Hollywood trends may come and go, but fairy tales have the kind of staying power that has kept them popular for centuries. The Walt Disney Company tapped into their timeless appeal by creating some of the best-known fairy tale adaptations for the big screen, and right now they’re undergoing something of a resurgence in popularity as the old classics get live-action updates.
The success of these recent adaptations has been mixed. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters put a twist on an old tale that paid off at this box office, even if it didn’t quite manage to impress critics. On the other end of the spectrum, Jack the Giant Slayer missed its target and lost Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. over $100 million.
Universal is still banking on the potential of fairy tale movies, however, and THR reports that Sofia Coppola (The Bling Ring) is in negotiations to direct the studio’s live-action adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s children’s story The Little Mermaid. Joe Wright (Anna Karenina) was originally attached to direct, but has since turned his attention to Pan, the upcoming Peter Pan movie from Warner Bros.
The script for The Little Mermaid was penned by Saving Mr. Banks co-writer Kelly Marvel, who also penned the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey. However, the project is described by THR as kid-friendly and designed to appeal to a wide range of demographics. Coppola is best known for sedate drama films like Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides, so it will be interesting to see how she handles a big studio film that demands family appeal.
Often with public domain properties there will be different studios each racing to release their own adaptation first (as with Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror), but currently Universal seems to bee alone in actively pushing a Little Mermaid movie. Sony had a similar project in development, but it’s been years since it showed any sign of forward momentum.
H. Shaw-Williams blogs at Screen Rant.