Disney’s latest live-action remake, Beauty and the Beast, hits theaters today. Beauty is predicted to be a box office success for Disney the film adapts the animated musical into a live action spectacle. The budget is as big as the talent involved and this is just another step in Disney’s recent delve into remaking their own films into big budget, live-action films. This trend is what they seem to have dedicated themselves to doing for the next several years. A whole slew of remakes is are set to hit theaters which include The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. These animated classics are deeply loved and respected properties. They are being reinterpreted with a modern cast and larger than life live-action productions. With all of these films in the works it is crucial to look at why Disney has chosen this path and how this will affect their future as a company. This change in their approach is fascinating and it brings up some intriguing points about whether or not this will be a positive or detrimental trend for them.
With the recent spike in live-action remake films from Disney it is first important to know a little bit of the history of said films. In 1996 their earliest live-action remake of an animated classic was 101 Dalmatians, which was a financial success for them but a critical failure. Alice In Wonderland was released in 2010 and the success of that kicked off the more recent turn towards live-action remakes. Disney continued with films such as Maleficent in 2014, Cinderella in 2015, The Jungle Book in 2016, and this year’s Beauty and the Beast. Disney is set to be working on more for years to come including Mulan, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin remakes.
Disney’s animated films have become an endearing part of entertainment culture. These animated films are recognized the world over and have changed the lives of several generations of people. I grew up on Disney films and a lot of my world views come from these seemingly simple animated family films. This cultural impact has been a deciding factor in Disney’s decision to give some of these films the live-action treatment. The movies already chosen have been specifically picked because of their popularity and impact.
The positive outlook of these remakes is that they are being tailored for a modern audience. Their films will be seen by modern families and new generations of children who are meeting these iconic characters for the first time. These characters will live on because these remakes have even given the original more exposure in addition to continue living on in a new medium. It is an exciting prospect for both new and old fans. They will all be able to come together to enjoy what Disney has done with these classics. It’s especially thrilling because of Disney’s ability to produce high-quality feature films with sizable budgets and lavish production design.
The detrimental side of this trend is that Disney has been criticized for being unoriginal. These remakes are working with familiar material. There is very little they could really change in bringing it to life and that leads to a very low risk taking stance. The films have no outwardly original content from the originals other than the medium in which the story is being told. There are differences in the execution but the material is already there. It relies on a nostalgia factor looking for people who grew up and loved these films. It brings up a valid point as to whether or not they are doing this to seriously try something new with these films or to easily find ways to make money without risking very much. It’s an important angle to look at the potential negatives of these projects in addition to the positives involved.
Wit these two sides of the spectrum evaluated it’s also important to take into consideration what sort of affect will this have on Disney as a whole. Financially they are a sound company with some of the most successful theme parks, resorts, and films. Their hugely successful Star Wars and Marvel brands will allow them to continue on creating some of the strongest entertainment properties. This unique position for them as a company makes the live-action remake plan even more interesting. They have the resources to pull some of the best talent to these projects, but they also have the pull to come up with new properties.
It’s interesting to see how their reliance on remaking animated films seem to be a top priority. It’s obvious how much they hope to win audiences over with the pervasive advertising of Beauty and the Beast. If these films continue to be financial successes it’s obvious that we will see even more remakes come to fruition for years to come. With anything that is popular finding a way to continue it is important for any business and for the business of film it presents itself as endless sequels, remakes, and reboots. It is same reasoning why we get more and more Marvel properties as well as brand new Star Wars films. The major difference is that this is an in house production team from Disney rather than Lucafilm or Marvel Studios.
Whatever the ultimate reasoning for making these films are it is still important to see that these will have an impact on what projects Disney will be personally handling for a while. They have focused their attention on these films as their main Live-Action Disney production. A bold, but potentially exciting decision for them that will continue for several years. It will be interesting to see how far this trend will go and how many films they will inevitably produce in addition to whether or not these will be financially or critically successful. Only time will tell in how things will play out, but if you have been dying to see some of your favorite animated Disney characters portrayed by famous actors in live-action then this is a great time to be around.
So what do you think of this trend? Do you think this is a good decision for Disney? Let us know in the comments!