Disney plans more than 50 live-action remakes and franchise extensions

Scene from 'Hocus Pocus 2'

Get ready for some more remakes of your favorite Disney films.

A New York Times story about Sean Bailey, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production’s president for 13 years, included a mention that Bailey has more than 50 movies in the works, including live-action “reimaginings” of “Snow White” and “Lilo and Stitch” set for 2024 and “Moana” and “Hercules” in pre-production.

According to the article, “Hocus Pocus 3” is planned. Bailey also talked about making “The Lion King” into a “big, epic saga” like the “Star Wars” empire. The next installment in this potential franchise is a “photorealistic” prequel called “Mufasa: The Lion King,” focusing on Simba’s father.

Bailey also said there’s an idea rolling around for relaunching the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, which had five films. The last of these was released in 2017.

And while it might seem like he’s pretty much taking everything Disney and redoing it, there is a point to all the remakes: helping classic Disney stories remain relevant in a changing world, with empowered heroines and newer ideas.

“How do you deal with audiences that are changing outside our country, inside our country?” Bailey told the New York Times. “How do you tell stories — stories that matter to everyone — in a world that is increasingly polarized?”

Halle Bailey at "The Little Mermaid" premiere
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Disney’s remakes have allowed it to update parts of the stories and cast a diverse range of actors in the lead roles, such as black actress Halle Bailey as Ariel in this summer’s “The Little Mermaid.”

However, some think Disney’s move into live-action reboots of its classic films has gone too far.

Gizmodo, commenting on Disney’s future direction, described the focus on expanding franchises and remaking old projects as prizing “aesthetics over artistry” and an “easy money” move for Disney.

Disney has been generally successful with its remakes, however. According to Box Office Mojo, it made $1.05 billion from the live-action “Aladdin” in 2019, $1.6 billion from a “photorealistic” “The Lion King,” in 2019, and $1.26 billion from the “Beauty and the Beast” retelling from 2017. Angelina Jolie’s two “Maleficient” films from 2014 and 2019 earned about $1.25 billion together.

The new “Little Mermaid” remake is looking to earn $600 million globally. It earned more than $180 million in its first 10 days in the U.S., putting it on par with the trajectory of “Aladdin,” but according to The Hollywood Reporter is seeing a racist backlash in other countries that is lowering its revenue projections.

It remains to be seen if this will affect Disney’s plan for the future. For now, brace yourself for more classic content, reimagined, from Disney!

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Anna Weaver
Anna Weaver is a writer and multimedia journalist from Hawaii. Her two young kids keep her on her toes and hooked on online shopping. Anna’s also a fan of movies, reading, photography, and sharing far too many IG stories about cute dogs and capybaras. Visit Scripps News to see more of Anna's work.

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