What's up with all the remakes and sequels?
Cinderella. The Jungle Book. Beauty and the Beast. Incredibles 2. Dumbo. Aladdin. Toy Story 4. The Lion King. Lady and the Tramp. Frozen 2. Mulan.
The list continues to grow with the rumors of the Pinocchio and Bambi remakes now allegedly in pre-production. Walt was very adamant that he had new stories to tell, so why is Disney retelling countless movie narratives with a modern twist?
“By nature I’m an experimenter. To this day, I don’t believe in sequels. I can’t follow popular cycles. I have to move on to new things. So with the success of Mickey, I was determined to diversify.” -Walt Disney
As we may never know the true motivation behind this decision, it is hard to avoid the blatant monetary gain from this new trend. The Lion King remake, alone, grossed over $1.6 Billion for the Walt Disney Company, making it the highest grossing animated film of all time.
Of the eight Disney animated films on this list, only two, Frozen & Zootopia, are original concepts. Five are sequels. One is a remake. It is clear they know what brings in the revenue, but is this the easy way to guarantee fast cash?
Under the leadership of Bob Iger, there is no question that Disney has found it's money-making groove, but does this align with Walt's vision? Walt Disney was a known risk taker, and his risks usually paid off. Disneyland, for example, was expected to be an enormous failure, but there are now 12 theme parks to date across the world. Frozen was a prime example of creating something new and having it pay off in unprecedented success.
“I do not like to repeat successes; I like to go on to other things.” - Walt Disney
It is also important to point out a noticeable lack of original concepts at the parks. Intellectual Property is king at Disney Parks around the globe. With the recent additions of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Pandora, along with the future open of the Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure, there is little room for new ideas. The last entirely new concept at a Disney park was Expedition Everest built in 2006.
At this rate, it is starting to feel like the future of Disney is recycled. While we understand and appreciate the idea of developing existing stories, we also hope for new stories that have the potential to become new classics. As Walt famously said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
What do you think of the continued focus on remakes and sequels? Let us know in the comments.