Just one week after announcing the development of a new live action Beauty and the Beast, it looks like Disney is adding yet *another* reboot/re-imagining of a previous film to their slate of upcoming projects. Surprisingly, this one isn’t based on a fairy tale and instead it will be a new adaptation of their 1977 family musical Pete’s Dragon. It seems safe to assume that the new version will be a live-action / CG hybrid, especially since the original used a mix of live-action and 2D animation. They are also planning to “reinvent the core story” and this time around it won’t be a musical either. Brazzle Dazzle Day, indeed.
According to Deadline, Disney has hired David Lowery and writing partner Toby Halbrooks to pen a new take on Pete’s Dragon for producer Jim Whitaker (The Odd Life of Timothy Green). Lowery’s latest film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, where it was also acquired by IFC Films. Strangely, the gritty drama is about as far as you can get from Disney material; Casey Affleck plays an outlaw who escapes from prison and treks across the Texas hills to re-unite with his wife and daughter.
The original Pete’s Dragon starred Mickey Rooney, Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Red Buttons and Shelley Winters, and although it was only a moderate success at the box office, it is hailed by many as an underappreciated Disney classic. It seems like it could be ripe for a remake and perhaps even piggyback on the popularity of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon (which is getting a sequel next year). Still, it certainly doesn’t have the name recognition of things like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. Are you interested in a new take on Pete’s Dragon or are you disappointed to see Disney regurgitating so much old material?