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Disney’s persistent live-action remakes are a reflection of the viewer, not the producers
December 7, 2020
By now, even casual movie-goers are tired of Disney’s incessant live-action remakes, and they should be. However, audiences need to take a step back and realize that they are solely in control of whether or not these films continue to be made.
Initially, the remakes were tolerated. People were enchanted by seeing old animated classics brought to life on the big screen with cutting edge CGI.
However, as time passed, public opinion grew more and more sour on the works. Critics began to accuse the remakes of being soulless, and people began to catch on too.
Unfortunately, everything these films are accused of being is true. Films like “Cinderella” (2015) and “Beauty and the Beast” (2017) reek of corporate greed, making minimal changes to a beloved tale and passing it off as a “new take on an old classic.”
However, things hit a boiling point with the 2019 remake of “The Lion King.” The film was easily the most anticipated of the live-action remakes to that point, and fans had high hopes. Upon release, they were disgusted to learn that it was essentially a shot for shot remake of the original film, save for the omission of some fan-favorite songs like “Be Prepared.”
It was widely dismissed by critics and the public was outraged. No one could wrap their heads around why Disney was feeding us these regurgitated messes over and over again.
However, Disney is a business, and they are motivated by money. The aforementioned “Lion King” opened to $446 million globally, and a total of $1.6 billion. Meanwhile, even a less talked about production like 2019’s “Aladdin” amassed $1.05 billion globally.
These pictures are essentially a license to enlarge their coffers, and it is pretty hard to blame Disney for taking what has been given to them.
These pictures are essentially a license to enlarge their coffers, and it is pretty hard to blame Disney for taking what has been given to them. They have absolutely no reason to come up with anything original or put any effort in at all because they know they are going to the bank either way.
This is not to say that Disney is devoid of ideas and creativity. Original efforts like “Zootopia” (2016), “Moana” (2016), and Pixar films like “Inside Out” (2015) and “Coco” (2017) are bursting at the seams with vibrant colors and life, being praised for their complex themes and strong emotional cores.
The problem is that these films are making less money than the remakes. For example, “Moana,” an eventual Oscar-winner for Best Animated Feature, only raked in $690 million worldwide.
In the end, the burden falls on us, the movie-goers. We get to choose whether we will sit idly by while Disney pushes out garbage, or if we will demand higher quality films.
With aggregate scoring websites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes widely available, it is easy to research what films are recommended by critics. In addition, if you want the average joe’s opinion on a movie, these sites also offer opinions from normal people.
The next time you head to the cinema, choose carefully. You could go see the new remake that everyone else is watching, or you can also go see that movie you heard is really good, and might need a little more financial support.
The old adage “vote with your wallet” is as true as ever here. If you have a problem with the remakes, don’t see them. It might seem like it won’t make a difference, but if enough people decide to abstain from their mill of mediocrity, Disney will notice.