Disney's Philip K. Dick Animated CG Movie Has Been Shelved?
Back in April of 2008, Disney revealed their line-up of animated movies through 2012. One of them listed for release at Christmas in 2012 (three full years from now) was a project called King of the Elves based on Philip K. Dick's short story. Disney hired Brother Bear co-directors Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker to direct this and we thought it was moving along smoothly. However, SlashFilm is reporting that Disney has "permanently shelved" King of the Elves, meaning we'll never see it. In fact, word from inside Disney is that no one's sure when we'll see another CG animated movie (which this would've been) instead of hand-drawn.
King of the Elves is a fantasy story about an average man living in the Mississippi Delta, whose reluctant actions to help a desperate band of elves leads them to name him their new king. Joining the innocent and endangered elves as they attempt to escape from an evil and menacing troll, their unlikely new leader finds himself caught on a journey filled with unimaginable dangers and a chance to bring real meaning back to his own life. Sounds a lot like Pixar's Up (a hopeless man finds meaning to his life again), but with some elves and trolls and so on. That all sounds great, but maybe it's not the typical Disney story that they wanted.
Disney hasn't had the greatest success with their own CGI movies recently (e.g. Bolt), competing against Pixar and other animation houses. But that doesn't mean they should stop making them entirely! The King of the Elves page is still up on the Walt Disney Animation Studios official website, but it may not last long. SlashFilm's Brendon Connelly isn't sure why King of the Elves got shelved though. Some industry folks have heard different things, too. "I hear someone say retooling, then someone say canceled." One of them also asks: "Why was production so turbulent that a director left, it entered re-tooling, and then was canned?"
It's honestly hard to say that I was looking forward to a project that was three years out, but I love Philip K. Dick's stories and really wanted to see Disney adapt one. Then again, The Adjustment Bureau is based on a PKD short story, and that's already shot and due out in 2010, so I think I'll be fine. If we hear anything new about King of the Elves, including that it may be back on, we'll let you know. Is this a big loss or not?