Lions, Elephants, Genies, Witches and Jedi, oh My!

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Lion king trailer

Didja see it? The new (and first full-length) trailer for Disney’s remake of The Lion King? I didn’t watch it until this morning, which made me only about the 16 millionth person to do so in the last two days. And even though 1994’s animated classic The Lion King isn’t actually one of my favorite Disney films (go ahead, tell me I’m wrong), I have to confess that this trailer gave me goosebumps. (Or maybe, lion-cub bumps? Hyena bumps?)

The “live-action” (it’s not really live action, obviously, just really, really realistic-looking CGI) remake of this beloved story is just one of the many movies that Disney has locked, loaded and aimed at the box office in 2019. As if Avengers: Endgame and (just announced!) Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker weren’t enough to establish total domination, the Mouse House has a whole bunch more remakes, reboots and sequels cued up and ready to fire.

It’s a long list, one that’s already underway with the releases of Captain Marvel (which handily primed the 2019 pump by taking in more than $1 billion already) and Dumbo (one of Disney’s exceedingly rare critical and commercial misfires).

But, really, shed no tears for the flying baby elephant’s uncharacteristic underperformance. Along with the aforementioned Lion King (July 19), Disney looks set to dominate with this lineup: Penguins (April 19), Avengers: Endgame (April 26), Aladdin (May 24), Toy Story 4 (June 21), Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5), Artemis Fowl (Aug. 9), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Oct. 18), Frozen 2 (Nov. 22) and Star Wars: Episode IX (December 20). (Disney’s tired marketing team must have collectively decided to go on vacation in September—probably a Disney cruise.)

As for 2020, well, we’ll be getting Mulan and Jungle Cruise (another Disneyland ride-turned-movie), with Indiana Jones 5 following in 2021. Other sequels and remakes from the Disney canon yet to be scheduled include Cruella, Hunchback, Jungle Book 2, Lady and the Tramp, Lilo & Stitch, The Sword in the Stone, oh, and Guardians of the Galaxy 3. (Plus, undoubtedly, the next iteration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and 20 more films to flesh it out of the next decade or so until they’re all probably vaporized by Galactus or something.)

If I’m working for Sony or Universal, I’m crying. And if I work for 20th Century Fox, well, now I work for Disney, too, so let’s throw a couple of upcoming Avatar sequels in the mix in the next few years as well. (Plus new films featuring Marvel characters Deadpool, X-Men and the Fantastic Four, too.)

Basically, it’s Disney’s world. Other studios? They just live in it.

Yup, director James Cameron once famously claimed he was the king of the world. But I have to think Disney head honcho Bob Iger is the one wearing the crown this year, and probably the 2020 one, too.

So what do you think: Is remaking all of Disney’s classics a good thing? Or is there Disney fatigue setting in (which, perhaps, Dumbo’s underperformance hints at)? Which of these upcoming sequels, reboots and remakes are you most looking forward to in coming months and years?

One thing is certain: Plugged In will be right there to let you know everything you need to know about all of them. Even if the Mouse House remakes The Aristocats.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

B Evans 3 days ago
If and when they make a "Hunchback" remake, I hope they do the cathedral justice. I pray she is largely restored by then so the film can be a symbol of resurrection. 
Julienne Dy 2 days ago
As much as I want to see that cathedral back in its full glory, I'm not looking forward to the "Hunchback" remake.  That movie scared me so much back when I was in high school, and yes, I said high school.  Back when I was a kid all I remember about it was that it was kinda dark, but I didn't actually know what the story was about.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Hunchback is the most violent and sexual film Disney ever put out so if they were to do a live action remake of it it would probably be rated R.
Karl The Klown 2 days ago
.....Have you ever watched a R rated movie?
Anonymous 2 days ago
 @Karl The Klown 

LOL!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 2 days ago
Hahahaha! I bet the answer is no. Or they've only seen the Passion of the Christ and maybe The Kings Speech
Anonymous 1 days ago
I bet you are right @Karl The Klown. I wish I could watch more of the good R rated films. I understand why I can't though. The one I have seen is Mel Gibson's The Patriot which is an amazing film.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse.
Karl The Klown 1 days ago
Oh yes. The Patriot is an amazing film. I haven't seen it in years though.
Gladiator is another really good one 
B Evans 1 days ago
The Patriot is a terrible movie. It's worse than Braveheart, and that's saying something.
Karl The Klown 1 days ago
@B_Evans How dare you sir! Braveheart is one of the greatest films in existence. Surpassed only by The LOTR trilogy, Gladiator, and Logan 
Anonymous 1 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I love The Patriot! Haven't seen it in a few years, but I'd like to again sometime.
Anonymous 5 days ago
I really want to see Penguins (have seen all the DisneyNatures starting with Oceans on the big screen with Born in China, Bears and African Cats being my absolute favorites) and The Lion King (absolutely love the original and this remake seems even better somehow), but I'm not too sure about the Toy Story and Maleficent sequels. Toy Story 3 ended on such a wonderful note, and was easily the best Toy Story of them all, so I'm wondering what can they really add to it. And Maleficent was a pitch-perfect loving remake of Sleeping Beauty which also ended on the perfect note, so again what can they possibly add to it? A Jumanji sequel would be cool since Welcome to the Jungle was so awesome, but only if they bring back Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black. On the other hand this new Aladdin seems terrible (Will Smith replacing Robin Williams seems like the worst idea ever), and even though I wasn't planning on seeing Frozen 2 anyway since I never liked the original as much as everybody else seemed to, if they're truly gonna make Elsa a lesbian with a girlfriend then I'm definitely out for sure. And maybe it's just me but because Indy 4 turned out to be my favorite Indy film so far I'm really looking forward to seeing Indy 5.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Of all the movies I've seen in my life, Indiana Jones 4 is only one of two that I stopped watching partway through. I mean, I could give the nuke the fridge part a pass, since it is just a movie, but sliding on a motorcycle in a library just made the whole thing feel like a Saturday morning cartoon, and 30 minutes in, I popped the dvd out of the player. Cautiously optimistic for the 5th film, but the third one is still my personal favorite.

