At the 2009 D23 Expo, it was announced that Hollywood neo-legend Guillermo del Toro would be teaming up with Walt Disney Studios to form a new shingle, Disney’s Double Dare You with the first project to be Trollhunters. Despite the announcement at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con that del Toro would be charging a remake of the studio blemish The Haunted Mansion, staying truer to the original attraction (which doesn’t use the definite article), it was also recently announced that Trollhunters would be going to Disney arch-nemesis DreamWorks Animation.
What to become of del Toro-produced remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark after it too received its own panel at San Diego Comic-Con? Initially slated to be released January 21, 2011, it was initially reported by Deadline Hollywood and then the LA Times that it will no longer be distributed by Disney and thus will be held in limbo until Miramax future owner Filmyard Holdings finds a new distributor for it. According to the Times, del Toro ‘was devastated by the news.’ In addition to DBAOTD, the also-remake The Debt will receive the same fate.
Disney will be releasing Julie Taymor’s take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest on December 17. According to that film’s title credits, it’s a joint production between Miramax and Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. Gnomeo and Juliet which will be released in February was also initially going to be released under the Miramax banner and was said to be included in the sale of the film production and distribution company but recently debuted its trailer featuring only the Touchstone moniker.
As a follow-up to our first look at Katie Holmes in Miramax’s chilling remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark directed by Troy Nixey and produced by epic filmmakers Guillermo del Toro and Mark Johnson, MySpace released the teaser trailer first revealed at the 2010 San Diego Comic-con. Miramax Films and Walt Disney Studios have also provided us with the title treatment for the film to help set the mood.
In Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Sally Hurst (Bailee Madison), a lonely, withdrawn child, has just arrived in Rhode Island to live with her father Alex (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) at the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. While exploring the sprawling estate, the young girl discovers a hidden basement, undisturbed since the strange disappearance of the mansion’s builder a century ago. When Sally unwittingly lets loose a race of ancient, dark-dwelling creatures who conspire to drag her down into the mysterious house’s bottomless depths, she must convince Alex and Kim that it’s not a fantasy—before the evil lurking in the dark consumes them all.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is scheduled to be released in theaters nationwide on January 21, 2011.
New footage and the new TRON Legacy trailer at the San Diego Comic-Con panel weren’t the only surprises up Walt Disney Studios’ sleeve. After the panel supposedly ended and many had scattered, moderator Patton Oswalt introduced a couple of new juicy items for those who remained.
Reminiscent of the Studios’ D23 Expo presentation, those who left early failed once again to see Captain Jack Sparrow himself. Not in the flesh this time however, Johnny Depp as Sparrow made a 3D appeal to the audience denying he was involved in gathering up a crew on a quest to find the fountain of youth. Zombies, mermaids and Penelope Cruz were enough to fight off any interest he may have had embarking on the quest and — he adds quite simply — he’d need a bloody map to find it — or at least a bloody mary, if not both.
But the really big news came after Depp’s virtual appearance. Oswalt surveyed the crowd asking if Disney could remake any film (not Newsies), which would the crowd like to see? The answer comes in the form of Haunted Mansion.
But this time, Eddie Murphy will not be wearing the hat of the lead role. That honor goes to the long lost infamous Hatbox Ghost. So says the director of the film, Guillermo del Toro, who announced a partnership with Walt Disney Studios in the way of Truth or Dare films at last year’s D23 Expo.
Del Toro (who did appear in the flesh), explained that the remake will be live action horror and scary — if you take children to it, ‘they will scream.’ It will not be a comedy and it will remain true to the original imagineers’ vision of the classic Disneyland attraction.
Del Toro spoke at length about his love of the attraction and how he visits it at least once a year to relax — ‘that’s how freaky I am,’ he explained. At home, del Toro already owns much Haunted Mansion memorabilia from the likes of Marc Davis, amongst others. And with the new film, he noted, he hopes to be able to bring home a lot of the props.
More information to come.
Despite being on the auction block, plans to release upcoming films from Miramax still appears to be on the plate. And despite being a remake of a 1973 tv movie, Disney is hinting that it may rename the Guillermo del Toro produced film.
So if it won’t be called Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, what might we see the film billed as in theaters? To their credit, Disney did register DBAOTD.COM (although that in itself would be a marketing nightmare) and DONTBEAFRAID-THEMOVIE.COM but they also recently registered domain names for They Are Waiting (THEYAREWAITING.COM), They Wait in the Dark (THEYWAITINTHEDARK.COM) and What Lurks in the Dark (WHATLURKSINTHEDARK.COM).
Of course it’s still possible that the title will remain the same but that the alternatives will simply be used as the names for the site advertising the film.