Disney is trying to turn a bunch of its animated classics into live-action gold

Every week it seems like Disney has another live-action film in the works.

After the theatrical success of “Maleficent,” a live-action adaptation centered around the villainess in “Sleeping Beauty,” Disney announced plans to roll out “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast” with all-star casts. After March’s “Cinderella” recently, the studio announced plans for more live-action works.

Wednesday, Deadline reported the studio is taking on a “Pinocchio”-inspired film.

What’s going on?

At this point, Disney’s on track to have a huge year at the box office. The studio has two of the biggest anticipated movies under its umbrella with “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (out May 1) and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (December 18).

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is currently on track to make over $US200 million opening weekend. If the sequel to the 2012 film passes the $US207 million run, it could very well break the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend ever in theatres.

Avengers age of ultronMarvelTell me you aren’t planning to see this. (You’re totally seeing it.)

Disney’s in a great position right now.

Studio-owned companies Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar have movie plans for the next few years. Marvel has superhero films squared away until 2028. Lucasfilm has at least six “Star Wars” films in the works (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX along with spinoffs). Pixar’s titles include another “Toy Story.”

Star wars the force awakens sith lightsaberDisney/LucasfilmYou’re most likely seeing ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ too.

Then there’s Disney Animation which will release an animated musical featuring The Rock, “Moana,” and has a sequel to its $US1 billion “Frozen” in the works.

The Mouse House is at a point where they can experiment with other releases and kind of see what works. Disney has had immense success with its live-action fairytale ABC series, “Once Upon a Time,” so it’s a natural extension to try and duplicate that success on the big screen.

Both live-action versions of “Maleficent” ($US758.4 million) and “Cinderella” ($US402.2 million) have already been big hits at the box office (though the latter debuted with an exclusive short for Disney’s juggernaut “Frozen”).

Here are all of the current Disney live-action films in the works:

“The Jungle Book”

Expected release date:
April 15, 2016
What we know so far:
The film about a young boy, Mowgli, raised in the jungle was originally for release later this year, but was pushed back until 2016. The adaptation of the 1967 animated film has a huge cast ranging from Bill Murray as the loveable bear Baloo to Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus from “Breaking Bad”). Personally, we’re excited for Murray to sing the classic film’s song “The Bare Necessities.”

“Beauty and the Beast”

Expected release date: March 17, 2017

What we know so far:
The “tale as old as time” will feature Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the beauty, Belle, and Prince Adam, the beast, respectively. Luke Evans (“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”) will play Gaston while Josh Gad will be his right-hand man Lefou. Tim Rice and Alan Menken will team up once more to score the film with inspiration from both the animated picture and Broadway musical.


Expected release date: TBD

What we know so far:
Tim Burton will direct the 1941 film about a big-eared circus elephant who wishes to fly. Ehren Kruger (“Transformers”) will write the script. The film won’t be using real elephants on screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney will use a mix of CGI and live action.


Expected release date: TBD

What we know so far:
Disney purchased a script from Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek for the 1998 animated picture, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Before Jennifer Lawrence was Katniss Everdeen, Mulan was really one of the first animated characters from the Mouse House to side-step the whole Disney princess thing (though has since been marketed as a princess alongside the other Disney female leads). Mulan took the place of her father in war and ended up becoming both a skilled fighter, and one of the most-respected warriors in all of China.

“Winnie the Pooh”

Winnie the pooh Michael Buckner/Getty ImagesWinnie the Pooh and his friends receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006.

Expected release date: TBD

What we know so far: According to Deadline, the film’s focus will be on Christopher Robin as an adult who is brought back to the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh and his pals. Alex Ross Perry (“Listen Up Philip”) has been hired to direct.


Expected release date: TBD

What we know so far:
Not much is known about this adaptation of the 1940 Disney film other than Peter Hedges is writing feature. The animated classic followsa woodworker, Geppetto, who wants nothing more than a son, and his puppet Pinocchio, who comes to life and wants nothing more than to be a real boy.

NOW WATCH: Disney’s Live-Action Version Of ‘Cinderella’ Finally Gets A Full-Length Trailer

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