After seeing the massive grosses come in for re-releases of The Polar Express, Walt Disney Pictures chairman Dick Cook wanted Robert Zemeckis and his performance capture studio, ImageMovers Digital, to come to Disney and make movies for them. Zemeckis, who had previously made the classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit for the company, was delighted to work with the company. Disney was especially pleased to hear his first project for Disney would be a performance capture reimagining of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in the lead as Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
Of course, the film wasn't a smash hit but made a decent amount of money. Many admired its straightforward approach to the classic story (albeit with some minor alterations) but families didn't like the scary tone of the film. They blamed the marketing by Disney, which had promised a whimsical, magical, Christmas comedy adventure in 3D. And worse was to come...
When you tell me that Robert Zemeckis, Simon Wells (great-grandson of "Time Machine" author H.G. Wells) and Seth Green are going to make a sci-fi comedy adventure in 3D, I naturally think it's going to be great. What I and the rest of the world got was one of the lowest-grossing films in box office history, Mars Needs Moms. While I can assure you it's not as unwatchable (as you may have been lead to believe), it's certainly not as good as I thought it would be. The film singlehandedly shut down ImageMovers Digital while they were in development of a remake of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine. Disney had already paid a paltry sum for the music for the film, casting had been underway (with planned appearances to have been made by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney) and Robert Zemeckis was to have helmed the film himself with a Summer 2012 release date.
Disney, now under the command of Rich Ross, had thought without ImageMovers Digital to weigh them down that they could no longer make a box-office bomb. Then came John Carter and out went Rich Ross. Now that the studio is under the control of Alan Horn, it seems that amends are about to met with Zemeckis (whose first-live-action-film-in-a-decade, Flight, is coming in November). It seems that Disney and ImageMovers are coming back together to make a film called The Magic Catalogue, about a young boy who accidentally finds himself with a bunch of sci-fi weapons. Zemeckis is attached as producer, and Variety reports that Ice Age: Continental Drift scribe Jason Fuchs will write the screenplay. It's not yet been announced if the film will be performance capture or live-action.
I'm always eager to see what Zemeckis is up to next, and if it's any better than Mars Needs Moms, I think we're in for a real treat with this new concept. Do you think it's a good idea to bring Disney and ImageMovers back together?