3D 'Yellow Submarine' sunk by spiralling costs

 

Los Angeles

Fans of The Beatles are no longer packing their bags for a return journey beneath the waves to the land of submarines: Disney has announced that it intends to scrap an eagerly awaited 3D remake of the cult 1968 film Yellow Submarine.

An updated version of the psychedelic cartoon, made using performance-capture technology by the Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis, was due to be released during a wave of Anglophilia which is expected to sweep the globe prior to the 2012 London Olympics.

But the project has foundered amid concerns about its spiralling budget and difficulty in securing the permission of the surviving Beatles and their heirs to use 16 of the band's songs, including "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "All You Need is Love", on the soundtrack.

A final nail in its coffin came at the weekend, when the movie Mars Needs Moms, another 3D motion-capture film by Zemeckis, opened to just $7m (£4.4m) at the box office. The film had cost between $175m and $210m to make and market, according to industry estimates. Submarine's demise was confirmed late on Monday.

The failure of Mars Needs Moms is evidence of a growing backlash against 3D movies. Zemeckis, the director of Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, has some soul-searching to do. A decade ago, he abandoned a hugely successful career in live-action film-making to devote his energy to performance-capture films. But the style has recently failed to resonate with audiences.

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