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After Maleficent was a huge hit last summer (rightfully so!), the live-action spin on Disney’s classic movies and fairytales seems unstoppable. With several movies slated to hit theaters in 2015, and some already out in theaters, we have compiled a list of movies that are going from animation to live-action films with a twist of the classic stories, perhaps even featuring your favorite actors.
Other studios and production companies have also begun developing their own films and since Disney films are usually taken from other sources, the subject material is up for grabs. Read below and mark your calendars because we are in for a wild, and realistic ride.
Beauty and the Beast (release date TBD)
Maleficent’s success, a spin-off of Sleeping Beauty, was a wake-up call to Disney to develop a live-action Disney remake of another fairytale and fan favorite, The Beauty and the Beast. This time though, there seems to be competition since both Disney and Warner Bros. are both in the process of developing remakes. Bill Condon, Twilight: Breaking Dawn’s director, has just signed up to direct Disney’s effort, while Guillermo del Toro left Warner Bros’ version, to which Emma Watson (ah she’s perfect as Belle!) is currently attached.
Cinderella (March 2015)
Disney began considering a remake of Cinderella in 2010, after the success of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. So of course, Helena Bonham Carter is playing the fairy godmother and the talented Cate Blanchett will be the evil stepmother. A fairly unknown actor, Lily James, is to play the lead role of Cinderella.
Into the Woods (Now Playing)
Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “Rapunzel,” the film is a fantasy genre crossover featuring some in this era’s greatest stars, like Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, to name a few. The movie is currently in theaters and was produced by Walt Disney Studios and is already nominated for three Golden Globes.
The Jungle Book (October 2015)
With Iron Man films director Jon Favreau at the helm, you know casting is going to be darn near flawless, featuring the voices of Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, and Lupita Nyong’o. This new Jungle Book will follow Mowgli, a young boy raised by wolves, whom the evil Shere Khan sees as a threat. The film is set to combine live action, visual effects, and computer-generated animals. The Hollywood competition is fueled as Warner Bros. is also reportedly working on its own Jungle Book movie.
Cruella (Release date TBD)
Another project in the works is Cruella, which will be similar to Maleficent this is expected to be a villain-centered story about Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians. Not much is known about the project, although Glenn Close, who plays De Vil in those films, is on board as an executive producer.
Disney classics set for similar adaptations are Tim Burton’s rumored return with a Warner Bros. version of Pinocchio—a project Robert Downey Jr. has been tied to—and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale and 1989 animation The Little Mermaid which is being developed by Sofia Coppola for Universal. Disney’s 1941 animation about a baby circus elephant who can fly, Dumbo, is reportedly also getting the live action treatment.
In 2012 two Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remakes were released within months of each other, Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts and Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman with Kristen Stewart. Since they both still did fairly well, there are no signs of slowing down for this trend.
Introducing these stories to new generations of is a good idea both financially and creatively, as it allows for new perspectives and the use of more advanced technologies and Grade A actors. Revisiting films that have formed an important part of so many childhoods is special, and it is lovely to see that they get the breath of fresh air these classics so desperately need.