Disney Live-Action: Disaster or Major Money?


Graphic by Hannah Perri

This graph represents the total box office profit for each of the Disney live-action movies by order of release. The bottom is the oldest and the top is the most recent.

Kaitlyn Newton, Staff Writer

    Over the years, Walt Disney Pictures has made some difficult calls, and while some of them have paid off in full, others have left a sour taste in viewers’ mouths and holes in Disney executives’ pockets. The most difficult call in Disney’s recent history? All of these live-action movies. Disney has slowly been cultivating a plethora of these newer and sometimes ‘more modern’ renditions of their classics. 

These live-action movies are chock-full of new additions to the originals, whether it be a new style of music like there is in the new live-action ‘Aladdin’ or completely new songs like the ones in ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ This article will discuss the viewpoints of GL students and staff on the Disney live-action movies.


“I think that some of them are good, and they have a lot of good elements to them,” said Senior Rebecca Bovee. “The music and the CGI is good. But I think that by making them over and over again, they’re lacking creativity and not making good ideas, which is bad because they’re gonna run out of movies.”

It turns out, this live-action trend has been going on for about 23 years, yielding 13 live-action movies in that time alone. The first adaptation in this trend was ‘101 Dalmatians,’ a remake of the original animated classic, which raked in about $320.7 million worldwide. Disney must have been happy with that sum because they continued to unveil new live-action movies left and right. The list of live-action movies continues with (in chronological order) “102 Dalmatians,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Christopher Robin,” “Dumbo,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King,” according to forbes.com


 “They’re all remade,” says Cody Seaman, a Senior at Grand Ledge. “It doesn’t seem like it’s worth it to go see them.” The most recent release, “The Lion King,” came out on July 19th and has made around $1.599 billion total in the box office, as stated by vanityfair.com. Regardless of whether a few films made big bucks, there were still some disappointments. On average, a successful Disney film makes about $555 million in the box office- according to boxofficemojo.com and my calculations- which leaves quite a few of these live-action remakes in the dust; only five of them make it over the benchmark. 


There has been a lot of back and forth about the quality of the films, and multiple critics have cited dissatisfaction and surprise at their caliber. 


“I think that it is the laziest form of creativity. It’s just lazy, and they don’t change that much… It feels like Disney is nervous; they don’t want to take risks and chances. They want to have a consistent product that they can just keep putting out and keep making money, so they do the same old ones.” said Mr. Keilen, a student-teacher here at Grand Ledge.


    Disney has announced that they are going to be coming out with more live-action films, including ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ in Oct. of this year, ‘Mulan’ in Mar. of 2020, and ‘Lady and the Tramp’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’, which do not have release dates yet, according to collider.com. There has already been quite a bit of buzz around them, and people have begun to critique their plots, cast, and overall existence before their release. Regardless of all the drama, people can take comfort in the fact that no one is forcing them to go see these new movies— except, of course, the children that they are made for.