March 6, 2005


Disney sets out to make 'The Passion for kids' (Chris Hastings and Charles Laurence, 06/03/2005, Daily Telegraph)

Walt Disney is to promote its $100 million adaptation of C S Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a "Passion of the Christ for kids" in an attempt to secure worldwide Christian support for the film.

Disney executives have organised private meetings with several church groups in America to emphasise the themes of Christian redemption and sacrifice contained in the film, which will open in December with an all-star cast.

They have also hired a public relations company to market the film directly to Christian groups to ensure that the powerful evangelical movement, which is particularly strong in America, is happy with the content.

The film, which stars the British actors Tilda Swinton, who will play the White Witch, and Brian Cox, who will provide the voice of Aslan the lion, will be the first in a series of Disney blockbusters inspired by the seven books in the Narnia series, whose author was known for his strong Christian beliefs.

Lewis made no secret of the fact that the epic children's stories were Christian allegories and that Aslan, whose death and resurrection is pivotal to the saga, was a Christ-like figure.

Just think for a bit about how hysterical folks were about the Passion a year ago and the accusations being hurled at Mel Gibson--now the absurdly cautious Disney is trying to latch onto his coattails?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 6, 2005 3:40 PM

If the Calormen have big noses, I'm picketing.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 6, 2005 6:44 PM

Ah, the logic of Hollywood pitches. "The Passion of the Christ-- for Kids!"

Also, "You know, for kids" would've been a fine headline, making the Hudsucker Proxy reference.

Posted by: John Thacker at March 6, 2005 7:42 PM


Alas, no Calormen in this part of the tale. Just animals and all the sprites, good and bad. But the werewolves et al. could be wearing turbans - who knows?

Disney must be walking on eggshells, knowing that if this movie is perceived to be an adulterated version of the story, there will be no end to the derision (and the financial hit).

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 7, 2005 12:12 AM

In all honesty, how much does this matter? CS Lewis isn't even on my radar screen and I don't think I ever heard of him, as more than a Jeopardy question, till after grad school.

Posted by: Bart at March 7, 2005 6:58 AM


Don't advertise ignorance.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2005 7:58 AM

If you've taken in any Disney Channel, you'd hardly categorize them as "absurdly cautious." They shovel as much garbage as anyone.

Posted by: Buttercup at March 7, 2005 7:59 AM

Well, they cast the witch right; that Tilda is scary. But why does every movie cost $100 million now? Last year's Peter Pan, which I thought was excellent, cost that and made only half back.

But, speaking of marketing, when I was buying my copy of The Passion (which cost $25 million to make), the cashier and the lady behind me in line spent quite awhile trying to convince me not to buy the DVD. The cashier was livid, almost shaking. She said she had seen the movie and it wasn't "Christian" at all.

Yesterday, I watched the first half of Braveheart and those battle scenes are really horrific. I can see why Mel Gibson was surprised by the reaction.

CS Lewis' version of the sacrifice, with Aslan on the stone table, always struck me as really lame. If Eisner is going to all this trouble to market to the detested "Christians", the film adaptation must be far more lame. I bet it will be just another in a long string of losers for Disney, not because the story is bad, but because Disney is rotten to its core.

Roosevelt thought of business owners as cows; Eisner and his cronies think of parents and Christians identically.

Posted by: Randall Voth at March 7, 2005 8:43 AM

I wonder whether they are planning to replace the Turkish Delight with low-fat yoghurt.

Posted by: Peter B at March 7, 2005 11:05 AM