Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Pete's Dragon, and Cinderella; what do these movies all have in common? Well, not only are they timeless Disney classic animated movies, but they also either have been, or will be live action films. I can hear you guys already. Phrases like, "Don't ruin my childhood!" and "Hollywood has run out of ideas!" are perennial favorites, but hear me out! The ones that have already been released have been incredibly successful, both financially and in popularity.
Disney Remakes = $$$
Let's look at Cinderella. With a $95 million budget and just about $543 million at the box office, it's not an insignificant amount of money, and it's definitely not the first one that they've done. If you've turned on your TV in the last few weeks, you've probably seen an ad for The Jungle Book live-action movie that was recently released. What do you think the box office numbers are so far? It only came out in mid April of this year. It can't have made that much yet, can it? Oh...it can, and did. The Jungle Book had a budget of $175 million. Favreau's adaptation has taken in roughly $828 million so far, after 1 month of wide screening.
So, what is it that we like about seeing these former animated classics as live movies?
These movies defined childhood for so many people around the world. I know that I wore through my first copy of The Lion King, and still watch it at just about any chance. Think about how magical it seemed to be in a world where a girl who was as mistreated as Cinderella was, or the endless wonder of Alice in Wonderland. Now think about the visual magic we are able to create on the big screen these days. What Disney seems to be locked into is how integral the realness of the people are, and how they're intertwined with the boundless capability of CG animation.
Not your father's CGI
For a long time, CGI was a bad word for so many people, but now Disney has gotten a phenomenal grasp on when and how to build these incredibly realistic worlds that people want to fall into all over again. By carefully crafting a realistic world with relatable characters and larger and life effects, Disney is creating a whole new world for people to rediscover their love for these properties and for what made them timeless classics in the first place.
So why do I believe in them?
We're now at a point where sequels to the initial live-action movies are coming out, like Alice Through the Looking Glass. It's pretty much a given that these kinds of movies are here to stay, based on what Disney seems to have up its pipeline, like Pete's Dragon and Beauty and the Beast. I have to be honest, while I initially doubted it, I'm definitely a believer now! I believe in these movies for two main reasons. Firstly, just because of what Disney has proven to be capable. If they can continue to make these movies at the same level as they have been, it'll be a great run! The main reason I believe in them is because of what they represent to me now. When I rewatch the old animated movies, it's a fun experience, but mostly from a nostalgic perspective. I remember the way I felt as a kid and that is so much fun! But watching this these live versions, it's a different feeling. I think the live versions represent the movies growing up with us. The level of realism and deeper dimensions bring more to the table than they did when we were younger, and to me, it makes it all worth it. It's not a rehashing of old ideas, it's exploring the space that we all wanted to see for all these years.
Do you like Disney's live-action reboots of classic movies?
Update: just yesterday, Disney released the first official teaser for the new Beauty and the Beast! Check it out!