King Kong is going from Skull Island to Disney+.
The iconic movie monster, who first appeared in Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s 1933 masterpiece, will be headed to Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming platform in “King Kong” (working title). The project will be the first live-action series set in the Kong Universe, and hails from James Wan and his Atomic Monster production company and Stephany Folsom, who has worked on Disney projects like “Toy Story 4” and “Thor: Ragnarok.”
According to early reports, the story will be set in modern times and partially set on Skull Island and the origins of a new Kong. The project will be based on IP from Merian C. Cooper’s original books and the new “King Kong” novelizations by Joe DeVito.
If you’re saying, “But wait, isn’t Warner Bros. and Legendary in production on a new ‘King Kong’ movie?” The answer is, “Yes!” The rights issue surrounding the character is incredibly complicated and thorny but basically the gist is that both Cooper and RKO (producers of the original “King Kong” feature) have a cut of the character and depending on which dramatization of the character the project is based on dictates the appropriate credit/reimbursement. (There’s also the issue of part of the IP being in the public domain.)
Making things even more complicated is that a “Godzilla” live-action TV series is in the works from Legendary and Apple TV+, which takes place in the continuity of the so-called Monsterverse, which includes the “Godzilla vs. Kong” movie and its upcoming sequel (said to focus, again, on Kong). Oh, and an animated Kong series at Netflix (also from Legendary) called “Skull Island.”
So, yes, we will soon be living through the King Kong multiverse. Spooky.
Folsom, who recently created and executive produced Prime Video’s “Paper Girls,” executive produces alongside Wan, Michael Clear and Rob Hackett for Atomic Monster and Dannie Festa for World Builder Entertainment.
Disney previously got into the giant monkey business with 1998’s underrated “Mighty Joe Young,” starring Bill Paxton and Charlize Theron, which was based on a 1949 movie by Schoedsack and Cooper.)
Deadline first reported the news.