Disney studio chief cancels production
In what marks the third high-profile film that Disney has halted since Rich Ross took the studio reins, “Wild Hogs 2: Bachelor Ride” has been scrapped.The Touchstone Pictures sequel to the 2007 hit was revving up to begin production by next summer, with Walt Becker back as director, and John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy reprising their roles as biker pals in midlife crisis. Original scribe Brad Copeland had written the sequel script, and new writers were in the process of being hired. That ended this week, when word came down that the picture wasn’t going to get made. While discussions were under way with the cast, nobody was pay or play. Disney’s release of the Becker-directed “Old Dogs,” which starred Travolta and Williams, was poorly reviewed and did not do strong business at the box office. The move comes after the studio pulled the plug on another Touchstone comedy — the Robin Williams-Anna Faris comedy “Wedding Banned.” Last month, Disney drydocked “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” a Disney label production that was steaming toward a February production start. It wasn’t immediately clear whether creative challenges played a role in the demise of “Wild Hogs 2,” but the understanding in the community is that getting a production start on a film in the Mouse House will be a big challenge if it doesn’t squarely fit the Disney family branded model. That means it’s even tougher for Touchstone films, which are designed to be edgier.