Whether you like them or not, Disney’s push for live action remakes isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. As if you actually need a reason as to why, just look at this month’s release of The Lion King.
Jon Favreau’s photo-realistic adaptation of the 1994 animated classic opened to middling reviews, but is just a week or two shy of grossing a billion dollars worldwide. Even if most moviegoers left unimpressed, more often than not, the live action remakes are guaranteed to make some sort of profit, so why stop now?
According to a CNBC report, the 9 Disney “re-imaginings” released between 2010 and today have collectively made over $7 billion in theaters alone. Taking into consideration that the House of Mouse is one of the few studios that are still dominating the home video market, and it’s no wonder that they’re plundering every animated IP they possibly can.
Here’s a breakdown of each movie and its box office total:
- Beauty and the Beast (2017) – $1.263 billion
- Alice in Wonderland (2010) – $1.02 billion
- Aladdin (2019) – $1.00 billion (so far)
- The Jungle Book (2016) – $966.6 million
- The Lion King (2019) – $962.7 million (so far)
- Maleficent (2014) – $758.5 million
- Cinderella (2015) – $543.5 million
- Oz The Great and Powerful (2013) – $493.3 million
- Dumbo (2019) – $352.9 million
Most of these live action remakes were critically panned, with only Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book and Cinderella garnering a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet, five of these movies are within grossing a billion dollars or well past it, so I don’t think Disney cares that much.
That being said, it should be noted that CNBC left off David Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon remake, arguably one of the best of the bunch, and included Oz The Great and Powerful, which isn’t based on an animated Disney property at all. According to Wikipedia, Pete’s Dragon only made $143.7 million, a far cry from Oz’s nearly half a billion dollars, but $300 million is barely a dent in that $7 billion total.
The Lion King was the third live action Disney remake released this year, but far from the last. On top of the Maleficent sequel headed to theaters in October, a live action Lady and the Tramp movie is expected to drop on Disney Plus this the holiday season. Then, next year will see the theatrical release of Mulan and The Little Mermaid, and if their current hype is any indicator, both have the power to cross a billion bucks when they hit the big screen. So settle in folks, because it’s clear Disney’s live-action onslaught has only just begun