Have you ever gotten deja vu? Why Disney is releasing live-action re-tellings of their animated classics.
In a tale as old as time, the Mouse is releasing hotly anticipated movies. There’s a plot twist, though! This time, the movies are live-action remakes of beloved animated classics. But why are live-action versions of cherished classics even being made? Well, thanks to the success of films like 2016’s Jungle Book and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, audiences can expect to see a lot more re-imaginings from Disney in the upcoming years. In 2019 alone, we can look forward to the release of live-action remakes of Dumbo, Lion King and Aladdin. Let’s take a look at what’s nudging Disney down this particular pipeline and precisely what Disney has in store for us!
Disney remaking their animated back catalog is nothing new. Remember Glenn Close as the iconic Cruella De Vil? Of course you do, and the live-action 101 Dalmatians premiered over 20 years ago! Let’s not forget that the ‘96 version is actually a remake of a 1961 animated film. Disney already has an established history of remaking its films. Now, thanks to critical acclaim and box office success of movies like Cinderella, Maleficent, and the aforementioned Beauty and the Beast, remakes are hitting a sweet spot for the studio’s bottom line.
Disney owns the intellectual property (IP) of its animated classics. They don’t have to fork over bajillions of dollars to acquire new scripts and stories. An additional benefit to having sole ownership of IP is no other studio is allowed to produce Disney properties. Disney OWNS their animated classics, literally and figuratively. The Mouse can also release remakes entirely whenever and however they see fit. Cha-ching! It’s all about the bottom dollar.
Not only are previous animated films tried and true properties, but they also have a substantial nostalgic appeal. It’s a money-making built-in safety net. The audience is already familiar with the plot and is attached to the characters. No second guessing and major box office flops here! If one generation enjoyed the story, chances are good — very good — a new generation will bring their dollars to see the remakes.
Now that we understand why Disney is betting on the bottom line with live action remakes of treasured animated classics, let’s investigate what they have in the pipeline! There’s not one, not two, but THREE remakes to look forward to in 2019! Dumbo soars into hearts and onto screens on March 29, and the hotly anticipated Aladdin follows soon after on May 24. We’ll have to wait until the summer, though, for Lion King to roar into theaters on July 19.
It’s hard to believe, but Mrs. Jumbo and her baby first made audiences cry way back in October of 1941. Now, Tim Burton has taken on the directorial role for Dumbo’s Spring 2019 live-action release. It’s still unclear what rating Burton’s CGI heavy remake will receive — or if he will include the iconic pink elephants on parade scene that could earn it a more mature rating. However, there’s more than an excellent chance the newest version will be longer than the original’s 64 minute run time. We’ve got our peanuts and are ready to head to the circus to witness the star power of Danny DeVito, Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton and Alan Arkin in this much-anticipated re-imagining.
Hakuna Matata, it’s a problem-free philosophy! And Disney is betting on that philosophy bringing in a mega paycheck. With a remake of this magnitude, and major voice talents of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover and the Queen herself, Beyonce, we can all expect a stampede to theaters this summer. It’s been — wait for it — 25 years since audiences were delighted by Elton John’s soundtrack. Now a new generation of artists has recreated the magic with a heavily hyped soundtrack featuring Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper, and of course, Bey. The brand new version of Lion King is slated for theaters in July.
In 2018, Disney teased us with a re-imagined Agrabah in the first trailer for Aladdin, but we’ve been waiting for a sneak peek since the live-action remake was announced in 2016! Based on the all too brief trailer, we’re expecting great things from director Guy Richie. The latest rendition of Aladdin features none other than Will Smith in the Genie role initially made famous by the late Robin Williams (RIP). The movie also introduces Mena Massoud in the titular role and features fresh face Naomi Scott as Jasmine. Will audiences flock to see this “whole new world?” We’ll find out when the movie poofs into theaters on May 24, 2019!
Will betting on nostalgia pay off? Does gambling on already owned intellectual properties make fiscal sense? Based on the previous success and the strength of the directors and star power involved, we say yes. Just take our money, Disney!