Disney’s been working on a re-imagining of the Snow White story for about a decade now. ”Order of the Seven” was to be a live-action, martial arts tale, set in Hong Kong. It was to star Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) and possibly (rumored) Chow Yun-Fat (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) and directed by Michael Gracey (in his directorial debut). Now it’s been put on the shelf and it looks like it’s not going to happen due to budget concerns. It looks like the last report was that the film’s budget was in excess of about $150 million dollars before the decision was made to shelve it, which is much like what happened to Jerry Bruckheimer’s “The Lone Ranger” (which is currently filming). That’s not to say that Disney might not change their mind about it later, but there’s some definite red flags around why they may have done this.
1. Rich Ross’s departure from Disney.
The former Disney Studios Chief who recently “resigned” had a lot of big-budget projects on the table. No surprise that anything that might have been in the works is now being met with a high level of scrutiny after what happened with John Carter.
2. John Carter
The movie was a financial disaster for Disney at the box office. However, I blame poor marketing here for John Carter’s “failure”. Nobody knew what it was about based on how it was (or wasn’t) marketed. People I’ve spoken to that did go to see the film said it was a good movie. But, if you can’t get the people interested enough to get them into the theater, then you aren’t going to make a lot of money with your movie.
Re-imaginings of classic fairy tales can be pretty interesting (and successful), you just have to keep an open mind. Tim Burton’s “Alice In Wonderland” (2010) is a prime example of this. Visually striking and combining elements from two Alice tales into one movie, it was a nice take on the Lewis Carroll classic. Just a year earlier, SyFy’s original miniseries “Alice” gave us a completely different take on the Alice tale. Keeping characters and some of the original story elements, but completely changing everything else you know about characters like the white rabbit. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it didn’t resemble the original story even remotely.
I think there may be a couple other reasons (that nobody else has mentioned) why now is not a good time for a live action Snow White tale…