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 However, with Zemeckis’ animation style feeling outdated and with budget being a big concerned we don’t see it happening unless the cost comes down and the director is convinced to let go of his eerie mo-cap.