Disney announced today that Saving Mr. Banks has been chosen to open AFI FEST 2013, presented by Audi, on Thursday, November 7. The film, which will have its North American premiere at the festival, stars Academy Award®-winning actress Emma Thompson and Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks, both of whom will be in attendance at the Opening Night Gala, along with director John Lee Hancock and other stars from the film.
Inspired by true events, Saving Mr. Banks is the extraordinary, untold story of how Walt Disney’s classic Mary Poppins made it to the screen and also stars Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker and Colin Farrell. The screening of Saving Mr. Banks for the Opening Night Gala will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where, almost 50 years ago in 1964, Disney’s Mary Poppins premiered. Mary Poppins went on to receive 13 Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, and ultimately brought home five Oscars®: Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Effects, Best Film Editing, Original Score and Original Song. To celebrate both films, AFI plans to bring Mary Poppins back to the TCL Chinese Theatre for a special screening of the classic film over the weekend of the film festival.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.
For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.
It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
Disney presents Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock, produced by Alison Owen, Ian Collie and Philip Steuer, and screenplay written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Executive producers are Paul Trijbits, Christine Langan, Andrew Mason and Troy Lum. The film will release in U.S. theaters on December 13, 2013, limited, and open wide on December 20, 2013.