By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 30, 2011 at 2:36AM
Plus We Pitch Five More Disney Ride Movies
When your much-mocked idea to turn a 40-year-old theme park ride into a movie turns out to be the start of a franchise that's grossed $3 billion worldwide, it becomes tempting to repeat the success. So, despite the underwhelming early attempts like "The Haunted Mansion" and "The Country Bears," "Pirates of the Caribbean" being Disney's new crown jewel has caused them to put all kinds of ride-based pictures in development.
The Rock was briefly attached to a film based on "Space Mountain," Tom Hanks and Tim Allen may re-team for "Jungle Cruise," Guillermo del Toro wants to reboot "The Haunted Mansion" and even "The Enchanted Tiki Room" is somehow being worked into a film, while Jon Favreau and Michael Chabon are teaming for a film based on the entire "Magic Kingdom." And there's no sign of it stopping, as Heat Vision announce that the studio is now developing an action-adventure based on The Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland.
The ride is a rollercoaster, open in some form since 1959, which is set around an Alpine mountain featuring animatronic yetis and a water splash. The film project is currently known as "The Hill," and will involve five young adventurers who climb the real Matterhorn "for mysterious reasons," encountering Yetis along the way. The studio have set Jason Dean Hall, writer of Ashton Kutcher indie "Spread" as well as unmade action scripts like "Robin Hood 2058" (ugh) and "Grand Theft Auto," to write the script, while Justin Springer ("Tron: Legacy") will produce.
We know a gravy train when we see one, so the Playlist team cracked open a bottle of wine after hours, pored over old Disney World guide books, and came up with five pitches for theme park movies that somehow haven't yet made it into development. Disney, you know where to get in touch: they're $500,000 each, or $2 million for all five. Bargain!
"It's A Small World" -- Mel Gibson plays a workaholic, hardcore racist dad, whose long hours as a lawyer means he neglects his kids. He verbally abuses his Hispanic cleaner (Danny Trejo), who turns out to be a wizard, and shrinks Gibson to a pint-sized doll, sending him on a series of adventures where he learns to respect different cultures of the world. Directed by Paul Haggis, with a new remix of the theme tune by the Black Eyed Peas.
"Rock N Roller Coaster" -- "The Wages of Fear" meets "Almost Famous"! Cameron Crowe directs Jesse Eisenberg as an FBI agent who must save his favorite band, Aerosmith, when their tour bus, full of explosive ether, runs out of control.
"National Treasure: Epcot Adventure" -- Third film in the popular franchise, this time with a heavily reduced budget. Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is on holiday in Florida when he discovers a coded map inside an unsold "Mars Needs Moms" DVD, leading to a not-really-globe-trotting adventure inside Epcot, in search of Walt Disney's frozen head.
"Splash Mountain" -- Gritty remake of the classic Tom Hanks/Daryl Hannah mermaid comedy "Splash." But, you know, up a mountain. Derek Cianfrance directs Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan.
"The Tree of Life" -- Based around the enormous centrepiece of the Animal Kingdom park in Florida, Terence Malick directs a spiritual journey, with a scope from the dawn of the universe to an intimate family drama starring Brad... What do you mean, it's been done?