Disney’s live-action The Sword in the Stone remake is among the projects that will debut as Original Movies through Disney’s streaming service, when the platform formally launches in 2019. The Mouse House’s as yet unnamed streaming service will serve as direct competition for Netflix, offering original content from not only Disney and its affiliates (Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar), but also the properties that the company is in the process of acquiring from Fox. Disney has already confirmed that its digital service’s original television content will include live-action Marvel and Star Wars TV shows, among other branded projects (specifically, a Monsters, Inc. TV series).
Similar to Netflix, the bulk of Disney’s streaming content in the beginning will be previously-released movies and television shows, including upwards of 8,000 episodes of ABC TV episodes that have aired over the past couple of decades. The Mouse House also plans to release four to five original movies for its streaming service every year, in addition to five original TV series that will cost as little as $25-35 million or as much as $100 million per 10-episode season, depending on the nature of the show. As for the service’s original movies, they are expected to fall in either the mid-range or lower end of the production budget pool.
According to Deadline, the list of projects actively being developed as Original Movies for Disney’s streaming service include a Pirates of the Caribbean-esque Don Quixote adaptation penned by Hunger Games screenwriter Bill Ray; a Lady and the Tramp re-telling based on Disney’s classic 1955 animated movie of the same name; Togo, a true story inspired sled dog drama that was formerly titled Togo and Seppala, and is being directed by Ericson Core (who also helmed Disney’s 2006 sports memoir Invincible); Stargirl, a film directed by Julia Hart (who appeared in Disney’s Tuck Everlasting) that may be based on the Jerry Spinelli YA novel of the same name; and The Paper Magician, based on Charlie N. Holmberg’s historical fantasy book series.
Deadline is also reporting that the Disney streaming service’s original movies slate will include two films that are already in post-production and were previously slated for a theatrical release. The films in question are Magic Camp, the fantasy comedy about a… magical camp that was directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday) and Noelle, the Christmas-themed comedy that was previously titled Nicole and stars Anna Kendrick as Santa Claus’ daughter. Other developing projects destined for the streaming service include Tom McCarthy’s Timmy Failure, a 3 Men and a Baby remake, and the live-action Sword and the Stone.
While Disney’s live-action remakes of its classic animated filmography have proven extremely lucrative for the studio thus far, the news that Sword in the Stone is heading to the company’s streaming service instead of theaters makes sense, in the wake of reports that Ridley Scott is directing The Merlin Saga for the Mouse House. With Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) attached to direct, The Sword in the Stone should be a far cry from Scott’s own Arthurian retelling and will further help to entice people to sign up for Disney’s streaming service when it goes live. Smaller films like Noelle should also have an easier time standing out, now that they won’t have to compete with Disney’s biggest tentpoles and franchise releases for attention in theaters.
Disney’s streaming service is tentatively slated to launch in Fall 2019. More as the story develops.
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