Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Disney Method

Throughout the years, Disney has been known for their ability to turn a child’s dream into a reality. In recent news, Disney decided to take this notion one step forward and literally bring its movies to life.

The Walt Disney Logo

This year, Disney announced that it will be releasing eighteen new live-action movies of animated classics. The list provided here:

The list includes popular classics such as Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, and Mary Poppins, starring Emily Blunt, as A-list titular characters. With the success of The Jungle Book, being named the fourth highest-grossing film of 2016 to date as well as garnering a whopping $966.2 million in the box office, Disney has found that live-action remakes of animated classics can bring in the big bucks when it comes to the box office. In spite of this, many people have spoken out against the announced list, accusing Disney of “beating a dead horse”. It is as if Disney is taking classics such as The Lion King and squeezing every last cent out of the idea just to satisfy its lust for monetary gain. People do not like the idea of having their favorite childhood movies recycled into two hours of special effects. On the other hand, some people do like the fact that their favorite childhood films are being revitalized and remade into a real live-action sequence.

Still from The Jungle Book, “Official Trailer #2” (2016)

With this in mind, Disney is capitalizing on the lucrative market that live-action films have to offer. With the success of The Jungle Book and Disney’s upcoming picture, Beauty and the Beast, which is set to arrive some time next year, Disney will continue to remake these beloved childhood films into precious realities that could either make or break its box office numbers. If Disney can continue to ride the wave of successful films that it has produced in the last year, then maybe their box office numbers will reflect a more welcoming reaction towards this decision.

-Shelby Halliman

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7 Responses to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Disney Method

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I think Disney’s decision leaves nothing to be excited about, because the live action adaptation of their original cartoon films have been failures in my opinion. The kitchiness of Disney films is best left to animation, because watching the remake of Cinderella and The Jungle Book was awkward in that its conventions felt forced. Magical realism is much better displayed in cartoon form, and I think the viewing public has little to gain from watching these adaptations, which, if anything, are nothing more than a possible cash cow to Disney. – REECE GUIDA

  2. mediaphiles says:

    It’s interesting to see the way that Disney is continuing to reuse the same story lines over and over again. To me, it feels reminiscent of the way sitcoms continue to use the same story lines and jokes through time. Disney seems to be doing just what Amos ‘n Andy did when they switched from radio to television by copying their old stories because the knew they would worked and hoped it would help bring in the big bucks again.
    -Valerie Medoff

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I have always felt that Disney shouldn’t re-make their past films that are such classics to many of us. At the same time, I think it is important for the new generations to appreciate these old tales. Many of the younger generations would know the old films like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty if they were not re-made and modernized.

    Alexandra Peralta

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I find this very interesting. In some ways, it makes me sad because I feel like the films are classics and should not be “re-made.” I recognize Disney’s desire to make more money, but I don’t think this is the way to do it. It bothers me because I feel like my kids won’t grow up watching the same classics, instead they might watch the live-version. -Allie Kleinman

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I read an article about why these live action remakes are good for the Disney animated brand. You included Mary Poppins, though I think that is supposed to be a sequel rather than a remake. Not entirely sure though. What the article was talking about is how if Disney wants to keep mining its vault for gold, it will need to continue adding to said vault. To be fair, not every Disney classic can be remade. Some wouldn’t translate and some don’t have the appeal others do. Disney Animation Studios is on a major hot streak right now, as is their remake-classic-cartoons-as-live-action-films department. The latter cannot exist without the former, so they’ll have to keep pumping out *original* animated features. Sequels won’t translate as well as live action, because the live action films often have different story beats. Sometimes endings too. I haven’t seen all the live action adaptations, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I have seen. I love Disney cartoons. Always have and always will. Disney has my trust. Even if the live-action remakes start to sour, if it gets them to make more animated features, I’m all in. – Max Dosser

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I grew up on Disney films, and the characters and songs that populated those worlds are forever linked to my childhood. So when these live action reboots first started coming out, I felt a little betrayed. If someone decided to remake the original Star Wars trilogy, I would be furious. But to be completely honest, a number of the original Disney classics simply don’t hold up as well as maybe we’d like to think they do, and there are a number of embarrassingly racist undertones to quite a few scenes. Beyond that, tastes and sensibilities change and evolve over the course of decades, so children today are often entertained and enthralled by different tones, styles, and aesthetics than were present in the films of past generations. These live-action remakes feel like they are rebooting the originals for a modern audience to give a new generation of children fresh iterations of these classics to grow up on. Not all of them have been stellar, and I’ll agree that animation seems like a better medium for a good many of these stories, but if Disney wants to upgrade their classics so that they appeal to children of today and omit the insensitivities, I’m ok with that.

    –Kevin Pabst

  7. mediaphiles says:

    I am one of the people who like to see my favorite childhood movies turned into more of a Hollywood production. The more advanced cinematic effects, and a more sophisticated plot line make for a trip to the movies that is both nostalgic and unexpected. I am excited for these future re-makes, especially to hear the soundtracks “recycled” in Disney’s beautiful way. -Kelsey Sierra

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