Sing it with me now: “In the town where I was born, there lived a man named Robert Zemeckis. And he told us of his life, and his remake of Yellow Submarine.” If you don’t think that has the same ring as the original Beatles hit, you’re not alone.
According to a new report, Disney has canceled plans to produce Robert Zemeckis’ remake of the classic 1968 film, which was set to use the director’s trademark motion-capture technology. Yellow Submarine has been struggling to get off the ground for some time. In fact, the last bit of news we’d heard about Yellow Submarine was when the cast was announced and that was over a year ago.
The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story, writes that the critical and box office failure of Zemeckis’ current project, Mars Needs Moms (see our review here), played a huge role in Disney’s decision to nix the big-budget remake. Over its opening weekend, the $150 million Mars Needs Moms only made $6.9 million.
With its excellent songs and psychedelic animation, the original Yellow Submarine is a classic film, which perfectly captured the “Free Love” era at its zenith. Which is why, to me, the thought of a remake always seemed somewhat off.
Although it’s been more than 40 years since the original film was released, The Beatles are still one of the most widely popular and profitable bands in history. However, there’s a difference between buying a classic Beatles album and going to see Yellow Submarine in eerie motion-capture. The generation that saw Yellow Submarine in theaters originally is now in their late-5os to mid-60s (or the same age as Robert Zemeckis). Frankly, that’s not a very profitable demographic for studios.
With Zemeckis’ recent track record, it’s no wonder that Disney decided to pass on the project. In Hollywood, it’s all about bankability, and the Mouse House clearly felt that Yellow Submarine wasn’t a good risk. Does that mean the move is sunk? (Pun intended.) Not necessarily.
According to THR, Zemeckis is weighing his options with the film. Currently, he is looking for a live-action film to direct, which would be a welcome change of pace, but Yellow Submarine is not off the table yet. One would assume that if Zemeckis can find somebody else to back the project, he’ll try and move forward with it.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter