When it comes to Disney movies lately, there is one thing that is certain, live-action remakes are making the company a lot of money, so there are a lot more coming down the pike. Over the years, Disney has seen wild success with remakes of classics like Cinderella (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Aladdin (2019), and The Little Mermaid (2023).
With all the money that Disney has made off live-action remakes, it makes sense that the company will continue to make them. That’s why, in April 2023, during Disney’s annual shareholder’s meeting, Disney announced that it would be remaking the 2016 box-office hit, Moana. The Mouse House even brought in star Dwayne Johnson to share the news.
One of the more exciting parts of the Moana live-action remake is that Johnson will be returning to reprise the role of the demigod, Maui. With that announcement, Disney officially broke from a longstanding tradition — having original actors return for the live-action remake.
Right now, only three people have transitioned from a role in a Disney animated film to the live-action remake — Jim Cummings and James Earl Jones. Cummings voiced Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in the animated films, and voiced them in 2018’s Christopher Robin. James Earl Jones was famously the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King (1994), and returned to voice him in the 2019 remake.
So, while Johnson won’t be the first actor to return to Disney for a live-action remake, he will be the first one to appear on the big screen. Winnie the Pooh and The Lion King used CGI to recreate the characters Cummings and Jones voiced. Since Maui was a demigod, Disney wouldn’t need to use CGI on the character to recreate him.
Disney live-action remakes have become quite controversial among Disney fans. While a lot of fans gripe and moan about “Disney’s originality”, that isn’t keeping them from heading to the theaters. This past year was not a good one for Disney films, but the live-action Little Mermaid made more than half a billion at the box office.
Disney has a lot of live-action remakes getting ready to hit theaters. Snow White will hit theaters in 2025, after being pushed back a year. Then, in 2025, the studio giant is expected to release Lilo & Stitch. The Aristocats and Hercules are also in development. Disney was planning on making a live-action Hunchback of Notre Dame, but has since pulled the plug on that project.
Disney’s live-action Moana does not yet have a release date.
What is your favorite Disney live-action remake?