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Live-action fairytales to take over box office

Walt Disney Studios is on the fast track to recreating the classic fairytale movies many have come to love. Live-action movies are the next big thing for the multi-billion dollar company. Movies like “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Dumbo” are a few of the films set to be released in the near future.

Tim Burton put his unique twist on “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010. Then viewers looked through a villain’s eyes in the 2014-film “Maleficent.”

The most recent live-action remake of a childhood classic, “Cinderella,” was a huge success. The movie made nearly $68 million on its opening weekend and more than $200 million as of Sept. 14.

According to IMDb, “The Jungle Book” will be the next live-action remake in theaters April 15. Stars expected to appear in the production include Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Bill Murray as Balloo and Christopher Walken as King Louie.

“Beauty and the Beast” is set to be released in 2017. Emma Watson (Hermione Granger in “Harry Potter”) has been cast as Beauty. The Beast will be played by Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley in “Downton Abbey”).

Disney’s 1963 “The Sword in the Stone” is in the works as well. “Game of Thrones” writer and producer Bryan Cogman is rumored to be the scriptwriter for the story of young Arthur and Merlin.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tim Burton is expected to create the magical land where elephants fly and babies are delivered by storks in “Dumbo.” A date has yet to be announced.

Many “Cinderella” film reviews have criticized the live-action remakes calling them “unimaginative” and “low risk.”

“Now, thanks to Hollywood’s refusal to take risks in its search for bankable products, the next trend that is set to take hold of multiplexes will see Disney dipping into its past and reimagining its back catalogue in live-action form,” said Patrick Grafton-Green, writer for the Independent.

Famed film critic Roger Ebert has a more optimistic approach toward the remakes.

“I realize Branagh [director] and company are probably making this version not just for us jaded adults, but for a generation of children who perhaps never had a chance to see ‘Cinderella’ on a big screen.”

Regardless of the critics’ opinions, Disney will continue to move forward in the remaking process.

“The key is risk aversion,” says Steve Gaydos, executive editor of the Hollywood trade magazine “Variety.” “Hollywood is desperate to find things that are essentially presold. They like films they can test-market and know there’s an awareness, an appetite and fan base.”

The live-action “Cinderella” was released to DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday.

     

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