Just a month after Disney wrapped up its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets on March 20, THR reports that chairman Alan Horn is letting go of certain Fox film projects.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the dearly departed movies are disappearing into thin air, as News of the World (starring Tom Hanks) is headed to Universal and On the Come Up (based on Angie Thomas’ best-selling novel) will find a new home at Paramount. The latter project was reportedly scrapped in part because The Hate U Give, another adaptation of a Thomas novel, made an overall loss. Ted Melfi’s Fruit Loops, a “mental-hospital-set dramedy” starring Woody Harrelson, is also likely to be jettisoned soon. All three projects came from the Fox 2000 division, which is now long-gone. Mouse Guard, based on David Petersen’s comics and graphic novel, is being scrapped, as well, because apparently a $170 million budget is too risky for a film not attached to a franchise.
Kingsman prequel The Great Game, the witchy Fear Street (low-budget and thus, to Disney, low-risk) and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake, however, are all still in the works.The beloved musical is apparently putting Horn in a bit of a pickle, though. According to THR, “One source says Disney film chief Alan Horn is questioning the apparent plan to have young characters smoking onscreen in West Side Story.” The rough-and-tumble Jets and Sharks are apparently allowed to shiv each other, but having a cigarette is just a bridge too far. In a previous interview with the publication, the exec explained, “There are certain things we just can’t include because we’ll get letters.” We hear you, Horn. There’s nothing worse than getting old-school mail.
As for other Fox projects that appear to be safe for the time being, Shawn Levy’s Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, and Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile are both likely to kick off shooting in the fall. We’re especially delighted that the mystery novelist’s classic is still going forward as Black Panther’s Letitia Wright just joined the cast. And for all you Na’vi-heads (is that the proper term? Do they exist?) Avatar 2 is good to go, since shooting wrapped up on April 18.
While costs are being cited for some of the ditched projects, Fox film president Emma Watts (who survived the Disney merger) is reportedly being asked to make “larger all-audience PG-13 and R-rated films.” In case you’re wondering what this incredibly vague description means, one such project is The Ballad of Richard Jewell, “about the security guard at the center of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.” Clint Eastwood’s shambling remains may be directing.