'The Lion King' to Prince Charming: Disney Animation Set for Live-Action Movies

7:04 PM 4/20/2016

by Mia Galuppo

With the box office success of 'Cinderella,' 'Maleficent' and now 'The Jungle Book,' Disney is moving full steam ahead with adaptations that pull from its classic annimations. New live-action fodder is coming from princesses, villains, supporting characters and fairies, alike.

  • 'The Lion King'

    After adapting The Jungle Book, it was announced that director Jon Favreau will tackle a re-imagining of The Lion King as a live-action/CG feature. The Savannahan-set animation stands as one of the highest grossing animated films of all time, taking in $968.8 million worldwide at the box office. It won two Oscars, one for the original song Can You Feel the Love Tonight and original score. 

  • 'Alice in Wonderland'

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Coming out next month, Alice Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which acted as a pseudo-sequel to the 1951 animation based on the Lewis Carol book series. In the latest installment, Mia Wasikowska returns as Alice, who is now charged with helping her BFF, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), escape from both his funk and a new temporal villain, played by Sasha Baron Cohen. Burton returns to direct, while Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter will be reprising their roles as the white and red queens, respectively.

    The movies hits theaters on May 27. 

  • 'Beauty and the Beast'

    Walt Disney Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Emma Watson will go from playing the bookish wizard Hermione in the Harry Potter films to playing the bookish Disney Princess Belle in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. The cast of characters and cutlery from the Oscar-nominated 1991 animation will be back with some familiar, famous CG faces. Emma Thompson will play Mrs. Potts, while Ewan McGregor will play Lumiere and Ian McKellen try his hand -— or, hands -— as Cogsworth. Luke Evans and Dan Stevens will vie for Belle's affection as Gaston and The Beast.  

    Beauty and the Beast will be released on March 17, 2017.

  • '101 Dalmatians'

    In the vein of Maleficent, Cruella will focus on a Disney villainess. Emma Stone is in talks to star as the fashion-forward, Dalmatian -oving, chain-smoking Cruella de Vil, who was also portrayed by Glenn Close in the 1996 John Hughes-produced live-action movie. Saving Mr. Banks writer Kelly Marcel will pen the origin story, which the studio is eyeing to shoot sometime in late 2016.

  • 'Maleficent' Sequel


    The Angelina Jolie-starrer and origin story of the infamous Disney villain, who first appeared in 1959's Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent grossed $758 million at the international box office. So it's no wonder the studio is going back for round two, which will be written by Linda Woolverton and has Jolie rumored to return. Woolverton is no stranger to Disney's sequel game, having written the upcoming Alice Through the Looking Glass.

  • 'Jungle Book 2'


    In it's first weekend, Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book earned $314 million at the international box office. A week before it came out, a sequel has already been green lit with Faverau and writer Justin Marks both in talks to return. The Jungle Book drew from the plot of the 1957 animation, which was based on the Rudyard Kipling stories about the intra-special bond between the man-cub Mowgli and the residents of the Indian Jungle. The sequel will dig deeper into Kipling's source material.


  • 'Peter Pan'


    After tackling Pete’s Dragon for the studio, director David Lowery will helm Disney's other famous Pete. Peter Pan — Disney’s return to Neverland — will be written by Toby Halbrooks and Lowery and will be based on the 1953 animated adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s novel about a boy who could never grow up. 

  • 'Pinocchio'

    Everett Collection

    Similar to how Pinocchio turned into a real boy; the 1940's animation could make the transition into a live-action feature. This movie is in the early stages of development at Disney, but it does have a writer attached to the project. Peter Hedges, who penned What's Eating Gilbert Grape and About a Boy, is set to adapt a story that will be loosely based on the original animation, which was the studio's follow-up to the massively popular Snow White.

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

  • 'Dumbo'

    Tim Burton has already put his personal twist on Alice In Wonderland, and is set to tackle another selection from the Disney tome: Dumbo. Transformers franchise writer Ehren Kruger has penned the script for the project, which will feature a family story that will parallel the circus Elephant’s odyssey. Burton will no doubt be able to imbue his signature, twisted look to the project, which will be a combination of live-action and CG (a la The Jungle Book). 

  • '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. Sword in the Stone is being written by someone who is familiar with sword fights and the medial vernacular, Game of Thrones writer-producer Bryan Cogman. Sword is set to be produced by The Jungle Book producer Brigham Taylor.

  • 'Mulan'


    The 1998 animation with the catchy soundtrack centered on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, the female warrior who disguises herself as a man so she can take her father's place in the army and go to war. In 2015, Disney bought a script by writing team Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek that is a live-action retelling of the story. We're the Millers' Chris Bender and J.C. Spink are set to produce the film under their Benderspink banner.

  • Winnie the Pooh


    Disney has released numerous Winnie the Pooh movies that see the bear on an eternal search for both honey and friendship, including Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too. Still in the very early stages of development, a live-action Pooh movie is bouncing around at Disney. The adaptation of AA Milne's lovable bear would be brought to the big screen by writer Alex Ross Perry and would see Winnie's pal Christopher Robin returning as an adult to revisit his hangout in the Hundred Acre Woods.

  • Tinker Bell


    Reese Witherspoon is attached to star in and produce the live-action Tinker Bell movie. Victoria Strouse, who wrote the script for Pixar’s upcoming film Finding Dory, is penning the script for the project. Like Maleficent or the in-development Cruella, the movie is planned to be a more in-depth look at a supporting character. The origin story of Peter Pan's fairy companion will be a more modest production, with a midrange budget.

  • Rose Red (Snow White)

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Although she didn't appear in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — the movie that launched the studio — Snow White's sister appeared in the original Grimm's fairytales. Rose Red would be a revisionist story that would take place after Snow White takes a bite from the iconic poison apple, leaving her estranged sister, Rose Red, to undertake a dangerous quest with Grumpy and the other dwarves to find a way to break the curse. Disney picked up the project, which has a script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan Daugherty, who was responsible for writing Snow White and the Huntsman.

    Tripp Vinson is producing the project. He also has a live-action film based on Aladdin and Cinderella's Prince Charming set up at the studio.

  • 'Genies' (Aladdin)

    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. The adventure comedy will be written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, who both penned Dwayne Johnson's upcoming Baywatch movie. Even though Genies is still in early development, the studio has plans to have the project lead into an actual live-action Aladdin movie.

  • Prince Charming

    Courtesy of Photofest

    Prince Charmings have long been fixtures in Disney animations like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. They are the generally valiant guys with great hair who have an occasional breakout song or two. Disney has bought a script from Matt Fogel, who was the assistant to Phil Lord and Chris Miller on the animation Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, about 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.

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