All the Disney Live-Action Movies Based on Animated Classic Films

7:04 PM 4/20/2016

by Mia Galuppo and Ashley Lee

'Mulan,' 'Cruella' and 'Dumbo' are just a few of the films in the works (Snow White had a sister?!).


It turns out that the tales as old as time are top performers at the box office.

Disney's experiment with live-action retellings of its animated classics began in 2010 with Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Then came 2014's Maleficent, the Sleeping Beauty origin story starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning; 2015's Cinderella adaptation with Lily James and Cate Blanchett, 2016's star-studded actioner The Jungle Book helmed by Jon Favreau, and 2017's movie-musical Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson as Belle.

The studio continues to mine its animated archives for live-action material. See all the retellings that Disney has in the works.

  • 'Mulan'

    Nov. 2, 2018


    The 1998 animation epic — which included Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Eddie Murphy and Harvey Fierstein among the voice cast — centered on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, the female warrior who disguises herself as a man to take her father's place in war. Whale Rider helmer Niki Caro is set to direct the live-action retelling from a script by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek, with We're the Millers' Chris Bender and J.C. Spink producing under their Benderspink banner.

  • 'The Lion King'

    July 19, 2019

    Jon Favreau, who directed 2016's live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, is tackling a re-imagining of The Lion King as a live-action/CG feature. James Earl Jones is reprising his role as patriarch Mufasa, opposite Donald Glover as Simba. The Savannahan-set animated film stands as one of the highest grossing animated films of all time, taking in $968.8 million worldwide at the box office and won two Oscars for original song and score.

  • 'Cruella'

    In the vein of Maleficent, Cruella will star Emma Stone as the fashion-forward, Dalmatian-loving, chain-smoking Cruella de Vil, who was also portrayed by Glenn Close in the 1996 John Hughes-produced live-action movie. Alex Timbers is directing the origin story from a script by Saving Mr. Banks' Kelly Marcel.

  • 'Dumbo'

    Alice In Wonderland helmer Tim Burton is taking on Dumbo with a live-action/CG adaptation from a script by Ehren Kruger. Based on the classic animated 1941 movie about a baby circus elephant who is made fun of for his large ears and is separated from his mother, the retelling stars Eva Green, Danny DeVito and Colin Farrell, and expands on the circus aspect of the story.

  • 'The Little Mermaid'

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Also to be part of the live-action world is a live-action musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid, following a mermaid princess who struck a bargain with a sea-witch in order to meet a human prince on land. Hamilton and Moana composer Lin-Manuel Miranda has signed on to produce and compose additional tunes alongside the original 1989 film's composer Alan Menken. Marc Platt will also produce.


  • 'Maleficent' 2


    Angelina Jolie is set to return as the titular villain who first appeared in 1959's Sleeping Beauty. Alice Through the Looking Glass screenwriter Linda Woolverton is penning the script. Released in 2014, Maleficent grossed $758 million worldwide.


  • 'Jungle Book 2'


    sequel was green lit a week before the 2016 release of The Jungle Book, which featured a voice cast with Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Bill Murray, and grossed $966 worldwide. Jon Favreau is set to direct once again from a script by Justin Marks, which will dig deeper into Rudyard Kipling's stories about the bond between man-cub Mowgli and the residents of the Indian Jungle.

  • 'Peter Pan'


    The boy who never grows up is getting the live-action treatment. Director David Lowery is collaborating with his Pete’s Dragon screenwriter Toby Halbrooks for a take on the 1953 animated classic based on J.M. Barrie’s beloved novel.



  • Tinker Bell


    Reese Witherspoon is set to produce and star in a live-action movie that explores the origin of Peter Pan's fairy companion. Finding Dory screenwriter Victoria Strouse is penning the script on the animated classic's supporting character. Insiders say the movie (with a more modest, midrange budget) will play with the idea and the timeline of the well-known Peter Pan and share “the story you don’t know.”

  • 'Snow White'

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Who is the fairest of them all? A live-action musical adaptation of Disney's first animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is in the works, with a script from Girl on the Train screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson. The movie, which will expand on the story of the 1937 classic, will include new songs from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul of La La Land and Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Marc Platt, who also is working with Disney on the sequel Mary Poppins Returns, is producing.

  • 'Rose Red'

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Though didn't appear in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White's sister appeared in the original Grimm's fairytales and will be the subject of the live-action film. The revisionist story takes place after Snow White's fatal bite from the poison apple, leaving her estranged sister Rose Red to undertake a dangerous quest with the dwarves to find a way to break the curse. Justin Merz penned the script with a pitch by Evan Daugherty, who wrote Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman.

  • 'Aladdin'

    Courtesy of Disney

    Guy Ritchie is directing a live-action musical adaptation of the 1992 animated film, which follows a street-wise youth who tries to woo a princess and defeat an evil sorcerer (with the help of a beloved genie, of course). With a script by Big Fish's John August, the movie has sent out a casting notice calling for Middle Eastern actors to audition for its leads, with production set to begin this July in the U.K.

  • 'Genies'

    The live-action prequel will focus on the realm of the Genies and reveal how Aladdin's Genie — famously voiced by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated feature — ended up in that lamp. Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, who wrote Dwayne Johnson's upcoming Baywatch movie, will pen the adventure comedy.

  • 'Pinocchio'

    Everett Collection

    The beloved puppet could become a real boy on the big screen. Peter Hedges, who penned What's Eating Gilbert Grape and About a Boy, is writing a script loosely based on the original 1940 animated classic.

    Robert Downey Jr. is also spearheading a live-action rendition of Pinocchio at Warner Bros., which has Ron Howard attached to direct.

  • 'Sword in the Stone'

    Courtesy of Photofest

    The Aurthurian-inspired 1963 fantasy was the last film that Disney released before patriarch Walt Disney's death in 1966. The live-action version is being written by someone who is familiar with sword fights and the medieval vernacular: Game of Thrones writer-producer Bryan Cogman. Jungle Book producer Brigham Taylor is also on board.

  • Winnie the Pooh


    Though Disney has released numerous movies about Winnie the Pooh that see the beloved bear on an eternal search for both honey and friendship, a live-action movie is in the very early stages of development. Alex Ross Perry is set to pet the adaptation based on A.A. Milne's characters, as the film sees Christopher Robin returning as an adult to revisit his hangout in the Hundred Acre Woods.

  • Prince Charming

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Prince Charmings have long been fixtures in Disney animations like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, but this live-action movie will put them at the center of the fairytale. Matt Fogel, who was the assistant to Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the animation Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, penned the script exploring the Prince Charming archetype. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films/TV — the production company behind Emma Watson's live-action Beauty and the Beast— will produce.

  • 'Chip 'n' Dale'


    Okay, so it's not based on an animated classic, but a big-screen version of Chip ‘n’ Dale, Disney’s classic cartoon chipmunk duo, is in the works. Robert Rugan is writing an updated take on the characters in what is being envisioned as a live-action/CG hybrid. First popularized in a 1943 animated short, the film will jump off from the 1989 series Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers, in which the titular chipmunks ran a detective agency and helped animal clients.

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