In the wake of a string of bombs, i.e. last Christmas’ Welcome to Marwen ($13M) and the Brad Pitt-Marion Cotillard WWII spy romance Allied ($120M off an $85M production cost), Forrest Gump Oscar winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis is in early talks to direct a live-action version of Pinocchio for Disney. It’s the same kind of career rebound that Guy Ritchie employed following his disastrous King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: Hook up with Disney on a branded live-action feature toon IP that speaks to a filmmaker’s talent, and the box office riches will take care of itself. For Ritchie, that was this summer’s Aladdin which easily became his highest grossing film of all-time with $1.05 billion.
Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz are producing Pinocchio through their Depth of Field label with Weitz writing the feature adapted from the 1940 Disney classic ($85M domestic B.O. unadjusted for inflation) about a wooden puppet, his father-creater Geppetto and the former’s quest to become a real boy. Weitz and Simon Farnaby also wrote the most recent draft according to Variety which broke the news. Zemeckis is currently in post on Warner Bros.’ The Witches.
Note live-action versions of Pinocchio have been shattered into splinters at the box office: There was the 1996 Savoy production which was repossessed after the sale of the studio to Barry Diller by New Line resulting in an awful $15M stateside back in 1996, and the Disney/Miramax Roberto Benigni 2002 version, which the Oscar winner made following his success with Life Is Beautiful. That also died with $3.7M stateside, $41.3M worldwide. However, Disney has yet to make their rendition of their own classic, and that could be all the difference here.
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