Those going into the upcoming Disney movie Bridge to Terabithia expecting a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter experience are in for something very different, according to the filmmakers. Director Gabor Csupo, co-founder of Los Angeles-based toon studio Klasky-Csupo, told SCI FI Channel’s SCI FI Wire that he had nothing to do with the film’s marketing, which he claims are misleading.
The ads for the film depict a boy and girl entering an enchanted fantasy world populated by magical creatures, but most of those shots come from a scene that appears only at the end of the film. “I believe it’s a stretch, and it’s a very difficult decision on Disney’s part, but we the filmmakers had nothing to do with that promotion,” Csupo says in the interview. “We don’t really think that it’s an appropriate way of selling the movie, but they’re convinced that that’s the way to get kids interested, and hopefully they will be positively surprised.’
Anyone who has read Katherine Paterson’s book on which the film is based knows that Terabithia is a kingdom that exists only in the imagination of its two young protagonists, who need to escape troubles at home and at school. Csupo says Paterson has been pleased with his treatment of the material, mainly because he didn’t try to turn it into the kind of film being advertised in the trailers.
Csupo, who has produced such cartoon franchises as Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys, directed Terabithia from a script co-written by Paterson’s son, David Patterson, who serves a producer on the pic. Paterson also admits that the trailer does not represent what the story is about, but acknowledges that the bait-and-switch approach is necessary to get people into the theater so they can discover it’s real magic. “Although there is a generation that is very familiar with book, if you are over 40, then you probably haven’t, and we need to reach them,’ he told SCI FI Wire.
Despite being dismayed by the trailer, both Pattersons are reportedly happy with the film itself, which features visual effects by Weta Digital. Bridge to Terabithia opens in North America on Feb. 16.