Over the last 100 years, The Walt Disney Company has released some of the world’s most popular and magical movies of all time. While Disney has always created live-action films alongside their animated endeavors, the House of Mouse is making an increasing effort to release live-action adaptations of its beloved classics — for better or worse.
From The Little Mermaid to Lilo & Stitch, here are all of the upcoming Disney live-action adaptations coming over the next few years.
Disney Live-Action Remakes
What live-action remakes has Disney done so far?
Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1994)
Based on the 1967 animated film of the same, the live-action Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book starred Jason Scott Lee (Mowgli), Lena Headey (Kitty Brydon), Sam Neill (Colonel Geoffrey Brydon), and John Cleese as Dr. Julius Plumford. This 90s adaptation of the animated classic, which itself was inspired by Kipling’s work, grossed over double its budget and was directed by Stephen Sommers. Arguably slightly forgotten amidst Disney’s more recent live-action outings, the 2016 adaptation of The Jungle Book would be the one that became the most well-known.
101 Dalmatians (1996) & 102 Dalmatians (2000)
Glenn Close starred as the evil Cruella de Vil in these two canine capers based on The Walt Disney Company’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) as well as the book, “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” (1956) written by Dodie Smith. The first movie was directed by Stephen Herek with the sequel helmed by Kevin Lima. Jeff Daniels (Roger Dearly), Joely Richardson (Anita Campbell-Green-Dearly), Hugh Laurie (Jasper), and Mark Williams (Horace) were also part of the A-list cast of the first movie.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Johnny Depp’s turn as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland would inspire Halloween costumes for years. The live-action adaptation of both the Disney animated film from 1951 and Lewis Carroll’s classic novel, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865), grossed over $1 billion at the global box office and included cast members such as Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), and Mia Wasikowski in the title role of Alice.
Maleficent (2014) & Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
Maleficent marked Disney’s first mainstream foray into a live-action prequel of a popular Disney animated movie, Sleeping Beauty (1959). With direction from Robert Stromberg, Maleficent offered a retelling of the iconic villainous character and saw Angelina Jolie take on the title role. The success of Maleficent, as well as becoming Jolie’s highest-grossing film at over $750 million, spawned a sequel that would be released five years later. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, helmed by Joachim Rønning saw the return of Jolie and Elle Fanning as Aurora, while also joined by Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith.
Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella pitted Lily James’s title character against her evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine played by Cate Blanchett. It was inspired by the 1950 Disney film of the same name and grossed over $500 million globally; the enchanting tale became Branagh’s highest-earning movie.
The Jungle Book (2016)
Based on Disney’s The Jungle Book, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book live-action adaptation gave audiences a taste of how realistic CGI could be. With a largely “animal” cast surrounding Neel Sethi’s Mowgli, Favreau’s Disney movie consisted of Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Scarlet Johannson as Kaa, and Christopher Walken as King Louie. A sequel with Favreau returning is in the works.
Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
The sequel to Disney’s billion-dollar hit was a commercial failure, netting just shy of $300 million on a budget of $170 million. Many of the cast from Alice in Wonderland returned including — at the time — Disney’s (not-so) secret weapon, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Alice Through the Looking Glass was directed by James Bobin.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast became the highest-grossing live-action musical film of all time and the highest-grossing movie in Disney’s own live-action portfolio at the time of release. The movie, based on the history-making Beauty and the Beast (1991), starred Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Luke Evans and Josh Gad brought Gaston and LeFou to life, respectively, with Kevin Kline (Maurice), Ewan McGregor (Lumiere), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), and Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) rounding out the central cast.
Christopher Robin (2018)
Taking inspiration from the various Winnie the Pooh films, Christopher Robin followed Ewan McGregor’s titular character and wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) as the former regains his sense of imagination after getting involved in an adventure with his old friend Pooh (Jim Cummings). Marc Forster directed the movie based on A.A. Milne’s collection of stories from the Hundred Acre Wood.
2019 proved to be a dense year for Disney live-action movies, and Dumbo from director Tim Burton was the first of five features released that year. The movie starred Colin Farrell (Holt Farrier), Michael Keaton (V.A. Vandevere), Danny DeVito (Maximilian “Max” Medici), and Eva Green (Collette Marchant). The story is loosely based on the 1941 Disney animated film of the same name and follows a small elephant with oversized ears who discovers he can fly.
The musical fantasy film Aladdin was directed by Guy Ritchie and starred Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzi, and Will Smith as Aladdin. Princess Jasmine, Jafar, and Genie, respectively. Based on Disney’s 1992 Aladdin, the story of a street urchin turned prince performed positively at the global box office, bringing in over $1 billion.
