Disney Torpedoes Yellow Submarine

Robert Zemeckis may dock it elsewhere

When he looks back over his life, we’d have to guess that this will not go down as Robert Zemeckis’ favourite week. He started it off watching the latest performance capture ‘toon he produced, Mars Needs Moms, crash and burn and the box office. And now it would seem that his ambitious plan to mount a new version of the Beatles’ trippy animated film Yellow Submarine has been sunk by Disney.

According to the Heat Vision blog’s sources, the Mouse House has decided not to go ahead with the film, which Zemeckis had been trying to get set up.

There are conflicting reports about when exactly Disney decided to pull the plug, and while the Heat Vision report makes mention of the lacklustre $8.6 million launch for Moms as a contributing factor, Disney “insiders” have claimed that the decision was made a while ago. And from the sound of it, the bad news radar had indeed been pinging for a while, with budget wrangling and the fact that few of the motion-capture movies had really clicked with audiences.

And then there were the tricky rights negotiations, with the Beatles heirs key to getting the option on the 16 songs the director wanted to fuel the pic. He’d planned a big presentation to win them over, but that kept getting pushed back. Plus, despite a big announcement that Cary Elwes, Dean Lennox Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz and Adam Campbell would be providing the voices for the Fab Four, no actual development occurred.

It’s a shame as the project certain sounded intriguing and the stylised nature of the story meant Submarine probably would’ve avoided the scary, dead-eyed human look that has plagued films such as Moms. Still, Zemeckis has the option to take the idea elsewhere, so he may yet manage to find a better berth for it. But don’t hold your breath just yet.