Tim Burton to direct live-action ‘Dumbo’ remake for Disney

Tim Burton
Tim Burton is attached to direct a live-action “Dumbo” remake for Disney.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Tim Burton is set to spread his wings, or maybe his ears, with his next directorial project. The filmmaker is attached to helm a live-action remake of Disney’s “Dumbo,” the animated classic about a floppy-eared pachyderm, The Times has confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Burton, who previously directed Disney’s billion-dollar hit “Alice in Wonderland,” will work from a script by Ehren Kruger, a writer on the last three “Transformers” movies. The “Dumbo” remake is in the early stages of development and doesn’t yet have a release date, but it’s expected to use a combination of live actors and CGI.

While “Alice” was an international hit, Burton has had a rough go at the box office since then, as “Dark Shadows,” “Frankenweenie” and “Big Eyes” all underperformed.


Burton’s next film to hit theaters will be “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” based on the YA fantasy novel by Ransom Riggs. Between “Frankenweenie,” “Peregrine’s” and now “Dumbo,” Burton has been on something of a family-fare kick lately, although he typically brings a dark undercurrent to his movies.

The director’s occasionally gloomy demeanor and knack for striking visuals could serve him well in revisiting “Dumbo,” the 1941 tale of a young elephant who’s teased for his big ears and shipped off to the circus. The much beloved film features some melancholy moments (a teary Dumbo holding his mother’s trunk through the bars of a cage) and surreal images (“Pink Elephants on Parade,” anyone?) that could fit into Burton’s wheelhouse.

As for Disney, the “Dumbo” remake represents the latest instance of the studio mining its back catalog of animated films for live-action material, following “Alice,” “Maleficent” (a retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”), “Cinderella” and the upcoming “Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

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