The Walt Disney Co. is hoping a fractured fairy tale that swaps Manhattan for a magic kingdom, a divorce lawyer for a prince, and roaches and pigeons for wholesome forest creatures will turn into its newest film franchise.
"Enchanted," set for a November 21 release, pokes fun at old Disney films such as "Sleeping Beauty" or "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" where the heroine surrounds herself with cuddly creatures or people whistling happy tunes.
As a result, the movie represents a big risk for the studio to turn into a profit-making franchise with numerous sequels, such as its "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
Disney would not disclose how much the film cost to make.
The irony of Disney flaunting the conventions of the very films on which the company was built was one idea that excited the film's makers.
"It's really difficult material," director Kevin Lima told Reuters following a news conference on Monday. "What it really took is ... someone who understood the heritage, who loved it. Someone who wasn't afraid of it."
Disney executives knew "the only way this was going to work is if we can take the 'Mickey' out of ourselves, so to speak, so we can look back at who we are and be able to laugh," Lima said.
When asked whether "Enchanted" could be a franchise film, he said, "We all hope," and added that already he was thinking about ideas for a sequel featuring the same key characters.
"Enchanted" blends old-style, hand-drawn animation as well as live action to turn the idea of fairy tales upside down.
It begins in the animated world of Andalasia, where Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is preparing to marry her handsome Prince Edward (James Marsden), but ends up in the real world of Times Square at rush hour after the ubiquitous wicked queen (Susan Sarandon) pushes Giselle down an enchanted well.
Lima, a longtime Disney animator who directed "Tarzan" and "101 Dalmatians" and designed characters for "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin," said he drew on Disney fairy tale cliches to come up with the right tone for "Enchanted."
Disney did not disclose whether the actors have signed multi-picture contracts to come back for a sequel.