchise) was in talks earlier this year to star in the project as the fatherly figure Geppetto but left the project as well.
The film is expected to have a budget of over $150 million, Disney’s live-action remakes of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book had similar budgets, so expect the House of Mouse to put Pinocchio on a grand scale visually.
Released in 1940, Pinocchio was the second animated movie made by Disney, after 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It adapted the Italian story by Carlo Collodi about a wooden boy puppet crafted by an old carver named Geppetto. The boy is brought to life by a fairy who says he will become a real boy if he shows bravery. The character of Jiminy Cricket becomes his de facto conscience and tried to steer him in the right direction. What follows is a series of adventures that include Pinocchio being kidnapped to be part of a puppet show, getting turned into a donkey, and being swallowed by a whale.