In the latest entry of our ongoing series, Screen Rant's Ryan George reveals what (probably) happened in the pitch meeting for Disney's 2019 remake of Aladdin. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the movie stars Mena Massoud as the titular Agrabah street rat who falls in love with a princess, finds a magic lamp, and makes friends with a genie. This time around, Genie is played by Will Smith as a somewhat terrifying CGI creation - though thankfully he spends most of the movie disguised as a human.
Having realized the massive money-making potential of remaking nostalgic animated classics in live-action, Disney has gone all-in on the endeavor. 2019 sees Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King all released within the space of a few months, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil out later in the year. But does the live-action remake add enough to justify its own existence?
Well, there's a new song from Naomi Scott's Princess Jasmine, which is called "Speechless" and is about how she won't be silenced, though the song itself is effectively sung silently since no other characters can hear it. The movie's classic opening tune, "Arabian Nights," also gets some verses added and other lyrics reworked (to avoid referring to the Middle East as a "barbaric" place). Unfortunately the trade-off is that we lose Jafar's gleeful reprise of "Prince Ali." Also, he doesn't turn into a giant snake at the end.
Of course, the main goal of the Aladdin remake was to make money for Disney, and it certainly accomplished that. To date the movie has grossed more than $800 million at the box office, despite mixed reviews. It's possible that the studio will cook up a live-action remake of Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar at some point in the future (or, more likely, come up with a sequel that isn't an adaptation of a direct-to-video Disney movie). However, we may be waiting a while for Aladdin 2, as there's still no shortage of old movies for Disney to remake.
Guy Ritchie's Aladdin may not end up being as fondly remembered as the 1992 Aladdin, but it does have something the original movie doesn't have: an end-credits song where Will Smith (with the assistance of DJ Khaled) raps about how you can use your three magic wishes to "wish away the haters." And what could be more 2019 than that?