Beauty and the Beast debuted in it’s opening weekend, smashing box office records and sucking in cash, making it unequivocally the most successful of the Disney live action remakes thus far, and it’s only in its first weekend. Disney has quite a few more of these live action remakes planned, and with the money they seem to be making, why would they stop now?
Other films Disney is currently planning are a live action Lion King, Mulan, and Aladdin (which will be directed by Guy Ritchie). Aladdin and the Lion King are supposedly sticking to their musical roots, whereas Mulan will take a different path, making a darker, more action packed film.
But all this success has led many to ask how far Disney will be taking this live action remake thing? Will they remake all of their cartoons? Or is there a cutoff point? According to Sean Bailey, the president of motion picture production at Walt Disney Studios, there is.
The company won’t be remaking anything released after the year 2000. “We’re not looking at anything very recent, [anything] that still feels like it’s still the provenance of current Disney animation.”
This is good news. It means we won’t be seeing materials we have been recently exposed to such as Frozen or Tangled…again. At least not anytime soon. Although some may not complain, some would fine the move to make the same film twice in the same decade not only annoying but unoriginal on Disney’s part.
Disney has plenty more remakes coming though. Films such as The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cruella de Vil, and Dumbo all have been announced by Disney. And don’t expect Disney to stop there, there are plenty more films Disney can remake if it chooses.
This whole remake situation has many complaining that Disney has succumbed to the remake monster and is opting to create more remakes and sequels rather than take risks on original material. This is definitely the safer route to go, and they’ll make a ton of money. But what about original storytelling? The classics are great, but if we all they do is remake classics, we’ll never get any new classics!
Disney isn’t surviving on cartoon remakes alone. They also own Marvel studios and Lucasfilm, which means that all these Star Wars and Marvel movies are raking in cash for the studio as well. They also have a fifth Indiana Jones film on the horizon. But here’s the thing, these are all sequels or spinoffs of an existing property.
Here’s the other thing: Disney lives on building off other people’s stories. Most of the Disney classics that are being remade were already stories that existed before Disney made them into cartoons, either in short story or novel form. Some were legends. Disney simply rewrote these stories and told them in their own way. So don’t be too surprised that Disney isn’t coming out with a lot of “original” stories. Original for Disney is still somewhat copying off others. Of the two “original” films currently on Disney’s slate (that aren’t remakes or sequels in some form), Coco is the only one that is truly original. “The story will follow a young boy named Miguel with a passion for music. That music will open a door to the land of the dead, and will send Miguel on a journey that will reunite him with lost family members.”
The other film is Gigantic, and it’s basically a reimagining of Jack and the Beanstalk. So again, stolen from an existing story. But Disney films are great right, and even if they are stolen and remade, we’ll see the films anyways.