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Development: Disney remaking Hunchback; Warner Bros. plans more ScreenX blockbusters; Netflix launches Steve Carell's Space Force comedy

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Jan 16, 2019

So many genre developments, so little time.

In our latest development roundup, we have news on another live-action Disney remake, a strong partnership between a major movie studio and a 21st-century tech company, a comedy about Space Force, and a sci-fi import from the cold reaches of Europe.

Are you resting comfortably? Then let us begin ...


The next Disney Renaissance film to receive the live-action remake treatment will be 1996's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, itself based on Victor Hugo's 19th-century gothic novel.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has tapped the Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang to pen the script. In addition, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will write the music, as they did for the 1996 animated original; their combined work on that movie nabbed them Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Mandeville Films and Josh Gad will produce the remake alongside Walt Disney Studios. Gad has had a longstanding relationship with Disney, having voiced Olaf in Frozen and playing LeFou in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Featuring the voices of Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, David Ogden Stiers, Jason Alexander, and Kevin Kline, the animated version of the The Hunchback of Notre Dame (like its source material) centered around Quasimodo, a deformed bell ringer in 15th-century France who overcomes society's perception of his physical looks to become the hero of the story.


Warner Bros. is continuing its partnership with Korean tech company CJ 4DPLEX to release six of its films in the ScreenX format, a way for audiences to experience movies on a 270-degree immersive screen, SYFY WIRE has confirmed.

Genre is well represented in the titles set to be released via ScreenX, mainly due to the fact that the use of special effects in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror makes for some of the best immersive experiences.

Under the deal between both companies, Shazam! (April 5), The Curse of La Llorona (April 19), and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31) will receive the ScreenX treatment. Three more titles will be announced in the coming months.

"Warner Bros. Pictures continues to be a strong supporter and partner of the ScreenX cinematic experience, and we are beyond excited to grow that partnership with a release of six titles from their upcoming film lineup," said JongRyul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX, in an official release obtained by SYFY WIRE. "We continue to expand this new technology to an ever increasing and loyal consumer fan base that will help shape the moviegoing landscape for years to come."

CJ 4DPLEX has already achieved success with this format via other WB features like Rampage, The Meg, The NunFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Aquaman.


The president's dream of setting up a military unit to fight aliens and other threats from outer space is coming true ... at least on Netflix.

In a short announcement trailer set to "Also sprach Zarathustra" (Richard Strauss' iconic classical tone poem used in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey), we learn about Space Force, the upcoming workplace comedy series from Steve Carell and Greg Daniels.

Working off the concept of the federal government wanting to set up a sixth division of the U.S. military, the show, which also stars Carell, will focus on the folks responsible for figuring out how to set it up.

Per Variety, no release date has been set, but Carell (in addition to co-creating and starring) is producing alongside Daniels (also the showrunner) and Howard Klein of 3 Arts Entertainment.


DRG has picked up the international distribution rights to the Scandinavian science fiction series The Wall, reports Deadline.

The eight-part show is about a mysterious wall that appears in an underground dumping area for toxic waste. While the main characters try to uncover the source of the wall, audience members are to be treated to an exploration of themes like "relationships, human curiosity, and high production values."

"[The] high production values and superb cast will definitely get the series noticed," said DRG's EVP of content, David Clarke, in a statement. "It will also surprise those who assume that only traditional Scandi Noir can succeed internationally. We are looking forward to officially launching the series at Natpe and to start what we predict will be productive conversations about this brilliant title.”

Potential buyers for the series will be courted at the National Association of Television Program Executives in Miami later this month.


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