Recently Disney released the teaser trailer for the 2019 production of “Dumbo” which had people everywhere reaching for a tissue box in anticipation. In recent years, Disney has produced remakes of many of its iconic movies such as “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Jungle Book,” and they plan on releasing more live action remakes of other films such as “Mulan,” “The Lion King,” “Pinocchio,” “Aladdin” and many more. Although many fans excitedly wait to see their favorite movies retold with a modern twist, critics wonder why a major media corporation isn’t coming up with any original ideas.
Remakes have a lot of built-in advantages; one which being that production companies can make a lot of money from a small investment. Essentially, studios can give these projects smaller budgets, and there is a high likelihood that the film will bring in a lot of profit. “Maleficent,” a retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” from the villain’s perspective, was given a $180 million budget and made over $750 million worldwide, and “Cinderella” received a $95 budget and earned more than $500 million worldwide.
Of course, the many talented actors and actress starring in these re-imagined stories help bring in the dough, and it certainly helps to have celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé appear in a film. Remakes can have a smaller budget because mass media companies don’t have to hire a team of writers to come up with an interesting movie plot. The foundation of the movie is already established, so writers don’t have to work from scratch.
“There is a reference point. There is a concept already built in. “ Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at the market research firm, ComScore, told The Washington Post in 2016. “There is a way to describe the movie very quickly, and that is the easy allure of a remake.”
It is also much easier to market a well-known story, and remakes can attract a larger demographic. While critics might hate on remakes and categorize them as unoriginal, they’ll still buy a ticket just to see if the new rendition will stray from the original animated film. Disney classics have an army of dedicated followers who love the idea of seeing their favorite childhood film retold on the big screen and will do whatever they can to see the movie. Remakes also draw in new audience members who may have never heard of the initial movie and might be inspired to see the animated tale.
Though they may be scarce in number, Disney will, of course, continue to make original films, but right now, they have discovered the gold mine that is live action remakes, and they don’t want to let it go.