ChessmenLooks like we were on the money with our Disney/Zemeckis/John Carter Warlord of Mars speculation. Disney observer Jim Hill has the scoop:

More importantly, once John Lasseter & Robert Zemeckis join forces (This is reportedly why the Walt Disney Company just optioned Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” books. So that John & Robert could then then work together to develop this potential new franchise for the studio. The first installment of which will supposedly will be directed by “Finding Nemo” helmer Andrew Stanton) … Well, there’ll just be no stopping Mickey then. Disney will literally be able to steamroller right over its competition (I.E. DreamWorks Animation, Sony Animation, Blue Sky Studios et al).

JOHN LASSETER! ROBERT ZEMECKIS! ANDREW STANTON! Are you the ones? Are you the ones who will make this dream come true? Will we see faithful Woola chasing butterflies and getting tangled in some cables at the oxygen plant like a cute little cartoon scamp? Or will we see this:

Then, like leaping panthers, they were upon me; but they had reckoned without Woola, and before ever a blade touched me, a roaring embodiment of a thousand demons hurtled above my prostrate form and my loyal Martian calot was upon them.

Imagine, if you can, a huge grizzly with ten legs armed with mighty talons and an enormous froglike mouth splitting his head from ear to ear, exposing three rows of long, white tusks. Then endow this creature of your imagination with the agility and ferocity of a half-starved Bengal tiger and the strength of a span of bulls, and you will have some faint conception of Woola in action.

Before I could call him off he had crushed Lakor into a jelly with a single blow of one mighty paw, and had literally torn the other thern to ribbons; yet when I spoke to him sharply he cowed sheepishly as though he had done a thing to deserve censure and chastisement.

Never had I had the heart to punish Woola during the long years that had passed since that first day upon Mars when the green jed of the Tharks had placed him on guard over me, and I had won his love and loyalty from the cruel and loveless masters of his former life, yet I believe he would have submitted to any cruelty that I might have inflicted upon him, so wondrous was his affection for me.

The entire Jim Hill post has much insider Disney gossip, including why Glen Keane is annoyed, who’s fueding with who and the future of CGI animation at Disney. Among the tidbits: Disney animated movies will now be “events” with one appearing once every two or three years — and they will be traditionally animated.

[Image from this cool page of Ace paperback covers.]


  1. If I may briefly bring you back from the brink of geek orgasm, Heidi –

    Neither one of the two released Zemeckis motion caption 3D animation extravangas (“Polar Express”, “Monster House”) were critical or commercial successes.

    Both of them are also seen as artistic failures.

    And while it is generally bad form to project past failures into future projects, I don’t think that a “straight” John Carter in 3D will be a success, simply based on every failed animated project that tried to do SF or Fantasy (barring “The Incredibles”, which however played according to the rules of a family sitcom) in the past 30 years.

  2. I wonder if the still-unreleased “Beowulf” movie is just stunning everyone into moving forward with this project. This sounds pretty exciting. This John Carter project might be seen by Disney/Pixar as a way of making a CGI movie (or series) which appeals to an older demographic and is less of an all-ages film.