Henry Selick, the genius behind Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, signed an exclusive deal with Disney in 2010, and last summer he began production on his next film. Untitled, the movie was described by Selick as 'medium-dark' and as an original story. 150 animators were working on the film in San Francisco, and it was set for a 2013 release.
Until today. Today Disney pulled the plug on the project, which in April was described as 'almost finished' by the Los Angeles Times. There's no sense of what exactly was the problem, although Variety says that sources tell them "from a creative and scheduling standpoint, the pic wasn't where it needed to be to meet its planned release date." And so the film was killed.
That's a drastic measure. Release dates change. But this is a year's worth of work that Disney is tossing away. While Selick is allowed to shop the film around, the dumping won't help his cause any. It seems likely that whatever the movie was, it was fundamentally something that new Disney chairman Alan Horn very much didn't like.
Selick was having some difficulties adjusting to life at Disney, it seems. He was set up with the Pixar brain trust to work on the film, and the filmmaker said that he had trouble taking notes originally.
"The first time, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know if I can handle this, Why did John [Lasseter] agree to help me make my films?' " he said. "But then I found out it’s that way with everybody, even their best filmmakers. When you see what they produce, it’s like, 'OK, I don’t take any of it personally.' ''
That seemed so hopeful just a few months ago! Is this the beginning of a wave of Alan Horn executive decisions? Probably.
Meanwhile, Selick still has an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book set up at Disney. Awkward.