Remember this Disney space epic? Exactly.
After the initial excitement of omigodmoreStarWars wore off, I got to think about the company holding on to the license: Disney. Itself long considered the Evil Empire, you’d have been hard-pressed to think last year that the studio that felt uncomfortable putting “Of Mars” in the title for John Carter would figure out to push The Avengers to being one of not only the biggest movies of the year but of all time.
So will we be getting the Disney behind Pirates of the Caribbean? Or the Disney behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End? (Check out MTV Movies blog for their “Seven Rules Disney Must Follow” in order to make Episode VII awesome!)
The John Carter Disaster
Filmmakers have spent decades trying to bring Edgar Rice Burroughs’ sci-fi hero to the big screen in one way or another. And last year, Disney was able to do it with a multi-million dollar film, featuring an enigmatic ad campaign featuring a stylized logo and then promptly no mention of the central premise in the title.
Apparently, Disney marketing execs were afraid that female viewers wouldn’t want to see a movie with Mars in the title, causing them to nix it in the final advertising, and trailers that sold the movie based on the arena scene (making it look uncomfortably like an Episode II knock-off.
Plus, The Lone Ranger might be another disaster in the offing (or a brilliant, surprise coup).
They gave Andrew Stanton millions of dollars to make a John Carter movie
Which shouldn’t discount the fact that Disney spent years getting behind the development of a movie based on John Carter of Mars and let Pixar vet Andre Stanton run the show after Jon Favreau had to drop out. They gave two hugely talented directors a crack at a tough property and the final movie, while nowhere near perfect, is an extremely fun realization of the core concept.
This is a company that made a movie out of a theme park ride
Two actually–let’s not forget The Haunted Mansion (try as we might). The willingness to capitalize on any little side project speaks to some of the worst instincts of the Star Wars franchise over the last decade or so (did we really need to learn the origins of the Force).
That first Pirates movie was really, really fun
As bloated and exhausting as those movies became, Disney had the faith in the first film to let Gore Verbinski and company make a deliriously nuts action movie with a great lead character in Jack Sparrow front in center. The subsequent movies got a little huge, expensive, and unwieldy (that’s feature creep in a feature for you), but Disney should be given credit for taking a gamble on the first one.
The Avengers may lead the way…
Of course, Disney seemed to give Marvel Studios a lot of latitude in getting The Avengers made and creating a connected universe there. And that’s something the Star Wars movies need: a sense of being connected while working and standing on their own based on the work and input of people passionate about the property. One thing you can’t fault Disney with is going for the quick cash-in.
And, they’re willing to pay for top-flight talent.
So for now, until we get word of some of the talent associated with Episode VII, consider me skeptical but not exactly pessimistic when it comes to Star Wars’ cinematic future.