dumbo

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with producer Justin Springer and screenwriter/producer Ehren Kruger about their new film, director Tim Burton’s live-action remake of Dumbo.

During the chat, we talked about the challenges in adapting Dumbo for modern audiences, the progressive animal rights message of the film, making a remake and a sequel at the same time, the possibility of a connected live-action Disney universe, inspiration from Walt Disney’s Disneyland, and more, including updates on Tron 3, which Springer has been developing for years.

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dumbo circus performers

“The unique thing about making a movie is making a sort of circus anyway,” Dumbo producer Justin Springer told us and a group of journalists on the set visit to the Disney live-action movie. But Dumbo takes that circus to a whole new level.

The Tim Burton-directed movie has a fantastical bent to it, a “storybook” approach to 1919 that’s seen in the anachronistic elements and the lavish settings. But there’s still a more grounded feeling to Dumbo that Burton and producers Springer and Frey wanted to bring with the involvement of real-life circus performers in the film. Because Dumbo may be a CGI elephant that can fly with the help of his oversized ears, but at least everyone around him can abide by the laws of physics.

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TRON Legacy LEGO Light Cycle

TRON Legacy hit theaters in 2010, and the fact that the movie exists at all is kind of a miracle. It came 28 years after the original TRON, and it was a project that had been kicked around Disney for a long time. Somehow, the demand of fans led to TRON Legacy actually being made, and it took us back to the world of The Grid, albeit in a much more sleek and technologically sophisticated fashion than the early computer animation of the 1980s original allowed.

However, TRON Legacy didn’t exactly land with as big of a splash as Disney might have hoped. Sure, the movie made over $400 million worldwide, but that was on a budget of $170 million, and that’s probably not including the marketing costs. The movie also only has a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, and only 63% from the audience ratings. That made the likelihood of seeing TRON 3 come to fruition that much more unlikely, but co-producer Justin Springer hasn’t given up hope yet.

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Briefly: The only thing constant in Hollywood is change. A few years ago it was looking like we were going to see little from major studios but big-name tentpole movies based on existing properties. And while those films are still being produced, there’s a strong trend now towards tentpoles that are either original or based on more hardcore properties as well. Just look at films like All You Need is Kill, Oblivion, After Earth, and Ender’s Game. In short, it’s a good time for big sci-fi on movie screens.

Now Disney — which cut loose Oblivion, you’ll recall — is pairing Nicole Perlman, one of the Guardians of the Galaxy writers, with Justin Springer, a producer on Tron: Legacy, to create Terra Incognita. The original pitch hasn’t been revealed, but given the meaning of that Latin phrase (“unknown land”) and the people involved, there’s the assumption that this is a new piece of original sci-fi from Disney. At the very least, it is an original project, and could end up being something that fans of big genre projects will be interested in. [Variety]

 

With the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film having earned just shy of a billion dollars worldwide (a number that is vaguely horrifying, given the quality of the film) Disney understands the power of a succesful brand. So the company isn’t just developing a new Haunted Mansion movie with Guillermo del Toro and a Magic Kingdom film with Michael Chabon and Jon Favreau. It is also starting to pull together an adventure film inspired in the Matterhorn ride. Read More »

On November 19th, I had the opportunity to participate in a day of roundtable interviews with the cast and crew of Tron Legacy. I also conducted a couple of one-on-one discussions with the filmmakers and screenwriters (but that will come later).The plan is to post one of the interviews every day up until release. We’ve previously posted interviews with Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund.Today we bring you a grouped interview with screenwriters Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and producer Justin Springer. You’ll notice that Horowitz and Kitsis are the type of writing team that complete each others sentences and are constantly improvising new angles and ways to pitch their material. After the jump you can read the transcript of that roundtable interview.

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Movie Trailer: Disney’s ‘Prom’

Why are we posting a trailer for a Disney movie titled Prom? Good question.

Prom is directed by Joe Nussbaum, who made a name for himself with the 1999 short film George Lucas in Love (also embedded after the jump, just in case you haven’t seen it), and has since been involved in teen and pre-teen films like Sleepover, Sydney White and the direct to DVD American Pie film American Pie Presents The Naked Mile. Prom is a movie about a group of teenagers get ready for their high school prom, of course.

Also, the movie is the next project from Justin Springer, co-producer of Tron Legacy. Yup, imagine that — going from Tron to Prom. Crazy. Or really not so crazy if you think about it — this type of film makes complete sense for Disney, especially with Rich Ross now aboard as Chairman. Ross formerly served as president of Disney Channels Worldwide from 2004-2009, where he had huge success with projects like High School Musical.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer now. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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