Nobody’s going to disagree with the sentiment that Disney are our all-conquering pop culture overlords, but the Mouse House’s track record is a lot less stellar than they’d want you to believe.
Obviously, that doesn’t really matter when brands like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, Pirates of the Caribbean and the production line of live-action remakes have generate tens of billions of dollars, but attempting to build new franchises from the ground up has yielded a number of significant box office bombs during the last decade or so.
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A Wrinkle in Time, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Tomorrowland, The Lone Ranger, John Carter, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Mars Needs Moms were all fantasy-tinged blockbusters adapted from existing IP that flopped spectacularly, losing Disney a ton of money in the process. That’s part of the reason why the studio has focused almost entirely on franchise fare, and even a recent exception like Free Guy originally started life as a Fox project.
That being said, we’re now hearing from our sources – the same ones who told us Hayden Christensen was returning for Obi-Wan Kenobi long before it was confirmed – that Disney are reportedly developing a sweeping fantasy epic said to be in the vein of The Lord of the Rings. Further details beyond that remain unclear, including whether it’ll be an adaptation or an original concept, but you’d have to imagine it’d be the former given the company’s reliance on recognizable titles at the expense of taking a risk on something new.