Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!

It seems like almost every week, Walt Disney is announcing that one of its beloved and iconic animated films will be adapted into a feature length, live-action musical movie remake. No DOUBT the Studio's eagerness to create updated versions of their classics comes on the heels of recent box office successes. Consider Disney's recent live action adaptations of ALICE IN WONDERLAND ('Alice Through the Looking Glass'), SLEEPING BEAUTY ('Maleficent'), BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE JUNGLE BOOK, and PETE'S DRAGON, to name a few.

With so many upcoming projects on the horizon, BWW has put together a guide to what's in store from the House of Mouse and its uber-talented creative teams!

[NOTE: This story has been updated to bring you the most recent news on Disney's upcoming projects!]

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!


In September of 2016 BWW reported that Jon Favreau would be directing a live-action LION KING movie for Walt Disney. The reimagining of the classic animated film will be fast-tracked to production. Favreau served as director of Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK reboot which earned a whopping $965.8 million at the global box office.

Disney recently announced that THE LION KING will hit theaters on June 19, 2019. James Earl Jones will reprise his role of Mufasa in the film, while Donald Glover will lend his voice to Simba. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen will lend their voices to Timon and Pumbaa, while John Oliver will voice Zazu. As reported earlier this week, Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor is now in final talks to take on the character of Scar, voiced by Jeremy Irons in the original animated version.

As BWW recently reported, Beyonce is rumored to be in final negotiations to star as Nala in the film. Bey's contract, which has been estimated at a whopping $25 million, reportedly also includes a clause which would have the pop titan create all- new music for an "Afro-Tribal" inspired soundtrack. New songs by Beyonce will reportedly be recorded for the film, in addition to the animated film's classic score.

Released in theaters in 1994, THE LION KING was a global box office smash, grossing $968.8 million, including $422.8 million domestically. It received Academy Awards for the original song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Elton John, Tim Rice) and original score (Hans Zimmer), as well as two Grammy Awards, with the soundtrack selling over 14 million copies.

In 1997, the stage production THE LION KING debuted on Broadway, earning six Tony Awards. The production continues to run and remains one of Broadway's biggest hits alongside several other productions running around the world, including London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Mexico City, Shanghai, and North America. Translated into eight different languages, its 23 global productions have been seen by more than 85 million people across every continent except Antarctica.

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!DUMBO

As BWW reported in 2015, Tim Burton is set to helm a live-action remake of the iconic animated classic DUMBO for Disney.
DUMBO tells the story of a baby circus elephant who is ridiculed for his large ears. The project will be based on the 1941 film. The new version will reportedly add a unique family story that parallels Dumbo's journey. Ehren Kruger penned the script for the movie which is described as a "mix of CG and live-action." Last month it was announced that Oscar winning actor Michael Keaton will lend his voice to the role of the villain.

At this year's D23 Expo held in Anaheim, CA it was announced that the live-action DUMBO will hit theaters on March 29, 2019.

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!CRUELLA

As BWW reported in January, CABARET alum Emma Stone is currently in talks to take on the role of the fashionably-cruel dog-napper Cruelle de Vil in Disney's upcoming live action film CRUELLA.

Screenwriter Kelly Marcel (SAVING MR. BANKS, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY) is currently attached to the project, which will detail the character's origin story in the same vein as the Angelina Jolie-led MALEFICENT. A director has yet to be announced for the project. As many will recall, Glenn Close took on the title role in the 1996 live-action "101 Dalmatians." (image)

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!


As reported in 2015, Reese Witherspoon is attached to star in Disney's TINK, a live-action film based on the "Peter Pan" character Tinker Bell. Witherspoon will also produce the picture with her producing partner Bruna Papandrea through their Pacific Standard banner. Victoria Strouse is penning the script.

Plot details are unknown other than that the film is set in the world of the classic novel with Tinker Bell in full focus. The project is still in development, and there is no timeline for it to go into production. (image)

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!WINNIE THE POOH

In April of 2015 BWW reported that Disney will make a live action feature adaptation of the animated children's classic WINNIE THE POOH. Alex Ross Perry, the writer/director of the Sundance indie Listen Up Philip will pen the movie which follows Pooh's best friend Christopher Robin, now an adult and returning to THE HUNDRED Acre Wood setting of A.A. Milne's beloved stories.

Walt Disney Productions first licensed certain film and other rights to the Winnie the Pooh characters, stories, and trademarks from the estate of A. A. Milne in 1961. In 1977, Disney released the animated feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The film comprises three segments originally released as separate featurettes: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day(1968), and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974). A fourth featurette, Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, was released in 1983.

