After I heard that Disney was going to make a live-action interpretation of Cinderella, my first thought was: "Really? Another one?" The story has been told many times before, and I didn't see how this particular film would excel above any of the others.
That being said, I quite enjoyed the film when I saw it. That doesn't change the fact that Disney was re-telling the same story that they had told before, so I still could only wonder why.
I was further confused when I heard they were working on a live-action Beauty and the Beast, and then Mulan, and then Dumbo. The list kept racking up until I realized that they were prepping for something pretty big.
You see, Disney doesn't just make movies about princesses and pirates. They also own Marvel Studios, the company behind all of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy movies we've been seeing over the years. They also own Star Wars, another gigantic universe stocked with multiple worlds, characters, and stories. With two franchise behemoths at their disposal, how are they supposed to bring attention to their original material?
If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em
What Star Wars and Marvel are doing is obviously working. The Avengers films have been hitting massive box-office highs and Star Wars just shattered pre-sale records for their upcoming The Force Awakens movie. Aside from both having massive fan-bases, those two franchises have something major in common.
They both are huge!
Both Marvel and Star Wars are enormous universes with many engaging characters and interesting stories. Disney already has a plethora of memorable characters that we all know and love, and we have seen them interact with each other in animated shorts such as House of Mouse. However, that audience has grown up, and they want to see more mature versions of those characters that they fell in love with as children.
We are already getting quite a few live-action interpretations of these stories in the next few years, what we need now is for these characters to meet and interact. Think of the joy we all felt when all of the Avengers joined together for the first time, or Captain America's hilarious cameo in Thor: The Dark World. Disney could recreate the same magic with their own characters. Just think about Cinderella meeting Belle, or Tarzan meeting Mowgli.
Disney Already Has Cross-Overs!
There are a few flaws to this theory that are apparent right off the bat. For instance, how could someone like Cinderella in her magical kingdom ever come in contact with Mulan, who hails from China? Well unfortunately enough some characters probably won't be able to cross over due to location and time restraints. For example, Pocahontas and Peter Pan could never meet thanks to hailing from time periods.
That being said, if Disney handles this right, they could strategically drop hints into their live-action films similar to the ones they dropped in their animated features. For example, during Elsa's ceremony at the beginning of Frozen, you can see Rapunzel and Eugene in the crowd, attending the festivities.
Not to mention the theory that Anna and Elsa's shipwrecked parents secretly fathered Tarzan after they ended up in the jungle. Then Disney live-action films could touch on these theories to make their cinematic universe possible!
Instead of watching sequel after sequel until we grow tired of these characters, wouldn't you rather see these amazing characters meet-up and interact? It could be possible with the new direction that Disney is moving in!