Disney‘s continued quest to dominate every facet of popular culture shows no sign of slowing down, with the Mouse House’s insurmountable lead at the top of the box office totem pole placing them billions of dollars ahead of their competitors. The studio boasts the entire 20th Century Fox library, an upcoming streaming service, Pixar, Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe among their portfolio, but an increasingly-lucrative revenue stream over the last few years have been the live-action remakes of Disney animated classics.
By the time Maleficent: Mistress of Evil leaves theaters, these remakes will have earned over $9 billion at the box office, with 2019 alone delivering two billion-dollar hits in the form of Aladdin and The Lion King. Most of Disney’s remakes are virtually guaranteed financial successes, which would lead you to believe that the production line will simply keep churning them out until they’ve mined their entire back catalogue.
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However, Disney’s Chief Creative Officer and co-Chairman Alan Horn claimed in a recent interview that the process isn’t going to go on forever, and eventually the monolithic empire will stop cannibalizing their history in an effort to bring in that sweet nostalgia money.
“There is no question that we, at some point, are going to run out of the kinds of films like Aladdin or Lion King. We have taken a step past that now, so Maleficent is a step away from Sleeping Beauty, and Cruella is a step away from 101 Dalmatians. But there is no question it’s a finite universe.”
It sounds like what Horn is saying is that while Disney will eventually run out of animated classics to remake, they can still utilize familiar characters in order to continue pumping these kinds of movies out. 2019 saw the studio deliver four remakes in one year, Lady and the Tramp and Mulan are set for release over the next few months, and The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Pinocchio and countless others are all in various stages of development.
In fact, at this rate, it won’t be too long until a live-action Home on the Range or a gritty origin story for Cinderella’s mice Gus and Jaq get the green light.