Brief Live-Action “Aladdin,” “Mulan” Updates

Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” opened last night to $16.3 million in previews and looks to score around $165 million at the domestic box-office alone this weekend.

There’s no question that this trend of Disney’s live-action fairytales based on their catalogue of animated classics, which began with Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” is here to stay for quite a few years yet.

Speaking with Vulture, Disney’s president of Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey offered thoughts into the approach the studio is taking with two of the next film’s on the list: Guy Ritchie’s “Aladdin” and Nikki Caro’s “Mulan”.

The big question with these films is whether they’ll do a whole new spin on the material (ala ‘Alice,’ “Maleficent”) or do a very loyal adaptation with only some very minor changes (ala ‘Beauty,’ “Cinderella,” “Jungle Book”). In regards to “Aladdin” it sounds like they’re going for something in between:

“Guy became interested in doing a Disney movie and we talked a lot about it. When we talked about Aladdin, he said, ‘My stories are really about street hustlers. That’s what I know how to do. And Aladdin is a classic street hustler who makes good. Guy’s got his own version of that story in his life. But he wanted to honor and respect the Disney of it all. We never want to feel like we have a playbook to these things because we worry it’ll make us creatively complacent. The idea of a highly energized Guy Ritchie Disney musical felt like, Oh, we haven’t done that before.”

The new “Mulan” is not expected to prominently feature songs and is next on the live-action remake list with a release date set for November 2nd 2018. It will also be loyal to the original but offer a stronger take on the central theme of female empowerment:

“Mulan is clearly an empowered-female story but we can also do something new in this reimagining, make it a little more muscular, stronger, with touch of Ridley Scott.”

Other live-action Disney fairytales on the way in coming years are “The Lion King,” “Dumbo,” “Cruella,” “Tink,” “Pinocchio,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Christopher Robin,” “Oliver & Co.,” “The Sword in the Stone” and a sequel to “The Jungle Book”.