Entertainment Magazine

The 18 Live-Action Fairy Tale Movies In Development Right Now

Posted on the 21 July 2015 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

“This is a momentum business and when you get on a streak, it’s like a snowball and it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” Imax Entertainment’s CEO Greg Foster told Variety in March. “Disney is definitely on a streak right now.”

What began with a peculiar Tim Burton movie (Alice in Wonderland) and transformed into a moderately liked Wizard of Oz thing (Oz the Great and Powerful) before exploding into two female-leaning blockbusters (Maleficent, Cinderella) has now become a staple of Disney’s marketing strategy. From this point forward, the Mouse House will release one or two live action fairy tales a year. These movies have thus far played like tentpole productions for women and girls, attracting predominantly female audiences much in the same way comic book movies attract predominantly male audiences. That box office success allows Disney to launch related toy lines, TV shows and theme park attractions, a crucial distinction since they make far more from those three arenas than they do from theater ticket sales.

As BoxOffice.com’s chief analyst told Variety, “People love the characters. These movies are still very much in rotation and alive. Generations of women grew up with these characters and they show them to their daughters and their granddaughters.”

Disney isn’t the only one in this game. They’re in the business of remaking the Disney-fied version of the classic fairy tales, but since the actual fairy tales are all in the public domain the other studios want in on this too. Still, Disney has set the template, as their distribution chief explained, “There are two paths we’ve been taking lately. It’s either, ‘How do you tell a story you love in brand new ways,’ as we did with ‘Maleficent’ or ‘Oz,’ or ‘How do we make the quintessential live action version as we did with ‘Cinderella?”

So, what live-action fairy tales are on the way, and are they more Maleficent (revisionist/prequel) or Cinderella (traditional)?

Has a Release Date

1) Pan

Talent: Joe Wright’s attempt to breakthrough into blockbuster filmmaking after earning serious directing kudos with Atonement, Hanna and Anna Karenina stars Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, Cara Delevinge as a Mermaid, Garret Hedlund as Hook, Amanda Seyfried as Mary and Levi Miller as Peter Pan.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Revisionist/Prequel

Release: October 9, 2015. It has been delayed multiple times already, giving it the feel of a troubled production, and that’s after it courted controversy at the casting stage when Mara was hired to play a Native American. Collider had very nice things to say about the Pan’s Comic-Con panel, though. So, that’s good.

2) Disney’s Jungle Book Remake

2420F05400000578-2877987-image-a-20_1418847980331Talent: Jon Favreau directs an unknown (Neel Sethi) as Mowgli in this live-action/CGI hybrid remake of the 1967 animated musical. Those lending their voices to the CGI characters include Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlet Johansson as Kaa, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela and Christopher Walken as King Louie. Like the 1967 original, this will also be a musical meaning Bill Murray will actually sing “Bear Necessities”!

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Traditional

Release: April 15, 2016

3) The Huntsman

1Talent: Who needs Snow White when she has an affair with the director and derails the film’s marketing campaign? That’s Universal’s approach to this Snow White and the Huntsman prequel which has jettisoned Kristen Stewart’s Snow White in favor of revisiting Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman and Charlize Theron as Ravenna. Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain and Sam Clafin have also joined the cast. Snow White director Rupert Sanders has been kicked to the curb and replaced with an in-house candidate, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, whose special effects work on Snow White and the Huntsman earned him an Oscar nomination. This will be his directing debut, although he was the second unit director on Maleficent. So, there’s that.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Revisionist/Prequel

Release: April 22, 2016

4) Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass

Alice Wonderland Through Looking GlassTalent: Basically all of the actors from the first Alice (Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, etc.) plus Anne Hatheway and Sacha Baron Cohen. Tim Burton is merely producing this time, ceding directing duties to James Bobin (The Muppets, Muppets: Most Wanted)

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Revisionist sequel

Release: May 27, 2016

5) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Remake

Beauty BeastTalent: Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Josh Gad and Kevin Kline as LeFou and Maurice respectively. Alan Menken and Tim Rice will oversee the music as most of the songs we love from the animated classic will make it into the live-action film. Bill Condon, of Chicago and Dreamgirls fame, is directing.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Traditional

Release: March 17, 2017

6) WB’s Jungle Book: Origins

The_Jungle_Book_42192Talent: Andy Serkis will direct this live-action/mo-cap hybrid in which Rohan Chand (Abu Nazir’s son on Homeland) will play Mowgli and the following actors will be mo-capped: Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan), Christian Bale (Bagheera), Cate Blanchette (Kaa) and Naomie Harris (Nisha the female wolf), along with several others. Serkis is actually pulling double-duty, both directing and mo-capping Baloo.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: The title implies prequel, but the plot is very traditional, “Mowgli, the human child, is raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. He learns the tough rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera. Mowgli is accepted by all the animals of the jungle as one of their own, but the fearsome tiger Shere Khan is not ready to accept him.”

Release: October 6, 2017

Release Date TBD

7) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 2

hansel-gretel-witch-hunters_1358330895Talent: They’re making a sequel? Why? I thought the first one bombed. It sure as heck did, grossing a meager $55 million in the US and Canada. However, it also only cost $50 million to make and scored around $170 million overseas giving it a worldwide gross just south of $230m. So, it’s a box office bomb that didn’t actually bomb, and in the two years since its release it has gained a status as a modern cult classic. Paramount’s doing its due diligence by tentatively dating a sequel for 2016 and setting about wrangling together Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton to return. Those efforts took a hit when the first film’s director, Tommy Wirkola, opted out of directing the sequel, though he did at least write the script.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditiona: Revisionist sequel

Release: Sometime in 2016

8) Disney’s Cruella DeVil

Best wallpaper database with dalmatians, backdrops, freemovies, picturesTalent: Aline Brosh McKenna, who wrote an early draft of the Cinderella script but is not a credited writer on the finished movie, was recruited to pen a Maleficient-like movie for Cruella DeVil. However, that was in late 2013, and there have been no updates since then. DeVil has since been incorporated into Once Upon a Time.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Revisionist

Release: Probably never

9) Disney’s Dumbo Remake

NE2wKh3LEr7a54_1_bTalent: Tim Burton is directing and Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) is writing this live-action/CGI remake of the 1941 classic. Beyond that, we know nothing about this.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Um, it’s Tim Burton. Even if it’s the traditional story it will be its own category of weird.

