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Disney Passes On Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ After ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Tanks

Disney Passes On Robert Zemeckis' 'Yellow Submarine' After 'Mars Needs Moms' Tanks

Update: Deadline reports that Disney is saying they made the decision to halt “The Yellow Submarine” before “Mars Needs Moms” opened but you can bet if the film blew open the box office, a different conversation would be happening.

Last fall, everything seemed fine and dandy for Robert Zemeckis planned version of the The Beatles‘ “The Yellow Submarine.” Cary Elwes, Peter Serafinowicz, Dean Lennox Kelly and Adam Campbell were going to play George, Paul, John and Ringo respectively with David Tennant as Queen of the Blue Meanies. An April start date was tentatively slated, but it now looks like the cart was being put a bit ahead of the horse.

In the wake of the disastrous $6.9 million opening for “Mars Needs Moms,” THR reports that Disney has passed on “The Yellow Submarine” that was being shepherded by Zemeckis, whose ImageMovers was behind the $150 million budgeted ‘Mars.’ However, it appears the writing was on the wall for a while.

The trade reveals that a planned December meeting between Zemeckis and Beatles’ heirs, in which he was to present the project was canceled and never rescheduled. Moreover, Disney finally realized what audiences have known for years — that Zemeckis’ dead-eye motion capture technique looks creepy as hell — and the failure of “Mars Needs Moms” put the nail in the coffin. The plan was for “The Yellow Submarine” to use the same mo-cap technology and marry it with sixteen songs from the Beatles catalog — with full approval from Apple Corp. who control the rights — but the project for now is on the shelf.

Zemeckis is free to shop it around and given that the Beatles are a goldmine moneymaking machine, we’re sure there be various parties sniffing around the project. However, with Zemeckis’ animation style feeling outdated and with budget being a big concerned we don’t see it happening unless the cost comes down and the director is convinced to let go of his eerie mo-cap.

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Zemeckis lives in the Uncanny Valley of Repellent Simulacra.


Hopefully this will force Zemeckis to stop making those awful CG movies that only he wants to see. The man is completely out of touch with his audience.


It’s about time Zemexkis got back out there and made a real movie again. His last watchable one was Cast Away.


Zemeckis’ CG films not “animated” films. They’re special-effects driven live-action films without the live-action part. Animation studios don’t use motion capture for a reason. If that’s all they were going for, Pixar could have been using it for at least a decade. Animated films are animated by animators because motion capture just doesn’t work. It looks horrible. His films are wedged directly inside the uncanny valley. His characters are too cartoonish to register as “real,” yet their movements are too “real” to register as cartoons. The things don’t move like cartoons, but they don’t look real either. No matter how good the story and characters might be, you just can’t get over the visuals and how they just aren’t right somehow.


it isn’t the mocap – it’s the character design.


Wow, the animation for ‘Mars Needs Moms’ is awful. Story aside I think the animation killed it. Either go with live action or something that looks like real animation – not some awkward hybrid of the two.


i want him to make roger rabbit 2 although it would likely blow.


YES! About damn time!

Get back to making real movies Zemeckis! Please. No more of this hiring famous actors & then spending $200 million to make them look like rejects from a Final Fantasy cutscene!

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