Disney has seen huge success with its live-action remakes of classic animated movies - so it's little wonder that the studio is heavily invested in making more. In 2017, Beauty and the Beast grossed over $1.2 billion at the global box office, while The Jungle Book was met with very favorable reviews upon its release in 2016 and pulled in an impressive $966 million worldwide. Cinderella, Maleficent, and Pete's Dragon have also seen success, and while initially the thought of Disney remaking nearly their entire back catalog was worrying, most of us are now looking forward to seeing our favorite characters again. Which is just as well, since Disney currently has a whopping seventeen live-action remakes in the works.
We've already seen trailers for Christopher Robin, the tale of Winnie the Pooh's best friend all grown up and played by Ewan McGregor, and Dumbo, the retelling of the tale of a giant-eared baby elephant. Beyond those two movies are more than a dozen more live-action remakes, spinoffs and sequels in various stages of development. Here's everything that's on the way from the House of Mouse.
- This Page: Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King & More
- Page 2: Prince Charming, The Jungle Book 2, Cruella & More
Christopher Robin arrives in theaters this summer, and while it's not strictly a remake, it's making this list because it's bringing previously animated characters to a live-action movie. An adult who is immersed in his working life, Christopher Robin has forgotten all about his childhood friends in the Hundred Acre Wood - but they haven't forgotten about him. The trailer for Christopher Robin is just magical, and it definitely looks like one to watch with the whole family. Ewan McGregor stars as Christopher Robin, alongside Hayley Atwell as his wife, Evelyn. Jim Cummings provides the familiar voices of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Marc Forster directed from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder.
A Dumbo remake was actually announced way back in 2014, but details were scarce for a while, but the movie is now slated to arrive early in 2019. In recent weeks, we've gotten our first look at the movie in the form of a short teaser and poster, and not only does it look like a heart-warming tale, it also looks to be a total overhaul of the original story, which is Disney's shortest animated movie. There are no talking animals, for a start, and the humans play a much larger role. Dumbo, of course, is still as cute as ever. Tim Burton directed from a script by Ehren Kruger, and Dumbo could well be a huge hit, reuniting several of Burton's regular casting choices. Colin Farrell stars as circus hand Holt, alongside Eva Green as aerial artist Colette. Danny DeVito plays ringmaster Max Medici, while Michael Keaton takes on the villainous role of V.A. Vandevere. For those wondering, Dumbo's drunken dream scene, with the "Elephants On Parade," will also be recreated.
Disney's second live-action remake of 2019 is one of its best-loved animated movies, Aladdin. Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin will still be a musical, and will feature two new songs by Greatest Showman composers, Pasek and Paul. There's no reason to assume that a live-action Aladdin wouldn't work (the story has been well-received on Broadway and in the West End), but the remake has been dogged by several white-washing controversies which could potentially harm its box office chances. Not only that, but the thought of anyone else taking on the iconic role of the Genie, even if it is Will Smith, is something that many aren't happy with. Mena Massoud stars in the titular role, with Naomi Scott (Power Rangers) as Princess Jasmine. Additions to the character line up include Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders, another suitor for Jasmine to contend with. Filming wrapped on the movie back in January, so expect a first look fairly soon.
The Lion King
Another favorite of many, The Lion King will be the third Disney live-action offering of 2019. Directed by Jon Favreau, who enjoyed great success with The Jungle Book, The Lion King features an all-star voice cast and, just like Jungle Book, it's not technically live-action, but CGI. Donald Glover voices Simba, with Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Pumbaa and Timon, respectively. Chiwetel Ejiofor lends his voice to Scar, John Oliver is Zazu, and Beyoncé voices Nala. James Earl Jones reprises his role of Mufasa, because it simply couldn't be anyone else. Hans Zimmer is set to score the movie, with a new song from Beyonce and Elton John included. If Favreau pulls this off, The Lion King could well end up being one of the most successful movies of all time.
The next Disney live-action remake will arrive in 2020, and it could well be another smash hit. Mulan has been delayed a few times, from 2018 initially to 2019 and now 2020, but if that means they get it right then we're all for it. Niki Caro directs, and what was initially going to be a non-musical movie is now all-singing and (we hope) all-dancing after an outcry from fans. The cast is all Asian, with Yifei Liu in the titular role, Jet Li as The Emperor, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, and Yoson An as Chen Honghui, Mulan's love interest. The character of Li Shang, Mulan's original love interest, will not feature, although An's character sounds remarkably similar.
Not strictly a remake, Maleficent II follows on from the 2014 hit, Maleficent, which retold the tale of Sleeping Beauty from the wicked fairy's point of view. Angeline Jolie reprises her role - one she played with great relish the first time around. Joining her will be Elle Fanning as Aurora, and Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Leslie Manville as the good fairies. Sam Riley will also be back as Diaval. Maleficent II will pick up several years after the events of the first movie, with Aurora soon to become Queen and trying to form an alliance with Maleficent. New characters include Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, Ed Skrein as a villain, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as a rumored romantic interest for Maleficent. Joachim Rønning directs from a script by Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, and Noah Harpster. Filming on Maleficent II has started at Pinewood studios, but the movie hasn't been given a release date as yet.
A live-action Pinocchio has been talked about for several years, and at one point Sam Mendes was attached to direct. That's all changed now, though, and Pinocchio looks set to be moving forward with Paddington director Paul King at the helm. Jack Thorne, probably most well-known for writing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is said to be rewriting the script after Pete Hedges and Chris Weitz collaborated on a previous draft. There are no actors attached to the project yet, and no release date set, but production is said to begin this fall. If that is the case, then realistically we could see Pinocchio on our screens in the latter half of 2020.
Technically this isn't a live-action remake, since Oliver! always was a musical with humans in it. Disney put their own spin on things, though, in 1988 when they turned Oliver into a little orange cat and gave us Oliver and Company. This remake won't be centered around felines, but rather a new take on the Charles Dickens tale, with a hip-hop twist. Details are vague, but Ice Cube is signed on to produce and star as Fagin, and Danny Strong is writing the script. The movie has a director attached in the form of Hamilton's Tommy Kail, and La La Land's Marc Platt is also producing. There's no release date set for the movie at this early stage.
- Disney's Christopher Robin (2018) release date: Aug 03, 2018
- Dumbo (2019) release date: Mar 29, 2019
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019
- Mulan (2020) release date: Mar 27, 2020