While “Beauty and the Beast” devours the box office this weekend, Disney’s looking ahead to future blockbusters. The studio has been turning their beloved animated catalogue into live-action feature films to great success, and two more — “Aladdin” and “Mulan” — are also on the way.
In a recent interview with Vulture, Sean Bailey (president of Motion Picture Production at Walt Disney Studios) gave updates on both films.
“Aladdin,” which doesn’t yet have a release date, will be directed by Guy Ritchie and, as Bailey reveals, fits right in with the director’s expertise. “Guy became interested in doing a Disney movie and we talked a lot about it,” said Bailey. “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.”
“Mulan” will be directed by “Whale Rider” helmer Niki Caro and, like “Aladdin,” it doesn’t have a release date yet. Bailey said that “Mulan” will differ from “Aladdin” or the just-released “Beauty and the Beast” in that it most likely won’t be a musical, but that could change.
“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,” said Bailey. The film, which is based on a Chinese legend, will also give the studio an opportunity to make a big impact on the overseas market. “Obviously the idea of working with collaborators in China is an interesting opportunity too.”
“Beauty and the Beast” is currently in theaters and follows in the footsteps of recent remakes “The Jungle Book” and “Cinderella.” Remakes of “Little Mermaid,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and “Lion King” are also in the works, alongside “Aladdin” and “Mulan.” Additionally, Emma Stone will play the titular character in “Cruella,” a live-action film starring the villain from “101 Dalmatians.”
Directed by Bill Condon, “Beauty and the Beast” stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Kevin Kline as Mauricer, Josh Gad as Lefou, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts.