Disney Dishes New Look For ‘Fantasia’ In 1998

Disney Co. vice chairman Roy Disney announced Jan. 31 that the long-anticipated release of a revamped “Fantasia” is planned for 1998. Disney offered the first preview of what to expect from the new edition of the 1940 classic.

Remaining faithful to Walt Disney’s original plan for the ground-breaking animated picture, Disney animators will insert new segments into the film, deleting some old sections and retaining others. Four original segments will make the 1998 cut: “Night on Bald Mountain,” “The Dance of the Hours” (with the dancing hippos and alligators), “The Nutcracker Suite” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” starring Mickey Mouse.

Five new musical segments will be added to the classic sequences, including a section of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (with accompanying abstract animation); Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” which will be drawn to music by Shostakovich; and a Donald Duck star turn as Noah’s assistant on the ark, set to “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Other segments will feature a migration of whales and a flock of flamingos. At least one of the segments will involve computer animation.

As for the studio’s future Broadway plans, Disney CEO Michael Eisner said the next Disney legit tuner is set for spring of ’97, although he wouldn’t specify which film is being reworked as a stage vehicle (speculation on Broadway has “Mary Poppins” in the works). Eisner said the company, which recently finalized an agreement to purchase and renovate the long-dark New Amsterdam legit theater on 42nd Street, will stage a new show every spring beginning in ’97.