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Disney Getting ‘Weird’ With Ahmet Zappa

Ever since the success of their theme-park-ride-turned-live-action-feature Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney has been working diligently at turning their other rides into films. The idea is that the movie’s success will bring people into the parks, a sort of reverse promotion if you will. Plenty of rides are being developed, but this one is sort of left field as The Museum of the Weird, an idea that Walt Disney liked back in the 1960’s but that never got off the ground, looks to be headed for the development pipeline.
Disney is in discussions for a movie based on the museum with screenwriter Ahmet Zappa (son of Frank), reports the LA Times.

A half-century ago, well-known Disney theme-park creators Rolly Crump and Claude Coats designed the “Museum of the Weird” with the idea of spotlighting a parade of ghostly organists, magic carts, talking chairs and other surreal exhibits. Walt Disney wanted to use the museum as an adjunct to the “Haunted Mansion,” complete with its own restaurant. But the museum was never built, though some of the more ambitious pieces were incorporated into the mansion itself.

Zappa’s idea is for the museum to be refashioned as a film — given the kinds of whimsical creations Crump and Coats planned, it’s hard not to think of “Night at the Museum” or “The Mummy” — with an attraction to follow. It’s still very early development, though, so don’t expect it in multiplexes anytime soon.

Under its new leadership, Disney seems to be taking a two-pronged approach to movies. It’s getting into business with top-tier filmmakers (add David Fincher and Tim Burton to Del Toro and Favreau) even as it’s putting chips down on seemingly as many theme-park attractions as possible, and trying to merchandise more than ever. The net effect: a studio slate that’s a strange combination of stubbornly visionary and explicitly marketing-driven.



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