Just as the cameras were about to roll, Disney has decided to freeze development on the martial arts fantasy action version of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ called ‘Order of Seven.’
If you recall, ‘Order of Seven’ (originally titled ‘Snow and the Seven’) had been in development with Disney for more than a decade. The story centered on a young British ex-patriot living in Hong Kong who escapes from her wicked stepmother who happens to also be an evil empress. She takes refuge with 7 outlaws who once belonged to an ancient order dedicated to fighting demons and dragons. She in turn, helps the outlaws return to their former noble ways. Saoirse Ronan (‘The Host,’ ‘The Lovely Bones’) had recently signed on as the lead with Michael Gracey making his directorial debut with this film. Producers had already hired Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (the duo behind ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Cowboys and Aliens’) to polish the script and it was with high hopes that production would soon begin this summer in London.
Just as the project was moving forward and casting for international actors to play the warriors were underway, Disney decided to halt the pre-production process citing budget concerns. According to THR, the mega bomb otherwise known as ‘John Carter’ has made Disney take a second look at the budgets for all their tent pole films. The supposed expense for ‘Order of Seven’ was well over the $150million mark causing Disney to balk at continuing to fund this film that was being helmed by a first time director.
Another concern the studio has is that it no longer has a studio head. Rich Ross, who was overseeing the development of ‘Order of Seven,’ had decided to resign last April after the announcement that Disney would be writing off $2million because of ‘John Carter.’ Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, has yet to name a replacement making the studio further reluctant to go forward with the film.
This isn’t the first time Disney or any other studio has decided to halt development on a film. Last year Disney did the same thing to the Johnny Depp film ‘The Lone Ranger’ but decided to green light it once the budget was trimmed. Warner Bros. has halted ‘Arthur & Lancelot,’ while Universal has put a stop to ‘The Dark Tower.’
If you are thinking you won’t be getting your fix of fairy tale films once ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ is seen, don’t forget, there’s still ‘Maleficent’ (based on the tale ‘Sleeping Beauty’), ‘Jack the Giant Killer,’ ‘Oz, The Great and Powerful’ , ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Pinocchio’ and the two Peter Pan films called ‘Pan’ (directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Aaron Eckhart) and ‘Neverland’ (to be directed by Gavin O’Conner) all still under development.
Maybe one less fairy tale isn’t so bad after all?