With Beauty and The Beast making lots of money, Disney once again proved that doing live-action remakes of its animation classics is a good idea. At least economically.
With Belle’s story probably end up to a whopping $1 Billion dollar plus box office performance, Jungle Book came close last year, while Maleficent arguably did more than expected given a marketing revolving only on Angelina Jolie. The only one that might have disappointed (despite being arguably the best movie of these adaptations), is Cinderella.
Yet, Disney won’t stop here. There are a bunch of adaptations that have been announced, while others are in the works waiting for something more official to go ahead.
I will not count Mary Poppins Returns, as not only is not exactly a cartoon classic, it’s a sequel to the original.
Let’s start with those announced.
The Lion King
You might be thinking: why in the hell they are doing a live action of a film where there are no humans? The answers are why not, it will make money and motion-capture. The film is developing alongside Jungle Book 2, and the two projects share the same director.
So far, the cast sees Donald Glover voicing Simba and, amazingly, James Earl-Jones returning to voice Mufasa! I speculate that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost or James Franco and Seth Rogen will play Timon and Pumba. Scar will be voiced by another big time actor I suppose.
Shooting should start this upcoming May, so it won’t take long to get some updates. Jeff Nathanson wrote the script. The guy wrote some good movies like Catch Me If You Can, unfortunately he also penned Speed 2: Cruise Control. We can’t do anything but wait and see.
PS: Hopefully Whoopi Goldberg will also reprise her role.
Given the relatively success of the original, and open ended nature of the story, it was just a formality to have Disney announce a Maleficent sequel. The 2014 film turned Maleficent into a misunderstood villainous woman who eventually turns into a hero. What in my opinion had critics shaking their heads was the ‘true’ love twist being the same as Frozen, the animated phenomenon released just a bunch of month earlier.
Hollywood seems to underestimate the negative power of repeating the same thing back to back.
Jungle Book 2
Yet another formality, given the huge success of Jon Favreau flick. While it sparked some considerable controversy among fans, I thought it was a very good entertainment piece majestically directed and produced.
The only drawback wasn’t Mowgli (a debuting child actor who had to act mostly on his own throughout production), but the ending that directly conflict with both book and animated classic, only for the sake of a sequel.
Guy Ritchie is directing this adaptation of the 1992 box office hit. The original film became famous also because of the late Robin Williams great performance as Genie. The actor who will play Genie will face a great challenge, since the bar is pretty high. I’ll have a feeling one among Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr. and Jason Sudeikis will end up playing him. Benedict has probably been eyed to play Jafar, but given his schedule with Infinity War, lending his voice with perhaps some motion capture is the best option.
As you can see, no cast is announced yet, but good news: Disney is not looking for famous actors to play both Jasmine and Aladdin. John August (Big Fish) penned the script, and shooting will start in the U.K. this August (coincidence? I think not!). According to rumors they will maintain just certain musical numbers from the original.
This was announced before the previous ones in this list, and we have a bunch of details.
Tim Burton is directing a script of Ehren Kruger (Transformers 2 to 4, The Brothers Grimm film and TV Series), will mix live action and CGI like Alice In Wonderland (Also directed by Burton), and it will follow the story of the little elephant in parallel to the one of a family. Initially, Will Smith was suppose to play the father, but the deal fell through. As of now, we they announced two actors in unspecified roles: Eva Green and Danny DeVito.
In an era where Hollywood is eying China as the second if not primary market, Mulan was another given.
Niki Caro (Macfarland, USA and North Country) is rumored to direct a script written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, a couple who wrote Rise and Dawn of The Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World and also the upcoming Avatar 3. The movie will cost more than $100 million, and it has a release date: November 2nd, 2018.
Casting poll? Either Fan Bingbing or Jing Tian for the title role (I know they aren’t the only two, but, you know, Hollywood), and someone American for the dragon. Maybe they’ll steal Jack Black from DreamWorks.
Most people will see this as a surprise. Me included, since every decade there’s a Peter Pan movie popping up.
Disney probably thought to take a chance with this project since the failed Pan movie from Warner Bros.
