Disney remains all-in on the trend of live-action remakes, turning the majority of its classic animated library into big-budget blockbusters for a new generation. While some of these remakes have performed below expectations, there have been more than enough mega-hits to this point to prove that Disney's new formula works. The Lion King and Aladdin each made over $1 billion last year and Disney is hoping to see the same success from its upcoming take on Pinocchio by bringing in big name director Robert Zemeckis to helm the project.
Zemeckis is best known as the writer and director of Back to the Future, as well as for his work directing films like Forrest Gump, Cast Away, The Polar Express, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He's been circling Disney's Pinocchio for a while now, with reports linking him to the project back in October. On Friday, Zemeckis closed the deal with Disney to direct and co-write the adaptation.
Chris Weitz (Cinderella, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) will co-write the script with Zemeckis. The duo will pen the latest version of the Pinocchio screenplay from a previous draft Weitz wrote with Simon Farnaby.
Andrew Miano and Weitz will produce under their Depth of Field banner, the same company that is working on Disney's new remake of Bambi. Jack Rapke and Jackie Levine are both set to executive produce.
At this time there is no release date set for Pinocchio. Production could start as early as later this year and there are a few available release dates where the film could ultimately land. Disney has four live-action slots open in 2021, five in 2022, and six in 2023. It would take a major setback for Pinocchio to hit theaters any later than that.
Disney has plenty of remakes in the works set to hit theaters over the next couple of years. Next up is Mulan, from director Niki Caro. Unlike a few of the other remakes that have tried to directly emulate the original film, Mulan is being taken in a much different direction than its animated predecessor, focusing more on the action and scope than the humor or music. Mulan arrives in theaters on March 27th.
Do you think Robert Zemeckis is a good fit for Pinocchio? Let us know in the comments!