Joe Johnston plans on shooting The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair in winter 2018 before retiring from filmmaking altogether. The Chronicles of Narnia film series, based on the novels of the same name by C.S. Lewis, burst onto the scene with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in 2005. The film quickly became an astounding hit for Walt Disney Studios, grossing over $745 million at the worldwide box office against an estimated production budget of $150 million.
A sequel subtitled Prince Caspian released three years later but wasn’t nearly as successful, grossing just under $420 million globally against an estimated production budget of $225 million, which is why Disney decided to put the franchise on hold. Twentieth Century Fox came on board a few years later and distributed the third installment, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. However, rights issues shelved the series until the C.S. Lewis Company came to an agreement with the Mark Gordon Company, along with TriStar Pictures and Entertainment One, to produce and distribute the upcoming fourth chapter, The Silver Chair.
Johnston told ARTS at Comic-Con Paris 2017 that The Silver Chair is scheduled to enter production in winter 2018, which means the film may not release until late 2019 at the earliest. Johnston said: “It will take a couple years to make the film, but we won’t be able to start shooting until next winter. We’ll be in New Zealand, in the south island, which will be summer down there. Then post and the visual effects and everything will take another year. So, it’ll be 2019.”
In addition to providing a filming update on The Silver Chair, Johnston also confirmed to ARTS that the Narnia movie will be his last project before retiring. Johnston said: “I’m just ready to go do something else now.” While the filmmaker didn’t say what he plans on doing during his downtime, he did say that he has a few dogs he wants to take care of and spend more time with.
For those that don’t know, Johnston started his career as an effects artist and art director for Lucasfilm, working on George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy as well as Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. His directorial debut, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, didn’t release until 1989. And ever since, he’s directed beloved films such as The Rocketeer and Jumanji, as well as Captain America: The First Avenger for Marvel Studios. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair may be his last film, but his career has left a lasting impression on the filmmaking industry that will remain for years to come.
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