Jon Favreau is in talks to direct Magic Kingdom, a movie set up at Disney (naturally) about theme park attractions that come to life (a la Fox’s Night at the Museum).
Favreau is finishing his edit on Cowboys & Aliens, the genre mashup starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, for a July 29, 2011 release. In the meantime, Disney will search for a new screenwriter to bring the Kingdom’s various inanimate objects to life, according to Deadline. Ron Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”) wrote the original draft that was shelved recently.
The Magic Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and it’s segmented into seven themed “lands.” For instance, “Adventureland” (no relation to the Greg Mottola comedy) houses the attractions “Pirates of the Caribbean” (you may have heard of it) and “Jungle Cruise” while “Fantasyland” is home to the infinitely annoying “it’s a small world” and the “Mad Tea Party” spinning cup ride. (Though Haunted Mansion is reserved for Guillermo del Toro.) The Magic Kingdom was visited by 17.2 million people in 2009, making it the most visited theme park in the world.
The movie gives Disney the opportunity to exploit (and promote) more of its rides that might not have otherwise expanded into a coherent narrative, or a franchise like Pirates of the Caribbean. Sadly, this could mean characters based on the creepy Country Time Jamboree, Tom Sawyer, and the animatronic Hall of Presidents. (Maybe Robin Williams can cross over from the Museum movies as Teddy Roosevelt.) The trick will be keeping the story from becoming a 90-minute commercial for Disney World.
The Disney Book Group published a series called “The Kingdom Keepers” about adventures within the resort, written by Ridley Pearson. It was developed as a potential idea for a film franchise before, but it’s unclear whether it will be the basis for this family feature.
This deal returns Favreau to the territory of Elf and, frighteningly, Zathura after making an even bigger name for himself on Iron Man and Iron Man 2 for Marvel (now owned by Disney). It’s unclear whether Favreau will step back into the director role for Iron Man 3 (already scheduled for May 3, 2013) or if he’ll leave the threequel to someone else. For the record, Variety says he’s already attached to direct.