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Disney chairman Alan Horn’s recent conversation at the Bloomberg Business of Entertainment breakfast in New York City has triggered a wave of fresh updates regarding massive properties at the Mouse House. We caught you up on the latest Star Wars: Episode VII news, including the possibility of a date shift back to May as the Star Wars franchise continues to ufold. Now Horn is bringing fans up to date on the progress of possible sequels to Frozen and Pirates of the Caribbean… but the news ain’t so great.
With regards to the possibility of Frozen 2 making its way to theaters, Horn (according to THR) told the gathered crowd that the studio’s sole focus was on the planned Broadway musical version of the hit animated feature, and that a sequel to the movie hadn’t even been discussed. That’s a bucket of cold water tossed on the hopes of millions of Frozen fans around the world who were dreaming that the overwhelming success of the movie would automatically trigger Frozen 2. Horn didn’t say in his speech that the sequel wouldn’t happen. But if they haven’t even begun discussing it yet, the movie has to be at least three years away.
Do you want to build a snowman, Alan Horn? Apparently not.
The same goes for the fifth chapter of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series. When Horn was asked about the progress of that franchise, he replied:
We haven't seen a screenplay yet that I've been able to sign off on.… There's a lot of variables that affect the final outcome once it leaves the studio lot, so we are very careful."
That’s a bit of a backpedal for a movie that, at one point, had a subtitle (Dead Men Tell No Tales) and a release date. Yes, the latest we’d heard was that the production would sail back to 2016. But with no greenlit screenplay, that fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie seems like it’s sailing in incredibly choppy seas.
That’s bad news for Johnny Depp, who failed to open yet another non-Pirates movie in Transcendence this past weekend… putting his movie-star status in question. Depp, it would appear, needs the Pirates franchise to continue if he’s going to remain a bankable leading man. But Disney isn’t in the business of throwing money at fading film franchises. The studio has too many moneymaking plates spinning – between Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and its own animation house. They don’t need to invest in another Pirates film if it doesn’t look like it will cross $1 billion worldwide.
The Frozen 2 news is a bit more melancholic. Part of us was hoping that movie would get fast-tracked. At the very least, we need a few new songs to help get the current soundtrack out of our heads. A little help, Mr. Horn?