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A Shameless "me too" - Narnia Deals with Disney

Discussion in 'Archive' started by JeffNOrangeCounty, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. JeffNOrangeCounty

    JeffNOrangeCounty Member

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    Within hours after LOTR swept the Oscars, the ever creative WDCo comes out with a 2 page color spread in the LA Times heralding "The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe".

    http://edition.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Movies...lm.narnia.reut/

    Nice to see they are on the cutting edge of bottom feeders that are ate up with envy. Do you think Mike would be having the problems he has been having had he taken the LOTR risk backing Pete Jackson? Ah but then the story would have been cost controls and dumbing down the script (like Pearl Harbor, etc.). Thanks to New Line for not ruining a masterpiece.

    And Harvey W., my advice is, ring up Steve Jobs and get a new boss.

    Jeff

    PS Kudos to Pixar too.

    PSS How do you think CS Lewis' theology and Biblical Illusions will play in theme parks?
     
  2. 1313

    1313 Member

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    I know the individuals from Walden Media who personally pitched the Narnia Chronicles project (five films in ten years) to Mike some time ago.

    They told me that two minutes (!) into the presentation, he abruptly ended the meeting stating that Disney would never helm such an expensive venture and that the stories were too "British."

    Hey, wait a second... wasn't that Poppins babe from the UK? (Not to mention that poor bear Disney's been flogging for years.)


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  3. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Member

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    "PSS How do you think CS Lewis' theology and Biblical Illusions will play in theme parks?"

    If Disney has some common sense they'll take a look at the box office take for "The Passion" and leave Lewis's allusions and symbolism alone.
     
  4. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    The theme park tie-in is s-o-o-o-o obvious that I'm sure Mike has got it mapped out already......as your vehicle prepares to exit the magical land of Narnia, after defeating the White Witch, you suddenly find yourself approaching the closet you originally entered through, and......what a surprise!!!!--you've been successfully transported into the infamous Disney exit gift shop!!! You're not home yet--the magic continues!

    Mike
     
  5. adimike

    adimike Member

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    What is truly a shame is that it seems that NARNIA is simply being used to convince shareholders that all is well with Disney.

    It is also an example that Eisner's regime cannot come up with new ideas, but keeps trotting out remakes and Regis, or waits to see what everyone else is doing.

    In news stories this week, Narnia is held up by Disney spokepeople as a shing beacon of how all is well at Disney. Unfortunately, as any animation fan will tell you, it takes years to cultivate these ideas, and I don't hear many other ideas coming from Michael's minions.

    It is also a shame because there have been flashes of the old Disney magic, such as THE ROOKIE and MIRACLES, but they are so few and far between that you almost think that Michael must have been on vacation when they pitched him.

    Adrian
     
  6. Gurgitoy2

    Gurgitoy2 Active Member

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    Also, why did they have to go out and get another book license when they've been sitting on the "OZ" series for years! Ok, so they made "Return to OZ', and it didn't do so well. But now with all of the fantasy films doing so well, it would be the perfect time to resurect that.

    Poor choice if you ask me. They just spent who knows how much money on this, when they had something just as good or better already at their disposal. Par for the course, I guess.
     
  7. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Member

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    I would not underestimate or underrate the potential of "Narnia" to do well, provided that there are no tamperings made in the interests of being PC. Then *that* will demonstrate Disney's failure to be innovative.
     
  8. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    If the movie is produced under the same management, my guess it'll suck because they won't have the budget to make it a blockbuster.

    But yeah, it's another example of Disneyesque copycatting. Disney Beanbag Plush came 6 months after the Beanie Babies thing exploded. Animal Kingdom was the answer to Busch Gardens. Pleasure Island was built to get people away from (now-defunct) Church Street Station. And the list goes on and on.

    -Sharon-
     
  9. 1313

    1313 Member

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    Regarding this long-term (10 year) New Zealand-based project, it may be worth noting that Disney's involvement will be limited to serving as a distribution channel and branding "agent" in return for their investment.

