Disney Remakes

Disney Remakes

Ali Zolman, Online Editor

Disney remaking movies is not a new concept.  The first remake of an animated movie into a live-action one was in 1994 with The Jungle Book, which Disney would again remake in 2016.  Since then, there have been nine other live-action versions of movies released, not including movies like Maleficent, which featured a major change in the plot line of the original movie.
  • Jungle Book (x2)
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Cinderella
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Christopher Robin
  • Dumbo
  • Aladdin
  • Lion King
     There are also sixteen more remakes in the works reportedly, this time not including sequels to previously released remakes, such as an unnamed The Jungle Book sequel, or once again, movies that feature major plot changes or focus on a different character:
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Mulan
  • The Sword in the Stone
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • Pinocchio
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Peter Pan
  • Tink (Tinkerbell)
  • Hercules
  • Pocahontas
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  • The Black Cauldron
  • Treasure Planet
  • James and the Giant Peach

This isn’t to say that Disney isn’t releasing plenty of other movies.  It’s quite the opposite actually, over the next four or so years (you can see a full list here), but of the listed movies, fifteen remakes is still a huge percentage, when you consider than the remakes are all coming from either Disney or Pixar.  I get why Disney continues to turn its beloved classics into live-action versions and in general, I think they’re fine.  They’re pretty to look at, and it is somewhat cool to see an animated movie transformed to look like our world. And, for a lot of people, the new movies hit the nostalgia factor.  They get to see all the movies they grew up with all over again or get to experience the movies with their children in a different version. I understand; I do. But, personally, I would much rather watch a new movie with an original plot than one that feels like it was redone just to make money.

And the films do make money.  According to CNBC, remade Disney films have made over $7 billion dollars since 2010, which only furthers the desire to continue making them.  It seems like the same reason Disney will release a sequel for every film that does well. I just wish that Disney would return to its roots, in a sense, and make movies with the goal of entertaining the audience, rather than just hoping to make as much money as possible.

They have both the money and the name to do so.  The Walt Disney company is worth $130 billion dollars as of June 2019 and holds 36.7% of the market share for this year, meaning that Disney has made 36.7% of the total sales in the movie industry since the beginning of the year.  They’ve been the leader in market shares every year since 2016. There is very little stopping them moneywise from deciding that they want to change their ways and make movies not for the sake of money, but for the sake of enjoyment again.  On top of this, it’s not like Disney is a small company that has a lot to lose from choosing to take risks on movies that are not guaranteed money makers. Allie Lane (‘21) shares this view: “The remakes that Disney has created take away the originality of the animated movies, and I found myself not enjoying the newer ones as much.”  I agree. When people are making things that they love and enjoy working on, it shows, and the product is better for it.

Not everyone agrees, of course.  Carrie Zhang (‘20) enjoys the new versions of the movies, saying “I guess I like the remakes because you can see how far Disney animation has grown, and it’s just nice to rewatch our favorite movies in a different way.”  While I completely understand her points, and agree that seeing the animation change is really cool, I would rather watch an entirely new movie using the styles, like CGI and live actors that have been mostly used in the remakes.  I think it would be amazing to watch a new Disney movie that would traditionally be animated starting as a live action movie or using updated animation forms that would still show the growth over the years.

It’s not that I hate the remakes and refuse to watch them; it’s more that I feel like there are new concepts and ideas that could be pursued, rather than the same ones done in a new way.  I think it’s doable without losing the aspects of Disney movies that people love and while keeping the same “feel” of the movies. I would simply rather watch a movie that I’ve never seen before with all the twists and turns and emotions, without knowing what will come next.  I want the experience of watching a brand-new movie and everything that comes with that instead of watching a remake of a movie that I once had that feeling with but has passed.