Disney studio chief Alan Horn is cleaning house and is scrapping numerous projects that 20th Century Fox had in development before being bought by Disney. Among the projects that have been scrapped were ‘Mouse Guard’, a stop-motion animated tentpole that was being eyed as the start of a franchise, a Tom Hanks movie, ‘News of the World’, which has gone to Universal, and an adaptation of the Angie Thomas book ‘On the Come Up’, which has gone to Paramount. The last movie based on one of Thomas’ novels, ‘The Hate U Give’ reportedly lost $30-$40 million last year. While it’s technically still active, it is believed that Disney will also drop the Ted Melfi mental hospital dramedy ‘Fruit Loops’ which has Woody Harrelson attached to star. All of these projects except for ‘Mouse Guard’ originated at the imprint Fox 2000, which has been shuttered.
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According to Horn in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
“With Fox, we can make movies that right now I say no to. … We always have to think about the smoking policy. The audience for a Disney movie may not know what they are going to see, but they know what they aren’t going to see. There are certain things we just can’t include because we’ll get letters.”
One Fox producer says:
“We are now just only beginning to see how all this consolidation will change how movies get greenlit and made. They are looking at everything.”
‘Mouse Guard’ was due to begin production in May, but it was shut down because it was determined to be too expensive for a non-franchise film. There have also been rumors that Disney isn’t interested in any family-targeted projects from Fox since Disney does just fine in that department without any help. ‘Mouse Guard’ is being shopped to another studio.
Still in the pipeline are the ‘Kingsman’ prequel ‘The Great Game’, ‘Fear Street’, a planned trilogy of low-budget flicks based on R.L. Stine’s book series, ‘West Side Story’, the lavish musical to be directed by Steven Spielberg, ‘Free Guy’, the video game comedy to be directed by Shawn Levy, with Ryan Reynolds starring, ‘Death on the Nile’, based on Agatha Christie’s novel and a sequel to 2017’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, and the sequel to ‘Avatar’, which reportedly finished filming last Thursday.
Despite ‘Mouse Guard’ being axed due to its large budget, one executive says that Fox is being asked to develop larger-budget pictures that appeal to a broad audience, in the PG-13 and R area. While it hasn’t been ordered yet, it looks likely that Disney will okay ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’, a terrorism fact-based picture that Clint Eastwood is looking to direct.
There was no mention of the superhero movies, but most recently, it was believed that the ‘Deadpool’ franchise would continue as originally planned, but the main ‘X-Men’ brand would be completely rebooted, although that’s about five years away.
Stay tuned for updates on the Disney/Fox merger as things develop.