December 25, 2008
Disney Dumps Narnia
Studio bails out before Dawn Treader begins filming; Walden left holding the bag
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has decided, for "budgetary and logistical reasons," not to co-produce and co-finance The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the next film in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
As recently as a few weeks ago, two Walden Media employees had told CT Movies that plans for Dawn Treader were moving forward, with filming to start in the spring. Neither employee hinted that the plug might be pulled.
Walden, which owns the film rights to the Narnia stories, can still move forward with the films, but with production budgets approaching $200 million per film, it will be a difficult task. If Dawn Treader is to happen, Walden will likely have to partner with a studio willing to put up some hefty cash. They'll probably first look to Fox, its production and distribution partner on every other Walden film.
Talent for Dawn Treader--including director Michael Apted and star Ben Barnes, who plays Caspian--were already in place and ready to roll. It is too early to speculate what might, or might not, happen with the film, or if the rest of the series is to be scrapped altogether.
Walden Media has had a hit-and-miss record at the box office, with its latest release, City of Ember, bombing, prompting industry observers to wonder if Walden might be in trouble. Some have speculated that Fox might end its partnership with Walden, which would surely put the studio in a difficult position.
For more details, read the whole story in The Hollywood Reporter. CT Movies will stay on top of the story as it develops.