Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Speculation: Disney's "Avengers" endgame for the current round of live-action Fairy Tale Theatre?

What do you get when combine the Wizard of Oz, Alice from Wonderland, the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella?  Disney has announced plans to produce a "darker" live-action reboot of Beauty and the Beast, currently titled "The Beast".  Now putting aside the alleged Guillermo del Toro Beauty and the Beast that was intended to star Emma Watson, this is yet another Disney project that basically takes one of their beloved animated films or (in the case of Oz: The Great and Powerful) a beloved family classic and make a Disney live-action franchise-starter out of it.  We've seen movement on a Kenneth Branagh-helmed Cinderella, which ironically was supposed to star Emma Watson until she dropped out over the last couple days.  Filming is underway on Robert Stromberg's Maleficent, which will star Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning in a villain-centric retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  Disney tried to do something with Snow White before bowing out due to the two other 2012 adaptations, but it may try again.  So what is the point, in the long-run, of these fairy-tale revamps?

You might say "sequels!", but that's an outside bet at this point.  There is still no hard-and-fast plan for Alice In Wonderland 2 and Sam Raimi has already said that he won't be back if the alleged sequel to Oz: The Great and Powerful actually becomes a reality.  Well, what *do* you get when combine the Wizard of Oz, Alice from Wonderland, the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella?  You get the potential for the one set of properties with the potential to learn the would-be lesson from The Avengers as well as the one studio with the bank roll to see it happen.  Even people who liked Alice In Wonderland don't really want a sequel, and what franchise possibilities are there in the further adventures of "the Beast" or the various fairy tale heroines following their respective happy ever afters? Oz: The Great and Powerful has real franchise possibilities but I'd argue the sequel potential for the rest are pretty thin.  But using these films in much the same way as the 'Phase One' Marvel films has real potential, something that could build into a 'Fairy Tale All-Stars to the Rescue" type grand-slam summer event picture. 

Imagine the financial draw of seeing Alice, Oz, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and the Beast (who will in no way basically be a revamped version of the Hulk, no sir!). Each of these films will of course have side characters for extended cameos, be it paying Johnny Depp $10 million for a cameo as The Mad Hatter or using the various villains (the Wicked Witch, Maleficent, etc.) as threats paving the way for whatever the big-bad happens to be (I'm thinking Chernabog from Fantasia), along with an assist from Tinker Bell and her fairy army.  I think this is frankly Disney's end game with all of these fairy tale revamps.  They are spending too much money to merely be crafting 'one-and-done' tentpoles and the financial appeal of their own in-house Avengers is both too logical and too tempting to resist.  This is a way for them to make the 'Disney Princesses to the Rescue' movie they have to be itching to do without violating the unofficial 'animated Disney Princesses do not interact with each other' rule that was enacted in 2000.  You've got an Avengers-type franchise technically targeting girls but with enough 'male drawing power' to rope in the young boys as well.  

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.  So what do you think?  Is Disney planning some kind of team-up picture with the various heroes of their obviously successful brand of live-action fairy tales?  Would you want to see such a thing?  Sound off below on Mendelson's latest crazy theory...

Scott Mendelson        


Aaron Neuwirth said...

Didn't Shrek 3 or 4 already do this?

Matt from Phoenix said...

And this is why I love reading this blog.... Scott makes connections that are logical and reasonable and pretty damn cool as well.

Makes total sense... And it's the reverse of what Disney is doing with Star Wars: they already have their group movie (which is Star Wars eps 7, 8, 9) and now there are rumors about Star War movies featuring solo characters.

Scott- you've talked about the movie that will come out that changes the paradigm of movies for years after it. Could "Avengers" be that movie, in the formula? Isn't it what DC and Warner Bros wants to do with Justice League? And its the hypothesis of is article. Who else will attempt this type of grand universe plan? Will studios not just bankroll one tent pole but a whole universe?


MEpolitics said...

Do you watch Once Upon A Time? If your theory is correct, Disney may have basically used the show as a test run concept to see how the public would react to seeing all their favorite fairytale characters interact.

And since ouat has a dedicated fan base they can use that framework and apply it to a larger-grander scale.

The Mouse House is still genius.

Ana Bastow said...

You are a genius! And is the right time too. Disney princess memes are usually with the group of princesses so people do want to see them all together. I can imagine a sort of Neverending Story meets Disney Princesses sort of plot. Probably 2020 7 years is enough time to have all the princesses together. Is it me or Disney is going to take over the world? I will welcome my princess overlords.


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