At this time scheduled to be released in 2018 (probably not gonna happen), David Lowery (2016’s Pete’s Dragon) will be directing. He will also write the screenplay alongside Toby Halbrooks, who also wrote Pete’s Dragon. No cast announced, but I see having new faces for Pan and the other kids. Only famous guys will be Hook, perhaps Smee and surely Tinkerbell, since there are rumors of a spinoff about her taking place.
This is another project that could come off as unexpected.
As some of you might remember, 101 Dalmatians was already remade in 1996 with Glenn Close as Cruella, Jeff Daniels as Roger and Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams (aka Ron’s father in Harry Potter) as the two thieves. It wasn’t critically acclaimed, but it was enough to spark a terrible sequel with only Glenn Close returning.
Disney is perhaps trying to capitalize Emma Stone’s popularity with this new project. She in fact will be starring in the title role.
The film will be directed by Alex Timber, showrunner of Amazon’s Mozart In The Jungle. The screenplay is penned by Steve Zissis, Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks but also 50 Shades of Grey), Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) and Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow).
We have no details regarding the story, neither if it will follow the original cartoon or will just be focusing on Cruella as a thief or something.
As of now, it’s set to release in 2018. Depending on the script, it could be done by Thanksgiving of that year (because, you know, Christmas is Star Wars territory).
These were the movies officially announced.
Now it’s time to take a look at those rumored to be in development.
James and the Giant Peach
Not exactly a cartoon classic, yet Disney is trying to move further with the adaptation of the Henry Selick stop-motion flick.
While not officially announced yet, news, confirmed by IMDb Pro, state that Sam Mendes will be directing a script being written by Nick Hornby (An Education, but also a famous novelist).
No additional information are available yet.
The Little Mermaid
Things are getting interesting here.
Not yet officially announced, but we know that Lin-Manuel Miranda is developing this remake of the 1989 animation.
What’s more interesting is that another adaptation, perhaps more faithful to the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, is being developed at Working Title films and will be distributed by Universal Studios. Richard Curtis (the Bridget Jones trilogy) is writing the script.
Not exactly officially announced, but we have so many details that is almost like it was.
It will be a direct adaptation of the original Disney classic, which was based on Carlo Collodi’s novel.
Ron Howard is set to direct and produce a script at the moment written by Michael Mitnick (The Giver), and it will star Robert Downey Jr. Most likely in the role of Geppetto.
No released date scheduled yet, considering RDJ’s MCU commitments.
Is worth noting that there’s a Pinocchio Matteo Garrone (Tale of Tales) will be directing with an all-European production, set to be released in 2018.
The Sword In the Stone
Bryan Cogman (also developing the Magic: The Gathering movie) is adapting the original Disney classic, who was also an adaptation of Arthur’s origin novel written by T.H. White.
My speculation is that Disney is preparing itself in case King Arthur: Legend of the Sword won’t spark the franchise Warner is hoping for. In case the Guy Ritchie movie will be successful, they’ll probably pass. Make sense to me.
Night on Bald Mountain
Be honest, you don’t know what the hell it is. Simply because no Disney classic has that title.
Night on Bald Mountain is the last segment of the original Fantasia movie.
If you remember it, is quite dark and gritty, not actually Disney full length material.
Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Power Rangers, Gods of Egypt, Dracula Untold) are penning the script.
The Black Cauldron
…or sort of.
Some months ago, Disney bought the rights to the Chronicles of Prydain book series, the same series The Black Cauldron was adapted from.
There’s no additional information, except that is in the works.
Not everyone might remember this movie. It’s perhaps the darkest animated flick in Disney history, both thematically (the villain is really horrific) and financially (it bombed so bad it almost closed down the studio). it is somewhat similar to Lord of the Rings, but not too much.
This are all the movies that we could get ahold of.
It’s worth noting that Disney on IMDb Pro have two Untitled Disney Live-Action Fairy Tale in development.
There are rumors a prequel or spin-off to Beauty and the Beast is being considered.
That’s all folks! Let us know which one you’re looking forward the most!