Yet Another Disney Theme Park Ride Is Becoming A Movie
Disney has jumped into the world of live-action reboots, and the company has also turned fan-favorite rides into full-fledged movies, which they are back to doing that again.
Following the success of films like Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise, Disney is turning Big Thunder Mountain into a movie. Collectively known as Bert & Bertie, Amber Templemore-Finlayson and Katie Ellwood will serve as co-directors on the popular theme park attraction-based project. The feature was given the green light after the duo impressed studio executives with their pitch. The pair previously worked with the House of Mouse, directing three episodes of Marvel’s Hawkeye series. They have also directed episodes of the hit HBO series Our Flag Means Death.
According to Deadline, the script is being co-written by Michele and Kieran Mulroney whose credits include Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and the 2017 Power Rangers reboot. While plot details are unknown at this time, Disney has always figured out how to transform its theme park attractions into movies. Fortunately, Big Thunder Mountain already comes with a pretty solid back story. The details tend to vary depending on the park’s location, but they all follow the same general story arc.
During the late 1800s, gold was discovered on Big Thunder Mountain in the American Southwest. After the find, a sleepy little mining town became a thriving one almost overnight (Rainbow Ridge in Disneyland, Tumbleweed in Florida, Thunder Mesa in Disneyland Paris). As the mining business became more prosperous, an extensive line of trains was set up to transport the ore. But, unknown to the settlers, the mountain was sacred to Native Americans. After they were forced from their homes, the tribe placed a curse on the land.
Before long, the desecration causes a great tragedy, which depending on the park, is usually depicted as an earthquake (Disneyland and Disneyland Paris), a tsunami (Tokyo Disneyland), or a flash flood (Walt Disney World), which befalls the entire area, forcing settlers to abandon the town. Sometime later, the locomotives were found to be racing around the mountain on their own, without engineers or a crew. As such, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was founded in the old mining camp to allow wanderers to take rides on the possessed trains.
Interestingly, the sounds of Big Thunder Mountain’s trains were recorded and used as sound effects for the mine cart chase sequence in Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ 1984 adventure film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Following the popularity of the Harrison Ford movies, Disneyland would later get its own Indiana Jones attraction in 1995. The company subsequently went on to acquire the entire franchise with its purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012.
Sadly a 2013 attempt to bring Big Thunder Mountain’s story to the small screen failed. ABC ordered a pilot based on the ride, but the idea was eventually scrapped. Then in 2014, Marvel Comics announced a five-issue series inspired by the attraction. Debuting in early 2015 as part of its Disney Kingdoms line, the series elaborated on the story behind the attraction, featuring input from Walt Disney Imagineering. The latest iteration will be a joint-venture production between Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment, and Scott Free Productions. The Barbie star has also been associated with a reboot of Pirates of the Caribbean for the studio.