Disney Ditches Next Narnia Film

Posted on December 29, 2008

Disney has bailed on the next Narnia film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Walden Media will still produce the film, but Disney wants out because of financial concerns.

A Disney spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that the Burbank studio decided not to exercise its option to co- finance the third movie in the franchise based on C.S. Lewis' classic children's books because of "budgetary considerations."

Though the budget of the movie came in significantly below the $200-million cost of "Prince Caspian," the second film in the "Narnia" series, it could still escalate during production, and that made Disney wary, according to a person close to the movie. Disney was partner with Walden Media, which owns the rights to the books, on the first two "Narnia" films.


One person close to the matter said there were also "creative" differences between Disney and Walden, and that the two disagreed on when to release the film in 2010. Walden said Wednesday that it hoped to find a new financial partner and proceed with plans to shoot the film in the first quarter of next year with director Michael Apted. "We're disappointed that Disney has decided not to go forward," said David Weil, chief executive of Walden's parent company, Anschutz Film Group. "But we regard 'Dawn Treader' as an extremely valuable property and remain committed to the franchise."

Getting a new partner to take on half the risk could prove a challenge for Walden given that "Prince Caspian" fell below expectations when it was released in May. The film generated $419 million in worldwide ticket sales, far less than the first "Narnia" movie, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which grossed $745 million in 2005.

The original budget for Dawn Treader was much higher and involved lots of locations shoots. Now the film is being shot solely in Mexico with a stripped down budget which will certainly hurt the story. Dawn Treader is a book that's perfect for adaptation to film. It's adventure after adventure, with a nice tidy ending. But it really will suffer from the lack of exotic locations. As for Caspian's box office: it's going to make a fortune in DVD sales over the years.

More from Watchers Watch