Could a Live-Action ‘Jungle Book’ Save Disney?

After a string of major duds — Mars Needs MomsJohn Carter and The Lone Ranger — Disney could really use a hit right now. The Hollywood Reporter writes today that the studio is working on a live-action reboot of The Jungle Book. Right now the remake is in the very early stages, but Justin Marks is attached to write the screenplay. But (competition alert!) Warner Bros. is also working on a Jungle Book movie, this one will be written by Steve Kloves, the man responsible for writing the screenplays for several Harry Potter films.

The source material, Rudyard Kipling’s stories, are in the public domain, so there’s no legal problem with both Disney and Warner Bros. working on their own versions. However, if anything can be learned by this year’s release of both Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, it’s that audiences don’t seemed to get jazzed about going to see the same movie twice. Olympus Has Fallen was the bigger hit of the two, despite having less-well-known talent, a less experienced director and a smaller budget. What it did have was that it came out first. So it looks like it’ll be a race to the finish line with this one. Then again, it was revealed recently that Kipling plagiarized his original Jungle Book stories, so maybe Warner Bros. and Disney can just use the same screenplay, in the interest of faithfulness to the source material.

On the other hand, Disney is the original Jungle Book adapter. Its 1967 animated version was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney himself and is considered a classic, so maybe filmgoers will wait to see what Disney does with a real life Baloo.

Related: does anyone else already feel like they’ve seen a movie about an orphaned boy and his jungle creature friend? Me too.