Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bits Journal #29

According to the Moana Tumblr blog, Giants has kind of hit a wall, it's been "put to rest" as the author puts it.

But this will probably be temporary. This is nothing new for animated features, but it's no coincidence that we are just learning this. Not too long ago, this same person did say that Giants was at that stage where the film's ideas and heart are strong, but the picture isn't coming together as a cohesive whole. It happens. It's happening to me right now with a big sci-fi story I'm working on. All of us writers and creatives hit that proverbial wall with stories, when we have mountains of cool ideas but can't quite put the whole puzzle together. It even happened to Moana once, as the author explains. Maybe that's why Moana was at one point thought to be a 2018 release…

That being said, I applaud Disney for pushing it back from the originally intended fall 2016 release date. Again, not specifically telling us what was coming out from 2016 to 2018 was a very smart move on Disney's part, because of the internal Giants-Moana switcheroo. They thought Giants would be the fall 2016 film at one point, but they didn't tell us that officially for a good reason! I think most studios should follow that model: Claim the dates, wait and see what will be ready, and then announce what those specific slots will contain. Especially you, DreamWorks!

If something needs time, give it time. Don't rush it out to meet a desired release date. Disney did just that with Frozen (a story you probably won't hear on any Blu-ray release of the movie or any "Making Of" special), jumpstarting the project in 2011, and working off of previous iterations that never came to fruition, and director Chris Buck's 2008 Anna and the Snow Queen pitch that got swiftly cancelled in 2009. This new version of the Snow Queen adaptation was fired up after Tangled and immediately was pegged for fall 2013 since the studio had nothing to release that year, thus giving it little time to brew… and I felt it had problems while still being a decent film. But hey, all subjective, most people think otherwise. According to rumors, Disney didn't have much faith in the film, hoping it would perform like Tangled at best.

Anyways, best of luck to Nathan Greno and his project, and hopefully its problems are eventually solved. Again, I'm glad it's been put on hold, because… *for the umpteenth time* "You can't rush art!"

The same person is also saying that director Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark, Boy, and an episode of Flight of the Conchords) will be handling the script. Quite an unexpected choice, but an appropriate one. I like that Disney is slowly but surely letting outsiders write scripts, and when I say outsider, I mean people who haven't really written animated features before. Who would've thought the likes of Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee would write what is, I think, one of Disney Animation's best? Who would've thought that the latter of those two would go on to write and direct one of Disney Animation's biggest hits that's also a worldwide phenomenon? Indie writer Jordan Roberts (Around the Bend, You're Not You) co-wrote Big Hero 6's script with director Don Hall, and Jared Bush (a man with a TV background) is set to write Zootopia.

Pixar's also doing the same with Finding Dory. TV writer Victoria Strouse is penning the script. Speaking of that film's director…

Disney no longer has the cinematic rights to John Carter of Mars, as they have reverted back to Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. I'm not phased by this, because Disney wasn't planning to make a sequel to a film that they killed anyway. That all being said, ERB wants another John Carter movie - be it a new one or a sequel to Andrew Stanton's unfairly maligned film. The estate's president had this to say…

"Edgar Rice Burroughs was the master of adventure and his literary works continue to enjoy a worldwide following. We will be seeking a new partner to help develop new adventures on film as chronicled in the 11 Mars novels Burroughs wrote. This adventure never stops."

This raises a few questions: Will Andrew Stanton be able to continue his version without Disney? Would he be allowed to shop the sequel scripts to whatever studio tackles John Carter next? Think about it this way. After Stanton finishes up Finding Dory for its summer 2016 release, he takes the John Carter: The Gods of Mars script to [X] studio who is planning to invest in John Carter, and makes the movie there - all with the same actors returning.

He'd essentially be pulling a Narnia with it. What do I mean by that? Disney scored a smash hit with the first Chronicles of Narnia film back in 2005, but its 2008 sequel was a box office flop - partially due to being incredibly expensive, costing a massive $225 million. Fox then scooped up the Narnia rights, and two years later they released a third film that was still connected to the Disney-released ones since it was made by the same production company (Walden Media) and had the same cast. The film was successful because it wasn't as expensive as the last one, so they made their money back. A fourth Narnia film is currently in development, outside issues are holding it up at the moment.

But will that happen? Who knows. Whatever happens, I do hope Stanton gets to continue his series. It would really suck if it was just rebooted without him and his crew.

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