Walt Disney Studios' newly adapted practice of remaking/re-imagining properties from its animated filmography into live-action/CGI movies has proven quite lucrative to date, as illustrated by the strong box office performances of Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella and most recently The Jungle Book. Similar to how the Disney-owned Lucasfilm and Marvel Studio have their own film release slates planned out years ahead, the Mouse House has claimed multiple dates for its live-action films on through to 2019. These films will offset the release of the company's original animated offerings, as well as upcoming Pixar animated movies, Lucasfilm's Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, and Marvel's superhero tentpoles/comic book film adaptations.
Several Disney live-action fairy tale films have been reported as being in some stage of development over the past few years, with the films ranging from the somewhat expected (a live-action/CGI version of Dumbo) to the rather surprising (a Prince Charming movie about the title character's not-so-charming brother). Disney has now formally confirmed that a number of those films are, in fact, moving forward, and has claimed additional release dates for them too.
Disney has now claimed new theatrical release dates for "Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live-Action)" movies starting in 2017 with July 28th. The previously-set date was December 22nd, but it has naturally been moved now that Star Wars: Episode VIII is set to arrive in December 2017 instead. In additions, dates have been staked out in 2018 on April 6th, August 3rd, and December 25th; and in 2019 on December 20th. All five dates will eventually be assigned to select live-action fairy tales movies from a list of titles now confirmed to be making their way down the pipeline at the Mouse House. As you may note: we've reported on all of these at some point in the past four to five years but again, they are now officially being developed by Disney.
Here are the live-action films that Disney has confirmed are moving forward - a collection of titles that includes sequels, remakes of animated films, and other IP adaptations alike:
- The Jungle Book 2, a sequel to the hit currently playing in theaters. Jungle Book director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks will also work on the followup.
- Maleficent 2, a sequel to the 2014 Sleeping Beauty re-telling. Angelina Jolie will reprise as the eponymous character, with Maleficent screenwriter Linda Woolverton penning the script.
- A Wrinkle in Time, the adaptation of the Madeleine L’Engle fantasy novel being written by Jennifer Lee (Frozen) and directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma).
- Cruella, a Cruella de Vil-centered film starring Emma Stone (as the movie's namesake) and scripted by Saving Mr. Banks co-writer Kelly Marcel.
- Jungle Cruise, a film adaptation of the popular Disney theme park attraction that has Dwayne Johnson attached to star, with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Focus) writing the script.
- Dumbo, a live-action adaptation of the Disney animated film that Tim Burton will direct, based on a script by Ehren Kruger (The Brothers Grimm, Transformers 3 & 4).
- The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, a re-telling of The Nutcracker fairy tale that is being directed by Lasse Hallström (Chocolate, The Hundred-Foot Journey) and written by relative newcomer Ashleigh Powell.
- A Tinker Bell movie, starring Reese Witherspoon as the famous Peter Pan pixie and penned by Finding Dory co-writer Victoria Strouse.
- Mary Poppins 2, a sequel set to star Emily Blunt and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, with Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) directing.
There's a fair chance that not all of the aforementioned live-action films will ultimately receive a green-light from Disney; seeing as there are currently only release dates for five of the listed movies on through to 2019, it's possible one or more will in time fall off the tracks - especially if the box office returns for certain movies drop off significantly from the likes of Jungle Book, a film that has very much benefited from positive word of mouth. Moreover, seeing as movies like Maleficent 2 and Mary Poppins 2 have been in active development longer than the others, odds are they will be among the first to reach theaters (along with films like A Wrinkle in Time and Dumbo).
With all of that in mind: Disney has gotten off to a great start in 2016 by staggering the release dates for all of the films that fall under its umbrella (starting with Zootopia in March, then The Jungle Book in April) and that looks to continue on through the remainder of the year - what with Captain America: Civil War coming out in May, Finding Dory arriving in June, Steven Spielberg's The BFG launching in July, and so forth. Hence, it's little wonder the studio is planning out a similar approach for the next 3-4 years, too, in order to always have a new "event" film hitting the market. Of course, if these films start to dip significantly in quality and moviegoers in turn start losing interest, then it will increase the risk of this strategy back-firing on the Mouse House. So it goes when you play this long-run game.
Disney's upcoming live-action fairy tale movie slate includes Alice Through the Looking Glass on May 27th, 2016, Pete's Dragon on August 12th, 2016, and Beauty and the Beast on March 17th, 2017, as well as unannounced films on July 28th, 2017; April 6th, August 3rd, and December 25th in 2018; and December 20th, 2019.
Source: Disney [via Variety]