Whether or not you were frustrated by the conclusion of Lost, or underwhelmed by last year’s Cowboys and Aliens, writer/producer Damon Lindelof is quickly becoming a go-to guy in Hollywood – especially in the sci-fi genre. In addition to his contributions on both the mega-successful Star Trek reboot as well as the film’s highly-anticipated sequel, Lindelof’s writing is responsible for the mysterious (and ambitious) approach in Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe, Prometheus – one of 2012’s most anticipated films.
That said, Lindelof isn’t just in the business of rebooting or revisiting other people’s films – as the writer recently signed a seven-year deal with Disney to pen an entirely new sci-fi film, tentatively titled 1952. Now, we’re getting word that the Mouse House has tapped Brad Bird, hot off the mega-success of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, to direct Lindelof’s 1952 script (which was co-written with senior Entertainment Weekly writer, Jeff Jensen).
The addition of Bird to the film backs-up prior speculation that Disney is investing heavily in 1952, positioning the project as a major tentpole release for the studio – especially after a number of expensive profile projects that failed to ignite the box office (we’re looking at you John Carter and Tron: Legacy). Of course, don’t feel too bad for Disney – considering Marvel Studios’ (owned by the Mouse House) The Avengers has already made over $280 million oversees and hasn’t even opened in the U.S. yet.
That said, the Brad Bird/Damon Lindelof combo could prove to be pretty valuable for Disney – especially considering the studio isn’t relying on an established IP this round and will, most likely, market 1952 as an imaginative new sci-fi experience (an angle that served Avatar and Inception, among other films well).
Additionally, an all-new (potential) franchise won’t be held-d0wn by attempting to translate a beloved narrative to the modern big screen – while also retrofitting the storyline for a Disney-approved demographic (read: PG). Arguably, when it comes to storylines, both Tron: Legacy and John Carter suffered under the weight of attempting to encapsulate previously established rules and characters – while also providing a modern movie adventure (instead of a 1982 film or 1917 novel, respectively). The result was a pair of enjoyable but drawn-out (and mostly brainless) pieces of eye candy that, despite making loads of money, underperformed (relative to the studio’s hopes).
Bird has an unblemished critical feature track record (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) – with a penchant for balancing some enjoyable humor with memorable character moments and explosive action (where appropriate). Lindelof, as mentioned, is a bit of a mixed bag – though it’d be unfair to pin the failure of Cowboys and Aliens (as well as all the Lost frustrations) on the writer/producer alone.
Expect to be hearing a lot more about 1952 as the film gears-up for pre-production.
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1952 does not yet have a release date but we’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.