George Lucas Finds "Feminine" Side With 'Strange Magic'

'Strange Magic'

The 'Star Wars' mastermind's new film, which targets girls and features a voice cast including Kristin Chenoweth and Maya Rudolph, is tracking to open in the $10 million range.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

There's nothing low-profile about George Lucas -- except maybe his new movie, Strange Magic, an animated romp set in a whimsical land of potions, goblins and fairies that's loosely inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The movie, from a story by Lucas and directed by Gary Rydstrom, already was in the works when Disney paid $4 billion for Lucasfilm in 2012. But Strange Magic was kept on the QT until last fall, when Disney announced a Jan. 23 release. "I have three daughters, and I wanted to make a film that was a little more feminine than Star Wars," the 70-year-old filmmaker said at a screening and soiree in New York. "A lot of women love Star Wars, but it was designed for 12-year-old boys." 

The voice cast includes Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth and Maya Rudolph, who sing new versions of pop and classic rock songs. Strange Magic is tracking to open in the $10 million range (according to a rival studio, exhibitors like the movie), although Paddington could pose tough competition. The budget of Strange Magic isn't known, and one source says Lucasfilm kept costs down by farming animation work to Asia.

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The studio is releasing Strange Magic via its Touchstone label, not Disney Animation, while Lucasfilm has top billing. 

Says analyst Phil Contrino, "It feels to me like Disney is trying to keep Lucas happy." 

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