From “Pinocchio ” to “The Lion King” to “Dumbo,” there aren’t many beloved Disney tales the company won’t stay away from, especially when it comes to mining them for a live-action adaptation.
With the success of some live-action remakes like “Aladdin” — a $1.054 billion box office-hit — it makes sense that Disney continues to churn out more and more live-action remakes. It’s usually a sure-fire model that makes bank, and specifically mining the golden age of the 1990s has proved successful (financially, anyway) for the company.
The latest is “The Little Mermaid,” but it’s far from the last live-action update of a classic Disney animated film currently in the works. Here’s what else is on tap.
“The Little Mermaid” (2023)
Now playing exclusively in theaters is the live-action adaptation of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” The film stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jonah-Hauer King as Eric, David Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Javier Bardem as King Triton. The film was directed by Rob Marshall, and the screenplay was written by David Magee and Jane Goldman. The animated film made its debut on Nov. 15, 1989.
“Snow White” (2024) – In post-production
A new updated version of Disney’s classic tale “Snow White” is in post-production, with Erin Cressida Wilson and Greta Gerwig (“The Girl on the Train”) penning the screenplay and Marc Webb (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) directing. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“The Greatest Showman”) wrote original songs for the movie. And the leading cast includes Rachel Zegler (“West Side Story”) playing Snow White and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen. Filming was completed in 2022, and the film is set to be released on March 22, 2024. Disney’s animated “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered Dec. 21, 1937.
“Mufasa: The Lion King” (2024) – In production
Oscar-winning “Moonlight” filmmaker Barry Jenkins is behind a new “Lion King” movie, a follow-up to the Jon Favreau-directed 2019 film that grossed over $1.6 billion. The second installment will explore the origin story of Mufasa and the mythology of the other animals that inhabit Pride Rock, and will be created through photorealistic animation just like Favreau’s film. Several of the “The Lion King” 2019 cast, including Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and John Kani, are set to reprise their roles as Pumbaa, Timon and Rafiki. Aaron Pierre (“The Underground Railroad”) will play a young Mufasa and Kelvin Harrison Jr. will voice Taka. The film is slated to hit theaters July 5, 2024.
“Lilo & Stitch” (2024) — In production
The 2002 Disney film “Lilo & Stitch” is getting its own live-action remake, with Mike Van Waes set to write the screenplay and Dean Fleischer Camp (“Marcel The Shell With Shoes On”) to direct. The film will be a combination of live-action and CGI. So far actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis has been cast as Pleakley, one of the aliens chasing down Experiment 626, i.e. Stitch. Maia Kealoha will star as the lead character Lilo. The animated film premiered June 21, 2002.
“Hercules” — In development
There aren’t too many details just yet as the film is in its early stages of development, but so far “Avengers: Endgame” filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo have signed on to produce a new live-action adaption of Disney’s animated movie “Hercules.” Dave Callahan (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) will write the screenplay, and Guy Ritchie (“Aladdin,” 2019) is set to direct. The news that “Hercules” would be made into a live-action film was announced in April 2020. The original premiered June 13, 1997.
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” — In development
The story of Quasimodo is getting the live-action adaptation treatment, which will also be a musical. Josh Gad has signed on as executive producer, and Stephen Schwartz will be delivering the music. There aren’t a lot of details at the moment, but this film may give Idris Elba’s “Hunchback” Netflix remake a little competition. The animated film came out on June 21, 1996.
“The Jungle Book 2” — In development
After the success of Disney’s 2016 live-action version “The Jungle Book,” Jon Favreau signed on to direct a sequel to his film, but development on this one has stalled as Favreau moved on to “The Lion King” and “The Mandalorian” TV series. Its current status is unclear.
“The Sword in the Stone” — In development
The classic tale of “The Sword in the Stone,” which is based on the story of the mythical character King Arthur, entered development with Brigham Taylor (“The Lady and the Tramp,” 2019) set to produce. “Game of Thrones” writer Bryan Cogman will write the script, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (“Intruders”) was set as director for a Disney+ release, but we haven’t had an update on this one since 2018. The animated film is based on the story by T.H. White and Bill Peet and premiered on December 25, 1963.
