Well, it's official. Disney has dropped out of the Narnia franchise and won't participate in "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." See story at Reuters.com
This could be a bad time for Walden Media or a freeing time, it depends on who they collaborate with to complete this epic franchise.
Disney was always timid about the Christian imagery in the Narnia stories. During "The Lion Witch and Wardrobe," Disney emphasized the secular messages in the film while Walden and Douglas Gresham (Lewis' stepson) launched a religious grassroots marketing strategy. Both Disney and Walden ignored the religious market when promoting "Prince Caspian," assuming that the first episode would be enough impetus for the Christian "underground" to carry their water.
Unfortunately, a prevailing message that preceeded the opening of Caspian was that "it is much more violent that LW&WR...more like 'Lord of the Rings'." This was a needless turnoff, since the level of violence is pretty much the same in both episodes, it's just that there are more battle scenes in Caspian.
I heard that Walden made a calculated error by postponing the opening of "Prince Caspian" to give "Nim's Island" which opened April 4th a better chance against competition. That decision did nothing to help "Nim's Island." In fact, Caspian's debute of May 15th was quickly deflated by "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" which opened May 21st.
I believe that a Fox-Walden co-production will help greatly in making sure the message is pure Lewis, and in marketing the film properly to faith-based, faith-friendly and family-friendly audiences.
Of course, there is also a possibility that Sony may want to play a role, given Amy Pascal's recent comments about looking for more family-oriented opportunities.
In the final analysis...Aslan is still on the move!