Disney working on live-action 'Dumbo,' picks 'Transformer' writer

By Daniel S Levine,

Dumbo is widely regarded as one of Walt Disney’s all-time classics, lasting just 64 minutes and telling its story with art and songs that that still hold up 73 years later. However, for some reason that likely involves money, the studio is returning to the tale with a Transformers writer.

The news on the project was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter and also confirmed by TheWrap. So far, the only member of the creative team hired is Ehren Kruger, who worked on the Transformers films. Justin Springer (Oblivion, Tron: Legacy) is producing.

Dumbo centers on an elephant who is teased for his large ears, but learns to use them to fly in circus acts. He also befriends a mouse, Timothy, and gets some word of advice from wise-cracking crows. Songs in the film include “When I See An Elephant Fly,” “Pink Elephants on Parade” and the tear-jerking “Baby Mine.”

Disney is convinced that CGI technology has reached a new point where this can be pulled off in a live-action setting. However, considering that the film had no major human characters, it will be interesting to see at what point Disney just calls it a CG-animated film.

The studio has decided to stop developing new ideas for tentpoles and is going back to its animated library for big projects. Maleficent, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, has made $630 million worldwide since May and Alice in Wonderland made $1 billion in 2010. Both The Jungle Book and Cinderella are due out next year and a Beauty and the Beast is in development.

At this point, a live-action Lion King or Bambi can’t be too far off.

image of Disney’s Bob Iger courtesy of Tina Kaawaloa/INFevents.com

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