19 Disney classics making live-action magic on screen
Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
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.
Since then, the House of Mouse has embarked on a long run of live-action remakes. Keep clicking for a rundown of all of 'em, from recent box office hits to films still in development.
Maleficent (2014) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
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 and Fanning are returning for a 2019 sequel titled Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
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 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), the film cast a spell on filmgoers and brought in $543.5 million at the global box office.
The Jungle Book (2016)
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 Johansson, 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, debuted on Netflix in 2018.)
Pete’s Dragon (2016)
The 1977 live-action/cartoon hybrid about an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend — an occasionally visible dragon named Elliot — 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.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
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.
Christopher Robin (2018)
Classic Pooh voice actor Jim Cummings returned to once again voice everyone's favorite yellow bear in Christopher Robin — which follows an all-grown-up Christopher (Ewan McGregor) as he learns how to reconnect with his childhood.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
The practically perfect nanny returned to Cherry Tree Lane in December 2018. Emily Blunt plays Mary Poppins in Rob Marshall's sequel, which picks up about 30 years after the events of the Julie Andrews original.
Tim Burton already brought his fantastical style to the 2010 live-action Alice in Wonderland, and in 2019, he headed to the circus with a new take on Dumbo. Colin Farrell stars as a former horse showman who returns from World War I to work at a circus on the verge of financial ruin (run by Danny DeVito). There, he and his two children cross paths with the titular flying elephant.
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 was in the works, with Guy Ritchie on board to direct. The new film stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Will Smith as the Genie, filling the iconic shoes — although, does the Genie even wear shoes? — of Robin Williams.
The Lion King (2019)
After the success of Jon Favreau’s live-action The Jungle Book, Disney revealed it was letting him run wild with another of its beloved animated movies. The studio announced in 2016 that it was working with Favreau on a new "reimagining" of The Lion King, dated for July 2019. The star-studded cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, and John Oliver as Zazu — as well as the return of James Earl Jones as Mufasa.
Lady and the Tramp (2019)
The doggone Disney classic is getting a new refresh. The LEGO Ninjago Movie's Charlie Bean is directing the new take on Lady and the Tramp, with Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux taking the lead canine roles. The film will debut on Disney's new streaming service, Disney+, in November 2019.
One of Disney’s greatest heroines will soon be returning to theaters. Liu Yifei stars as the beloved female warrior Hua Mulan, who disguises herself as a man and enlists in the Chinese Imperial Army to save her ailing father. Niki Caro (Whale Rider) is directing, and the cast includes Donnie Yen, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, and Jet Li. It's set to hit theaters in March 2020.
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.
The Little Mermaid (release date TBD)
We're headed back under the sea: grown-ish star Halle Bailey (one-half of R&B sister act Chloe x Halle) has been cast as the mermaid Ariel in the new musical retelling of The Little Mermaid. Rob Marshall of Mary Poppins Returns is directing the new film, which will feature both original music from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and new songs written by Menken with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (release date TBD)
For another 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.
Lilo & Stitch (release date TBD)
Say aloha (again) to Lilo & Stitch: In October 2018, news broke that Disney was developing a live-action version of the 2001 film, chronicling the friendship between a young Hawaiian girl and a chaotic blue alien.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (release date TBD)
Quasimodo returns! A live-action version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is also in the works, inspired by the 1996 animated film and the original Victor Hugo novel. Tony winner David Henry Hwang is writing the script, with original composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz back on board as well.
Pinocchio (release date TBD)
Also in development is a new version of Pinocchio. At one point, Paddington's Paul King was on board to direct, with Tom Hanks in talks to play the master puppet-maker Geppetto. But the puppet will have to wait a bit longer to become a real boy: King has since left the film, and its current status is unknown.