It looks like Disney is giving it another go on bringing its Tower of Terror theme park franchise to movie theaters.
Collider is reporting that Disney has a deal with Academy Award nominee and Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson to produce and star in a film based on its Tower of Terror rides. Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley reportedly is writing the script.
Disney previously brought Tower of Terror to the screen as a TV movie episode of The Wonderful World of Disney in 1997, starring Kirsten Dunst and Steve Guttenberg. The IP is a bit tricky for Disney, as the Orlando and Paris versions of the ride are themed to the old CBS television series, The Twilight Zone. The Tokyo version has an original story rooted in Disney's Society of Explorers and Adventurers franchise, while the Disney California Adventure installation has been rethemed to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
Creating a successful original story for Tower of Terror not only would allow Disney to extend another of its theme park properties into a multi-channel franchise, it could clear the way for Disney to drop The Twilight Zone license in Orlando and Paris while minimizing fan pushback. Disney's clear strategy is to use its theme parks, films, television networks and streaming services to support one another through the cultivation of Disney-owned franchises. If Disney can drop a licensed franchise in favor its own, the company will do that at every opportunity.
But The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror remains one of the most beloved attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort, making any change there inherently risky for Disney. Despite the critical acclaim and strong guest survey response to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disney California Adventure, many Disneyland fans remain mad at Disney for dropping The Twilight Zone theming there.
As a two-time Oscar nominee and a Tony Award winner, Johansson delivers critical acclaim along with her proven box office record as one of Disney's Avengers. That gives her the star power that might help carry a Tower of Terror project to the level where even the most devoted Disney World fans might welcome her to replace Rod Serling on Disney's Hollywood Studio's iconic thrill ride.
Of course, many Disney theme park-inspired projects make it to stories in the trade press only to fail to make it to the screen. Jungle Cruise is debuting in theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Access next month, but past projects, including Big Thunder Mountain and even Tower of Terror, have stalled in development. So we'll have to wait to see if Johansson's Tower of Terror makes it to theaters.
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