Over the Fourth of July holiday, The Walt Disney Company premiered their $200+ million action reboot of The Lone Ranger. I was not a fan, and it doesn’t appear that much of America cared to give it a shot, as analysts are reporting the studio might have to take between a $150-$190 million write-off on the project. Yikes. Not quite John Carter levels of embarrassment, but it’s not great, either. So when a studio is down, what do you think the number crunchers at the Mouse House are going to recommend next? Yep, another live-action adaptation of a Disney animated movie.
The studio already has new takes on Maleficent (an alternate Sleeping Beauty tale) and Cinderella in the works following the $1 billion success of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and now The Hollywood Reporter is saying the studio is developing a live action reboot of The Jungle Book. The 1994 live-action adaptation was apparently well-received upon its release, and it fits in with their recent “safe” tactics of sticking to updating their classic stories based on name recognition, but the increasing regularity of announcements like this depresses me. It makes movies like Pacific Rim and Elysium so much more important – if audiences flock to original properties like that, then maybe we’ll get more of those instead of just the same stories recycled again and again.
Justin Marks, a screenwriter who is more famous for projects he’s written that haven’t yet been produced – like the superhero prison break film Super Max, Shadow of the Colossus, Gerard Butler’s The Raven, or an early draft of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – than for those that have (the pitiful Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li), has been hired to write the screenplay. No producers, actors, or director have been attached yet, but if this moves forward Disney will potentially have to contend with WB’s own take on The Jungle Book, written by Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves. Will this be the next Snow White and the Huntsman/Mirror Mirror scenario? Stay tuned to find out.
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