Disney has a back catalogue that any film studio would be envious of, so you can’t really blame it for pillaging the vaults to churn out remakes of the classics.
Not content with the big hits it’s had with Star Wars and Marvel, Disney has managed to draw in new fans as it re-imagines its classics.
From Aladdin to The Lion King , Snow White to Lilo & Stitch , old of new, the films we know and love are being dusted off and given a sprinkle of the Disney magic again.
It all started with Angelina Jolie creating a new – sort of – genre, starring as Maleficent in the same titled movie, aka Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s perspective.
While Disney took note and has been in talks for more ‘twists on the classic tale’ films, it also took heed and started to look at its classic animations.
Cinderella was beautifully recreated with Lily James, then The Jungle Book really got things going with its CGI masterpiece at the hands of Jon Favreau. Beauty and the Beast soon followed…and there’s even more to come.
When you hit such a winning formula why knock it?
Here’s the release dates for the upcoming Disney live-action movies, what movies are in talks and what we’ve already been treated to.
Upcoming Disney live-action remakes for 2019
Will Smith was originally linked to Tim Burton’s remake before he was confirmed as the Genie in Aladdin.
It’s set for release on March 29, 2019 in the UK.
Colin Farrell stars as former circus star Holt Farrier and Eva Green as Colette, there’s also Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito. The story is a new take on the animation, with a new story.
This remake of the animated 1992 movie has Guy Ritchie directing, Will Smith as the Genie and a grittier approach.
Mena Massoud stars as Aladdin, Naomi Scott – she of Power Rangers fame – is Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari is Jafar.
There’s no Abu in the live-action film, and Ritchie has said the story will be a little different.
It’s expected to play more on Aladdin’s street rat side.
The Lion King
Jon Favreau is remaking the animated classic. The original was released in 1994 and went on to become one of the biggest animated films of all time.
The Lion King will be released on July 19, 2019 . It’s expected the movie will follow in The Jungle Book’s footsteps using a mix of CGI and live action. Donald Glover will star as Simba and Beyonce as Nala, James Earl Jones returns as Mufasa. Chiwetel Eijofor takes on Scar and a raft of other stars join the cast.
We now have a trailer, which matched the 1994 one shot-for-shot.
Disney live-action remakes for 2020
The remake of the 1998 Mulan is set for release on March 27, 2020 . It was originally set for next year, but with so many other movies out it looks like it was pushed back to make some room
Directed by Niki Caro, and written by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek, the movie has ditched Li Shang and instead introduced Chen Honghui – the new love interest.
Chinese actress Liu Yifei will play Mulan. Jet Li is also set to star as the Emperor, and Gong Li as the "powerful witch"
Niki Caro has called the movie "a big, girly martial arts epic. It will be extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.”
Disney remakes with no date
Lilo & Stitch
While this one may be heading for the new Disney streaming service rather than the cinema, it still counts as a Disney remake.
Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich of Rideback are producing the remake, the same team behind Aladdin, with Mike Van Waes hired to write the script.
The Little Mermaid
While 2018 saw a film loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen novel of the same name, The Little Mermaid hasn’t escaped Disney’s live action remake list.
Lin-Minuel Miranda and Alan Menken have been signed on to write the songs for thisone. Miranda is also set to produce with Marc Platt.
Lady and the Tramp
Tessa Thompson has been cast to voice Lady in this remake, which is set for the Disney streaming service, Disney Plus. Justin Theroux will voice Tramp. Kiersey Clemons is also signed on. The Ninjago Movie director Charlie Bean has signed on too.
The service launches in 2019.
Sword and the Stone
This adaptation is all down to Game of Thrones writer-producer Bryan Cogman, so at least he brings that medieval vibe with him.
The young Arthur will still pull a sword from a stone to become king, but expect something less magic and more real-life.
Pinocchio and his little friend Jiminy are returning with Peter Hedges on board to write a loose adaptation of the classic animation. Del Toro has been taken on to direct the movie so expect a dark tone.
Peter Pan’s friend is also up for her own movie, with Reese Witherspoon set to star as the mischievous fairy. It’ll be called Tink.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
There’s no director or cast attached to this one yet. We know it’ll have songs penned by La La Land’s Benji Pasek and Justin Paul though.
So while there’s a Snow White movie in the works, there’s also a story about her sister Rose Red.
The live-action movie is an all new film as Rose didn’t appear in the animated 30s movie, she did appear, however, in the Grimms Fairy Tales and others stories that Walt Disney based his movie off.
Talking of spin-offs, Aladdin’s Genie is also getting his own outing.
The live-action film will show how Genie ended up in the lamp. The film has been in talks for awhile, but hit a few snags as Robin Williams voice can’t be used. Perhaps now there’s Will Smith in the role he’ll star.
James and the Giant Peach
There are talks for Sam Mendes to direct this live-action version. Nick Hornby is also in talks to write the script.
It’s been 20 years since Disney released the animated film based on Roald Dahl’s story. There’s been no information on this since 2016.
While we already had the Glenn Close version, Disney is revisiting the movie to give it a Maleficent treatment focusing on Cruella De Vil instead. Emma Stone is set to play the villain pre her villany.
This one has cropped up before, but it seems Disney is keen on the idea again. Angelina Jolie took on the role as the Sleeping Beauty villain in the first movie. Could she return for another?
The Jungle Book 2
John Favreau is in talks to return to the director’s chair for a sequel since The Jungle Book live-action was such a success, kick starting this whole raft of remakes.
David Lowery is heading up the live-action remake of the J.M. Barrie classic ‘Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up’. Lowery directed Pete’s Dragon.
After Lily James’ time in the spotlight her man is getting his chance too.
The demon from Fantasia is also set to get a movie, though there’s no info yet. The demon appeared in an 11-minute segment in the movie called Night on Bald Mountain. It’s thought it’ll be like Maleficent and tell his backstory.
Disney live-action remakes already released
Beauty and the Beast
In 2017 Emma Watson and Dan Stevens took on Beauty and her Beast for the live action remake. The movie was a smash hit. With a stellar cast it also added new songs, including Evermore.
It brought in $1.264bn. Not bad. Even better the movie actually solved a lot of the animation version’s plot holes.
Cinders has already had her film, with Lily James donning the glass slippers. Thanks to the movie’s success Prince Charming is also getting a spin-off movie.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh the 2015 movie brought in $543.5m.
The Jungle Book
Released in April 2016 The Jungle Book really kick started the live action remake movement for Disney. Raking in $966.6m it showed their was a hunger for remakes, and there was a whole new audience for the classics.
Using a mix of CGI and live action it also showed something like The Lion King could possibly be done in a similar way.
Directed by Jon Favreau it also cemented him as a Disney fav, and you’ll see him aligned with a few other projects with them.
Scarlett Johansson voiced Kaa and Idris Elba voiced Shere Khan. Ben Kingsley starred as Bagheera and Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha.
Telling the story of the little boy who sparked the Winnie the Pooh stories, Christopher Robin picks up the story of our hero when he’s jaded and fatigued with the world. Winnie the Pooh re-enters his life. Not necessarily a remake but it follows the new trend, with the cuddly toys talking, mixing CGI with live action. Released in August this year, the movie is a slow burner.
Angelina Jolie starred as the villain as we finally saw Sleeping Beauty from her point of view. It was a moderate success, but showed people had an appetite for the tales with a twist.
Disney classic remakes
What are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.
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