The Lion King (2019)
The jewel in Disney’s live-action crown, at least financially, Jon Favreau’s photo-realistic African animals delivered stunningly lifelike visuals but failed to capture the wholesome heart of The Lion King (1994) animation. The Lion King follows Simba (Donald Glover) as he deals with the loss of his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones), and takes on his uncle, Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), for the Pride Lands, all the while dealing with the burgeoning love between himself and Nala (Beyonce Knowles-Carter).
Lady and the Tramp (2019)
Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux lead this cast as Lady and Tramp, respectively. The live-action adaptation of the 1955 Disney animated classic directed by Charlie Bean marked The Walt Disney Company’s first non-theatrical release — instead, Lady and the Tramp was distributed directly onto Disney’s streaming service, Disney+.
Based on Mulan (1998), the live-action adaptation of the girl who toppled an army and saved China became one of Disney’s more controversial films, dividing audiences across the world. Helmed by Niki Caro, Mulan found Yifei Liu in the titular role but many of the beloved characters from the animated movie were absent. While Mulan had a large production budget, its release was marred with problems relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and after a turbulent theatrical release, became available via the Disney Premier Access service on Disney+.
Emma Stone’s turn as the future puppy-stealing, fur-wearing Cruella did to the Dalmatian villain what Maleficent did for the curse-casting, dragon-changing sorceress. The prequel origin story of Cruella became a hit and spawned a sequel which is in development. Like its predecessor, Cruella found its life across both movie theaters and Disney+, going on the score $233 million worldwide.
Disney’s most recent live-action adaptation, Pinocchio from director Robert Zemeckis, is based on the 1940 Disney movie of the same name. Starring Tom Hanks (Geppetto), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Jiminy Cricket), and Cynthia Erivo (Blue Fairy), Pinocchio failed to deliver with audiences after being released on Disney+ Day.
Future Disney Live-Action Remakes
What Disney live-action remakes are coming up?
The Little Mermaid (2023)
Based on the beloved 1989 movie, Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid will see Halle Bailey star as Ariel, the eponymous Little Mermaid in an A-list cast that includes Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric. Alan Menken is returning as composer.
The movie has garnered backlash ever since it was announced that Bailey, a Black woman, would be starring as Ariel — a part originated in the Disney canon by Jodi Benson.
Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)
The upcoming Disney+ adaptation of Disney’s Peter Pan (1953) will star Alexander Molony as Peter Pan, Ever Anderson as Wendy Darling, Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, and Jude Law as Captain Hook. The film is set to release on the Disney streamer sometime in 2023. It is directed by David Lowery.
Snow White (2024)
Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot lead this relatively unknown cast as Snow White and the Evil Queen, respectively. Based on Disney’s first-ever animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), this live-action adaptation is slated to be released on March 22, 2024.
Mufasa: The Lion King (2024)
The prequel to The Lion King will be directed by Barry Jenkins and will follow the young Mufasa before his ascension as King of the Pride Lands. Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Kani will reprise their roles as Pumbaa, Timon, and Rafiki, respectively, and the movie is set for release on July 5, 2024.
Guy Ritchie is slated to direct the live-action movie based on the 1997 animated musical fantasy film of the same name. The Russo Brothers are producing.
Untitled Aladdin Sequel
No director yet for the Aladdin sequel nor the cast, but Deadline confirmed:
The film is in early development, but they have tapped John Gatins (Flight, Real Steel) and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton, The Kitchen) to write the script. The sequel will be a theatrical release and there is no word whether or not Guy Ritchie will return to the director’s chair. The return of Mena Massoud, Will Smith and Naomi Scott is also up in the air. However, Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich will return as producers through Rideback while Ryan Halprin will serve as executive producer.
Untitled The Jungle Book Sequel
Jon Favreau will return to helm the sequel to his 2016 movie. The Hollywood Reporter said:
Jon Favreau and Justin Marks, who respectively directed and wrote the movie, are in negotiations to return in their roles for a follow-up. Favreau also will produce. Brigham Taylor, who produced the upcoming movie with Favreau, will also return.
Based on Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hunchback is currently without a director but Deadline revealed:
Tony-winning M. Butterfly playwright David Henry Hwang has been set by Disney to write Hunchback, a live-action musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will write the music. Mandeville is producing along with Josh Gad. I had heard that Gad, a star of the Mandeville-produced blockbuster Beauty and the Beast, might play the lead character, but insiders at the studio said no casting is solid at this point.
