The Jungle Book: Origins, Warner Bros.’s version of the Rudyard Kipling stories, has seen its release date pushed back by almost a year.
The studio has moved the opening date from Oct. 21, 2016 to Oct. 6, 2017.
It hasn’t abandoned that time, however, for at the same time, Warners has moved Geostorm, an environmental thriller starring Gerard Butler, into that Oct. 21 date.
Warners is competing with Disney on live-action Jungle Book adaptations, with the Disney project, currently in production with Jon Favreau at the helm, swinging to an Oct. 9, 2015 date.
Warners’ version is still in the early development stages with Andy Serkis attached to direct.
Sources say that the initial date was more of a placeholder than a firmly planted release date. There is a growing trend in distribution circles of grabbing dates and using them as temporary berths for movies before these cinematic souffles are fully baked.
The new date also gives additional time for Serkis and co. to further work on the special effects-heavy project.
The move not only puts some time and space between Disney’s movie, but it also puts some distance between it and the studio’s other jungle-swinging movie, Tarzan. The latter also opens on July 1, 2016.
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Warner Bros. has cast an entire zoo’s worth of actors for its adaptation of The Jungle Book, which Andy Serkis is directing.
Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan and Peter Mullan are joining Benedict Cumberbatch to star as the animal characters in the feature. Rohan Chand, the young actor who starred opposite Jason Bateman in Bad Words, will star as the human boy Mowgli.
Serkis will also take on a role.
Callie Kloves wrote the script, adapting the Rudyard Kipling short stories, while her father, Steve Kloves, the screenwriter who wrote seven of the Harry Potter films for the studio, is producing with Jonathan Cavendish. The movie will employ a mix of motion capture, CG animation and live action.
Jungle Book centers on Mowgli, an orphaned boy raised by wolves who befriends members of the animal kingdom who help him grow up. Serkis will play Baloo the bear, and Bale will voice Bagheera, a fearsome panther, both of whom save Mowgli from the killer tiger Shere Khan (Cumberbatch) and teach him the law of the jungle.
Blanchett will voice Kaa, a sinister python who is also a friend to Mowgli, while Hollander will play Tabaqui, the jackal who is an underling of Shere Khan.
Mullan will be Akela, the leader of the wolf pack that raises Mowgli. Harris is the female wolf Nisha, while Marsan is her mate, Vihaan.
With the casting now complete, Warners’ Jungle Book is ready to go ape-to-ape with Disney, which is also mounting a live-action/CG hybrid with Jon Favreau in the director’s chair.
Jon Berg and Cate Adams are overseeing the project for Warners.
Jungle Book is a rare move for Bale (WME, Bloom Hergott), who last voiced a character in the English translation of Howl’s Moving Castle (2004). Blanchett (CAA, RGM Artist Group) voiced one of the key characters in this summer’s How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Harris (UTA, Untitled Entertainment, the U.K.’s Tavistock Wood) portrayed Winnie Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, while Hollander (UTA, 42) appeared in Muppets Most Wanted and has voiced many characters in American Dad!
Marsan (the U.K.’s Markham Froggatt) appears on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and was seen in Edgar Wright’s The World’s End. Mullan (ICM Partners, Markham Froggatt) appeared in Hercules.
Chand is repped by Paradigm, Coast to Coast Talent and Myman Greenspan.