10) Disney’s Mulan Remake

mulan-live-action-disneyTalent: Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hyneck wrote the script which Disney will probably now rewrite since neither Martin nor Hyneck have any prior writing credits in feature-length film. Some of the people responsible for We’re the Millers are attached as producers.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditiona: Probably traditional

11) Disney’s Prince Charming

Cinderella3_0364Talent: Matt Vogel, a former assistant to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller, wrote the script which Disney bought earlier this month. The roster of producers at this point include people already producing the Beauty and the Beast remake as well someone who produced San Andreas.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional : “Details are being kept behind a moat, but the script is described as a revisionist take on the fairy tales.”

12) Disney’s Sword in the Stone

sword-in-the-stoneTalent: Bryan Cogman, a Game of Thrones writer-producer, will pen the script for this live-action remake of the 1963 animated fantasy feature which was actually the final movie released before Walt Disney’s death.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: No idea

Before all of this went down, The Hollywood Reporter made its pitch for why Sword in the Stone should be remade:

The pitch: We’ve seen many cinematic takes on Arthurian myth, but what differentiates Sword in the Stone is the tone of the movie; the poster promised a “Whiz-Bang Wizard of Whimsy,” and that could be the key to a live-action remake — treating the familiar Arthurian tales as the basis for comedy. Well, that and focusing on Arthur as a young boy called “Wart,” which remains wonderfully amusing to this day for reasons that I can’t explain.

The talent: Although they’re clearly very busy at the moment, it’d be interesting to see what Chris Miller and Phil Lord could do with this material, especially given their success with The Lego Movie‘s very precise brand of upbeat, positive satire. Bring on Ian McKellen to play Merlin — we know that he does bearded wizards pretty well, after all — and give the Wart role to a newcomer.

Not a bad pitch, but Disney just hired a Game of Thrones guy to write it. I don’t think comedy is the direction they’re going with this.

13) Disney’s Tinker Bell Project

Reese TinkTalent: The adorable Reese Witherspoon will play the adorable Tinker Bell. Witherspoon will also produce. Beyond that, THR says, “Victoria Strouse, who wrote the script for Pixar’s upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory, is penning the script for the project, which does not have a director on board and is still in development.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: According to THR, “Details on the project’s angle are being kept deep in Pixie Hollow, but insiders say it will play with the idea and the timeline of the well-known Peter Pan narrative. It is also being developed in the vein of Maleficent.”

14) Fox’s Melissa McCarthy Tinker Bell Project

tinkerbell-mccarthyTalent: Shawn Levy (Night at the Musuem) will probably direct, Nicholas Stoller is writing (Yes Man, The Muppets, Sex Tape), and Melissa McCarthy is attached to produce and star as a presumably foul-mouthed Tinker Bell who will threaten to cut off Peter Pan’s penis and attach it to his head just so she can call him limp dick head – wait, that’s just one of her lines in Spy. Given Levy and Stoller’s presence, this could go either way – mildly entertaining family fair or edgier adult comedy. They’d be better off going with the latter.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Probably hardcore revisionist

15) Maleficent 2

BG_Maleficent newsTalent: Linda Woolverton, who scripted the first, is in talks to develop the sequel. Robert Stromberg will probably not return to direct. Really, though, the whole thing is toast if they can’t convince Angelina Jolie to return, although Disney is reportedly confident in their ability to talk her into it.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Revisionist sequel

16) Oz the Great and Powerful 2

OzTalent: After Oz the Great and Powerful’s impressive $79 million opening weekend in the states and Canada, Disney confirmed a sequel was already in development from the same screenewriter, Mitchell Kapner. Mila Kunis let it slip that everyone in the cast, including Rachel Weisz and James Franco, had signed up for multiple sequels. There are, after all, 14 L. Frank Baum books set in the land of Oz, presumably offering plenty of material for further Wizard of Oz prequels. However, Sam Raimi wants nothing to do with directing any more of the movies, and there’s been little to no progress on this since Oz the Great and Powerful left theaters.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Revisionist sequel

17) Robert Downey, Jr.’s Pinocchio

NEqyGeBAQ00Oty_2_bTalent: Robert Downey, Jr. has been trying to get this done for years, going back to when Tim Burton was going to direct it and then when Ben Stiller took over. As of 2013, Downey, Jr. was reportedly going to both play Gepetto and Pinocchio, presumably merely voicing the latter. However, that was long ago enough that at that point Guillermo del Toro also had a competing Pinocchio project in development. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore, and Downey pulled a real head-scratcher when he recently talked Paul Thomas Anderson into directing. Yes, the man who made Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, The Master and Inherent Vice is going to direct a live-action Pinocchio movie, inheriting a script written by Michael Mitnick (The Giver). This project just became one of the biggest WTFs on this list.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: Let’s just go with strange

18) Universal’s The Little Mermaid

4348282Talent: Sofia Coppola recently dropped out of this Universal Pictures version of the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale. Hello development hell. Hope you find a new director soon. Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas) is currently tweaking the script.

Revisionist/Prequel or Traditional: No idea

Source: Swide, Variety

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