It wasn’t long after Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” hit theaters back in 2010 that Disney realized it was onto something big. “Alice” opened to over $116M at the domestic box-office, and went on to gross over $1B for the studio in tickets-sales alone. Disney gave the live-action series another test four-years later, this time casting Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning in “Maleficent,” a film that went on to make over $758.5M at the global box-office. The success of the film paved the way for hits like “Cinderella,” “Alice 2,” “Pete’s Dragon” and a new version of “The Jungle Book”. Disney has invested in live-action films in the past, like when Glenn Close took on the role of Cruella in “101 Dalmatians,” but it was Alice that setoff Disney’s latest craze.
Each of the recent live-action adaptation has been a hit for the studio, and Disney has set 13 new adaptations into motion. Some are already a bit more exciting than others, and how excited you are in each future project will most likely depend on when you were born.
The most popular adaptation in the works is also the first to release. “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” will hit theaters in 2017, and will star Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the titular roles. “Beauty and the Beast” is a bit of treasured classic at Disney, it was one of the studio’s most successful animated-films in decades when it was first released in 1991, and it was the first animated-film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Though collecting Oscars quickly became a norm for the studio.
Disney followed-up “Beauty and the Beast” with “Aladdin” in 1992. The animated tale of a young street-rat and his Genie was another Disney masterpiece, one that was also recognized by the Academy. The film won an Oscar for both Best Song and Best Score, and it will also be made into a live-action adaptation. As of right now, it has been reported that Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) is attached to Direct the adaptation, but Disney has yet to confirm the cast and crew of the project. Disney has not set a date for the release of “Aladdin” at this time.
Two years later, in 1994, Disney released “The Lion King” and broke our hearts with the death of Mufasa. We forgave them after meeting Timon and Pumbaa, but soon an entirely new generation will get to watch the events unfold when Disney releases a new live-action adaption in theaters. While Disney has yet to set an official premiere date for the film, recent “Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau will be directing the project.
Disney’s “Mulan” adaptation is already stirring up headlines, but many reports indicate that Disney does not intend to whitewash the classic tale. Multiple reports point to Disney choosing Chinese actors to portray the heroic characters, Ming-Na Wen of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” fame voiced the role of Mulan in the animated version. While Disney has yet to confirm the cast, the studio has set November 2, 2018 as the release date.
We mentioned earlier that the when you were born could heavily influence which of these titles you are most excited for, but for many, “The Sword and the Stone” is high-up on that list. The story of Wart, Merlin and Archimedes will be getting the live-action adaptation from Disney at some point, and already has a big name attached to it. From HBO’s “Game of Thrones” franchise, writer Brian Cogman will be writing the adaptation if everything goes according to plan. The original animated version was released in theaters back in 1963. In an odd coincidence, Guy Ritchie (who we stated earlier will most likely direct the “Aladdin” live-action film) directed a film recently called “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” starring Charlie Hunnam, Katie McGrath and Jude Law. THough not attached to Disney, the film will release in 2017.
Jumping back in time a bit, Disney’s “101 Dalmatians” is also set to get a remake. Much like the more recent “Maleficent,” this live-adaptation will focus on the iconic villain of the series, and tell her side of the story. Currently being called “Cruella,” the film will focus on the events that turned the twisted fashionista into the villain we saw her as in the original animated film. According to reports, Emma Stone will be taking on the titular role, which was once played by Glenn Close back in 1996- and again in 2000. Disney has not confirmed the cast at this time, and has not yet set a release date for the project. The original animated film released back in 1961.
Tim Burton proved to be the perfect director for the “Alice in Wonderland” remake, and he is set to return to Disney’s live-action series as the director of “Dumbo“. Originally released back in 1941, Dumbo is certainly one of the more melancholy installments in Disney’s animated vault. Early reports seem to indicate that the new film will broaden the cast of characters, and will focus more on a human-elephant relationship, with more adventures and a larger story. Disney has not set a release date for “Dumbo”.
There are two live-action films set to release from the “Peter Pan” franchise, as if the world needs more from the boy that never grew up. While there have been over a half-dozen live-action versions of Peter Pan released over the years, Disney currently has David Lowery inline to direct the live-action adaption for the studio. The second film is a little bit more interesting, and it focuses more on Tinker Bell. It was reported earlier this year that Reese Witherspoon is currently set to play the fairy. The film is going under the name “Tink” for now, and Disney has not set a release date for this film.
Moving on, we have five films that are in the very early development stages of the live-action adaptation process. Disney is set to bring “Pinocchio,” with writer Peter Hedges, “Winnie the Pooh” with writer Alex Perry, “Prince Charming,” and a film about Snow White’s sister called “Rose Red” to theaters within the next decade.
“Rose Red” is probably the most interesting of the five mentioned, but it’s also the most secretive. If you are familiar with the original story of Snow White from the Grimm Fairytale books, you might know about Rose Red already. The sister does not have a role in the original Disney adaptation that was released back in 1937, but in Grimm version she does save Snow White after she eats the apple, so she’s a major player in some versions of the classic-story.
Since Snow White and Cinderella both have lovers that are called “Prince Charming” in the Disney versions, it’s hard to tell which story Disney will match with the live-action adaptation of Charming at this point. It’s also possible that he won’t be attached to either Snow White or Cinderella. This film could also be shelved at anytime, so its best to keep this one on the back-burner for now. Prince Charming could be part of the “Rose Red” scenario, since he was added into the story by Disney back in 1937. It would be cool to see how Rose saves the day but the Prince gets the credit, and how that effects things after Snow White wakes up.
With 13 movies currently headed to theaters, all in different stages, details are certain to change as we move forward. These adaptations don’t even include the dozen of remakes that Disney has planned for other franchises; like “Mary Poppins,” “The Rocketeer,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” “The Nutcracker,” “James and the Giant Peach” and more. Of course that doesn’t even include the PIXAR films, and the sequels to the hit live-action films already made, like “Maleficent” and “The Jungle Book”. Its safe to say that there is almost two lifetime’s of films already in the works at Disney, so fans can look forward to seeing new, and newer, and remade into new and newer for years to come.