By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 18, 2011 at 3:45AM
In theory, the idea that Disney are following up the momentous success of their "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise not just with potential ride-based films "Tiki," Guillermo Del Toro's "Haunted Mansion" and "Jungle Cruise," the latter of which may star Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, but with one based around the entire Magic Kingdom, the heart and soul of their theme parks worldwide, should be horrifying. But so far, Disney seem to be making some smart choices, suggesting that, at the very least, it's not going to be a half-assed knock-off like "On Stranger Tides."
The original script for "Magic Kingdom" came from "Battlestar Galactica" head honcho Ron Moore, who also penned the upcoming remake/prequel to "The Thing," and Disney last year hired actor-turned-director Jon Favreau, who made the A-list by launching the Marvel pictures with "Iron Man," and who has better blockbuster chops than most in town. Now, The Hollywood Reporter have confirmed earlier rumors that one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation, "Wonder Boys" and "The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" author Michael Chabon, has come on board to pen the script.
Chabon, who picked up the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for superhero epic 'Kavalier & Clay,' has a particular interest in genre fiction, and has made inroads into screenwriting in recent years: he wrote the first-draft of "Spider-Man 2," getting a story credit on the finished film, and only a few days back, it was announced that Darren Aronofsky would direct the magician vs. Nazis HBO pilot "Hobgoblin," which Chabon is writing with wife Ayelet Waldman.
More importantly, he seems to have a good relationship with Disney: he's writing the book for a Broadway stage musical version of "Dumbo," and has worked on drafts of "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea," which may be David Fincher's next film, the Francis Lawrence-helmed kung-fu take on Snow White, which seems to have been retitled "The Order of the Seven" and is currently being rewritten by "Toy Story 3" pensmith Michael Arndt, and Andrew Stanton's upcoming mega-blockbuster "John Carter," all big, high-priority projects at the studio.
It's all boding remarkably well, considering the unpromising premise: few can blend the popular and the artful like Chabon can, and even if Favreau hasn't hit a home run every time, he seems incapable of not putting his all into a project, and the likes of "Elf" and "Zathura" show a family-friendly sense of childish fun and awe: exactly what's needed for a film like this. It's early days yet, with no word on when it might hit theaters, but it's clearly a priority for Disney, so we'd expect maybe a summer or Christmas 2013 release to be on the cards. We just hope they think carefully before putting sequel "EPCOT" into development.