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‘Maleficent’ Calls for New Opening by Disney Fave John Lee Hancock

'Maleficent' Calls for New Opening by Disney Fave John Lee Hancock

Yet another studio is spending millions to fix a would-be tentpole.

Director John Lee Hancock (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Blind Side”) has been brought in for re-shoots on Disney’s “Maleficent” (May 30, 2014) starring Angelina Jolie. Hancock, who penned “Maleficent” producer Joe Roth’s “Snow White and the Huntsman,” has written several new opening scenes for this fractured fairy tale featuring the Sleeping Beauty villain, reports THR. The film’s director, Robert Stromberg, making his directorial debut (!) with this $200 million fantasy written by Linda Woolverton (“Alice in Wonderland”) and TV writer Paul Dini (“The Batman Superman Movie”), will oversee the production of the revisions, with Hancock on set. 

This is telling for a couple reasons. First, Disney must be high on the yet-unseen “Saving Mr. Banks” if they’re bringing in Hancock to do clean-up work on “Maleficent.” Second, the Mouse House is taking a cue from Paramount, who kept star and Jolie’s partner Brad Pitt happy with re-shoots of the ending for “World War Z.” That pricey investment paid off at the box office, where “World War Z” was both a critical and financial hit, with a $539 million worldwide haul. 

Last time Disney put their faith in a first-time live-action director, Andrew Stanton’s “John Carter” yielded a $200 million write-off. Jolie, who is not involved in the reshoots, backed the choice of Stromberg, who is a gifted and respected Oscar-winning production designer (“Avatar,” “Alice in Wonderland”). But taking the helm of such a big project is tough. 

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