Untitled Cruella Sequel
Craig Gillepsie is back for the sequel to Cruella. The Hollywood Reporter dropped the exclusive:
Cruella director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Tony McNamara are expected to return for a sequel to the film that stars Stone as fan-favorite One Hundred and One Dalmatians villainess Cruella de Vil.
J.M. Barrie’s tale of Neverland, pirates, and boys who never grow up has been ripe for Disney’s taking, and even more so as a Tinker Bell origin story is in the works. Back in 2015 Entertainment Weekly wrote:
EW has confirmed THR’s report that Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon is developing Tink, a Peter Pan riff focused on Peter’s fairy sidekick. Witherspoon would produce and star in the movie, and there’s currently a script by Victoria Strouse, who wrote Disney’s upcoming Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory.
Although, more recent reports show that Maria Melnik (Escape Room, American Gods) is now tapped to pen the script.
The Sword in the Stone
It was over seven years ago that the live-action remake of the 1963 classic, The Sword in the Stone was announced. It’s been quiet on the Arthurian legend front since about 2018 but original reports claimed:
The Sword in the Stone is an upcoming, live-action, musical remake of the 1963 animated film of the same name, based on the book by T. H. White. Game of Thrones writer, Bryan Cogman is penning the script, with Brigham Taylor as producer.
The Hollywood Reporter then later revealed that the project has found its director:
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, perhaps best known for directing the zombie thriller 28 Weeks Later, is in negotiations to helm The Sword in the Stone, Disney’s live-action reimagining of the studio’s 1963 animated fantasy.
Another popular story that Disney reinvented for the world of animation is also tapped to get the live-action treatment. Robin Hood is set to be a Disney+ release and in 2020, The Hollywood Reporter shared:
Carlos Lopez Estrada, perhaps best known for directing the 2018 crime movie Blindspotting, is on board to helm the project, which is being written by Kari Granlund. Granlund already is in the Disney fold after having written the studio’s recent remake of Lady and the Tramp.
Untitled Prince Anders Film
On the movie based around the Aladdin character, The Hollywood Reporter revealed:
Disney has hired Jordan Dunn and Michael Kvamme to pen a script for an Aladdin offshoot centered on Prince Anders, the scene-stealing character played by Billy Magnussen in the live-action film released earlier this year, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Magnussen would reprise the part in a feature, which is in early development for Disney+…
Earlier this year, Magnussen said (via ScreenRant) :
“It’s in development. We are in the stages of rewrites right now, and it’s still moving forward. Yeah, it’s really exciting … I loved making that character up, and to have the opportunity to create a world and a story with him in it has really been a treat. I love that. That’s what I really love about this industry; to play in such a way like that … To be the not-Prince-Charming Prince, you know? We always see Prince Charming, so I was like, ‘Let’s mix it up.”
For the fawn-led 1942 story, Disney also has plans for a remake. The Hollywood Reporter wrote:
The studio has hired Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Captain Marvel, Tomb Raider) and Lindsey Beer (Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, Chaos Walking) to pen the screenplay for the live-action remake.
Based on the 1970 feline-centric animation, The Aristocats are set to make a live-action debut sometime in the future. Deadline reported earlier this year:
Sources tell Deadline that an adaptation of The Aristocats is in early development with the studio’s live-action team. Will Gluck and Keith Bunin will pen the script, with Gluck producing through his Olive Bridge Entertainment banner.
Lilo & Stitch.
Directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, the live-action remake of 2002’s Lilo & Stitch has been rumored for some time. Many fans are wondering how the upcoming Disney live-action remake will handle bringing Experiment 626 to life on screen. It is produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich.
As for those other projects that have been rumored, a movie series based on the original source material of The Black Cauldron (1985) is reportedly in the works, as is a live-action remake of Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001). Writer and director of the upcoming Tiana Disney+ series, Stella Meghie, expressed interest in creating a live-action remake of The Princess and the Frog (2009).
Outside of the remakes and adaptations of Disney’s famous animated classics, the Mouse House often creates movies based on their popular attractions. One upcoming film that is highly anticipated among the Disney theme park crowd is Justin Simien’s reboot of the Haunted Mansion (2023) which is inspired by the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort attraction of the same name. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota and Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost.
Disney’s live-action efforts have been hit-and-miss over the last few years but that won’t stop them from continuing to put out movies based on their ever-expanding library.
Which live-action movie are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments down below!