Apr 27, 2016

    Jungle Book 2 among new Disney movies


    DISNEY confirmed that it is planning sequels for box office smashes The Jungle Book and Maleficent.

    It also announced nine new live-action movies - mostly inspired by its animated back catalogue.

    The studio also confirmed widespread rumours of a Mary Poppins sequel starring Emily Blunt; and Cruella, a spin-off of 101 Dalmatians, featuring Emma Stone.

    Angelina Jolie will reprise her role as Maleficent with Linda Woolverton once again taking on script duties, while director Jon Favreau revisits the story of man-cub Mowgli for Jungle Book 2, the studio said on Monday.

    Reese Witherspoon will take a leading role in Tinker Bell, a remake of Peter Pan, Disney added. Director Tim Burton will take the helm for Dumbo, a modern retelling of the 1941 Disney classic.

    While speculation about all the films has been rife - some of which Disney has previously confirmed - the latest statement represents its first official announcement accompanied by a schedule.

    The studio plans to release live-action fairy tales in December 2017, April 2018 and December 2019, without revealing which movies had been allocated to each slot.

    The company will also release live-action movies in August and December 2018, it added.

    Disney has raided its back catalogue of fairy tales in recent years for money-spinners such as Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella and Maleficent, which made a combined US$2.5 billion (S$3.4 billion).

    Over the coming months, Alice Through the Looking Glass and Beauty And The Beast are expected to fill theatres while The Jungle Book has taken in US$192 million domestically in the first two weeks since its release.

    Disney also confirmed Jungle Cruise - starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and based on a theme-park ride - among the list of projects, all of which will be given launch dates over the coming months.

    Among the less well-known projects making up the list is A Wrinkle In Time, a poorly received 2003 TV adaptation of a 1960s sci-fi novel, and The Nutcracker And The Four Realms.

    Based on the 1816 fairy tale The Nutcracker And The Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann, the story was the inspiration for Pyotr Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, perhaps the world's most famous ballet.

    But Disney's announcement made no mention of Aladdin spin-off Genies, Mulan, Pinocchio, The Sword In The Stone or Winnie The Pooh.

    They were all rumoured to be getting the live-action upgrade along with Night On Bald Mountain, reportedly a remake of 1940 icon Fantasia.