Disney Backs Out of Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Yellow Submarine’

Published 4 years ago by

yellow submarine header Disney Backs Out of Robert Zemeckis Yellow Submarine

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.

yellow submarine 3 Disney Backs Out of Robert Zemeckis Yellow Submarine

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

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  1. Good!! The Beatles shouldn’t be touched.

  2. It wouldn’t be the same, they don’t make LSD like they used too…

    • Leave it alone – it’s a classic and could never be bettered.

  3. Thank you, baby Jesus!

  4. Let it be, Let it be!
    Let it beeee, Let it be!

    Sorry, I had to.

    • LOL!

  5. Was “Mars Needs Moms” the final nail in the Zemeckis’ “trademark motion-capture technology” coffin?
    Could be Rabbit, could be.

  6. There was a yellow submarine movie??

    • In a few years the folks will be saying

      “There was a hit Robert Zemeckis Movie? Really?”

  7. Can we please now have a ban on Zemeckis using that eerie technology for at least 20 years? Every single thing he touches with that technology looks “off” in a way. I cannot bear to sit through an entire DVD of that type of art, it just creeps me out like watching clowns.

    I wish he would go back to live action. He had some directing chops at one time.

  8. Actually, I don’t think that Yellow Submarine is a “classic”… and I’m a MASSIVE Beatles fan. The film had no coherence and I’ve said many times that it could only be enjoyed if you are 3 or high. And I was neither when I saw it. So, I wouldn’t mind a remake as it wouldn’t be difficult to improve on the original.

    • How about if you’re 3 Feet High and Rising? ;-)

  9. Dear Robert Zemekis,

    stop using motion capture.

    Everyone ever

    • That’s the comment of the day, right there. :-P


  10. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who’s always asked WTMC (What The Motion Capture) each year when the next Zemeckis tragedy starts its marketing blitz.

    Is Robert Zemeckis like majority stock holder at Disney or something? I mean how else can he get something like this green lit when its got a proven track record of immanent disaster?

  11. The upcoming revision to the Physicians Diagnosis Handbook has some new mental disorders listed including one called ‘ZMC’ Syndrome.

    It says patients who suffer from ZMC have a whole hearted belief that they have discovered the answer or solution to the greatest problem plaguing man but because no one else can see it they must do anything and everything to convince others of the greatness of their discovery no matter the cost their backers or anyone else.


    • Sounds uncannily like the end results of paranoid schizophrenia with delusions of grandeur, BCC. I’m not joking, either. You may be onto something there…

  12. I am 27 years old and I grew up listening to the Beatles and watching Yellow Submarine and I have just one thing to say. This movie does not need to be remade, it is perfect the way it is with all it psychedelic colors and the whole ‘peace and love’ era that just fits with everything the Beatles were about so why does Zemeckis want to ruin it?

  13. Is nothing safe from this man and his infernal “zombievision”?! In all seriousness I’m sick to death of remakes, reboots prequels and sequels, Hollywood is full of completely ignored great ideas, the executives need to pull out of stagnation and listen to some of them!

  14. It was my impression that the film he was working on was a live action sequel to across the universe( directed by Julie Taymor ) set in the alternate universe of pepperland. I had suggested that some of the characters from that fiim make the journey there in a transdimensional conveyance, the yellow submarine. I am still eagerly awaiting that project, not a redo of the animated film .