EDITORIALS

Disney Preparing to Dump Chronicles of Narnia After the Trilogy? UPDATED!

by
March 18, 2008
Source: Jim Hill Media

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

In interesting bit of news has cropped up this week courtesy of Disney expert Jim Hill. One of May's big upcoming franchise flicks is Disney's Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the second in the series. Hill claims that although Disney initially planned on adapting all seven of the novels in the Chronicles of Narnia series to play through 2013, unless Prince Caspian does well this May, they're planning to dump the series after the trilogy ends with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010.

Jim Hill, who as far as I know doesn't specifically work for Disney, does receive very solid and accurate inside information from the Mouse House. Here is his post regarding the future of the Chronicles of Narnia franchise:

From what I've heard, studio suits seem to be cooling to the idea of producing movie versions of all seven of C.S. Lewis's "Narnia" books. And unless "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" does truly huge box office once it's released to theaters in May of this year … Disney & Walden Media (i.e. Mickey's partner on the "Narnia" film series) will probably still go forward with production of the already-in-development "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." But after that … The Mouse would then mostly likely pull the plug on the rest of the proposed "Narnia" film series.

Hill goes on to explain that if they do end up pulling the plug on the four remaining films in the series, that would leave quite a bit of space open in Disney's production schedule through 2013 - so what might fill in the gaps? He claims that Disney and Pixar are gearing up to do a trilogy of films based on the "John Carter of Mars" books. This has already been previously rumored, but it sounds like they are certainly moving ahead in development. However, we'll get back to the "John Carter of Mars" adaptations at a future point once more comes out about those adaptations.

The Chronicles of Narnia Box SetTo be honest, although I'm personally looking forward to Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, I really don't think it's going to do very well this summer (it opens on May 16th). At least not well enough for Disney to warrant continuing on the series for another five movies. Obviously this franchise isn't performing as well as Harry Potter, the only other seven-book series that is actually getting all seven of its novels adapted into films (well, actually eight). Beyond that, however, it's going to get squashed by the line-up both before and after it, which includes Iron Man and Speed Racer before and Indiana Jones IV and Sex and the City after. Despite there isn't anything for kids that could really steal some of Caspian's audience, the darker tone the sequel is taking may turn away some families.

In addition to Prince Caspian, due out this summer, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is already in pre-production, C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series contains four more novels: The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle. It's hard for a series that long to keep up its momentum, especially in theaters, and I think it's in Disney's best interest to finish this off at the trilogy as mentioned. However, I'm not a fan of the books, so I may be missing out on the great material in the later half. Any thoughts from Chronicles of Narnia fans?

UPDATE: We were contacted by a Disney rep today who assured us that all of these rumors are false. Disney has not released an official statement claiming otherwise, but is rather contacting individual sites in order to dispel these rumors. You can rest assured that as far as we know, Disney and Walden Media are planning to finish the series and adapt all seven books.

