C.S. Lewis adaption is Disney's 'The Passion for kids'
Disney is to promote its $100 million adaptation of C S Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a "Passion of the Christ for kids" in an attempt to secure worldwide Christian support for the film.
Disney executives have organised private meetings with several church groups in the US to stress the themes of Christian redemption and sacrifice contained in the film, which will open in December with an all-star cast.
They have also hired a public relations company to market the film directly to Christian groups to ensure that the powerful evangelical movement, which is particularly strong in America, is happy with the content.
The film, which stars the British actors Tilda Swinton, who will play the White Witch, and Brian Cox, who will provide the voice of Aslan the lion, will be the first in a series of Disney blockbusters inspired by the seven books in the Narnia series, whose author was known for his strong Christian beliefs.
Lewis made no secret of the fact that the epic children's stories were Christian allegories and that Aslan, whose death and resurrection is pivotal to the saga, was a Christ-like figure.
When it emerged in 2001 that Disney would be co-producing the film, there were fears that the studio and Andrew Adamson, the film's director, who made Shrek and Shrek 2, would produce a secular version of the book, which was first published in 1950.
Now, however, some fans of the Narnia novels, which have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide, say that Disney could be in danger of over-emphasising the religious elements of the stories.
Disney sets out to make 'The Passion for kids' (London Telegraph 6/3/05)
Peek Through the Wardrobe into Narnia (Disney)
9 Mar 2005