Disney Leaves ‘Dawn Treader’ at the Dock
Disney has officially withdrawn from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader just as the film was preparing to shoot in early 2009. The Hollywood Reporter said Disney and Walden declined to say why but it’s been known for some time that the studio has had qualms about the budget given the lackluster $141 million box office performance of Prince Caspian.
Whole Prince Caspian cost $200 million, Dawn Treader was seen as a $100 million production and recently relocated principal photography from Mexico to Australia as a nod towards keeping costs down. Disney had the film, to be directed by Michael Apted from Steven Knight’s script, pencilled in for a May 2010 release.
Contracts with the returning cast — Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell – may now be in jeopardy if a new studio doesn’t sep in quickly. The trade speculates 20th-Century Fox may step in since not only do they need tentpole pictures, but they release Walden’s other fare.
While the Chronicles of Narnia spans seven books, the films were seen as a trilogy with the hope of getting every one of C.S. Lewis’ book adapted. For Disney to pull out after two films is quite unusual for a series. It’s not the first though, with New Line abandoning Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials after the poor performance of pricey The Golden Compass.