Disney (DIS) may be having a tough time with its cable networks, but the movie studio business appears poised for more success over the next several years, thanks to its strategy of remaking hit animated classics.
"Disney has found a goldmine within their own vault of animated classics by updating them and turning them into live action films thus creating a whole new vertical of revenue generating content," said comScore (SCOR) senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian via email. "What sets them apart is the quality of their productions and perhaps most importantly the nostalgic feeling that audiences have for these titles and beloved characters and that has driven huge box office."
The strategy, which started in 2010 with "Alice in Wonderland," has really kicked into high gear in the past few years. Over the past few years, movies such as "Cinderella," "The Jungle Book" and "Beauty and the Beast" have been box office hits. Cinderella made over $500 million, while "The Jungle Book" and "Beauty and the Beast" generated $966 million and $1.26 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.
These movies have also had critical acclaim, something which is more important than ever at today's box office. According to Rotten Tomatoes, a movie review aggregator, "Cinderella," "The Jungle Book" and "Beauty and the Beast" have Rotten Tomatoes scores of 83%, 95% and 71%, respectively.
As such, Disney is pushing out remakes of its animated classics in droves over the next few years. There are potentially as many as 20 in total, but depending on how movie- goers receive these upcoming films, there could be many more.
But two movies stick out in Dergarabedian's mind. "Obviously 'The Lion King' directed by Jon Favreau has to be at the top of the list and despite sequels not faring too well of late, 'The Jungle Book 2' should also have a big impact at the box office," he added.
Here are 11 upcoming animated classics that Disney is remaking that audiences are sure to love.
Tim Burton, of 'Batman,' 'Beetlejuice' and 'Alice in Wonderland' fame is slated to direct Disney's upcoming remake of a baby circus elephant who is ridiculed for his big ears.
Disney had had talks with Chris Pine, Will Smith and other Hollywood A-list stars about playing the male lead, but so far no one has signed on.
French actress and model Eva Green has signed on to star in the movie, but so far no filming start or release date have been announced.
A remake of the hit 1992 movie, Disney is putting its live action version of 'Aladdin' in Guy Ritchie's hands.
Ritchie, famous for directing movies such as 'Snatch'; 'Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels'; and Sherlock Holmes, is likely to provide a whimsical take on the movie.
Disney has talked to Will Smith to take over the iconic Genie role, which was voiced by Robin Williams, according to Deadline.
After the success of 'The Jungle Book,' Disney is handing the keys over to its Lion King property to acclaimed director Jon Favreau.
Like 'Jungle Book,' 'The Lion King' remake will be mostly CGI, with few live actors. Donald Glover is slated to voice the role of Simba.
The movie will open on July 19, 2019.
The original 'Lion King' was a box office phenomenon, pulling in $969 million on an $45 million budget. It spawned a franchise, including several movie sequels and a hit Broadway show.
Not much is known about Disney's upcoming 'Snow White' remake, except that it's in the works.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Erin Cressida Wilson is in negotiations to write the script for the film. Wilson wrote the script for 'The Girl on the Train,' among several other features.
"Much like with their Marvel Universe, Disney is unlikely to meet with much audience resistance as long as they keep the quality at a consistently high level and honor the source material and the legacy upon which their reputation was built in the first place," Dergarabedian said.
No release date is set yet.
Coming out in November 2018 is Disney's live action remake of 'Mulan.'
Niki Caro, who will be just the second female director to be given a $100 million budget by Disney, has made some controversial decisions about the film.
In an interview with Variety, there are not likely to be any songs, but instead it will be "extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving."
The original movie had a box office of $304 million on an $80 million budget.
In 2015, Variety reported that 'The Sword in the Stone' would be remade, with Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman penning the script.
Since then, not much has been discussed about the project.
Disney is hype to keep up the success of its "Aladdin" franchise and is looking to the Genie to help expand it.
"Genies," a prequel to "Aladdin," is also rumored to be in the works. The story would be about the Genie's life before he ends up in the lamp and meets Aladdin.
News of the prequel was first reported by Slashfilm.
Looking to capture the success of 'La La Land,' Emma Stone will play the '101 Dalmatians' villain, Cruella de Vil, in her own origin story.
In 1996, Disney remade '101 Dalmatians' into a live action movie, which generated $320 million at the box office.
No release date has been set yet.
Disney is remaking the hit animated classic, 'Winnie the Pooh' -- but with a twist.
Entitled "Christopher Robin," the movie would be about Winnie the Pooh's best friend, Christopher Robin, who has grown up and lost his child-like wonder.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that Ewan McGregor is in talks to take over the lead.
'The Little Mermaid' is another hit animated classic from the late 20th century that Disney is looking to bring back to the silver screen.
Though the story has been told going back all the way to 1837 when it was first written by Hans Christian Anderson, Disney's 1989 film is one of the best remembered versions. It generated $211 million at the box office, spawning a play and a sequel, "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea."
Entertainment Weekly reported that Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda would be creating new songs for the movie.
No release date is set yet.