Since 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, the team at Disney has been hard at work adapting most of the company’s animated classics into live-action films. Due to the wide commercial success of most of these remakes, Disney has quite a few upcoming live-action adaptations already slated for 2020 and beyond, including Mulan, Cruella, The Little Mermaid, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
With so many projects still under development, it is time to look back at the live-action remakes that Disney has brought us over the course of the 2010s decade. Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t? Read below to find out!
Tim Burton has given us some of the best Disney movies of all time. However, 2019’s live-action Dumbo starring Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, and Michael Keaton did not hit the mark.
With a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 score on IMDB, Dumbo is statistically the worst-rated live-action remake from Disney this decade. Moreover, the movie had one of the worst commercial performances at the box office, signaling that audiences were not excited about it the same way that they were for other live-action adaptations that came out in recent times.
Unfortunately, this beloved character from the 1941 original animated feature was not able to carry this live-action project for Disney.
9 ALICE IN WONDERLAND
After a ten-year hiatus since 2000’s 102 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close, the Tim Burton-directed Alice in Wonderland opened this decade of live-action adaptations from Disney. During its release, the movie was met with a lot of interest from the public, but mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 51% Tomatometer score that mirrors its 55% audience score.
Nonetheless, Alice in Wonderland was a commercial hit that gave Disney the confidence to release a sequel, 2016’s Alice Through The Looking Glass. Instead of retelling the same story we had seen in the animated original, the sequel aimed to expand the Wonderland universe. With that said, the performance of Through The Looking Glass was weak enough for Disney to leave this franchise where it was.
Starring none other than Angelina Jolie, Maleficent is the live-action adaptation that proved to Disney that there was something special that they could do with these live-action remakes.
Released in 2014 (four years after Alice in Wonderland), Maleficent kickstarted a succession of greenlights from Disney for several live-action adaptations that came out in the subsequent years. However, when compared to most of its successors, Maleficent did not quite match up, burying the initially positive reaction that audiences had to the film.
In any case, Disney did release the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil sequel in 2019. Unfortunately, the sequel made a lot less money than the first installment and received even harsher criticisms from the press.
7 THE LION KING
There was a lot of expectation surrounding the live-action The Lion King released in 2019, which was directed by Jon Favreau and featured a stellar cast containing Beyonce, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones, and Seth Rogen. But after all was said and done, the movie had quite the lackluster reception, with many criticizing its emphasis on photorealistic animation and its failure to recapture the magic of the original 1994 film.
The general consensus regarding the live-action adaptation of The Lion King seems to be that the film only worked because its story and soundtrack were undoubtedly strong to begin with. However, the remake certainly did not manage to live up to the original movie, causing widespread disappointment among Disney fans.
Screen Rant’s Sandy Schaefer reviewed Aladdin as a “jubilant and energetic Disney retelling that mostly succeeds in updating the animated version, even if it never feels quite as magical.” All in all, this live-action remake was deemed perfectly adequate by most critics and audiences, but not particularly special in a way that stood out.
Taking the general consensus into consideration, 2019’s Aladdin sits right in the middle when it comes to the live-action Disney remakes of the decade. In other words, the movie is widely considered “fine” in comparison to its equals.
5 LADY AND THE TRAMP
The last Disney remake of the decade is Lady and the Tramp, which also serves as the first-ever live-action adaptation to be released exclusively on Disney+, the company’s brand-new streaming service.
In many ways, 2019’s Lady and the Tramp is surprisingly sweet and fun, despite having the same controversial “real animals talking” trope as the live-action The Lion King. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 62% score, which is significantly higher than most of the other live-action Disney remakes of the decade.
4 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The Beauty and the Beast live-action adaptation took on the mission of updating the animated classic to new audiences. Released in 2017, the film featured a more empowered, nuanced, and character-driven portrayal of Belle, who was played by Emma Watson.
Despite certain criticisms regarding the singing in the movie, it is safe to say that most fans loved the Beauty and the Beast remake, turning it into one of the highest-grossing live-action Disney adaptations ever.
3 CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
There was certainly a sense from Disney fans that the company wasn’t quite sure what to do with its Winnie the Pooh franchise. With the great commercial success of these remakes, Disney decided to release Christopher Robin in 2018, bringing the beloved animated characters from that universe into the live-action territory for the first time in history.
Albeit not the most commercially successful Disney remake, Christopher Robin was certainly a wonderful movie that flew under the radar but pleased the people who saw it. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 73% on the Tomatometer and an 83% audience score.
Cinderella was the first live-action adaptation from Disney to follow the success of Maleficent. In many ways, the film was not received with the same excitement as its predecessor. With that said, Cinderella has stood the test of time and plays significantly better than virtually all of the other Disney remakes.
Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett, and Richard Madden, 2015’s Cinderella is one of the only ‘Certified Fresh’ live-action adaptations on Rotten Tomatoes, having accumulated a Tomatometer score of 85%.
1 THE JUNGLE BOOK
It is hard to compare any other Disney remake to the critical acclaim and commercial success achieved by 2016’s The Jungle Book, which adapted the original 1967 animated feature. Directed by Jon Favreau, the movie won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 2017 and grossed nearly a billion dollars at the box office around the world.
In many ways, The Jungle Book gave Disney the confidence that it could be an awards contender with these live-action remakes. However (at least so far) all the other adaptations have failed to win another Oscar for the studio.