Though Disney's live-action remakes are controversial, with some believing they'll never live up to the magic of the originals, these films still rake in cash at the box office. Because of this, they're not going anywhere and Disney is continuing to reimagine its animated films in a real-world setting.
While we'll still have to wait a little bit before Mulan and The Little Mermaid hit the screens, we can take a look back at the Disney films to have already debuted. Using stats from Box Office Mojo, we're here to see which of Disney's live-action remakes have grossed more than the rest. Grab out some popcorn and silence your cellphones; Our journey through Disney's highest-selling live-action remakes is about to begin.
This 2019 remake about the elephant who could fly brought in $114 million at the domestic box office, while taking in $352 million worldwide.
Directed by Tim Burton, the film took on a slightly haunting, over-the-top circus feel that many were impressed with. However, the characters and script were criticized for running thin. Additionally, there are those who believed the remake couldn’t live up to the wonder of the original. Unlike its animated counterpart, the dialogue of this story was carried exclusively by the humans and not by the animals.
9 101 Dalmatians
This early live-action remake debuted in in 1996 to an eager puppy-loving audience. Stocked with over-the-top costumes, a comedic story, and lots of puppies, the film made $136 million at the domestic box office against a budget of $75 million. Including its foreign release, 101 Dalmatians swept up $320 million.
The film received mixed reviews, with some pointing out that it felt like an unnecessary modern reimagining of the original, however, it still received a sequel in 2000. Disney is planning to release a live-action spin-off prequel in 2021 starring Emma Stone.
The classic fairytale about a mistreated maiden who escapes to a ball and meets a prince one night against her step-mothers wishes got a fanciful update in 2015. Unlike the already discussed films, this one received high praises with critics commending the cast, costume design, and charm. The added character depth was also a highlight for many.
Cinderella grossed $201 million at the domestic box office and $342 million overseas, bumping its grand worldwide total up to around $524 million.
7 Oz The Great And Powerful
Though Disney didn't create the original Wizard in Oz, the film studio still decided to retell it. Oz the Great and Powerful is the spiritual prequel to the classic 1939 film that starred names including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams.
Though the film's reviews were mixed, they leaned positive with many feeling it adequately captured the enchantment and soul of the original movie. Those who didn't enjoy it thought that the impressive visuals were a mask for the average story. The film took in $234 million at the domestic box office and $493 million worldwide.
Sleeping Beauty received a dark retelling from the perspective of the original’s charming antagonist: Maleficent.
This film, which starred Angelina Jolie as the titular character, received mixed reviews. Though many praised the acting, visuals, costumes, and musical score, others found it to lack enchantment and real emotion. Either way, the 2014 film was popular enough to be given a sequel. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is set to premiere on Oct. 18, 2019, with much of the original cast returning. The first of these films received $241 million at the domestic box office and $758 million worldwide.
5 Alice In Wonderland
Dumbo wasn't the only Disney story Tim Burton got his hands on. In 2010, he reimagined Alice in Wonderland, filling it with stunning landscapes, imaginative costumes, and quirky dialogue.
The film received mixed reviews, with some praising its humor and heart, while others felt the narrative got lost in itself. The film won Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design at the 83rd Academy Awards. It scored itself $334 million at the domestic box office and $1 billion worldwide. Additionally, it received a sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, in 2016.
Disney's magical Arabian tale took a second shot at the big screen in 2019. Remade into a live-action production, Aladdin put its compelling characters through all sorts of ups in down against the backdrops of a colorful marketplace, mysterious cave, and gorgeous palace.
Critics gave the film mixed reviews, with many praising Will Smith's portrayal of the Genie, the costumes, and the music. However, the CGI effects and Guy Ritchie's directorial skills were brought into question. Either way, at time of publication, Aladdin has brought in $355 million at the domestic box office and over $1 billion at box office across the world. Disney is also considering a sequel to this live-action remake, with the details of a second film in early development.
3 The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book retelling is perhaps the most acclaimed of all the Disney tales to be reimagined. While sticking true to Disney's animated 1967 story of an orphan boy who lives among animals, the new version also borrowed new elements from Rudyard Kipling's original work.
The Jungle Book became a sleeper hit, with many praising the beautifully created CGI, compelling characters, and exciting story. The film's few critics pointed out that the movie contained a loose vision. Either way, the summer '16 hit took in $364 million at the domestic box office and $966 million worldwide.
2 Beauty And The Beast
The captivating tale of a maiden who stumbles upon an enchanted castle that is inhabited by a prince-turned-beast was given a live-action remake stocked with strengthened depth, songs, and characters. Though the traditional elements from the 1991 story remained the same, the 2017 rendition layered the narrative with stories of Belle’s mother, Gaston’s time in the war, and the Beast’s cruel childhood.
The film received generally positive reviews as many felt it balanced new content with the spirit of the original. However, some pointed out that while lead Emma Watson is an excellent actress, the role of Belle could have benefited from someone who was more accustomed to singing on screen. Beauty and the Beast brought in $504 million at the domestic box office and $1.2 billion worldwide.
1 The Lion King
Topping off the list is Disney "live-action" Lion King remake, which had a group of photorealistic animals navigating Africa's pride lands while growing up and rising to their rightful places in life.
Though the film featured big names like Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Billy Eicher, and even Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, the film received wildly mixed reviews. Many found the story to be enjoyable, however, the vivid excitement of the original was traded in favor of realism: a word that doesn't fit well under the magical Disney banner. The mixed reviews didn't stop movie-goers from flocking to the theaters. At time of publication, The Lion King has taken in an estimated $533 million domestically and $1.6 billion worldwide.