For generations, Walt Disney has captured the hearts of all ages around the globe with his animated, fantasy movies. With the help of modern computer-generated imagery (CGI) and 3D technologies, these classics are currently being remade into live-action versions.
As the New Year comes around, you can expect to see remakes of “Dumbo,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King,” along with a fourth sequel to Toy Story and a second to Frozen.
“I’m most excited for ‘The Lion King’ because it was a movie that I liked as a kid, so I’m excited to see how it changed for this generation,” Aden Johnson (‘21) said.
It has also been confirmed that a live-action version of “Mulan” will hit the big screen in 2020. Release dates for remakes of “The Little Mermaid,” “Snow White,” “Pinocchio,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Peter Pan,” and “Lady and The Tramp” are to be announced.
While we associate these movies with our childhood, young children aren’t the only ones looking forward to seeing these classics in theatres; we, too are a part of the generation that grew up watching them.
“I think a lot of people are going to go to these movies, especially people aged 16 to 21, because they sort of define that generation of kids,” Derek Wu (’20) said. “The movies are obviously going to attract all age groups because they are very appealing in their plot lines and overall message.”
In recent years, Disney has tested this idea of using their own, old material for new movies, and it has been a huge success. It began in 2010, when the 1951 film, Alice in Wonderland, was remade into a live action spectacle, starring Johnny Depp. It generated $1.03 billion in ticket sales overall and became the fifth highest grossing film of all time during its theatrical run.
Films that were previously hits are easy financial wins for the future; there’s a guaranteed interest from the original audience and social media allows for a greater chance for publicity.
Walt Disney Pictures has kept its popularity through their ability to reimagine and reinvent. Until 2013, in princess movies, “happily ever after” always meant the princess and her prince had overcome all of their obstacles and could finally be together…happily ever after.
However, when Frozen was released, it differed from the stereotypical Disney ending and became the highest grossing animated movie of all time.
“Maleficent” presented a different take on Charles Perrault’s original fairytale and Walt Disney’s 1959 animated film, “Sleeping Beauty”. Similar to many other outcomes of rebooted films, it was met with mixed reviews from critics, but was a huge box office success. A sequel is underway and is scheduled to premiere in May 2020.
So, does this mean that Disney no longer has to be creative and original in order to be successful? Or is it the originality that will help keep the brand’s credibility alive?
“I think they are remaking so many movies because they appeal to so many older and younger kids, which increases the amount of people in the audience [and yields] more ticket sales,” Katie Martino (’20) said.
While new technology is capable of creating beautiful and realistic fairytale scenes, the originals will always be where our emotional attachment from our childhood is found.
“I think in terms of an overall movie experience, the new movies will be better than the original just because of the increased video and sound quality,” Wu said. “However, the originals do have that layer of nostalgia that is irreplaceable.”
Nevertheless, the remaking of our Disney favorites allows for a new generation of kids to experience that same magical feeling, while we relive our own childhood memories.