October 9, 2020, 7:14 PM ·

Looks like Disney is hiring a screenwriter to create a movie based on (pulls slot machine lever)… Space Mountain.

The Hollywood Reporter says that Disney is turning to Joby Harold to write a live-action film inspired by the Tomorrowland roller coaster. Harold currently is working on the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+.

Of course, Space Mountain is your basic wild-mouse-in-the-dark ride, with no characters or narrative to speak of. So Harold has a lot of, uh, space to work with here.

It’s been clear for some time now that Disney is looking to cultivate franchises across its entertainment businesses. The company wants IP that can work as movies, TV shows, merchandise, and theme park attractions. That means that current theme park rides and shows that are not connected to a movie IP either need to inspire movie of their own (e.g. Pirates of the Caribbean) or they’ll be converted to a Disney movie or TV theme (e.g. Incredicoaster, Frozen Ever After, The Seas, etc.)

Now just because Disney has commissioned a script for a Space Mountain movie, that’s no guarantee that the film will be coming to a theater near you — whoops, I meant Disney+ — anytime soon. I have lost track of how many writers have been attached to a new Haunted Mansion movie at some point, for example. Disney went through plenty of attempts at a Jungle Cruise movie before it got the upcoming Dwayne Johnson/Emily Blunt film to screen. Disney had signed writers to develop a filmed version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but I haven’t heard anything about that one in a while.

But clearly, Disney is ticking through its theme park inventory as it looks for new movie franchises. So what’s next? Looking through our list of top Disney theme park rides, here are a few picks for attractions that Disney could consider to next.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you probably could guess that my top choice for a movie treatment would be Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor, or anything from the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Yeah, I’ve made this point before. And I will cheer louder than you’ve ever heard before if it ever happens.

Keeping with the international parks, Disney made its name on adapting classic legends, so a movie based on Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage at Tokyo DisneySea would seem a easy choice, especially if it recycled Alan Menken’s amazing “Compass of Your Heart” theme song. Or if Disney’s having trouble making a Haunted Mansion movie work, how about giving it an Old West spin and doing a film based on Disneyland Paris’ Phantom Manor?

Taking it back to classic Disneyland attractions, how about a movie version of the Enchanted Tiki Room? Disney’s attempt at Walt Disney World to overlay movie characters on the show bombed miserably, so Disney could give a movie based on the show a try, instead. With Splash Mountain getting remade to “The Princess and the Frog” and Thunder Mountain slated for its own production, the new script for Space Mountain leaves Matterhorn Bobsleds as the last remaining Disneyland mountain needing its own moment on screen. Yes, the coaster is based on the 1959 film “Third Man on the Mountain,” but almost no one knows that. Next, I would suggest a movie based upon Autopia, but I feel like Pixar’s Cars franchise pretty much drove over that ground. (My pun game is awful today, I know.)

But the ride I suspect is next on Disney’s list for big screen treatment is the one that I suspect many of you fear most. So in the spirit of October and this Halloween season, I leave you with this horrible thought.

Imagine, if you will — “It’s a Small World: The Movie.”

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