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'Alice in Wonderland'
In 2010, Alice went to Wonderland and kicked off Disney’s recent crop of live-action revivals of the studio’s classic films. Based on Lewis Carroll’s fantasy novels and inspired by 1951’s animated Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton-directed film starred Mia Wasikowska as Alice alongside a star-studded cast of Wonderland characters (Johnny Depp as the Mad Matter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, and the voices of Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, and more). Alice was a box office smash, earning more than $1 billion worldwide, and a sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, arrived in theaters on May 27, 2016.
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The horn-headdressed, baby-cursing sorceress from Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty got a film of her own in 2014 with Maleficent. Starring Angelina Jolie in the title role, the film delved into the iconic villain’s origin story and her relationship with Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). Maleficent took in more than $758 million at the worldwide box office, and Jolie is slated to return for a sequel.
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Lily James stepped into Cinderella’s iconic glass slippers in 2015 for a live-action retelling of Disney’s 1950 film, with Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden as her charming prince, Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother, and Cate Blanchett as her wicked stepmother. Directed by Kenneth Branagh from a screenplay by Chris Weitz (who also wrote About a Boy and the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), the film cast a spell on filmgoers and brought in $543.5 million at the global box office.
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The Jungle Book
Welcome (back) to the jungle — Disney’s 1967 animated film came back to the big screen in 2016 with a live-action retelling helmed by director Jon Favreau. The Jungle Book starred Neel Sethi as the man-cub Mowgli alongside a deep roster of A-list stars as the voices of his animal friends and enemies, including Bill Murray, Scarlett Johannson, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, and Christopher Walken. The film raked in an impressive $103 million in its opening weekend in theaters and Disney has already greenlit a sequel with Favreau returning to direct. (A separate Jungle Book movie, directed by Andy Serkis, is also coming from Warner Bros. with a release date set for 2018.)
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The 1977 live action/cartoon hybrid about an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend — an occasionally visible dragon named Elliott — got new life in a big-screen adaptation that opened in theaters on Aug. 12, 2016. Directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), the film reimagines the story for modern times and stars Oakes Fegley as Pete, Bryce Dallas Howard as the park ranger who finds the boy living “alone” in the forest, and Robert Redford as her character’s father.
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Beauty and the Beast
The tale as old as time got a new chapter in 2017, when the 1991 classic — the first animated movie to ever get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture — returned to theaters as a live-action musical starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Beauty and the Beast's cast also includes Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, Kevin Kline as Maurice, and Audra McDonald as Garderobe. The new Beauty shattered box office records when it debuted, raking in more than $357 million globally.
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After the success of 2015’s live-action Cinderella (which raked in $543.5 million worldwide), Disney set its sights on her beau: Prince Charming. In July 2015, the studio purchased a script by Matt Fogel, billed as a “revisionist take” on the dreamy royal. Details are scarce, and it’s unclear whether Fogel’s script will focus on the Charming from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Snow White — or take an entirely different approach altogether. (Game of Thrones star Richard Madden played Charming in the live-action Cinderella.)
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Tim Burton already brought his fantastical style to the 2010 live-action Alice in Wonderland, and he’ll soon be heading to the circus with a new take on Dumbo. The director is teaming up with writer Ehren Kruger (who penned The Ring and multiple Transformers movies), and while plot details have yet to be announced, just imagine what Burton could do with the “Pink Elephants on Parade” scene.
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If Emma Stone doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will. Glenn Close may have played the dog-napping Cruella De Vil in the 1996 live-action 101 Dalmatians, but Stone is set to star as the villainess in the new Cruella, which will explore her origin story in a script penned by Kelly Marcel.
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Clap your hands if you believe in Reese Witherspoon: A year ago, the Oscar winner began developing Tink, a new take on Peter Pan’s bubbly fairy sidekick, and Disney has since confirmed that Witherspoon has signed on to star and produce. Finding Dory writer Victoria Strouse is penning the Tinker Bell script, hopefully with faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.
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Winnie the Pooh
In April 2015, news broke that Disney had tapped Queen of Earth writer-director Alex Ross Perry to go back to the house at Pooh Corner — a.k.a. pen a live-action adaptation of Winnie the Pooh, focusing on Christopher Robin as an adult. In interviews, Perry has cited a few other movies as inspiration for his script, including Fantastic Mr. Fox, Toy Story, and… A.I. Artificial Intelligence? “There’s a lot inspired by the relationship between David and Teddy in A.I.,” he told Collider in November 2015. “That’s not really a children’s film at all. Crushingly depressing. But the relationship between human and toy bear in that movie is pretty spot on.”
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Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt will soon be administering a spoonful of sugar in Disney’s upcoming Mary Poppins sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. While the 1964 Julie Andrews-starring classic was based on the first book in P.L. Travers’ beloved children’s book series, the Blunt project will draw from Travers’ other novels, telling the story of Poppins’ reunion with a now-grown-up Jane and Michael Banks (plus Michael’s three children) in Depression-era London. Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda has also signed on to play a lamplighter named Jack, with Into the Woods’ Rob Marshall on board to direct. David Magee is penning the script, and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are writing the film’s new original music. (Both the Travers estate and original Poppins co-composer Richard Sherman are supporting the project.) Mary Poppins Returns will arrive on Dec. 25, 2018.
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The Little Mermaid
Original Little Mermaid composer Alan Menken is heading back under the sea — with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda diving right in after him. The two composers are teaming up for a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, and Miranda is set to produce alongside Marc Platt. Menken won two of his eight Oscars for Disney’s original 1989 Little Mermaid, and Miranda has been a longtime superfan of the composer. (He even named his son Sebastian. Yes, like the crab.) Notably, 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.
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The Lion King
After the success of Jon Favreau’s live-action The Jungle Book, Disney announced it was letting him run wild with another of its beloved animated movies. The studio announced on Sept. 28, 2016 that it’s working with Favreau on a new “reimagining” of The Lion King. The original film was released in 1994 and has become one of the biggest animated films of all time, with a lifetime global box office of $968.8 million, won Oscars for best original song and score, and was adapted into a stage musical that opened on Broadway in 1997. There’s no release date set yet for Favreau’s new Lion King.
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One of Disney’s greatest heroines will be returning to theaters on Nov. 2, 2018. In October 2016, the studio officially announced that it’s fast-tracking the live-action reboot of the 1998 animated Mulan, with a script from Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, based on a spec script by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek. Disney is also launching a global search for a Chinese actress to play the titular heroine — preferably someone who’s as swift as a coursing river, has all the force of a great typhoon, has all the strength of a raging fire, and can be as mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
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Did somebody find a lamp and wish for a live-action Aladdin? In October 2016, it emerged that a new take on the 1992 animated classic is in the works, with Guy Ritchie in talks to direct the project. The original Aladdin, which featured Robin Williams as the now-iconic Genie, grossed $217.4 million domestically and $504.1 million worldwide, making it that year’s top-grossing film. The new film, being produced by The LEGO Movie’s Dan Lin from a script by John August (Big Fish), does not yet have an expected release date.
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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
For its next live-action adaptation, Disney is going all the way back to its first-ever animated movie: 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In October 2016, news broke that the studio was planning a new live-action musical about the fairest of them all, with Girl on the Train writer Erin Cressida Wilson in negotiations to write the script. The plan is to expand upon the original story and music from the 1937 film, with La La Land lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul on board to write the movie’s new songs.