Hello, everyone! In honor of the upcoming launch of Disney’s new streaming service Disney+, I shall be releasing a series of posts dedicated to the art of trash-talk. Why bash such a beloved company? You might as well ask David why he wanted to fight Goliath. Disney is perhaps one of the world’s most insidious companies. They’re a veritable wolf-in-sheep’s clothing, masquerading as a friend while attempting to gorge themselves on the entire American entertainment industry. And while I can’t stop Disney+ from launching, or prevent the inevitable destruction of independent media companies, I can write some blog posts telling them to go to hell. They might own 35% of the film industry, but they don’t own me.
For my second anti-Disney post, we’ll be addressing their unending stream of live-action remakes. By enticing the newest generation of movie-goers with these slickly produced, empty-headed recreations, they’re creating another reason for the type of parents who say “but we already own the original Cinderella,” to purchase their streaming service. Because, technically, these remakes are new, aren’t they?
Like many American children, I grew up watching Disney movies. Whether it was Mulan, Cinderella, The Lion King, or Beauty and the Beast, I re-watched them religiously and to this day consider them to be some of my favorite films. From their stunning animation to their iconic songs, Disney films stood out in the entertainment world as beacons of creativity and originality. But all of that has changed. Disney’s “Golden Age” is dead. We are now living in the Age of Remakes.
If you take a look at Disney’s release schedule for the next few years, you will be overwhelmed by the amount of remakes. The three live action remakes that have been released so far in 2019 include Dumbo, Aladdin, and Lion King, with the live action remake of Mulan coming out in 2020. Disney already released remakes of The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast. If they continue on this course, it’s probable that within the next decade Disney will spend billions of dollars giving the rest of their “Golden Age” films the live-action treatment.
And why shouldn’t they? From a financial perspective, they’ve struck a gold-mine. Beauty and the Beast earned $1.2 billion worldwide, the Jungle Book made over $900 million, and Cinderella made $530 million. While they rake in less than the jaw-dropping $2 billion earned by Star Wars Episode VII, they’re still enormously more profitable for Disney than their original animated films. An added benefit is that by remaking an animated film, they don’t have to spend money writing a script or music, or try to sell audiences on an unknown quantity. It’s a simple copy-and-paste procedure that nets billions.
This remake business is great for Disney, but it’s terrible for the audience. It would be one thing if Disney attempted anything original with their remakes, like they did with the live-action Alice in Wonderland in 2010. But ever since Cinderella, these remakes have been almost identical to the animated films, from plot, to location, to costuming, and even camera angles. They’re making shot-for-shot remakes of their own films and and we’re lapping it all up.
We need to stop supporting these films. By using our nostalgia, Disney has been able to get away with selling billions of dollars of tickets for a lazy recycled product. Everytime we buy a ticket to the newest Disney remake, we encourage them to keep making more of the same schlock. And as the world’s largest media conglomerate, with fingers in the pies of everything from Fox to Hulu to Pixar and beyond, that means we’re encouraging one of the main producers of our media to produce bad media. As consumers, we need to demand more. We need to demand originality, creativity, and effort. We need to stop supporting these remakes.