Classic stories and fairy tales become fodder for Hollywood's remake machine

By Jeff Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Aug. 3 2013 1:00 p.m. MDT

In addition to all the Disney-produced remakes, the next few years could see at least two versions of “The Little Mermaid,” a Guillermo del Toro-directed “Beauty and the Beast” with Emma Watson, a Peter Pan origin story starring Channing Tatum as Pan (yes, you read that correctly), a Tarzan reboot from “Harry Potter” director David Yates, and two Pinocchio adaptations (one, an animated version produced by del Toro, and the other, a live-action version directed by Ben Stiller with Robert Downey Jr. reportedly set to play both Gepetto and the titular wooden boy).

Even by Hollywood standards, that’s a lot of recycled ideas.

The appeal for studios of making movies based on fairy tales and classic Disney-type stories, though, is twofold: First, these stories come with built-in four-quadrant fan bases — young and old, male and female. It seems like everyone grew up watching “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan” and all the other Disney classics. Second, like “The Jungle Book,” these are all properties in the public domain, so studios don’t have to worry about buying the rights or paying steep licensing fees.

On the bright side, at least the renewed interest in classic stories and fairy tales could mean more movies aimed at broader audiences, even if the subject matter isn’t exactly new.

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff Peterson is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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