As Disney continues to plumb the depths of its own intellectual property for more movie material, the company has again turned to one of its theme park rides for inspiration. A Space Mountain movie is officially in development at the studio, and Disney has hired Joby Harold (King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword) as its writer and one of its producers.
The Hollywood Reporter brings news about the Space Mountain movie, which is being described as a “family adventure” and is said to be aiming for a theatrical release. Those of you who have ridden the attraction, either at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, may be wondering how this ride – which is essentially just a dark, space-themed, indoor roller coaster without a traditional narrative to be found – can be turned into a movie. According to the report, the nebulous nature of the ride is being seen as a positive in this situation, because “the [film’s] story is being created whole cloth with the ride acting as inspiration.”
That opens the door for Harold to tell just about any story he wants, without needing to contort his script to factor in recognizable scenes, moments, or iconic imagery from the ride. That’s good news, because movies based on Disney rides have historically been pretty awful: the first Pirates of the Caribbean film was surprisingly great, but movies like The Country Bears, Tower of Terror, and The Haunted Mansion are probably best forgotten. Tomorrowland, which is loosely inspired by the park, has a couple of good ideas in it but felt too muddled to coalesce into something better than the sum of its parts, and the jury is still out on the upcoming (and delayed) Jungle Cruise, which cast Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt as bickering, boat-riding adventurers in an homage to The African Queen. Here’s hoping Harold is ultimately able to make something special out of an extremely vague concept. No director is attached yet.
Harold made his writing and directing debut with a 2007 thriller called Awake, and has since written King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword, Zack Snyder’s upcoming zombie heist movie Army of the Dead, and Disney’s forthcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming series that’s destined for Disney+. Harold and his wife and producing partner Tory Tunnell will produce this movie through their Safehouse Pictures banner, along with Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich from Rideback, the production company behind Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin.
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