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Happy birthday #WaltDisney! Here are Disney's most delightful live-action reboots


Today marks the 116th birthday of the legendary Walt Disney, the moviemaking pioneer who, let's face it, shaped pretty much all of our childhoods.

In recent years we've seen a number of his classic animations getting the all-star, live-action treatment, so we thought we'd round up some of the best ones so far, and also look ahead to several arriving in the next few years.

101 Dalmatians (1996)

This was the one that kicked off an entire genre. Despite the lamentable lack of talking mutts, Disney's 1996 live-action version of the classic dog-napping yarn was a huge box office hit, with a fabulous performance by Glenn Close as the dastardly Cruella de Vil. A sequel, 102 Dalmatians, followed four years later. Following the success of Maleficent (see below), Disney is reportedly now developing a standalone movie for Cruella too, starring La La Land Oscar winner Emma Stone.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Disney's animation based on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass was released in 1951. More than half a century later, Tim Burton tackled the same stories in his own highly distinctive style, with Mia Wasikowska as Alice and Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter. Some critics were sniffy, but it was a massive global hit, reaping more than $1 billion at the box office. In 2016 Depp and Wasikowska returned in sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, from The Muppets director James Bobin. 

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)

It's easy to let this one slip off the list, but the Nic Cage fantasy adventure is named after the memorable Mickey Mouse sequence in Fantasia, to which it also makes explicit visual reference. Fantasia is also the source for Night on Bald Mountain, which is currently in development at Disney. This is a live-action film based on the film's spooky Mussorgsky segment in which a winged creature raises spirits from the dead to cavort through the night.

Maleficent (2014)

The villainess from Sleeping Beauty got her own striking makeover for this exquisitely designed live action film, boasting a magnificently malevolent performance from Angelina Jolie in the title role. It was a huge box office hit, earning more than $750 million, and is credited with kick-starting a new string of Disney live-action adaptations.

Cinderella (2015) 

Hot from Thor, Kenneth Branagh gave us a sumptuous, traditionalist Cinders, with outstanding performances from Lily James in the title role and a superbly sneering Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine, aka the Wicked Stepmother. Result: another massive global hit, earning more than $543 million worldwide.

The Jungle Book (2016)

You can't improve on perfection, right? Disney's toe-tapping, funky adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic adventure story unleashed some of the studio's most memorable characters and songs upon the world, although it wasn't massively faithful to the source.

Step forward Iron Man filmmaker Jon Favreau who fused the whimsy of the earlier movie with a darker, grittier sense of danger, in the process fashioning one of the finest reboots of recent years. With its seamless CGI environments and animal characters it really is a feast for the senses.

Beauty and the Beast (2017) 

Disney's 1991 Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Earlier this year it got a live-action makeover directed by Bill Condon, who gave us the last two parts of the swoon-tastic Twilight franchise.

The result cast a wonderfully magical spell, with enchanting chemistry between Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the eponymous couple, although it was Luke Evans' preening villain Gaston who stole the show. With $1 billion in the bank it's officially 2017's biggest movie.

And all arriving in 2019...

The Lion King

Not content with just having The Jungle Book to his name, Jon Favreau is returning to Disney territory with this revised take on their 1994 masterpiece. It's set to feature the astonishingly photo-realistic CGI of the earlier movie, although with technological advancements we can expect it to be even better, and the cast is pretty spectacular.

Future Lando Calrissian Donald Glover is voicing adult Simba with Beyonce as Nala, and James Earl Jones (the original Darth Vader) is back to voice Mufasa. Add in a returning Hans Zimmer on scoring duties and this could put the pride in Pride Rock. 

The Lion King opens on 19th July 2019.


Guy Ritchie tackling Disney's 1992 Oscar-winner? It seems a peculiar fit but we have faith – after all the director gave energetic punch to the likes of Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr.

There's no denying the appeal of the fresh-faced young cast: Mena Massoud plays the heroic Aladdin, Power Rangers actress Naomi Scott is Jasmine and Murder on the Orient Express actor Marwan Kenzari is scene-chewing baddie, Jafar. Plus, there's A-list support from Suicide Squad's Will Smith as the Genie – but can he possibly live up to Robin Williams' legacy?

Aladdin is released on 24th May 2019.


Also in 2019, we're getting a sumptuous do-over of 1998 classic Mulan, Disney's stirring and inspirational story of the Chinese girl who disguises herself as a male soldier to battle the villainous Huns.

Stop belting out 'Reflection' for a moment, because we've got some news. It's been announced that actress and martial artist Liu Yifei AKA Crystal Liu has been cast in the title role – she's perhaps best known to Western audiences for starring opposite Jackie Chan and Jet Li in 2008 historical epic The Forbidden Kingdom.

The movie will be directed by Whale Rider filmmaker Niki Caro and, controversially, won't be including any of the singing from its animated counterpart. Good idea or bad?


Tim Burton's Disney makeover is well underway, ahead of its 29th March 2019 release date. The Edward Scissorhands director is marshalling a blend of CGI and live-action A-list stars in this revised take on the story of the adorable elephant with oversized ears.

Colin Farrell plays a former circus star who returns from war a damaged man, only to be persuaded by his children to care for a baby elephant that they believe can fly. Eva Green plays a trapeze artist and Michael Keaton is an unscrupulous entrepreneur, with Burton regular Danny De Vito also featuring.

Which are your favourite Disney reboots? Tweet us @Cineworld and share your thoughts.

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