Hot off the blockbuster success of “The Jungle Book,” Disney has been staking out several years worth of live action fairy tales.
In grabbing the release dates, Disney gave a peak at its development pipeline. The studio confirmed that it is planning to make “Cruella,” an “101 Dalmatians” spin-off with Emma Stone, as well as sequels to “Jungle Book” and “Maleficent.” Angelina Jolie is set to return for “Maleficent” with Linda Woolverton, the screenwriter on the first film, handling script duties. “Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Marks are returning for another trip into the wild.
The company also confirmed that it is moving forward with Jennifer Lee’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” with Ava Duvernay directing; “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” with director Lasse Hallstrom (“My Life as a Dog”) and writer Ashleigh Powell attached; a Tinker Bell project with Reese Witherspoon set to star and Victoria Strouse (“Finding Dory”) writing; “Jungle Cruise” with Dwayne Johnson set to star and John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“Focus”) writing; and “Dumbo” with director Tim Burton and writer Ehren Kruger (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”) overseeing the elephant tale.
In addition, Disney said it is planning a sequel to “Mary Poppins” with Emily Blunt and “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel-Miranda starring and Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) directing. Given that these films are still in various stages of planning, it is possible that certain projects could fall out. It shows, however, the enormous confidence Disney has in its ability to make live action fantasies. Not only has “The Jungle Book” been a critical and commercial success, but the studio has also reaped big profits with “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Maleficent.”
The studio has staked out release dates, but did not say which product would be reserved for which slot. It plans to release an untitled Disney live action fairy tale on July 28, 2017 (as opposed to on previously scheduled Dec. 22, 2017), on April 6, 2018, and on Dec. 20, 2019. The company will also release live action movies on Aug. 3, 2018 and on Dec. 25, 2018. That puts their releases in competition with several major films, among them “Jumanji,” Sony’s animated “Spider-Man” film, and an untitled animated film from “ParaNorman” creators Laika.
The “Jungle Book” and “Mary Poppins” sequels are farther along in their development process and will likely be among the films snagging those dates. This kind of flag planting is becoming increasingly common place. As studios plunge deeper into the tentpole business, they want to establish themselves in prime release dates years in advance.
See below for dates:
UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE (Live Action) previously dated on 12/22/17 moves up to 7/28/17
UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE (Live Action) now dated on 4/6/18
UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION now dated on 8/3/18
UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION now dated on 12/25/18
UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE (Live Action) now dated on 12/20/19