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