Disney Signs Agreement With Walden Media to Produce Narnia

Posted on March 26, 2004

The Walt Disney Studios has entered into an agreement with Walden Media to co-finance and distribute the motion picture The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first book published in C.S. Lewis' series, it was announced by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, and Cary Granat, chief executive officer of Walden Media. The film will be directed by Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Shrek 2) and is scheduled to be released Christmas, 2005, by Walt Disney Pictures. The agreement allows for the continuation of the partnership for future films in the series. Walden Media first announced its plans to produce a Narnia film in 2001.

Cary Granat and Micheal Flaherty, co-founders of Walden Media, said, "Disney has been a great friend and partner, with our company, on Holes, Ghosts of the Abyss, and this summer's Around the World in 80 Days. The combination of C.S. Lewis' visionary Chronicles of Narnia with the incredible strength and uniqueness of the Walt Disney brand and organization makes this a true dream project for us. This is one of the most imaginative novels ever written, and to bring it to the screen requires a director of equal inventiveness, ingenuity, and spirit. Andrew Adamson is just the guy -- he knows better than anyone how to create magic on-screen and tell a story that touches the audience's hearts. His expertise in visual effects, animation, and live-action will be critical to a fantasy work of this magnitude."

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe concerns a war between good and evil, pitting the magnificent lion Aslan against the forces of darkness in the magical world of Narnia. A White Witch has used her dark powers to keep Narnia in winter for 100 years, but it is foretold that four humans will be able to help Aslan break the spell. When the Pevensie siblings -- Lucy, Susan, Edmund, and Peter -- discover the magic of Narnia by entering the enchanted world through a wardrobe, the stage is set for a classic battle of epic proportions.

A classic series of seven novels that have sold over 85 million copies worldwide, C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia began with the publication of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in 1950. Six more novels (including the prequel, The Magician's Nephew, and the sequels, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle) would follow in the next six years. The final title in the series, The Last Battle, was awarded the Carnegie Award.

Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis, said, "Fans of the series have been waiting for generations for a film that faithfully adapts the Narnia books for the screen. Disney and Walden are a perfect match for the magical world that C.S. Lewis created, and we're as excited to see the movie as everyone else is."