You may have noticed a growing trend – Walt Disney is remaking it’s Animated Classics. The most recent remake was Aladdin, with The Lion King due in cinemas later this month and a Maleficent sequel hitting screens at the end of the year. 

But why?

Why is Disney remaking all of its movies?

*Pauses for dramatic tension*

MONEY!

Cold hard cash.

Image: ©Walt Disney Pictures

Aladdin is still going strong at the box office and has already passed the $800 million mark. This is a prime example of why Disney is keen on remakes right now – the big cha-ching!

Live-action attraction

Disney’s trend for live-action remakes of Animated Classics isn’t new, it began in 1994 with The Jungle Book. The studio continued this line of work in 1996 with a live-action take on 101 Dalmatians.

In 2000, 102 Dalmatians followed. This was not a remake of an Animated Classic, but rather a sequel produced because of the success of its predecessor.

These movies did good business (102 Dalmatians less so) and proved there was life in the remake business. But it wasn’t until 2010 with the arrival of Alice in Wonderland that remaking ‘toons proved truly profitable.

The Tim Burton directed Alice movie took more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office and changed things considerably. From here on out Disney was able to envision a new source of income which could come from its existing back catalogue – a catalogue that includes more than 50 movies (and potential spinoffs/sequels) all ripe for the same treatment.

Image: ©Walt Disney Pictures

Since 2010 the studio has been pumping out remakes with increasing regularity, producing more successes in the process. The 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast was a huge earner, cleaning up at the box office to the tune of more than $1.2 billion!

To date, across 11 movies, Disney’s live-action motion pictures have raked in $6,575,487,205. And this figure doesn’t include the remake of Pete’s Dragon or the recent sequel to Mary Poppins (as neither are considered ‘Animated Classics’).

The movies covered include Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book (’94 & ’16), Aladdin, Maleficent, Cinderella, 101/102 Dalmatians, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. All of these are either remakes of Animated Classics or sequels to the remakes.

A wealth of material

So, what happens next?

Well, moving forward, live-action adaptations of Mulan, The Little Mermaid and Lady and the Tramp are currently in the works and that is just scratching the surface. Disney is also working on another movie inspired by 101 Dalmatians, this time focusing on Cruella de Vil.

It won’t be too long before the likes of Moana, Frozen, Tangled, The Princess and the Frog and Lilo and Stitch get the remake treatment. This is in addition to Tarzan, Peter Pan, Fantasia, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Black Cauldron, Oliver and Company

…I could go on.

So, next time someone asks you why is Disney remaking all of its Animated Classics? You can tell them it’s because this is a multi-billion dollar success story – why else?

There’s money to be mined from the Animated Classics. A lot of money.

Image: ©Walt Disney Studios

What is a Disney Animated Classic?

Disney Animated Classics are a line of animated movies produced by Walt Disney Studios. The series began in 1937 with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and continues to this day.

To date there are 57 Animated Classics, with the most recent being 2018’s Ralph Breaks the Internet. Movie 58 is Frozen 2, which makes its debut towards the end of 2019.

If you want a full list of the Walt Disney Animated Classics, check out my post: Walt Disney Animated Classics 101: A guide.

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