    The first Narnia Chronicles installment begins principal photography on NZ's North Island in July and was prepped by a production team free from *any* Disney input.

    In other words, Disney will have no creative involvement with this project, similar to the company's relationship with Jerry Bruckheimer.

    Bruckheimer's "Coyote Ugly," "Pearl Harbor," "Pirates of the Caribbean," etc. were all projects created by *his* people and handed off to Disney for marketing and distribution when completed.

    Beyond the fact that Bruckheimer feels Disney has nothing to offer in terms of creative suggestion, he also knows that the company's notorious cheapness can harm his projects. For example, if the TechnoCrane operator is *still* waiting to be paid for his work/equipment after three weeks, he just might not show up the next time -- and Jerry ends up watching the sun set over an expensive, establishing crane shot without ever rolling cameras. (I've seen it happen. Not a pretty picture.)

    Walden Media gave Disney a chance to be creatively (and financially) involved and Mike passed. So, they found the capital elsewhere. At this late date, all Disney has to offer the project is their brand and distribution channels.

    Personally, I don't think Mike will be around to proffer an opinion of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"'s first rough cut.


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  10. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    > Personally, I don't think Mike will be around to
    > proffer an opinion of "The Lion, the Witch and
    > the Wardrobe"'s first rough cut.

    Me neither. And thank heaven for THAT!

    -Sharon-
     
  11. Hrothgar

    Hrothgar Member

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    To be fair, way back in the day when we heard that they were going to film "Lord of the Rings,"weren't most of us HIGHLY skeptical? And Peter Jackson didn't exactly inspire confidence at that point either. I was a huge fan of the BBC radio adaptation (with Ian Holm as Frodo) and thought the movies could never measure up to that (much less the books).

    I was, of course, mistaken. In fact, I've heard that PJ drew extensively from the BBC adaptation in initially laying out the three-film version (they have approximately the same running time and are paced similarly). They even cast Ian Holm as Bilbo. PJ also employed my two favorite Tolkien artists (Alan Lee and John Howe) as the production designers. But most importantly, Jackson brought a stirring new vision to the story that I had no conception of beforehand. So before you condemn the Narnia films, give them a chance. A lot of the same people from LotR will be involved and I think distribution from Disney can only help, not hinder the production (assuming they have no say in the actual creative process itself, as others here have asserted).
     
  12. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Wow, am I out of it--and all along I was thinking sorcerer Mickey still had some magic left in his wand, to explain the success of Pirates....thanks for the wake-up call.....

    S-o-o-o-o.......who exactly are the folks involved with the Narnia project? Some were involved with LOTR?

    My son grew up with the BBC production of The Chronicles of Narnia; he's 14 now(sniff....sniff....), and still goes back to it on a regular basis, one of his favorites. The special effects certainly are not state of the art, but the White Witch is still very frightening(recent write-up of the DVD release in Video Watchdog magazine), still an enjoyable production.

    Mike
     
  13. ps1082

    ps1082 New Member

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    You know... for being such big "Disney fans"... you guys sure don't have a lot of good to say about the company. That's pretty sad. Disney's made some mistakes, so has Eisner... but the company hasn't gone to hell yet. This is a good project for Disney and Walden to take on. And I'm sure they'll do it justice. And for the person that started this line... if Bob and Harvey Weinstein take Miramax back from Disney (which I guarantee won't happen), Disney's pretty much screwed. I would've thought fans of Disney would want the company to succeed, not see it hurt.
     
  14. ps1082

    ps1082 New Member

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    You know... for being such big "Disney fans"... you guys sure don't have a lot of good to say about the company. That's pretty sad. Disney's made some mistakes, so has Eisner... but the company hasn't gone to hell yet. This is a good project for Disney and Walden to take on. And I'm sure they'll do it justice. And for the person that started this line... if Bob and Harvey Weinstein take Miramax back from Disney (which I guarantee won't happen), Disney's pretty much screwed. I would've thought fans of Disney would want the company to succeed, not see it hurt.
    One more point... Jerry Bruckheimer served as a producer on those films... Disney called Bruckheimer to produce Pirates... it was not his idea. So again, Disney did have creative input to add to the movie.
     
