Written by Katie Schmierbach. Media by Stephen Hillrich.
On Thursday April 2, 2014, Disney released information regarding a new live-action movie. The A.A. Milne classic, “Winnie the Pooh,” will be created into a Disney feature film. The story line will follow Christopher Robin after he grows up. Fans are questioning whether he will leave the Hundred Acre Wood for good or continue his beloved friendship with his friends, Pooh, Rabbit, Owl, Gopher, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo. The film will be written and directed by Alex Ross Perry who is known for writing and directing films such as “Queen of the Earth,” “Listen Up Philip,” and “The Sixth Year.” Disney has confirmed several other films that will be released in the upcoming years.
Shortly before the information on “Winnie the Pooh,” Disney announced that they would also be producing the 1998 classic, “Mulan.” There is no other information released yet, but Disney anticipates that it will have as much success as previous live action films. The current film “Cinderella” raised $67,877,361 on opening weekend in March. In 2014, “Maleficent” earned $69,431,298 its first weekend while Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” earned $116,101,023. Its sequel, “Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass” will be released May 27th, 2016. Big name stars like Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Wasikowska, and Alan Rickman will return in addition to new cast members like Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans, and Ed Speelers. Director Tim Burton has been replaced with James Bobbin. Instead of following the “Alice in Wonderland” sequel, Tim Burton will be working on a new live action film, “Dumbo.” Disney has not released any further information on the movie yet.
John Favreau will be directing the Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 story, “The Jungle Book.” In 1967, Walt Disney created an animated version of this classic tale of a human raised in the jungles of India. This family film and comedy featured musical numbers, talking animals, and a feral child struggling to find who he is. Walt Disney Company decided to remake the film in 1994. This live-action film featured Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli the man cub and his interactions in the wild. Mowgli grows ups with his animal companions, who unlike the 1967 film, do not talk. The new “Jungle Book” will be released on April 15, 2016 and will combine CGI animals and Neel Sethi to play Mowgli. Scarlett Johansson will play the voice of Kaa the snake, and the film will also include Christopher Walken as King Louie the monkey, Bill Murray as Baloo the bear, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera the panther, and Lupita Nyong’o as Rasksha the wolf.
In addition to “The Jungle Book,” Disney fans are eagerly anticipating the new “Beauty and the Beast.” It will be released on March 17, 2017 and is already in pre-production. The film will feature live action and CGI enchanted creatures. The tale will closely follow the 1991 Disney film and will include the original tunes and new music as well. “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson will play the charming, intelligent, mademoiselle Belle and “Dracula’s” Luke Evans will play Belle’s handsome, rude, and conceited stalker, Gaston. Gaston’s henchmen, Le Fou, will be played by “Frozen” voice actor, Josh Gad. After Belle’s mother passed away, Belle became very close with her father, Maurice. He (Kevin Kline) is known as the lunatic of the town because of his wacky inventions. Maurice attempts to take his creations to a fair but gets lost along the way. He stops at what he believes to be an abandoned castle to find that it is enchanted. In the castle, he meets a talking teapot, Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and its Prince. He was cursed into the hideous form of the Beast, who will be played by “Downton Abbey’s” Dan Stevens. The Beast holds Maurice prisoner until Belle exchanges her freedom for her father’s.
Needless to say, the upcoming years will be an exciting time for Disney movie goers.