Practically Perfect Poppins Promotion

Mary Poppins is one of those quintessential childhood stories with the original Julie Andrews-led movie forming a significant part of many children’s childhoods. But with that movie now fifty years in the past, is it time for a remake? And if so, how should Disney work out who stars in this iconic role?


Who didn’t grow up with Mary Poppins? It is one of the quintessential Disney movie musicals and has influenced many generations with references to this iconic movie abounding throughout pop culture. But movie technology and entertainment expectations have been developing so quickly in the recent past that the movie somehow seems a little out of date when compared to the modern fare. As a result, Disney recently announced that Mary Poppins was on its upcoming list of popular movie musical remakes.

Is this such a bad thing? As soon as this announcement was made, Julie Andrews fans across the globe hit out about depriving children of the musical theatre legend’s genius as the practically perfect English nanny. But that misses the point of Disney’s original reasoning.

Mary Poppins isn’t as sacred as it once was anymore. And a number of incredibly successful adaptations have proven the enduring success of its narrative. The movie was converted into a stage musical which wowed audiences on Broadway for a number of years before making its way around the world. The character returned to the big screen again when the hit movie Saving Mr. Banks was released which delved into the life of writer P.L. Travers. And then, of course, this renewed popularity has drawn the original books out from the back of the bookshelf and made them hot property once again.

If anything, these adaptations have only made the Mary Poppins brand stronger!

So the next step is to reimagine the movie and bring the universal story some new relevance for a generation obsessed with the latest movie technology special effects.

Which leads me to my next question?

The star of this new remake is the most important piece of the puzzle. They need to be part of the celebrity zeitgeist now and the major producing studio needs to have confidence that their impact will continue for many years to come. Much like the enduring legacy of Julie Andrews.

Rumours have been rampant this week that Anne Hathaway will be offered the leading role in the remake. (With evidence derived from a Saturday Night Live appearance as the British nanny a few years ago). She would certainly be a good choice with these rumours exciting a flurry of media outlets and generating articles upon articles of coverage. But will she be offered the part? Who knows . . .

Disney’s other option is to chase after another, equally popular and talented, star. But why would they do that when the public is already talking about Anne Hathaway? It is a risky move, but it could create a whole new flurry of media, a whole new stack of mentions and, of course, a whole new stream of discussions among Disney fans.

All this coverage means that more seats will be filled when the movie eventually makes it to the big screen because people are more aware, more inquisitive and more excited. So maybe one more roll of the dice for another news frenzy is worth it?