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Magic Kingdom the Movie? It Could Happen

A few years before Pirates Of The Caribbean went into production, a rumor went around that Disney Studios was actively looking at Disneyland’s attractions for possible movie properties. Multiple scripts were written for a Haunted Mansion movie before that horrible one was finally made. Then there was the Country Bears adventure. Thankfully Dick Cook had the courage to give Pirates a try and, as they say, the rest is history.

So, after the first billion in box office, or so, the hunt was on again for new scripts that would capitalize on the story goldmine that is Disneyland. We already know that they’re returning to the Haunted Mansion franchise, this time in the much more capable hands of Guillermo del Toro. Other attractions rumored to get the movie treatment include Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Jungle Cruise, and, something called “Tomorrowland”.

Some of those are not half bad ideas. It turns out, they’ve been thinking on a larger scale. Think bigger, like the whole of Disneyland bigger.

A treatment for a “Magic Kingdom” movie has been kicking around since Dick Cook’s days. It’s not a take off on the Ridley Pearson “Kingdom Keepers” series, but something unique. An article in today’s Variety says that Disney has returned to “Magic Kingdom”, this time following a treatment from producer of the Battlestar Galactica reboot, Ronald Moore. The idea would be similar to “Night at the Museum” (which admittedly does have that Ridley Pearson flair).

As tempting as it is to go that route (I’ve dabbled with some short stories in that vein myself), I hope they don’t. Part of the charm of Disneyland is that guests are left to wonder what goes on after hours, that’s part of the Pixie Dust. It’s a shame that the Sorcerer’s Apprentice was a box office bomb, because that would have made a great plot for “Magic Kingdom.”

Come up with your own pitch for a Magic Kingdom movie in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “Magic Kingdom the Movie? It Could Happen”

  1. A movie following several kids as they attend the opening of disneyland. Some become cast members and imagineers. The highlight is meeting walt Disney.

  2. You forgot to mention the worst of the Disneyland films…. Country Bears! Big Thunder and Space Mountain could be cool. But I think something based on the Matterhorn/Expedition Everest could be cool. You could call it Yeti.

  3. I could see the Jungle Cruise as being a mash-up of Gilligan’s Island and Swiss family Robinson. But they would have to be English.

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  5. Are there no NEW ideas in Hollywood? It seems like everything is a remake or re-telling of a story that’s already been told. Sure, there are some good stories that can and have been expanded on, but, it just seems that there is not a lot of new, unique stories being told.

    As a reader of the Kingdom Keeper series, I think there’s potential there for a good movie or two, not sure about this idea though. I’ll hold out judgement on the idea until we know more. I wrongly judged Pirates of the Caribbean several years ago. Just goes to show that if you get the right writers and cast, a good movie can be made, even if it’s not a new, original story.

  6. Richard, yes! Now that’s what Disney SHOULD do. Opening Day at Disneyland was an admitted disaster, but Walt made sure it was plussed through and through and became a success. Seeing the whole thing through a child’s eyes – and having a scene where the kids encourage Walt — well maybe it would be rewriting history a little, but isn’t that wakes makes movies great.

    For many years I’ve wished that Disney would bite the bullet and make a biopic of Walt’s life. The effort has “Oscar” written all over it – famous man, historical changes, epic efforts all against the tapestry of our country. The score is practically written (wouldn’t it be wonderful to have John William’s versions of some of Disney’s best music?), the story is high drama, and a national search for the perfect actor to play Walt would cause early hype for the film.

  7. A Magic Kingdom movie written by Ron Moore? That certainly has me stoked as I love both Disney and Battlestar Galactica…but I have no idea what direction he would go with it. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a lot of ways to make a great film based on Disney’s theme parks, but I have no idea how Ron Moore fits into it.

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  9. The problem with a Walt Disney biopic (which I have dreamed about for a long time) is that if Disney did it, it would be hard for it to be done honestly and have it be a “Walt Disney Picture”. The drinking, smoking, language, etc. would have to be sanitized. Some of Walt’s best lines were like when other film moguls were making fun of his corny films and he responded to them he’d “put ‘Mary Poppins’ up against your putrid, pornographic s— any day.” Would you show the physical fights between his father and the boys? Also, unless the film mostly steered clear of his professional specifics (and how would youy do that?!?), the clear distinctions between the company he and his brother ran, and their way of working, and the way things are now could be somewhat problematic from the PR standpoint. I’m afraid the only way we’ll get a decent biopic of Walt Disney will be for another studio to produce a thinly disguised “fictional” film, a la “Citizen Kane”.

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