Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was a billion-dollar hit for the Walt Disney Company and since its lucrative run in theaters, the studio has begun to move forward with additional live-action film adaptations of classic stories that it has previously adapted in traditional animated form (if Disney announces a live-action Home on the Range movie, then we’ll know it’s really getting desperate).
Case in point: next year, the Mouse House will unveil its re-imagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale (by way of Wicked), with Maleficent (watch the trailer), followed in 2015 by Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella retelling, featuring Lily James (Downton Abbey) as the famous princess-in-the-rough. Just over seven months later, the parade will continue with a live-action take on The Jungle Book – the second one released under the Disney banner – and then, in 2016, everything is going to come full circle with Alice in Wonderland 2 (as it’s tentatively known).
Disney has confirmed the new live-action Jungle Book movie for an October 9th, 2015 release date. That means the family adventure film will be the Mouse House’s major release for that month, followed by Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur in November and then Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode VII in December (all of which are being distributed by Disney).
Production on Jungle Book should therefore be underway by the first half of 2014, with Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens) directing from a script written by Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) – which Favreau has described as being “a family brand with certain mythic elements.” For those who’re unaware, Disney previously adapted Rudyard Kipling’s story into a live-action feature back in 1994, with Stephen Sommers (The Mummy (1999)) having directed a cast that included future Sarah Connor Chronicles and Game of Thrones star Lena Headey, among others.
Meanwhile, Disney has its eyes on a Memorial Day Weekend 2016 launch for Alice in Wonderland 2, having scheduled the sequel to arrive in theaters on May 27th that year. Three weeks before then, the Mouse House intends to premiere a currently-unspecified Marvel movie in theaters – with potential candidates including Thor 3 and/or Doctor Strange – and then, three weeks after the next trip to
Wonderland Underland, Disney will unveil the anticipated Pixar sequel, Finding Dory.
Burton will probably be putting the finishing touches on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars by the time Alice in Wonderland 2 needs to start filming, which is part of the reason why James Bobin – director of The Muppets and next year’s Muppets Most Wanted – will assume the helm on Alice 2 (with Into the Looking Glass as the working title). Mia Wasikowska will reprise as Alice Kingsleigh in the film, while Johnny Depp is coming back as the more emotionally-sensitive Mad Hatter (Depp is also supposed to return as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in summer 2016).
Depending on whether Disney’s other attempts to replicate Alice‘s success – by pulling out, dusting off and repackaging stories from its animation catalogue (read: updating them for the 21st century as 3D live-action features) – pan out or not, we might end up getting even more of these projects in the future. We know of at least one that’s in the pipeline already: Cruella, a live-action vehicle for the fur-loving 101 Dalmatians villain, based on a script by Aline Brosh McKenna (who co-wrote Branagh’s Cinderella).
The Jungle Book opens in 2D and 3D theaters on October 9th, 2015.
Alice in Wonderland 2 starts playing in 2D and 3D on May 27th, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures