Disney's "Gigantic" will be directed by Nathan Greno. (Click to enlarge. Photo: Disney.) Disney's "Gigantic" will be directed by Nathan Greno. (Click to enlarge. Photo: Disney.)
DisneyFeature Film

Disney Cancels Fairytale Animated Feature ‘Gigantic’

The upcoming Disney animated feature Gigantic, a reworking of Jack and the Beanstalk in which Jack befriends a female giant, is no longer.

The project has been shelved, confirmed Walt Disney Animation Group president Ed Catmull. “Sometimes, no matter how much we love an idea or how much heart goes into it, we find that it just isn’t working,” Catmull told The Hollywood Reporter in an exclusive story.

The film was announced publicly in the summer of 2015. At the time, director Nathan Greno (who also co-directed Tangled) said, “We want to make the definitive version of Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s not what you’ve seen before. It’s not one big castle with one big giant walking around.”

Meg LeFauve, screenwriter of the Pixar films Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur joined Greno as co-director last year.

Frozen’s husband-and-wife songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez had been slated to provide songs for the film, and Dorothy McKim (Meet the Robinsons, Get a Horse!) was producer.

Here is the full statement that Catmull provided to The Hollywood Reporter:

“It’s impossible to know when we begin a project how the creative process will unfold, and sometimes, no matter how much we love an idea or how much heart goes into it, we find that it just isn’t working. With Gigantic, we’ve come to that point, and although it’s a difficult decision, we are ending active development for now. We are focusing our energies on another project that has been in the works, which we’ll be sharing more about soon, now set for Thanksgiving 2020.”

In the Catmull-Lasseter era, both Disney and Pixar have publicly announced films and subsequently shelved them. Such projects include Disney’s King of Elves and Pixar’s Newt.

  • Marc Hendry

    that’s a shame for those who were working on it. I just hope whatever replaces it isn’t a sequel

  • Jack Newman

    It really breaks my heart that Disney cancelled the movie. From the moment the first concept art hit the internet, I was so pumped to see what they were going to do with the story. Even when they kept delaying it, I thought the wait was gonna be worth it. All I can say is that I hope the new project Disney is replacing it with will be as memorable and unique as their other animated films.

    • Cameron Ward

      All we can hope for is that they come back to it later when the parties involved have a set up goal and know what they want to do.

    • WanderPony

      And then it turns out to be another sequel.

  • Glowworm

    That’s a shame, I’ve been curious to see how they would present the story in this version.
    I guess we’ll never know if this movie would top my favorite version of the story–this really trippy anime version from the 70s.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVLlUoR-rvk&index=211&list=FLgnYYDKk9p_6ZD5J5XLb3UA&t=1018s

    • Ah the one nostalgia critic covered

      • Glowworm

        Keep in mind, I’ve actually known about this one BEFORE the Nostalgia Critic reviewed it. I actually saw it once in Kindergarten and the memory of it remained with me until I found it again on youtube when I was in college. When the Nostalgia Critic reviewed it, I was absolutely ecstatic because now more people would know about this delightfully trippy movie.

        • oh thats cool but yeah thats where i first heard it

        • This movie used to get run on The Disney Channel many times back in the 80’s! A while back I managed to get a pal of mine in Japan to send me the Japanese DVD when it came out and I’m glad to have it in my collection!

  • WanderPony

    Great. Now Disney’s only projects currently in development are two sequels, one of which sounds like a lame pandering mess of a crossover.

    Looks like another Disney dark age is coming up.

    • They probably have many projects in development that they have not announced.

    • Cameron Ward

      I wouldn’t say it’s a new dark time…i think they are being smart. I think if this was early 2000s Disney, i would probably be worried, but it’s current Disney, and so far, they have a pretty good track record

      • WanderPony

        Disney had a pretty good track record during the nineties, but that didn’t prevent them from going into their dark age during the 2000s.

        • God Monkey Abu

          Their good track record only lasted from Little Mermaid to Lion King. Pocahontas, Hunchback, and Hercules were all met with pretty mixed reception and the latter even under performed in the box office.

          Mulan and Tarzan did better but didn’t reach the critical or financial heights of the big four. They pretty much lost momentum after Pocahonats.

    • Yellow

      It’s rare for them to make sequels to begin with, so how Wreck-It Ralph 2 and Frozen 2 perform will be very telling of where the era is going. Hopefully it’s not another dark age, but instead either a continuation of this Revival era or a new one that’s just as great. Honestly though, I’m a little worried for what’s to come.

  • Cameron Ward

    It’s disappointing, but I rather them know what they want to do with a story than make a story where they have conflicted interests every few lines. I rather them shelf it for now, come back to it later, and then release it when they have a clear goal, than say, spend $150 mil and then watch it bomb and be criticized for having conflicting ideas within the story.

    • WanderPony

      Yeah, it is great that they’re trying to avoid a repeat of The Good Dinosaur.

      That said, it sucks that Disney’s only has two films in development now, and both of them are sequels.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    That’s a disappointment. I liked the whole premise of the film (Spanish boy meets female giant in 1500s). I don’t know what the replacement is (Zootopia 2?),but its obvious it will be announced soon.

    • Hate to admit the first I heard of this cancellation was in a tweeted pic of that scene from Zootopia featuring the parody DVD covers including the one for “Giraffic”. I guess now it’ll be interesting to look back on that scene and be reminded that one didn’t care to light.

  • Thalesourus

    Weird. And after BFG did so well at the box office …….. wait.

  • This is a shock. I honestly wasn’t super exited for this, but still, it’s a surprise.
    Hopefully the other project they’re working on will turn out to be a good one.

  • Strong Enough

    I bet Robert Lopez couldnt pull Frozen 2 and Gigantic duties at the same time.

    • Yellow

      I wonder if they’ll be the songwriters for Frozen 2. I don’t know if that was already confirmed or not.

      • Strong Enough

        well now that gigantic has been canceled its a sure bet.

  • oh well

  • Nina

    I’d love it if Disney took another look at “King of the Elves”, or decided to make an animated version of “Aida” like they’d planned to years ago.

    • Yellow

      Yeah, I’m really curious about King of the Elves. Not much was said about it, but there was so much concept art!

  • ddrazen

    The concept was easy enough to understand: morphing Jack And The Beanstalk into a variation on Arrietty where the traditional victor is switched into the victim. Bu at the core, there still needed to be a story, and Disney wasn’t able to nail that down.

    I’m always about the story, and a project like this, to avoid ending up as an amusing short, needed a story. If you can’t nail down the story, what’s the point?

  • Nick

    It seems things aren’t looking too good for Pixar or Disney. With the exception of Frozen and the moderate success of Moana it seems they’ve been stagnate for a while.

    • Yellow

      Not Disney. Big Hero 6 did quite well considering it came after the sensation that was Frozen, Zootopia made over one billion dollars, and Moana more or less matched Big Hero 6’s success. All three of these films were praised, and all of them were award nominees (and two were winners).

  • joeyj1220

    Disappointing for sure. I’d like to see Disney get back to some classic fairy tales and stick with the overall plotting. I was so excited when I heard Disney was working on an animated version of “The Snow Queen” and was perplexed when “Frozen” arrived claiming it was based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen. The only thing the two stories shared was snow.

    • Yellow

      Well, it started off as a “based on” but became so distinct that it’s really “inspired by.”

  • Dante Panora

    We all know disney has the resources to let this project be shelved, but the fact that it got pushed back and shelved just a year before it was going to come out makes me wonder if the film was truly unsalvagable or if they thought the problem was not with the movie but with their own method of storytelling.

    What I mean by that is, as we’ve seen in alot of these 2010’s disney films, they have a habit of taking familiar disney tropes from the past but mocking or deconstructing ones that everyone criticized or got tired of back the late 90’s/early 2000’s. This is perhaps most evident in their modern fairy tale movies Tangled and Frozen. I think the problem with gigantic is they realized that lampshading the old disney formula was becoming the new disney formula and they thought people might see it more clearly a third time around.

    If that’s the reason, they are smart for doing that but I don’t know where they’d go from there. Maybe they will experiment with sci-fi again like in the early 2000’s?

    • I wouldn’t mind another go at what they tried with Atlantis and Treasure Planet.

