Mike Fleming

Insiders at Disney are denying a Hollywood Reporter story that a lousy opening weekend for the Robert Zemeckis-produced animated film Mars Needs Moms sank Yellow Submarine, the  3D remake of the psychedelic animated Beatles film that Zemeckis had set up to direct at the studio in August 2009. It is true that Disney won’t go forward with the project, but insiders said that decision was made months ago. At that point, Zemeckis was given permission to shop the film elsewhere. This makes some sense, coming in the aftermath of Disney’s announcement it would shutter ImageMovers Digital, the animation factory based in Marin County, CA. Disney announced a year ago it would shutter the 450-employee animation facility once work was completed on Mars Needs Moms. It’s not immediately clear whether Zemeckis will try hard to dock Submarine elsewhere. The film was originally timed to premiere around the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The plan was to use 16 Beatles classics including “All You Need Is Love and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” Zemeckis’ infatuation with performance-capture animated technology seems to have run its course, particularly after an awful opening to the big budget Mars Needs Moms. He has lately been in the discussion for numerous live-action directing assignments. Zemeckis hasn’t directed a live action film since 2000′s Cast Away.