Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Next Narnia Movie: Magician's Nephew

[ht: Siris]
Despite the lackluster performance of the movie adaptation of Voyage of the Dawn Treader at the domestic box office (abroad, it apparently did better than Prince Caspian) Walden Media has decided to move forward with another Narnia movie: The Magician's Nephew
Why do The Magician's Nephew next?

It's a creative decision in terms of what story we felt has the best opportunity to draw the largest audience. The box office has pretty closely followed the sales pattern of the books. Prince Caspian sells about half of the books of Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, and it did about half of the box office. Caspian sells about a third more books than Dawn Treader, and it did about a third more box office. That pattern continues to decline with Silver Chair being the weakest book in the series in terms of consumer demand.

We just think the origin tale of The Magician's Nephew is a great one, and it brings back the characters that have proven to be the most popular—a lot of Aslan and the White Witch. It explains the origin of the lamppost and the wardrobe. The order of these books is something that few people agree on anyway. While Silver Chair certainly continues Eustace's adventure, we never knew when Magician's Nephew would come in the sequence of films. We never assumed it would be last, and we never assumed it would be first.
Now personally, it seems to me that you could do a bang-up movie of Silver Chair, which is one of my favorites out of the series (I think I'd rank favorites as Last Battle, Horse and His Boy and Silver Chair in that order) but it'll certainly be interesting to see Walden take a shot at Magician's Nephew next. I wonder if they'll go for Horse and His Boy after that. It seems fraught with peril for a movie studio given modern racial sensitivities and the situation in the Middle East (Lewis does, after all, fairly explicitly set the Calormenes up as a pagan version of the Turks) but if done deftly it seems like it could be a very cinematic story. My advice: cast a hot young Bollywood actress and Aravis and push the cultural influences in your Calormen design further East.


Kelly said...

I thought Voyage of the Dawn Treader was one of everyone's favorite books and I thought it would outsell Prince Caspian. The Horse and His Boy can go anywhere, so it can wait until they see if they have the money to keep making movies or not. I wasn't sure if they would do Silver Chair or Magician's Nephew but I would have been happy either way.

But I think they should stay far away from the Last Battle. It would make a bizarre movie, and the "happy" ending would have to be completely redone.

Enbrethiliel said...


I wonder whether the main reason The Magician's Nephew sells so many copies is that in the re-ordered Chronicles of Narnia set, it is #1.

I read the whole series in the original order, and I definitely liked both The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle much better than the "prequel." As for my low estimate of The Silver Chair (which is the only one of the Narnia books that circumstance never pushed me to reread), it had a lot to do with missing the Pevensies and resenting Jill-come-lately Pole for taking their place. (Missing Peter killed a bit of The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" for me, too.)

Which is my way of saying that I think letting sales patterns determine the next movie shows they miss the whole point.

(What's really funny? The "correct" order in which the Narnia books must be read has been a source of dispute for years--and now it looks as if the movies have caught the re-ordering bug as well. LOL!)

Kathleen said...

There shouldn't be an argument about the order of the books: Lewis clearly structured the series as a classical epic, beginning in media res, placing an "origin" story near the end, and inserting a "tale" (H&B) at the middle.

Theologically, the order of themes is brilliant: salvation (LWW), faith (PC), seven deadly sins (VDT), revelation (SC), the fall (MN), end times (LB), with prayer (H&B) able to fit anywhere.

My favorites have changed along with my own age and at the moment are probably LB, H&B, SC at the top and MN at the end.

Yes, it would be difficult to film TLB. But what a profound book it is. Only yesterday I recommended it to an Evangelical friend who questioned the possibility of salvation for the jihadists, given that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life.

rhinemouse said...

I'll be interested to see how they handle Magician's Nephew, but . . . how on earth is Aslan's song to be put onto film?

Also, I foresee Diggory's quest involving fewer toffee-trees and more monsters.

Whatever they do, I will still be there to see it in the theater because I want them to keep going until they reach Horse and His Boy, because ARAVIS IS MY HERO. (And a Bollywood Aravis would really be awesome.)

Calah said...

It's funny, the Silver Chair was always my least favorite as well. It's actually the only one that's very fuzzy in my memory, although I re-read them all within the last three years.

The Magician's Nephew and Horse and His Boy were always tied for my favorite. I love the Magician's Nephew and I think it's awesome that they're doing it next, but I do question the out-of-orderness of it.

As for the Horse and His Boy, I agree with you wholeheartedly. A Bollywood Aravis would be the coolest thing ever.

I think they should never, ever do The Last Battle, no matter how well the rest of the movies do. They could not do anything but ruin it utterly, and make children everywhere cry over lost Susan.

Anonymous said...

The Horse and His Boy is my favorite book of the series, indeed the only one that I have enjoyed rereading as an adult. (I never really liked the Pevensies. So shoot me.) I think casting a Bollywood actress as Aravis could be a stroke of genius, if they can find someone with the right mix of dignity and sassiness.


Darwin said...

I think casting a Bollywood actress as Aravis could be a stroke of genius, if they can find someone with the right mix of dignity and sassiness.

Joel, I think "the right mix of dignity and sassiness" is the textbook definition of a Bollywood actress.

MrsDarwin said...

Damn you, Blogger. The above is me, again.

Anonymous said...

""the right mix of dignity and sassiness" is the textbook definition of a Bollywood actress."

Good point, Mrs. D.


Darwin said...

Plus extremely good looks...

(really is Darwin this time)

Gail F said...

Dawn Treader was always my favorite and The Magician's Nephew my second favorite. It's interesting to hear what books people like best and why; and also to hear how books that some people like best are other people's least favorites. My least favorite is The Last Battle, and I really love The Silver Chair. I see why some people don't like Prince Caspian but parts of it are just great. As far as characters go -- I could really do without Puddleglum, and part of it is the stupid name "Marshwiggle." REALLY??? C. S. Lewis could not come up with anything better than that? Invented names were definitely not his strong suit, as the science fiction trilogy proves.