The live-action series Welcome to Pooh Corner ran on the Disney Channel from 1983 to 1986. In 1988, Disney launched the animated series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which aired from 1988 to 1991 with a total of 83 episodes. Pooh made an appearance with Tigger in the anti-drug TV special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!MARY POPPINS RETURNS

"Mary Poppins Returns" will be released in U.S. theaters on December 25, 2018. Directed and produced by Rob Marshall, "Mary Poppins Returns" stars Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep. The film, which introduces three new Banks children, played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and newcomer Joel Dawson, also features Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury.

The film is set in 1930s depression-era London (the time period of the original novels) and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers' additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Whishaw) and Jane (Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen (Walters), living on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help THE FAMILY rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colorful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Streep).

The film is produced by Marshall, John DeLuca and Marc Platt. The screenplay is by David Magee based on The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers with Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman writing all new songs and Shaiman composing an original score.


Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!SNOW WHITE

Plans for Disney's latest live-action reboot of SNOW WHITE will have you humming a merry tune - by DEAR EVAN HANSEN's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

No word on who will be deemed "fairest of them all" in the title role, but THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson is in talks to write the script, which "will expand on the story and music from the beloved animated classic." Marc Platt, also behind MARY POPPINS RETURNS, will produce.

The original movie, based on the classic Brothers Grimm tale, debuted in 1937 as the studio's first animated feature film; it went on to win an honorary Oscar at the 11th Academy Awards.

Pasek & Paul, the Tony and Emmy-nominated songwriting team who recently wrote the lyrics for the film LA LA LAND, are also working on THE GREATEST SHOWMAN with Hugh Jackman. Among their other credits are Broadway's A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL, DOGFIGHT, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and EDGES, as well as NBC's SMASH.

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!ALADDIN

Director Guy Ritchie will helm a live-action re-imagining of Disney's ALADDIN. The starring roles have gone to Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine. Will Smith will voice the iconic role of Genie. In addition, Marwan Kenzari, star of the upcoming MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, will take on the role of the villainous Jafar, while 'SNL' alum Nasim Pedrad joins the cast as 'Mara', the handmaiden and friend to Jasmine. The role was created specifically for the new movie.

The musical score was written by Alan Menken and features six songs with lyrics written by both Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, who took over after Ashman's death. At this year's D23 Expo, Menken revealed that DEAR EVAN HANSEN's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul will pen the lyrics for the project's new songs.

The 1992 animated musical fantasy film Aladdin was the 31st Disney animated feature film, and was part of the Disney film era known as the Disney Renaissance. The film was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, and is based on the Arab-style folktale Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from One Thousand and One Nights. THE VOICE cast featurEd Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin,Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, and Douglas Seale.

Aladdin was released on November 25, 1992 and was the most successful film of 1992, earning over $217 million in revenue in the United States, and over $504 million worldwide. The film also won many awards, most of them for its soundtrack. The film is considered by many as the best film that came out during the Disney Renaissance. Aladdin's success led to other material inspired by the film, including two direct-to-video sequels, The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves, an animated television series of the same name.

In 2014, a musical stage adaptation of the film premiered on Broadway. James Monroe Iglehart won a 2014 Tony Award for his performance as Genie.

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!


Disney has put in place an all-star team to write music for a live action feature adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's THE LITTLE MERMAID. Multi-Tony Award winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (HAMILTON) will team with multi-Oscar winning composer Alan Menken on the project. Marc Platt will produce the film alongside Miranda. The music will be orchestrated as "a remix of pre-existing songs" from the 1989 Disney animated classic, for which Menken won two Academy Awards. Disney isn't the only studio with a live-action Little Mermaid in the works: Universal is also planning a take on Hans Christian Andersen's beloved fairy tale, with Chloe Moretz in the title role.

A musical stage adaptation of THE LITTLE MERMAID opened on Broadway in January, 2008 and played 685 performances and 50 previews. It introduced Broadway debuts by director Francesca Zambello and Sierra Boggess in the title role.(image)

Oh, We Just Can't Wait... For the Remake- A Guide to Disney's Upcoming Live-Action Musicals!MULAN
A live-action reboot of the animated classic, MULAN is currently in the works at Disney nd has been fast-tracked and is expected to hit theaters on November 2nd 2018. In a March interview with Moviefone, the project's director Niki Caro revealed that the movie will not include any musical numbers.

Jason Reed is expected to produce the film featuring a script by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Disney's original 1998 animated MULAN featured the voices of Lea Salonga, Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Donny Osmond, Eddie Murphy, Harvey Fierstein, and many others. The story centers on a young woman who disguises herself as a man so she can take her father's place in the army and go to war. With the help of her trusty dragon sidekick Mushu, she becomes a skilled warrior and, eventually, one of the country's greatest heroines.

MULAN earned $304.3 million worldwide, and went on to receive Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. In 2005, the studio released a direct-to-DVD sequel, Mulan II.

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