Tim Burton Won't Direct Disney's 'Maleficent' (Exclusive)

Tim Burton
<p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Fans of Burton will soon get a special sneak peek into the world of his upcoming, long-anticipated Disney film Frankenweenie, out Oct. 5.</p>   |   CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
The project would have teamed the "Alice in Wonderland" director with Angelina Jolie.

Tim Burton has moved off of Maleficent, the Disney fantasy that would have teamed him with Angelina Jolie.

Maleficent is Disney’s live-action take on Sleeping Beauty, telling the fairy tale from the point of view of the evil witch who threatened to kill the princess. Disney years ago put a name to the witch, who had gone anonymous in the various tellings. Since then, the green-skinned queen of evil who morphs into a dragon has become one of the most popular Disney villains of all time.

Burton was only loosely attached to the project but his involvement was significant enough that last year the studio hired Burton's Alice in Wonderland collaborator Linda Woolverton, who also wrote Disney’s The Lion King, to pen the script. The project is being developed as a starring vehicle for Jolie.

Disney is not about to put Maleficent into a suspended-animation sleep. The studio is now on the hunt for a new director. One of the names that has surfaced in the early search is David Yates, who helmed the past four Harry Potter movies.

And Burton hasn’t left Disney. He's currently working on the feature-length stop-motion version of his 1984 short Frankenweenie. The movie is due for release on Oct. 5, 2012.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com