Disney purchased Fox late last year, and at executive retreat immediately afterward began a survey and asset list of what came with the deal. Of particular interest to our audience of theme park observers was just what the Mouse has been thinking when it came to exploiting all the new Fox intellectual property the deal offers the Parks & Resorts division to choose from. A source deep inside Imagineering shared one of the Blu-Sky attraction/hotel/dining pitch concepts being hurled around for possible future additions to the domestic parks & resorts.
The Sound of Music (SoM). Rereleased by Fox every five years in new home video collector’s editions over the past few decades, three to five new remakes of this property are being looked at, including a long-form Disney Channel version, as well as a computer-animated go at it. There are rumors of an all black cast version starring Beyonce as Maria, with Whoopi Goldberg back in a nun’s habit again as Mother Superior.
Wanda Sykes should also be interested in the newly created role of the children’s Dance Captain to say the least, and DJ Testo’s dance mixes should open up this franchise to broader audiences everywhere. After “Black Panther’s” huge success, might MARVEL even end up with this as their first musical? (And don’t forget Disney’s first go at a Rodgers & Hammerstein (R&H) property, “Cinderella” with Brandy & Whitney Houston.)
At the Disneyland Resort look for the SoM jauggernaught to land in Fantasyland, taking a Guardians of the Galaxy approach to the park’s much beloved chicken wire and cement Matterhorn mountain, renamed “Sound of Music – Matterhorn: MAYHEM!” SoM may be among the first Fox IPs to appear in the Orlando parks too, with an overlay on Animal Kingdom’s Everest Attraction as well, and a different name “Sound of Music – Everest: ESCAPE.”
In both resorts you’ll hear Rodgers and Hammerstein classics like “Edelweiss” played on an onboard music box, as your ride vehicle climbs up into the mountain, then race back down just barely missing nuns and nazi’s as they scamper off the ride tracks. It all ends in a rainstorm inspired “splash-down” as “My Favorite Things” plays in a new “hard knock life” type mix, with a limited motion Maria animatronic spinning around the exits for photo ops.
The word is Bob Iger, (Disney’s head honcho) when asked about what his plans were for all this IP he acquired, succinctly responded “Mine, mine, mine, it’s all mine!” as he cackled gleefully. Which reminded us . . . he’s got the rights to “Glee” too.