Disney has gone from master of the animated world to master of the live-action world with ease. Not only do they hold control of the largest live-action franchises in theaters, they’ve taken their own animated properties and remade them as live-action adventures. We thought it would be fun not just to list some of the most exciting upcoming live-action remakes of Disney movies, but to speculate on which unmade remakes would make for great non-animated features. So put on your mouse ears, animation fans, and see if you like our 5 Disney Cartoons Getting Live-Action Remakes (And 5 That Deserve One).
10. Getting: Aladdin
You’ve probably already seen pictures of Will Smith as the genie plastered all over our site and others. And with good reason! Smith is just as perfect a pick for that part as now is a perfect time for an Aladdin reboot. The film’s musical adaptation has been going strong on Broadway for several with no signs of slowing down. With that kind of exposure, it only makes sense that Disney would return to their Arabian Nights on the big screen. But can their newest live-action feature capture the magic so ingrained in the animated Aladdin? We’ll just have to wait until May 24th to see.
9. Deserve: The Emperor’s New Groove
The Emperor’s New Groove is one of the funniest animated films Disney has ever produced. And that humor would translate exceedingly well to a live-action film. With remakes such as Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book striking more serious tones in the Disney remake catalog, it would be great to get something really funny in there as well. Plus, Yzma’s weird magical science experiments and Kuzco’s llama transformation would make for some exciting CGI visuals, and probably give some lucky actor a shot at some motion capture work. That’s always a good thing.
8. Getting: The Little Mermaid
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. there has never been a better time in Hollywood for fish people. First there was The Shape of Water. Then, there was Aquaman. Now, Disney has confirmed that a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is headed our way. That’s pretty exciting already, but the rumors surrounding the film are even more so. According to whisperings around the internet, Ariel will be played by none other than Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Zendaya. It totally makes sense, Zendaya is a strong singer, a trait necessary to play Disney’s most famous vocalist. Still, take that rumor with a grain of salt. Anonymous sources also said Lady Gaga would be playing Ursula, which turned out not to be true. Ah well, Gaga’s still doing pretty well for herself these days.
7. Deserve: Oliver and Company
Lady and the Tramp isn’t the only city-based animal story that could use a live-action reboot. In fact, it’s not the only one about lovable Tramps. Oliver and Company reworks the classic Charles Dickens tale Oliver Twist to be about a young cat trying to make it on the streets along with a gang of other scampish pets. There’s a ton of under-appreciated music in this film, music that could use a resurfacing in another big-screen project. With the worth of ’90s nostalgia at an all-time high, putting Oliver and Company back into theaters would not just bring in young audiences excited to see talking animals. It could bring in a lot of the original film’s fans as well, ready to relive some of the fun they had with the story as kids.
6. Getting: The Lion King
There is just so much to be excited about in the upcoming Lion King live-action film. But what’s probably got people talking most is the amazing cast list. From John Oliver as the character of Zazu to Beyonce herself as Nala, the voices behind Lion King would fill theater seats on their own. But Disney’s not stopping at the voice list. Iron Man director Jon Favreau is directing the project, and Elton John himself is returning to help with the music. Look, everyone knows that the film with the most buzz of 2019 will probably be Avengers: Endgame. But if there’s one movie that can give it a run for its money, it will be Disney’s return to Pride Rock.
5. Deserve: Tarzan
Speaking of superheroes, when is Disney going to return to its OG super-human? No, Tarzan wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, but he does fit the bill for a comic-book style adventure hero. Seriously, think about just how well a Tarzan movie would fit into everything Disney’s got going for it right now. He’s a buff, courageous hero with a unique ability to fight evil. Plus, he’d be surrounded by lovable CGI animals. It’s like if you took everything fun about the MCU and the live Disney reboots and put them in a blender. Heck, at this point, why not just set Tarzan in the Marvel universe? Yeah, it might be weird to have Phil Collins’ voice behind a post-credits scene, but if you’re telling me you wouldn’t pay to see Tarzan beat up a couple of Skrulls, I’m going to go ahead and call you a liar.
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4. Getting: Mulan
Even if Disney never touches Tarzan again, we are sure to get a badass action hero this coming year. That’s because Mulan is making the well-deserved jump from cartoon to live-action blockbuster, and we could not be more excited. This is a movie that will have battle scenes as large as Lord of the Rings, fighting as impressive as Atomic Blonde, and humor as perfectly irreverent as Thor: Ragnarok. Plus, we’ve already learned that many of our favorite songs will return for this live-action outing, which means that it will once again be appropriate to just burst out into ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’. not that we ever stopped doing that, per se. It’ll just be a bit more socially acceptable.
3. Deserve: Hercules
It’s official: a new Age of Gods is upon us. Wonder Woman and Thor have jumped off the comic book page and conquered movie theaters. On the small screen, fans are getting ready for American Gods to return to STARZ. With divine adventures at the height of popularity that they are, we’re wondering why Disney hasn’t made their own venture into the pantheon. Hercules is just another entry on this list that would be perfect for a remake in the Marvel age. it is action-packed and mythological, with familiar lore and destiny-driven hero audiences get so excited about now. Besides, Hercules features some of the most memorable Disney songs of their recent projects. With so many movies taking the grim and gritty road to popularity, isn’t it time someone put the “glad” back in “Gladiator?”
2. Getting: Hunchback of Notre Dame
Of course, not every Disney remake has to be bright and swashbuckling. If you want proof, check out Disney’s latest addition to their oncoming remake schedule. The Hunchback of Notre Dame has to be one of the most mature cartoons in the Disney canon. Themes of religion, sexuality, and prejudice thread through the heavy gothic score of the film, so much so that a PG-13 rating wouldn’t be inappropriate for the original animated feature. We’re excited to see just how dark Disney will do with their remake of Hunchback, especially after Maleficent opened the doors to more grim, mature retellings of their old tales. Even so. we trust that Disney will strike a good balance between darkness and humor, enough to scare kids as well as make them laugh. It’s not like Quasimodo’s going full DCEU anytime soon.
(Kidding. We freaking loved Aquaman.)
1. Deserve: Treasure Planet
Alright, hear us out on this last one. Disney’s already cornered the space opera market with Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, so why would they need another galactic sci-fi romp? Well, we think that there is just too much potential in this movie to be a standalone animated feature. It retold a classic adventure tale, featured some incredible character and technology designs, and gave us one of the most fun voice casts in a Disney movie. Even if this movie never gets a live-action reboot (which, let’s be honest, is unlikely), it definitely deserves a revisit from today’s audiences.
Which Disney live-action remake are you most excited for? Which other Disney cartoons deserve a shot at the live-action treatment? Let us know in the comments section below!
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