The Disney Films That Never Were: YELLOW SUBMARINE - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Disney Films That Never Were: YELLOW SUBMARINE

Sing along, "We all live in a...."

You very likely know and have quite possibly seen the 1968 British animated film Yellow Submarine. Inspired by the music of the Beatles, and featuring their animated likenesses (not voiced by the Fab Four) the film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike upon release, and it's legacy has influenced many people working in animation today. In fact, Pixar co-founder and former chief creative officer John Lasseter has credited Yellow Submarine with bringing more interest in animation as a serious art form.

However, you might not be aware that Disney were planning a remake of Yellow Submarine with the aim to bring the film to a new audience in the Summer of 2012.

It was August 2009 when the first reports emerged that Walt Disney Pictures and filmmaker Robert Zemeckis were negotiating to produce a 3D computer-animated remake of Yellow Submarine. The idea would be that motion capture would be used, as with Zemeckis' previous animated films The Polar Express, Monster House, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol.

Disney and Apple Corps then officially announced the remake of Yellow Submarine at the inaugural D23 Expo on 11th September 2009, with a teaser logo for the film appearing in public for the first time...

Empire Magazine later reported that Comedian Peter Serafinowicz had been cast to voice Paul, someone he has a long history of impersonating...

Serafinowicz would be joined by Dean Lennox Kelly as John, Cary Elwes as George and Adam Campbell as Ringo, with California-based Beatles tribute band The Fab Four cast to perform the performance capture animation for the animated Beatles. The tabloids of the carried 'news' that both David Tennant and Paul O'Grady would also be providing voices for unknown characters. A later report in Rolling Stone revealed that all 16 Beatles songs and recording from the original film were licensed for inclusion in the proposed remake.

So why didn't it come about? Well in May 2010 Disney closed Zemeckis' digital film studio ImageMovers Digital after the unsatisfactory box-office performance of A Christmas Carol. On 14 March 2011 Disney then officially abandoned the project, citing the disastrous opening weekend results of Simon Wells' Mars Needs Moms, and the current overwhelming press criticism toward motion-capture technology at the time.

After its cancellation at Disney, Zemeckis tried to pitch the remake to other studios, but by December 2012 he revealed that he had lost interest in the project, stating:
"That would have been great to bring the Beatles back to life. But it's probably better not to be remade – you're always behind the 8-ball when do you [sic] a remake."
That's quite possibly true, but it's a tantalizing thought to imagine just how this project may have turned out. If you have watched Yellow Submarine of late, which sees the British pop band travel to a magical place called Pepperland, in the titular yellow submarine, to drive away the evil music-hating Blue Meanies, you'll know it's quite a product of its time in both storytelling and its slower flow of narrative. And although that is part of its charm, updating Yellow Submarine with modern technology, whilst retaining the fantastic soundtrack and songs by The Beatles, may have been something quite special.

Alas, we will never know.

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The 1943 Sequel To Bambi
Where The Wild Things Are
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Two
Dumbo II
The Search For Mickey Mouse
The Original Non-Pixar Toy Story 3
Rapunzel Unbraided
Monsters Inc. 2: Lost In Scaradise

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