Following the box-office success Disney animated classics turned into live-action remakes, another tale will soon join the ranks: Dumbo.
Ehren Kruger (Transformers) will be screenwriter, and will co-produce along with Justin Springer (TRON: Legacy, Oblivion), THR reports. Seeing as the majority of the characters in the original are animals, the film is expected to be CGI-heavy, but a new element will add a broader spectrum to the tale. As THR puts it, “a unique family story that parallels Dumbo’s story” will be thrown into the mix. What does “family” mean, though? A story for a family audience, or a story about a human family? If the latter, it potentially opens the door for some deep themes about acceptance and rejection.
Dumbo, claimed to be John Lasseter’s favorite movie, is generally regarded as a modest Disney masterpiece. It’s certainly a gem in the studio’s library, but is not often anchored in ongoing franchise and marketing efforts like others that have princesses or strong music attached to them. This makes it all the more an interesting choice for a modern retelling. It has been subject to several adaptation attempts that never got off the ground (pun intended), including Dumbo 2 and a Broadway production. The most prominent attribute of the film to the Disney stable today is arguably Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the airborne, rite-of-passage carousel attraction in Disney theme parks around the globe.
In addition to the previously released live-action Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent, Dumbo will follow Cinderella (March 13, 2015), The Jungle Book (October 9, 2015), and later on down the road, The Beast and Cruella. That’s not to mention the ABC series Once Upon a Time and all the non-Disney theatrical fairytale reboots in the last few years.