The Walt Disney Studios controls some of the most popular film franchises on the planet. From Star Wars: Episode VII to the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, many fan-favorite films are coming out of one place. Very few people there can actually speak about the progress on all these films, except one man, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Horn was speaking at the Tribeca Film Festival today in New York (via Bloomberg) and had a lot to say about some of the juggernauts in the Disney stable.
First, Star Wars: Episode VII, which Horn says has nearly completed casting, but they're not ready to announce it just yet.
"We're not prepared to announce it yet but we will be very shortly announcing what we're doing….We did some second unit work in Abu Dhabi and other places, because we have all these locations we have to film and we have to give it that "Star Warsian," if I can use that as an adjective, look. So we needed to go to different places that give us the right look and feel and we did have second unit work shooting already but we haven't commenced the main part of principle photography yet."
Horn was also asked about the December release date for "Episode VII" and whether that will become their new target for future "Star Wars" films, saying:
"No, we're not sure yet, we may revert. The Star Wars dates have been May, and we may revert to that at some point, it depends on the readiness of the screenplays or where we are, but this first one will be December 18th of 2015, so we'll start with that and we'll see.
The budget for the upcoming "Star Wars" films was brought up, which Horn says will be quite pricey if you couldn't guess.
"We actually don't even have the completed budget yet. But it will be in that range. These large, tentpole kinds of movies, on the expensive side, are in the neighborhood of $175-200 million, that kind of a number — some are more, some are less. We need to give the audience, essentially, a full meal in return for their affection and devotion and love for these properties."
Horn also confirmed that "Star Wars" creator George Lucas does have a bit of a hand in the film, as he will serve as a consultant on the production.
"George is a consultant. The understanding is when he sold the company — and he did sell the company to the Walt Disney Company — so he's very aware of that. So we now are the primary drivers behind this property. But he is a very valued person. He's the father of all this. Kathy interacts with him, back and forth I think."
Though not included in the video below, Horn also spoke briefly about Marvel Studios' Captain America 3, which is slated to go up against Warner Bros.' Batman vs. Superman on May 6, 2016. Variety reporter Brent Lang was on site and tweeted the following quote from Horn on the matter.
The topic of "Pirates of the Caribbean" also came up in the conversation with Horn. The planned fifth film in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, was previously set for release on July 10, 2015 before being delayed to a potential 2016 release. Kon-Tiki directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are at the helm for the film, but Horn says it hasn't been greenlit officially, due largely in part to the script.
2015 will be a big year for Walt Disney Studios as it will see the release of Cinderella, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Inside Out, Ant-Man, The Jungle Book, The Good Dinosaur, and Star Wars: Episode VII. Which of these releases are you looking forward to the most?