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Thus far, Maleficent has added more than $600 million to Disney’s wallet. In the process, the film has also proven to the Mouse House that there’s a lot of money to be made by revisiting beloved movies and adding live action chapters. So, in that spirit, it should surprise no one that Disney is now planning to rework Dumbo.
The news comes from The Wrap, and while it’s short on details, it does offer a few hot facts. Apparently, Justin Springer, best known for producing Prom, will oversee the project, and Transformers writer Ehren Kruger will pen the script with an eye toward making it as family-friendly as possible. That family friendly part is par for the course for anyone who has been watching Disney lately.
Recent live action works like Alice In Wonderland and Maleficent have pushed the content in a slightly more adult direction than the animated source material, but they’ve still stayed on the right side of the line to appeal to families. When you go big budget, the goal is often to produce a finished product that teenagers and adults are interested in seeing, whether it’s with their kids or not. Obviously, that’s almost impossible to do, but the more successful efforts are able to appeal to a good percentage of consumers in every demographic.
Disney hasn’t officially announced what the animation might look like for a modern day remake/ reimagining/ adaptation of Dumbo, but one would imagine it would involve CGIing an elephant in with human characters, sort of like the studio did with Pete’s Dragon (which may also get rebooted)…
That was put together in 1977. Animation has progressed quite a bit since then. So, whatever final product we see should be way nicer than that. Hopefully, it’ll also have way more originality, spunk and pop than Pete’s Dragon too, which is passable enough but not exactly one of the most beloved Disney films ever.
There’s no timetable on Dumbo, but given how long movies taken to even get out of the development stage, I would say we’re looking at 2016 at the earliest, probably even 2017. Of course, all of that is dependent on if the studio is ever able to find a script it likes enough to slop down the $100 million or more it will take to do the animation correctly and pay a cast with any kind of name recognition.