Disney has had enormous success with their live-action adaptations of animated classics. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King were all monster hits and more recently, Mulan performed extremely well on the Disney+ Premier Access service. If you’re a fan of these, then the future is bright, with The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bambi and Hercules all at various stages of development (among many other sequels and spinoffs).
Now, it seems that we can add another to this list, as rumors are building of an adaptation of 2001’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. This adventure movie boasts stunning hand-drawn animation and a beautiful aesthetic, though stumbled at the box office on its original release. While a $186 million worldwide gross on a budget of between $90-$120 million doesn’t exactly make it a bomb, Disney considered it a disappointment and plans for theme park attractions and TV shows based on the pic were quietly shelved.
Now, though, tipster Daniel Richtman says that the studio is actively looking for talent for the live-action remake and they’ve set their sights high. We’ve already heard they may be courting Ryan Reynolds and Tom Holland to play lead roles, and Richtman is saying that Avengers: Endgame‘s Joe and Anthony Russo, Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer and Oscar-winning The Shape of Water helmer Guillermo del Toro (who we told you last year was being eyed) are actively being sought for the director’s chair. Those names indicate that they want people with serious action chops that can manage a major blockbuster movie.
Of those, my pick is Guillermo del Toro, if only because I’d love to see what he and his design team would come up with for the film’s Atlantean technology. In addition, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola was a big influence on Atlantis: The Lost Empire and eventually directly contributed to the production design. Mignola and del Toro have worked together closely in the past, so if they could team up again here, we might be in for something very special.