Disney is working on a live-action version of 1963 classic “The Sword in the Stone.”
The animated movie, about a young King Arthur and his mentor-wizard Merlin, will be produced by Brigham Taylor (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
It’s the latest in a long line of Disney classics the Mouse House is adapting to the big screen.
In total, Disney currently has 13 live-action adaptations in the works.
Here’s a quick look at them all:
“Alice in Wonderland 2” (2016)
“Aladdin” prequel about the Genie
“Beauty & the Beast” (2017)
“Peter Pan” spinoff “Tink“
Why is Disney announcing so many of these live-action versions of classics?
However, just because “Maleficent” performed well at the box-office, which I’d argue was partially because the film followed a similar set up to its popular “Once Upon a Time” series on ABC — humanize a popular villain and tell the story from their point of view — and subsequently “Cinderella,” which I would argue had a lot to do with an exclusive “Frozen” short playing ahead of the film, that doesn’t mean that anything Disney turns into live action will be gold.
Yes, there was also “Alice in Wonderland” — the surprise 2010 $US1 billion film. But anytime Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up, you’re likely to have a hit. Even “Dark Shadows” ended up with a satisfactory $US245 million gross after accounting for international grosses.
That’s not to say that a lot of these live action films won’t perform well.
However, it’s a little crazy to have more than a dozen live-action films in the works before proving this is a formula which can actually succeed in the long run.
That’s where the other reasoning behind Disney’s live-action versions of their beloved animated tales kicks in — the Mouse House is having a difficult time putting out successful homemade live-action hits of its own.
While Disney Animation has a few hits on its hands of recent (most obviously “Frozen”), when you look at the studio’s live action slate of late, there isn’t a lot to gloat over other than “Maleficent,” “Into the Woods,” and “Cinderella,” all films based off of fairytales.
|Movie||Release date||Worldwide box office||Estimated budget|
|“Oz the Great and Powerful”||3/8/2013||$US493.3 million||$US215 million|
|“The Lone Ranger”||7/3/2013||$US260.5 million||$US215 million+|
|“The Fifth Estate” (DreamWorks Pictures)||10/18/2013||$US8.6 million||$US28 million|
|“Delivery Man” (DreamWorks Pictures)||11/22/2013||$US51 million||$US26 million|
|“Saving Mr. Banks”||12/13/2013||$US112.5 million||$US35 million|
|“Need for Speed” (DreamWorks Pictures)||3/14/2014||$US203.3 million||$US66 million|
|“Muppets Most Wanted”||3/21/2014||$US80.4 million||$US50 million|
|“Million Dollar Arm”||5/16/2014||$US38.3 million||$US25 million|
|“Maleficent”||5/30/2014||$US758.4 million||$US180 million|
|“The Hundred Foot Journey” (DreamWorks Pictures)||8/8/2014||$US88.9 million||$US22 million|
|“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”||10/10/2014||$US100.7 million||$US28 million|
|“Into the Woods”||12/25/2014||$US212.9 million||$US50 million|
|“McFarland, USA”||2/20/2015||$US44.5 million||$US17 million|
|“Cinderella”||3/13/2015||$US539.5 million||$US95 million|
|“Tomorrowland”||5/22/2015||$US203.7 million||$US190 million|
Instead, the studio is becoming very reliant on the success of its purchased properties Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar to put out hit after hit.
Looking ahead at 2016, Disney is set just from those three entities alone.
“Captain America: Civil War”: May 6, 2016
“Doctor Strange”: November 4, 2016
“Finding Dory”: June 17, 2016
“Star Wars: Rogue One”: December 16, 2016
The push for live-action films comes from Disney’s need to be able to put out some original hits on its own.
Disney’s partnership with DreamWorks Pictures will come to a close in 2016 after releasing films including “The Fifth Estate,” “Need for Speed” and “Delivery Man.” The studio could be heading to Paramount or Universal, according to The Hollywood Reporter. THR notes that Disney currently receives 10 per cent of revenues for releasing DreamWorks’ films.
With money rolling in from Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, this gives the Mouse House time to experiment with its own live-action theatrical releases. Why not do what worked for them in the past? A minor hiccup in performance at the box office probably won’t hurt too badly if there’s a $US1 billion Marvel film to pick up the slack.
Time will tell if nostalgia pays off for Disney in the long run. It has so far.
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