“Bambi” — In development
Disney announced in 2020 that the beloved story of “Bambi” would be getting its own live-action adaptation, and Geneva-Dworet (“Captain Marvel”) and Lindsey Beer (“Sierra Burgess is a Loser”). Chris and Paul Weitz and Andrew Miano, will produce the live-action remake. “Bambi” premiered Aug. 21, 1942.
“Aladdin 2” — In development
After becoming a billion-dollar hit, a sequel to “Aladdin” entered development with Will Smith returning as Genie. The second installment will be written by John Gatins and Andrea Berlof, and will be produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Ehrich. There are no details on whether Guy Ritchie will return as director for the sequel, and we haven’t had an update on this one for some time. Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Smith were all slated to reprise their roles as Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and The Genie.
“Robin Hood” — In development
Carlos Estrada (“Blingspotting”) signed on to direct this live-action remake of Disney’s 1973 animated film, and Kari Granlund (“Lady and the Tramp,” 2019) is set to write the screenplay. Justin Springer (“Dumbo,” 2019) will be wearing the producer’s hat for the film. The film will make its debut on Disney+. The animated film was released on Nov. 8, 1973.
“Moana” — In development
On April 3, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared during an annual shareholders meeting that he would be partnering with Disney Studios to make a live-action adaptation of “Moana,” and also mentioned that he’d be reprising his role as Maui, whom he played in the animated movie. However, its lead actress Auli’i Cravalho, who played Moana, won’t be participating in the remake. There are no details just yet on whether the rest of the cast — Jermaine Clement, Alan Tudyk, Temuera Morrison, and Nicole Scherzinger — will come back to carry their roles for a second time. “Moana” was released on Nov. 23, 2016.
“Cruella 2” — In development
After the success of the Emma Stone-led Cruella De Vil origin story “Cruella,” a sequel is well on its way. The first film debuted on May 28, 2021 and was directed by Graig Gillespie, and Aline Brosh McKenna, Kelly Marcel and Steve Zissis wrote the screenplay. The cast included Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Mark Strong, Andrew Leung and Kirby Howell-Baptiste.
“The Black Cauldron” — In development
There aren’t many details on if the live-action remake of “The Black Cauldron” is still a thing, but Disney did acquire the rights to the film in 2016 with the idea to make a live-action adaptation. The animated film premiered July 24, 1985.
“James and the Giant Peach” — TBD
Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” was first adapted into a stop-motion film in 1996, but the story will be getting a live-action treatment, though there haven’t been any new details about its production in several years. “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes was set to take on the film as director, but he’s since stepped down from the project. Novelist and screenwriter Nick Hornby was attached to the film, though it’s unclear whether the film is still a go or not.
“Prince Charming” — In development
Like “The Black Cauldron” there aren’t many details on this live-action adaptation, but the story is set to reimagine Prince Charming’s story with it being told perspective of his brother, who never acquired the same amount of success as sibling. Stephen Chbosky (“Wonder”) will serve as writer and director. Chbosky’s two “Wonder” producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will produce the film alongside Tripp Vinson. Matt Fogel (“The Super Mario Bros.”) wrote the initial script.
“The Aristocats” — In development
You had us at the film will be directed by Questlove. That’s right, The Roots member and musician will be making his feature film directorial debut with the live-action remake of Disney’s animated film “The Aristocats.” While real humans are expected to be used for human characters, CGI and other visual effects will bring to life its animal characters. On top of him directing Questlove will also be in charge of the film’s music. Will Gluck and Keith Bunin (“Onward”) will write the script. The animated film made its debut on Dec. 24, 1970.
Tinker Bell (2025) — In development
After the idea for the film fell through not once, but twice with Elizabeth Banks initially slated to star as Tinkerbell. In 2015, the project was announced, and Reese Witherspoon signed on to star in and produce the film. There are no words on if that’s still happening, but in the meantime Yara Shahidi played the feisty yet loyal companion of Peter Pan in the latest adaptation of the flying boy’s tale “Peter Pan & Wendy.”