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  • Peter
    I'm a huge fan of the books, but I'm having a bit of a hard time imagining how the remaining books could be adapted into blockbuster movies. There are certainly epic themes, but the stories are somewhat unconnected even though some of the characters carry through. Horse and His Boy could definitely work. Silver Chair would probably convert nicely as well. But Magician's nephew is really a book of beginnings and could properly be told in under 80 minutes (hardly a feature length film). The Last Battle tells a story of the end, and it seems like it would be extremely difficult to pull off. Just my thoughts...
  • EDA
    Personally all the books were alright but i only liked Magician's Nephew (which would be hard to adapt to film) and Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. The rest could be done as a mini-series.
  • Lexie
    I really adore all of the Narnia books. I've read them time and time again, ever since I was five or sixish. I think all of them have a unique story line, and metaphorically speaking, are really intricate and woven together really beautifully. Whether or not all of the books could be adapted into big, box office films, is yet to be seen. Could be hard, could be entirely easy. It all has to do with the screenwriters adaptation and choice of direction. I definitely think that Disney is trying to release the movies that will have all four children in them. The Magician's Nephew (personally, my favorite book, and I PRAY that that build it into a film), comes as a prequel to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and it may, or may not be hard for kids to connect with. Also, other volumes in the series only feature some of the kids, as a opposed to all of them. Children and adults alike need a consistent cast of characters to relate to the films, and once they lose some of the young characters, where is the familiarity? I'm really interested to see where they take this. I honestly think C.S. Lewis is one of the most influential authors, and men of all time. He has established a ton of hope, magic, love, and intelligence into the hearts and mind of everyone touched by his works. Whether it be The Chronicles of Narnia, or Screwtape letters, he deserves to be honored for all of his literary achievments.
  • Gomus
    "Obviously this franchise isn't performing as well as Harry Potter, the only other seven-book series that is actually getting all seven of its novels adapted into films." Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone $317,575,550 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix $292,004,738 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe $291,710,957 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $290,013,036 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets $261,988,482 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban $249,541,069 It's doing fine for me.
  • Josh
    honestly, that sucks every story in Narnia deserves to be made into an actual GOOD film....unlike the BBC crap that is very disappointing
  • This makes no sense at all. I look at the news about Prince Caspian every day for my freelance job as a News Blogger. Jim Hill make one small statement and the whole Internet declares that Disney has already given up on the Chronicles. Disney is NOT going to abandon this cash cow. the first movie has already sold a billion dollars in ticket sales and merchandise. Indications from the huge fan base are that Prince Caspian is going to be just as huge, if not bigger.
  • Chris
    Even if Disney is dumb enough to dump it, remember, Walden Media has the film rights to Narnia: they can easily find another distributor.
  • Disney has apparently been contacting various web sites in order to dispel the rumor started by Jim Hill. I will have a Blog entry about this issue some time tomorrow.
  • That makes no sense at ALL Alex. Narnia made over $290M!!!!! That is more than ALL the Harry Potters other than number one, and just a million or so away from the Order of the Phoniex. It even made MORE than Goblet did, and they were released just weeks apart! Also it did fabulous on DVD. No WAY this rumor is true unless the budget is $500M which I HIGHLY doubt.
  • Boonstra
    Under which sun is 500 million (profits gross and domestic) "not worth" perusing?. Hollyweird indeed.
  • Boonstra
    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=narnia.htm Those are some pretty impressive stats if you ask me.
  • We were contact by our Disney rep today and told that all of these rumors are false. Although no official statement has been released, they are emailing every site who wrote this up in order to attempt to dispel the rumors and put a cap on the spread of this story. Until we hear anything else, it sounds as if Disney is trying to finish the series and all seven books.
  • Eliseo
    Boy am I glad that this rumor is false..now I can hinge of the possibility of them all being made. I will not lie and say that I went into a depression when this news first came out. GO NARNIA!
  • Very glad to hear that update from Alex. I love all the books and can't wait to see my favorite three (Horse and His Boy, The Silver Chair, and The Magician's Nephew) made into films. As long as Prince Caspian is protrayed darker then The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, this could make an excellent series of films!
  • joe
    well i think all 7 should be turned into movies because it will do well, im very sure that they will be because it isnt stated that they arnt doing it and wheather or not their goin to be as big as harry potter, they will still do well, i dont know anyone who wouldnt go and see the films! me and my friends cant wait to see the second one!
  • Mr. X
    Mark Sommer is right. Jim Hill is a stopped clock who specializes in spreading FUD. He reported that "Cars" was a failure. He reported that "Ratatouille" was a failure. Now, he's reporting that "Narnia" is a failure.
  • Yes! So glad to have gotten some good news at the end of this post! LONG LIVE NARNIA!
  • Eponine
    I think that The Last Battle should be made into a film if nothing else, because it finishes up the story of the 4 kids and the end of Narnia. Not that the others aren't good books, but I feel that we at least need a closing with the characters we've already seen in the films
  • jason
    I hope this film will be continued because this film is better than harry porter.I think it would be the best film made by walt disney.
  • Jen
    Disney doesn't appear to be fond of taking financial risks to try new things (See:the majority of new full length animated features released in recent years being sequals of older "classics") The narnia books and movies are pigeonholed as being "religious" and could be interpreted as having a limited audience. As a consumer I expect Disney will not continue the series past it's current obligation but that does not mean the end of the franchise. As I recall Disney also dropped the Pirates of the Carribean franchise yet the films continued on as "Pirates" Also was it Disney that planned to pick up the LotR series originally squeezed it into only 1 or two movies but cancelled it because they decided it would not be successful?
  • Joel
    Personally, I do believe that "Cars" was the one movie I didn't find as good as the other Pixar films. "Ratatouille" was good. It would be a complete shame if they didn't complete all seven of the installments.
  • Esther
    i'm really glad that they're doing all of them and i hope that they do the last battle justice because its the best one i hope they can do it and that way anna popplewell and william mosely will be able to come back for horse and his boy and the last battle i'm very excited for this tun of events
  • Esther
    though im sad about susan in the last battle
  • Cliff
    I read the Chronicles as a child, loved them, and am now reading them to my 7 year old daughter, who is also enjoying them just as much I would be very disappointed if Disney did drop the franchise (with rumours flying around one way or another it is still hard to tell). I have been waiting a long time to see them filmed, and filmed well. The last two films have not disappointed, not one bit. I think that despite some comments, all of the books would transfer to film well. The Silver Chair and the Last Battle could make for some pretty epic cinema, as well as the Magicians Nephew. The last of the series The Horse and His Boy, while perhaps the weakest of the remaining books could still be given the Disney treatment and made into an enjoyable film. The benefit of the latter two stories is that they could be filmed without the participation of the original cast if neccesary (think of the actors playing the adult Pevensies in the first film). As one of the previous commentators have pointed out, if Disney were to drop the series then it is likely that another distributor would be very likely to pick it up. Looking at the amounts of money these films have generated at the box office, as well as the merchandising surrounding them, I would be astonished if Disney were to drop this series, although one is prompted to question just how greedy the company is if they would consider an excess of $200 million dollars not enough? I will keep watching the web, and hope that they finish this series of films with the same degree of quality as the first two. I will also hope that Lewis' christian message is not dropped or masked by the timidity of studio bosses in the same way that fear of christian groups protesting has affected the making of the Philip Pulman trilogy, or rather caused the cessation of the remaining trilogy.
  • Cliff commented: "one is prompted to question just how greedy the company is if they would consider an excess of $200 million dollars not enough?" What you have to consider is that only about half the box office receipts go to the studio. And the cost of production does not include advertising, etc. The estimate I have seen is that the movie would have to take in box office receipts of $400 to $500 million in order to just break even. (Box office totals are at $420 million worldwide. Of course, there is also some revenue from merchandising DVD sales.) That is why the budget for the next movie will be slashed from $200 million to closer to $100 million.
  • Jenni
    I REALLY hope that they continue witht the series. With or without Disney. Prince Caspian may not have done as well as Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, but that's because it's a much darker movie and a necessary step in the storytelling to reach the next book. I thought it was filmed brilliantly, no matter what anyone says!
  • For those who may not know, Disney has decided not to support any more Narnia movies. Walden Media is looking for another partner and still plan to begin filming within three months. Disney's decision seems strange given that fact that Prince Caspian will make money even though it is one of the least favorite books. For more of my thoughts, see this link: http://live.hollywoodjesus.com/?p=3355

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