First Mouse pic to focus on African-American family
Walt Disney Pictures has caught Wayne Rice and Steve Lyons’ pricey pitch “Mad Mojo,” a feature that will mix computer-generated imagery with live action, the studio confirmed Tuesday.Sources said the deal will earn Rice and Lyons a high six-figure fee against a low seven-figure payday. Disney is already talking about it as a tentpole summer pic for one of the next few years. The pitch is about the curator of an African history exhibit who gets more than he bargained for when a 2,000-year-old statue is delivered to the museum and comes alive with a full crew of voodoo associates. One source described it as a cross between “Men in Black” and “Beetlejuice” with a heavy emphasis on the computer graphics. The pic will mark the first major Disney release that focuses on a black family as its protagonists. Rice and Lyons pitched the idea with a storyboard presentation of the computer-generated characters for the pic as well as a soundtrack. During the presentation, they also outlined potential marketing tie-ins that Disney could take advantage of through the various characters. Disney prexy David Vogel and VP of production Gregg Hoffman will oversee the project for Disney. “The concept, drawings and presentation were so clear,” Vogel said. “You could see the crowds lining up around the block if you get it right.” Rice and Lyons created the story for the project. Rice and Gina Goldman will script. Lyons, who actually created the characters, will exec produce. Master Thespian Prods., a Disney-based production deal that includes Rice, Lyons and actor Jon Lovitz, will produce the pic. Rice recently finished “Honey, the Dog Ate the Kids” and is working on “Little Green Men” with Lyons for DreamWorks. He last sold a script to Disney called “Quentin Pidd: Love Broker” with Mike Myers attached to star. Goldman and Rice co-scripted the indie pic “Suicide Kings,” which is due for an April 17 release. The deal for Rice, Lyons and Goldman was brokered by Bruce Kaufman of Broder, Kurland, Webb and Uffner. Attorney Nigel Pearson also repped the group.