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Disney has staked out a number of primetime release dates for its upcoming live-action fairy tales, even if the studio has yet to say which movie will open when. The crop of films includes The Jungle Book 2.
The bold move comes in the wake of the success of Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book — and the dismal debut of Universal’s live-action fairy tale prequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Over the weekend, The Jungle Book crushed The Huntsman, grossing $61.5 million in its second weekend compared to $19.4 million for Universal’s film. All told, The Jungle Book has already earned $533 million at the global box office, cementing Disney’s prowess in spinning classic animated titles into live-action tentpoles.
The dates claimed by Disney are July 28, 2017 (instead of Dec. 22, 2017); April 6, 2018; Aug. 3, 2018; Dec. 25, 2018; and Dec. 20, 2019. That’s in addition to two dates the studio has already claimed for untitled live-action fairy tales — Nov. 2, 2018, and Nov. 8, 2019 — meaning there will be four such films in 2018 alone.
Studio insiders say one of the release dates announced Monday will go to The Jungle Book 2, which is already in the works, even as Warner Bros. preps its own Jungle Book for Oct. 19, 2018. Disney won’t comment, but it’s possible Favreau’s sequel could be ready in time for the August or November 2018 slot, putting it in the direct path of the rival Jungle Book, directed by Andy Serkis.
Other Disney titles that will fill the slots include Cruella, starring Emma Stone; A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay; Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson; director Tim Burton’s Dumbo; a Mary Poppins sequel from helmer Rob Marshall that is set to star Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda; Maleficent 2 with Angelina Jolie; and a Tinker Bell film starring Reese Witherspoon. Director Lasse Hallstrom’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is another priority.
The Jungle Book, Jungle Cruise and Mary Poppins aren’t fairy tales, but fall in the same realm as the other films in terms of Disney’s ambitious blueprint to reimagine classic stories.
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