Familiar faces will be front and center for reboots of two recent Disney classics that spawned a combined six movies and took in some $400 million at the box office.
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Rick Moranis, who starred in 1989's sci-fi comedy "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" will return for the update while "Gilmore Girls" star Lauren Graham will head up the new edition of the 1996 sports comedy, "The Mighty Ducks." Moranis and his movie family are slated for theatrical release while Gilmore's hockey team will be part of the lineup for the new streaming service, Disney+.
Joining Moranis will be Josh Gad, who will play Moranis' grown-up son, according to Deadline, who looking to be a great scientist like his father, accidentally shrinks his kids. The Moranis original had two spinoffs -- "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid" and "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves," the latter of which was a direct-to-video release. The two theatricals made some $281 million.
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The original "Mighty Ducks" featured Emilio Estevez in a tried-and-true Hollywood format, taking a group of young scrappy underdogs and leading them to a surprising victory. In the new series, the Ducks have become decidedly un-scrappy and are now a powerhouse on ice. But once Graham's son is cut from the Mighty Ducks team, she decides to take on the hockey legends and according to Deadline, in the "win-at-all-costs culture of competitive youth sports."
"The Mighty Ducks" was not only the basis of two sequels (the three movies combined made $119 million), it also inspired an animated series which aired on ABC and the syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon. However, it's biggest spinoff was unquestionably the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, a 1993 NHL expansion team that was awarded to the Walt Disney Company.
For $50 million, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner saw synergies no media or sports company had ever experienced.
“Hockey is great for the Disney Co.,” Eisner told the Los Angeles Times in 1993, “It’s possible the Ducks will be on Channel 9 [then Disney-owned KCAL-TV], we’ll have Duck merchandise in our Disney Stores, and hockey-related shows on the Disney Channel. And I’m sure there will be some Mighty Duck parades down Main Street in Disneyland after we win 39 games our first season.”
According to Variety, at one point, the Mighty Ducks merchandise outsold all other NHL teams combined and accounted for an unbelievable 80 percent of the NHL’s $1 billion in merchandise sales.
However, by the early 2000s, a lack of success on the ice, a failure to launch an ESPN West-branded sports network that would have been the home of the Mighty Ducks and a work stoppage in the NHL combined to force Disney to sell the team for $75 million in 2005. The team was stripped of its Disney branding and is now just known as the Anaheim Ducks.
The reboots come at a time when Disney is capitalizing on remakes and continuations: The brand in 2019 became the first studio in history to surpass $10 billion in global box office revenue for one calendar year on the heels of films like “Aladdin,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Frozen II,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Toy Story 4."