Live-Action 'Dumbo': PETA Asks Tim Burton to Change Ending

2012-36 REP Tim Burton Frankenweenie H

The director's "Frankenweenie" opens to just $11.4 million despite decent reviews, his second 2012 disappointment after May's "Dark Shadows."

The animal rights group wants the baby circus elephant star to taste freedom at the end of 'Dumbo,' Disney's upcoming makeover of the 1941 animated classic.

Remember the successful Free Willy campaign for Keiko?

Now People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is urging director Tim Burton to give the baby circus elephant star of Disney's upcoming animated classic makeover Dumbo its own taste of freedom in the planned live-action film.

PETA on Wednesday urged the Big Eyes director to give a new ending for Dumbo where the big-eared circus performer is allowed to retire to a sanctuary.

"We're hopeful that in your adaptation of Dumbo, the young elephant and his mother can have a truly happy ending by living out their lives at a sanctuary instead of continuing to be imprisoned and abused in the entertainment industry," PETA senior vp Lisa Lange wrote Burton in an open letter.

The PETA call follows Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus choosing to phase out its iconic elephant acts. Disney's new Dumbo movie, set to mix CGI and live action, is based on the classic 1941 film.

The script was penned by Transformers franchise writer Ehren Kruger. Lange, in her letter, added PETA likes the original Dumbo movie and storyline "because it tells the story of the heartbreaking abuse that elephants in circuses endure."

She adds elephants in film and TV shows, as in the circus, don't freely perform. They instead react to a bullhook, or a sharp weapon, used to control their movements.

"They [elephants] perform because they're afraid that they'll be beaten if they don't," Lange wrote, before wishing Burton gook luck while directing Dumbo for Disney.