Disney releases it’s highly anticipated live action adaptation of its 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast this Friday, and rather than doing a fun fact list about the movie, which many people seem to be doing leading up to the release, I thought it would be more fun to look at animated classics from the studio that SHOULD get the live-action treatment in the future.
For this list I looked at only films created at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, meaning no Pixar and no other offshoot studios whether they are owned by Disney or not. I also excluded any film released since 2010 as those films are, in my opinion, too new to be considered for a live-action remake just yet. Also, obviously due to the nature of this list, I will not be including films that have, as of this posting, been absolutely confirmed for a live-action remake so if you don’t see something you think should be on this list it may already be getting the live-action treatment.
No honorable mentions this time.
10. “Lilo & Stitch”
Possibly one of Disney’s most popular modern characters, Stitch himself would be a joy to see again on the big screen. The lovable alien has been the subject of several sequels to the original animate film as well as a television show so why not bring him to life in a new way on the big screen with a live-action adaptation? Lilo and Stitch have an adorable relationship and there are enough timeless life lessons and morals mixed in to the animated feature that could easily carry over to the live-action film. Who wouldn’t want to learn the value of family all over again with the help of this dynamic duo?
9. “Robin Hood”
“Robin Hood and Little John running through the forest…”, admit it you’re singing it now right? One of Disney’s more obscure films, this 1973 animated adaptation of Robin Hood’s adventures with his merry men presented the famous literary figures as animals. Robin Hood has been adapted so many times to film it’d be interesting to see Disney have another crack at it, but only if they kept the animal theme. We’ve seen Robin Hood come to life in so many ways through live-action adaptations on the big screen. It’d be pretty cool to see Disney take everything about it’s animated “Robin Hood” and create a direct live-action adaptation. Plus they could extend the film a bit, seeing at the story is rather condensed in the animated version and it’s a story with so much to work from.
Now here’s a story that may or nay not go over so well as a live-action adaptation. There are so many directions Disney could go if they wanted to bring “Bambi” to life again. The original story in itself could be adapted or they could expand on the story like they plan to do with the live-action “Dumbo”. Keeping the iconic death of Bambi’s mother could be a key to the success of a live-action film, but it could also be the one issue that keeps this film from happening as in today’s world that would be a tough subject to handle tastefully. Still, seeing Thumper, Flower, and the whole gang on the big screen in live-action would be neat right?
7. “The Rescuers”
In 1977 Disney released its 23rd animated feature, “The Rescuers”, following the adventures of a pair of mice who are charged with rescuing a young girl as members of the Rescue Aid Society. The first spawned an animated sequel, but has a lot of potential as a live-action adventure as well. The animated classic features plenty of colorful animal characters that could easily be produced using CGI and we know Disney is not above bringing some of its more obscure classics to life seeing as they released a live-action “Pete’s Dragon” film. With memorable characters, fantastic visual and set pieces, and a classic story, “The Rescuers” seems like a no brainer especially if Disney wants to remake the movie to directly reflect it’s animated counterpart.
6. “The Princess and the Frog”
The newest film on this list, “The Princess and the Frog” featured Disney’s first black princess and was a massive hit when it was released. No reason to think it wouldn’t be a hit again, right? With Belle hitting the big screen this weekend, Cinderella already having a live-action film, and Mulan, Jasmine, and Ariel all coming to life in the years to come why not add Tiana to the list? It’s one of Disney’s more popular recent animated efforts and featured a story and villain worthy of bringing to life in a new way. Imagine the visuals Disney could utilize to bring The Shadows Man’s magic to a live-action film? Plus Hollywood is always seeking more diversity, so this would be a great place to help a rising African American star show her skills.
5. “Oliver & Company”
An animated take on “Oliver Twist”, “Oliver & Company”, like many Disney films, features a cast of animated animal characters who help an orphan cat named Oliver survive in the big city of New York. The original features Billy Joel in his only voiceover role and included music from him that added to the story. It would certainly be something to bring Joel back on for a live action project, but he’d probably say no so bringing another musician on board to voice Dodger could bring something new to the table for fans to enjoy. The movie offers a great opportunity to bring together live actors and CGI representations of the classic animals although the animated feature was not the studio’s most popular or successful so this one could be a long shot.
4. “The Fox and the Hound”
Now here’s a film with potential. “The Fox and the Hound” was an emotional roller coaster for a generation when it was released in 1981. The film brought together two friends who were torn apart by their different roles they play in the world, one a hunting dog and the other the fox he is being trained to hunt. Fans would love to see Copper and Tod reunited and watch their relationship flourish in live action. With so much to offer, including an important message of the damage of social divide combined with powerful moments and a bit of action in its climax not only would “The Fox and the Hound” be relevant, it could be quite entertaining and memorable if brought to life.
Like Robin Hood, we’ve seen the character of Tarzan brought to the big screen many times, most recently in 2016. Disney did such a great job capturing the character and the hearts of many with their animated adaptation they could do it again in live action film. The tale of Tarzan is such a lucrative and popular character he’s become somewhat of a cliché, but if Disney can instill the same heart and sense of adventure into a live action film they could corner the market on the famed vine swinger. This is probably one of the more unlikely live-action films that would become reality on this list, but one can dream can’t they?
Another cliché character of sorts, many have tried to bring the famed demigod to life in more action packed films but failed to capture the charm of the character the way that Disney did in their animated film. While Hercules is more fitting of an action film, hear me out. The family friendly animated film had its own charm and who’s to say a live action adaptation wouldn’t include some of the more serious concepts associated with the character literary mythology? It would be perfectly possible or Disney to expand on its portrayal of Hercules and make it a family friendly but action packed live-action film that could top all others. After all, they weren’t afraid to include some adult-oriented drama and action in “The Jungle Book” and that worked out just fine.
1. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
This makes #1 because it is the film most likely to get the green light of any on this countdown. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is a legendary tale and while the animated Disney film is not among the most popular in the studio’s library, it is the best story yet to be confirmed for a live action film. Not only that, the tale has not been shown on the big screen since the animated classic, meaning a live action adaptation would be fresh and new for many tired of the same old tropes hitting he big screen in recent years. The message is also extremely relevant as Quasimodo faces criticism and prejudice for his deformity from the people of France. By far the most deserving Disney film yet to receive a live-action green light, here’s hoping we see this film get the credit it deserves on the big screen some time soon.