Disney’s plan to wring every ounce of cash from its sizeable back catalogue continues today with news that the Mouse House is developing a live-action Winnie The Pooh movie. This week has already brought with it word that Mulan is getting similar treatment, which begs the question: when will this remake craze come to an end? Bearing in mind the studio has already marshalled successful live-action versions of Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella to the screen, that question answers itself.
Along with the project’s announcement, Disney has a filmmaker in place to usher the film along, and it’s an unusual choice for the family-friendly studio. Alex Ross Perry, writer and director of the low-fi Sundance gem Listen Up Philip starring Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss, has been tapped to write the adaptation. The film is angling toward a new take on A.A. Milne’s iconic world, with the story set to begin with an adult Christopher Robin who is somehow led back to the Hundred Acre Wood and his ragtag bunch of friends, including the honeypot-loving bear.
Based on previous works Listen Up Philip and The Color Wheel, Perry is a truly gifted director with the facility to capture realistic performances from his actors. He’s nevertheless an unexpected name to hear in connection with a Disney flick, which is itself becoming something of a trend. The Pete’s Dragon remake, currently eyeballing an August 2016 release, is in production with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery writing and directing. Choosing to enlist up-and-coming indie helmers is a bold move, and perhaps one designed to appeal more to adults as opposed to the studio’s tradition of crafting kiddie-oriented features. Only time will tell how Pete’s Dragon and Winnie The Pooh will fit into Disney’s masterplan.