It seems that the marketing juggernaut of The Beatles has hit a rare unfortunate snag. The plans for a 3D remake of their classic 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine have essentially been trashed. With the man behind Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis as producer, 16 Beatles songs, and cutting edge 3D tech, the film had been in planning stages well before Avatar-mania of late 2009. So, is this a sign that The Beatles' popularity may be slipping? Think again! Oddly enough, the blame for this debacle can be firmly placed on the horrific box-office performance last weekend of animated feature Mars Needs Moms. -- Say wha?
You'd be hard pressed to find a more derivative project aimed at the highly lucrative, multi-ticket buying, multi-trip generating kid film market than Mars Needs Moms. (Even the inclusion of fan favorite, Seth Green may have been a nod to the "geek" market.) Complete with a whimsical plot about Martians kidnapping mothers of Earth, due to a shortage on their planet (the porn version is surely on the way, if not out already), the 3D computer-generated motion capture film seemed to be slam-dunk for box-office gold. Considering that they spent $150 million on the project, Disney apparently thought so, as well when they had subsidiary Buena Vista distribute it widely. Well, it BOMBED! A laughable $6.9 million opening weekend take was all it could drum-up, landing it in an ignominious fifth place.
So, what does that have to do with The Beatles? Well, apparently, besides sharing a producer with Mars in Robert Zemeckis, its plans to utilize the same CGI motion capture technology in 3D, Yellow Submarine apparently came with an equally hefty production price tag. Additionally, other examples of Zemeckis films using this tech have been notorious short-comers like 2007's Beowulf, and 2009's A Christmas Carol, each of which were barely profitable. Now, it seems unlikely that Mars Needs Moms will go so far as to break even for the studio. So, while a film with the Beatles label might have fared better, it's understandable that Disney might be a bit gun-shy after taking that hit.
At this point, the fate of CGI motion capture films like this may depend on the success of Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn this December. With effects by Peter Jackson's Weta Digital and a score by John Williams behind it, this will be an interesting test to see if it's the motion capture concept that moviegoers have been rejecting or just the films themselves.
Any Beatles fans out there? Sad to see this project fall through?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter