Robert Zemeckis has been working on a 3D, performance-captured do-over for the Beatles toon Yellow Submarine for some time now.
He even continued its development after Disney shut shop on his Image Movers Digital outfit, somehow persuading them to keep the axe from falling on just this one project. This weekend, however, the studio have dropped the film entirely, and Zemeckis is left needing another backer to step in and save the film, or he'll have to cancel it entirely.
I think we can assume the icy box office for Image Movers' Mars Needs Moms on its opening this weekend was one of the more dramatic chilling factors here. Taking only $6.9million from 3,117 screens, the film came in as the 12th worst opening since 1982, according to Box Office Mojo.* If I were Disney, I'd be worried about audiences' attitudes to performance capture too.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Zemeckis has regrouped to consider his options, one of which would be a new live action film. There's no detail on what it is, though a likely candidate would be the time travel story Timeless that the director was attached to last September.
I'll lament Zemeckis' Submarine if it doesn't come along. It seemed like a perfectly stylised project for his performance capture approach, and the cast he was amassing, including Peter Serafinowicz as Paul McCartney, looked great.
*This is for films that opened on over 3000 screens.