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It’s A Live Action World After All

After a string of non-animated pics with abismal records at the box office, the Walt Disney Studios has finally hit its stride with a winning formula: Take a classic Disney tales, give it the live-action treatment, count money.

It’s simple really.

While original pics such as McFarland might eventually find an audience when it hits Netflix or the ten-buck bin at Target, pics such as Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and Cinderella are already planning merchandise, character meet-and-greets at parks and possible sequels as it cashes in on their built-in audience.

So, get ready to spend some cash as the Mouse House takes aim at your pockets.

Here is a list of the upcoming live-action titles that used to be toons.

The Jungle Book

Release date: April 15, 2016

Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Bill Murray as Baloo, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Christopher Walken as King Louie, Idris Elba as Shere Khan and Neel Sethi as Mowgli. 

What we know: With a cast that reads like a Sofia Coppola movie on steroids, the next great Mouse House hit is already generating big buzz. Added bonus: Richard Sherman is returning to write new songs for the first-of-summer tentpole. And ScarJo will be singing the hypnotic “Trust in Me.”

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Release date: May 27, 2016

Director: James Bobin

Cast: Most of the original cast returns as Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway return to a world of wigs, contact lenses and pale, pale people. But now Sacha Baron Cohen has joined the cast as a man-clock and Rhys Ifans jumps on board as the Mad Hatter’s pop.

What we know: Alice returns to movie theaters and Hot Topics everywhere as she attempts to rescue the Mad Hatter from danger.

The trailer dropped last week, so here. So here. Check it out:

Pete’s Dragon

Release date: Aug. 12, 2016

Director: David Lowery

Cast: Oakes Fegley as Pete, Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace, Robert Redford as Grace’s pop, Wes Bentley as Jack and Karl Urban as bad guy Gavin

What we know: Same story about an orphan who is saved from a life of abuse by his friendly-neighborhood dragon, but this time, sans the catchy tunes. This will be a music-free version of the ‘70s Disney tale, so no songs about mutilating dragons this time.

Beauty and the Beast

Release date: March 17, 2017

Director: Bill Condon

Cast: Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Steven as Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts.

What we know: This is going to pretty much be a shot-to-shot remake of the classic Disney tuner, much like Cinderella. In addition to not touching a thing and having the most charming cast in the history of film, Alan Menken is returning to write the score.

Basically, this movie is the Disney equivalent of having the cast go door to door and shake all the loose change from your pockets. It’s going to get your money. All of your money.


Release date: TBA

What we know: Nothing yet on director, cast or release date. This will be the third time Disney will bring the story of 101 Dalmatians to the live-action venue, but while previous version concentrated on retelling the puppy tale, this will focus on the on the lady who loves the furs.

Disney has already attempted to shed a little light on Ms. de Vil with Once Upon A Time, which cast her as a murder-loving psycho with a taste for matricide. Not sure how they are going to top that.


Release date: TBA

Cast: Reese Witherspoon

What we know: The Oscar winner signed on last may to tackle a role that was once played by a flashlight. Other than that, there is no director and it is still in the development phase.

There have been many adaptations of the Peter Pan story over the years, and many, many straight-to-video movies featuring Disney’s favorite Tinker fairy. Assuming this will borrow heavily from the Pixie Hollow films so as to not screw up that franchise, Disney will probably create the link in which Peter meets Tinker Bell, which has yet to be explored in any film or toon.


Release date: TBA

Director: Tim Burton

What We Know: The Emo King himself will be helming the live-action story of the flying elephant. But with cast as of yet or start date, there isn’t much to report. However, we do know that creating a circus atmosphere is in Burton’s wheelhouse, so expect a lot of black and white striped tents, with a bouncy score by Danny Elfman. Possibly Johnny Depp so that the bromance can continue.


Release date: Chris Bender and J.C. Spink

What we know: About five years ago, Disney attempted to get this off the ground with Zhang Ziyi as the star. But it fell about back in 2010.

However, with the power of Maleficent and Cinderella to fuel the fire of live-action remakes, Disney is moving forward with the project with Bender and Spink at the helm. Still no cast or start date to speak of, though.

This isn’t the first time Disney took Mulan to the live-action battle field. Disney first tackled the Chinese warrior in Once Upon A Time, with Jamie Chung in the role. There was also the non-Disney Mulan: Rise of a Warrior back in 2009.

Winnie the Pooh

Release date: TBA

What we know: So, this is happening. Maybe.

Nothing so far with cast or a director, but the original pitch told the story of a all-grown-up Christopher Robin attempting to seek out his childhood friends as he returns to the 100 Acre Woods.


Release date: TBA

What we know: In an attempt to undo the damage done by Roberto Benigni’s 2002 disaster, Disney is taking back control over the strings to the disobedient puppet.

This is will be the second time Disney has attempted to bring live the marionette. The last time was in 1957 with Mickey Rooney.

Hopefully, this script will keep to the fun-filled animated Disney classic, and less from the original Carlo Collodi story, which featured kids-turned-dead donkeys, dying parents and a strong life lesson about the dangers of fire.

The Sword and the Stone

Release date: TBA

What we know: Disney hired Bryan Cogman to pen a script and has brought on a producer (Brigham Taylor), but nothing else is known about the remake.

Original story told the take of the Boy Who Would Be King, aka Wart, a neglected stable boy taken under the wing by Merlin. Hopefully, Disney will keep the fun-loving elements of Merlin rather than go the gritty path so many remakes are exploring these days.


Release date: TBA

What we know: This will be a live-action prequel featuring the beloved blue guy. If it borrows from the original tale, the second Genie might be the Genie of the Ring.

Expect a few tears with the Robin Williams “special thanks” tribute probably included at the end.

Chip N’ Dale

Release date: TBA

What we know: Nothing, other than the fact that this will fuel the fire of creepy Deviantart artists everywhere as their beloved Gadget gets a real-live makeover.

Special mention:

The Little Mermaid

Release date: TBA

Stars: Chloe Moretz, so far

What we know: Universal and Working Title are trying to get in on the action with this more faithful retelling of the sea saga. So, expect fewer songs and a tad more violence with a possible devastating ending.

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