  15. adimike

    adimike Member

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    Hi, PS.

    I think you are reading this completely wrong. No one here wants Disney to do badly. We want them to excel as they have shown themselves to be capable of in the past. In that past, Disney was the creative spark that drove the idea, and those who collaborated with them found something valuable in the experience/partnership.

    However, under the current regime, that has changed. I think that you have to lay the very large majority of credit for Disney's recent animation successes directly on Pixar's shoulders, and yet Eisner picked Nemo to be a flop, and seems to be unable to see that his resentment over not being creditied as the driving genius behind this is doing more damage to Disney. When you compare the Pixar titles with the non-Pixar titles in the last few years, somebody at Disney has been screwing up real bad.

    And then to show their committment to quality, they jettison as much of the animation department as they can. with such a scaled down well of talent to now draw from, why should we place any faith in the future of Disney UNDER EISNER. He was the answer in 1984. He is not the answer now.

    Miramax is the same issue. We do NOT want Miramax to split off. We want Disney to see the value of the partenrship, learn from it, and stop disposing of the creative side of the company. It has become painfully obvious that thier quest for the bottom line is harming the Disney legacy and potential.

    All of us are on this site because we love what Disney has created, and believe can still create....but not under current regime.

    Adrian
     
  16. 1313

    1313 Member

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    "Served as *a* producer"? That's a bit like saying David O. Selznick hung out on the set once in a while during production of "Gone With The Wind."

    From trifles such as "Down And Under" ("Kangaroo Jack") to the upcoming "King Arthur," Bruckheimer is very much a hands-on producer.

    I've seen him shut down production for weeks (keeping the entire company on payroll) to tweak sequences that don't work. He's also the king of re-shoots if he feels it will improve the picture. He doesn't care what it costs because he knows he'll almost always make it back in spades.

    He doesn't really make movies that I go to see but most of his features do very well. He's not big on titles/credits (that was Don Simpson's forte) but believe me, he is *the* producer on his shows.

    After the on-the-cheap "Country Bears" tanked, Mike got together with Jerry and handed him a piece of paper with "Pirates of the Caribbean" written on it. Bruckheimer's people came up with a budget; Mike signed off on that and Jerry made the picture.

    Some "creative input."


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  17. Hrothgar

    Hrothgar Member

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    WETA Digital is doing the visual effects...or at least providing input. It's unclear at this point to what degree they will be involved...only that they will be.

    Oh, and as far as Jerry Bruckheimer goes, it's great that he's not afraid to spend on a production and it's obvious to everyone that his movies make money. Whether his movies are any good is an entirely seperate issue.
     
  18. JeffNOrangeCounty

    JeffNOrangeCounty Member

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    Re:.. and further more...

    Sigh... (As I look around my office at the 1000.00's I have invested in the Disney library, music & collectibles. And reflect on my Magical Gathering I just had in November)

    As a passenger in the back seat, I want the driver replaced, not the Car sold.

    Disney had LOTR in its hands (under Miramax) and passed. That is the sentiment that started the thread!
    Disney is much more to me than its modern day behemoth. It's a legacy. It's my culture. It is where I am from. We here on this board respond in much the same fashion as do a myriad of topics in politics and religion, passionate issues for passionate people.
    (Question: Does the fact that a current majority disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is running the country result in their not wanting the US to be successful? Does the [enter denomination here] faithful who rail against the progressive stance of their liberal clergy not want Christianity to be successful in their lives?)

    The single difference that has overwhelmingly marred Eisner's legacy since Frank Wells died is that he refuses to take financial risks on quality of substance and detail. (See DCA, Paris studios, Country Bears, etc. Heck, he wouldn't even rehire Lizzie McGuire) The talent has walked away or has been dismissed with an air of indifference. He has traded in his Mr. Goodwrench for jiffy-lube. And the lack of maintenance is catching up with the vehicle. Know any good chauffeurs?

    Jeff in Orange County "The person that started this thread"
     

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