It might be odd to say that Disneyland is having a Hollywood moment since the Walt Disney Company is omnipresent in every corner of the industry landscape, but the iconic amusement park is getting a series of close-ups in a trio of upcoming films. In Saving Mr. Banks, due Dec. 20, Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney himself as he tries to charm Mary Poppins’ author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) with a private tour of the park. Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is still shrouded in mystery, and the only clues so far are found in a box purportedly buried in the Disney archives.
The park plays its most significant role, though, in Escape From Tomorrow, one man’s surreal nightmare through “the happiest place on Earth.” After being informed via phone that he’s been fired from his job, an overwhelmed dad (Roy Abramsohn) begins to see strange things while he escorts his two kids through the park for the last day of their family vacation.
Writer/director Randy Moore’s black-and-white movie generated waves when it premiered at Sundance earlier this year, notably because he filmed at Disney World and Disneyland without permission. Instead, he and a skeleton crew masqueraded as tourists and shot the film guerrilla-style, barely eluding suspicious Disney security. Many speculated that the film was unreleasable, what with the abundance of Disney iconography in nearly every frame and the threat of litigation. But last month, Cinetic’s Producers Distribution Agency announced plans to release the film in theaters and on VOD on Oct. 11.
The movie’s first poster captured the confused fun-house dementia of the main character’s unraveling, but the newest artwork (above) is much less subtle, don’t you think?