Disney announces nine live-action movies Company confirms the creative teams for upcoming projects

Disney has had a great deal of success with their recent tactic of live-action retellings of their animated classics. Several projects have been in development for some time now and the studio has officially confirmed nine upcoming live-action films. The studio also announced the main stars, directors and writers for the films.

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent

The studio announced sequels to three of their previously successful live-action films, Maleficent, The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins. Angelina Jolie will return to play the title role in Maleficent and writer Linda Woolverton will once again write the screenplay. Both director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Marks will return for The Jungle Book 2. The sequel will possibly be in competition with Warner Bros.’s own adaptation of the story. Warner Bros.’s Jungle Book will be the directorial debut of actor Andy Serkis and is set for release in October 2018.


Mary Poppins will be a sequel to the 60s film starring Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. Director Rob Marshall previously directed the film adaptation of Into the Woods for the company. It will star Emily Blunt as Mary and Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is also writing the music for Disney’s upcoming animated film Moana.

1964's Mary Poppins

1964’s Mary Poppins

New remakes set to be made include Dumbo and Cruella. Dumbo will be a remake of the 40s animated film and will be directed by Tim Burton. Burton recently directed the 2010 Alice in Wonderland remake and co-wrote its upcoming sequel.

Cruella will have a similar take to Maleficent and retell 101 Dalmatians from the villain’s perspective. Emma Stone will star as Cruella de Vil. The role was previously played by Glenn Close in the live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians in 1996 and its sequel 102 Dalmatians in 2000.

A Tinker Bell project is also in development. Little is known about the plot of this film but it will be written by Victoria Strause. Reese Witherspoon is set to star in the project, as well as produce.

The studio also announced live-action films that are not remakes or sequels. The studio confirmed a film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time. Disney previously adapted the story for a made for TV film in 2003. Selma director Ana DuVarney is attached with Jennifer Lee providing the script. Lee was a writer and a co-director for Frozen and is also set to write and direct Frozen 2.

A film based on the popular Disney World ride Jungle Cruise is now in the works. The film will be written by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. Dwayne Johnson is set to star. Disney has had previous success with adapting rides into films with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The fifth film in the franchise, Dead Man Tell No Tales, is set for release in summer of 2017.


The final film in development is The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which is set to be directed by Lasse Halstrom and written by Ashleigh Powell. The film appears to be an adaptation of the The Nutcracker story, most famously known as a ballet.

In total the studio has over 16 live-action retellings in development. The studio’s most recent success was The Jungle Book, which has done well critically and financially. It is speculated that the film will earn over $1 billion internationally. The next upcoming Disney live-action retelling with be Alice Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. The film will be released May 27, 2016.

About the author

Lindsey Capritta

Lindsey is a Valley Girl imagining herself a Brontë heroine (sadly, she is not witty enough to come up with that line herself). Lindsey reads constantly, be it fiction or history, which she loves to study. Lindsey adores musicals and theater in general and attempts to pattern her everyday dialogue after Amy Sherman-Palladino shows.

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