      • skent

        I was very excited by what was attempted with films like Fox’s Titan AE, and Disney’s Atlantis and Treasure Planet. None of these films lived up to expectations.

        There’s a lot of untapped potential there if they could strike the right balance.

        • Oh I bet. Someone elsewhere felt Titan AE was lacking in warmth and I could agree with that. That one felt like they had to go keep things going so there wasn’t too many slow moments as I’d like.

    • God Monkey Abu

      The funny thing about the digs at their past is that the new films more or less build on the legacy and formula that Disney is known for despite throwing swipes at it for laughs.

      That’s what made the jokes start to fall flat for me. It became very noticeable when they did it again in Zootopia despite telling another coming of age story about a plucky doe eyed protagonist leaving her world behind to follow her dream. So I went into Moana expecting it.

  • Toon Legion

    Bummer, looked like an interesting movie. But such is this business, some things won’t always make it through production sadly.

  • akear

    Disney and cinema in general can no longer tell stories. What audiences get instead of genuine drama is CGI films that resemble amusement park rides.

  • Capital_7

    I can’t read anything written by the racketeer Ed Catmull. The next time I read his name I hope it’s because he’s heading to jail.

    • cesar

      Why?

      • Capital_7

        He’s that man from Google. Look for him there. I can’t believe you would be on this site and not know why Ed Catmull is a POS.

  • Matt Norcross

    Personally, I’d like them to do that Mickey Mouse movie that Burny Mattinson has tried to pitch. It would especially be interesting to see how Mickey would look in Meander (the technique used in Paperman and Feast). I know there’s that Roadster Racers show on Disney Junior, but what about a true feature produced by Lassiter and his brain trust?

    • Matthew

      That could have been the next hand-drawn feature after POOH 2011 but they closed the division that made that.

      • Mesterius

        Actually, The Snow Queen (before it was reworked into Frozen) was set to be the next hand-drawn Disney feature after Pooh. But when The Princess and the Frog did less-than-fantastic at the box office, all hand-drawn features in development were shelved or put on hold. The Pooh film was already far into production and continued on. But plans for more hand-drawn features were over long before it premiered in theaters.

        • skent

          Like the previous administration, they concluded the fault lay in the medium rather than accept responsibility for a stale, sub-par movie ‘underperforming’.

          The main reason CG animated movies have become reliably commercial is that they’ve been a testing ground open to fresh new ideas. Even the bad CG films benefited from association. And the reason audiences have avoided theatrical hand drawn animation is because it’s come to represent a backward-looking mentality. It’s always going to be a diminishing audience for stuck-in-the-past filmmakers rehashing tired old routines. Even the better films have struggled to overcome this audience perception.
          They were also approaching it in a way that tried to polish and finesse things to the point they were sucking all the life out of the drawings. With CG animation the process works in reverse, the polished glossy finish is readily achievable so they instead spend their time trying to inject vitality and imperfection into the characters.

          It’s wrong to conclude that there’s no market for hand-drawn theatrical Disney animation. If this is ever going to happen again they need to overhaul their entire process and slowly regain the trust of audiences. Rather than hang the success of the whole thing on a single film, they need a longterm approach. They need to nurture talent to find fresh new ways to communicate through the medium. Reheated 90s Disney isn’t going to cut it.

      • Matt Norcross

        Well, it would still be interesting to see how Mickey would look in the Disney style of CG. It’s not that the market actually demanded that Disney changed to CG, it’s just that unlike traditional animation, it’s more suitable for general moviegoers.

  • torstenadair

    I’m still waiting for Disney to replicate the success of Big Hero 6.
    Many parents are not comfortable taking their pre-teen kids to see a PG-13 Marvel movie.
    Disney/Marvel should “shelter” their younger teen characters in stand-alone PG animated features, suitable for younger viewers, but enjoyed by fans as well.
    Suggestions: Squirrel Girl (rumored) Ultra Girl (this might fall under Fox’s license) Power Pack Ms. Marvel Miles Morales (in the works at Sony) Young Avengers (or better… Avengers Academy) Spider-Gwen

  • Gage Richard Westerhouse

    Maybe now they can focus more on Zootopia 2.