Not going to watch Toy Story 4 at all, not even on dvd. It's like Christopher Nolan making a 4th Batman film: unnecessary and greedy. I was a little optimistic about the film at first when John Lasseter said that he really had a great idea for the film and he wanted to direct it himself, I thought that there must be a reason Pixar is making this film. Plus, I thought Lasseter deserved a shot a redemption after Cars 2 (which, if you do some digging into, isn't really his fault). But then, Lasseter left the film, and that has just put me down as a no thanks for the 4th Toy Story. Why would the director who really wanted to direct his great idea drop out halfway through?

Personally, I hope to see Pixar return to making original films instead of sequels. Even though most of their sequels have ranged from good to great, I think Pixar is at their best making original films. So ultimately, as a Toy Story fan and as a bigger Pixar fan, I'm boycotting Toy Story 4.
Anonymous 2 days ago
I just loved the fact that Indy 4 had pretty much non-stop action throughout. All previous Indy films had way too many boring scenes in them mixed in with the excitement, so they felt sort of ho-hum to me. Indy 4 had easily the most action ever and was definitely the coolest one yet what with all the skulls mind-controlling people and that cool alien spaceship at the end. I thought the whole thing was cool from start to finish with the least amount of boring stuff possible.
Anonymous 1 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

How can you say Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade are boring?

And just because a movie has nonstop action doesn't necessarily mean that it's good. If a movie has a lot of cool action in it but doesn't give me a reason to root for the characters, why should I even care? (kinda like the newer star wars films, to be honest)

Also, adding aliens to Indiana Jones is easily one of the dumbest things George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg have ever come up with.
charitysplace 6 days ago
I am not usually an old-school kind of girl (I loved Maleficent and Dumbo, because they were new twists on old classics) but frankly, everything about the "new" Lion King seems like a bland imitation of the first film, with some of the changes not being for the better. (Disney: lions with black manes exist. They are more territorial and violent than golden-maned lions, you could have kept Scar's mane black.) I have been puzzling over what has bugged me about the live action versions of late, and I think it's down to a problem in hiring classically trained vocal actors vs. regular actors. The original Disney films feature "over the top" vocal talent. You HAVE to display emotion through the VOICE in order to bring animation to life, and that's one thing that I love about it. Scar in the original is so deliciously vocally acted, you can HEAR the sneer in his tone. In comparison to the flat monotone of the new Scar in the trailer, Jeremy Irons' vocal talent is far superior. (I felt the same about Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, and Cogsworth in B&TB). So. I'll be skipping it, and skipping Aladdin. Both of them, to me personally, look and sound dreadful.

JEDI. Cool trailer. I'll be there opening day, unless it snows. I hope they can redeem Ben. It would be sad to leave the Skywalker legacy on such a depressing note. (But another part of me would love it, since I enjoy emo. :P)

I guess I am the only person on the planet who could care less about the AVENGERS. The next movie I'm going to see is Tolkien.
Anonymous 6 days ago
 @charitysplace Hey! I'm gonna see Tolkien too! Big fan of the books and I've read all the not so famous ones too. 

Though, I do care about the Avengers.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
charitysplace 5 days ago
The movie looks good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it is. Have you read that book about Lewis / Tolkien and the Great War? How it inspired both of them / their writing? I might have to dip into it, before the movie arrives.
Anonymous 5 days ago
I haven't! I know a little bit about Tolkien's story, but haven't heard of that one before. What's the name of the book?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
B Evans 6 days ago
I think it's time we resurrected trust busting. #Taft&Teddy2020
Julienne Dy 6 days ago
I can't afford opening weekend, so I'm going to try to hold out for the Endgame DVD release.  Spoilers never bothered me anyway. (reference intended)

Regarding The Lion King specifically, the hyper realistic CGI does a great job making Scar and the hyenas look scary as well as making Simba look positively adorable.  However, all other emotions end up SEVERELY blunted.  I mean, all the dangers look scarier, so why doesn't Simba look more scared?  In fact, most of the time, he looks LESS scared than he should be.
B Evans 6 days ago
Animated animals was part of the charm of The Lion King. Without it, I can't say I'll be impressed - and how can anyone other than Jeremy Irons be Scar???
charitysplace 6 days ago
THIS.

They keep Mufasa and replace Irons???
Anonymous 6 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Never seen the original Lion King, and this new one isn’t holding my interest. It looks like a National Giagraphic film with a great voice cast. The only reason I would check out this new Lion King would be because Hans Zimmer is doing the music (then again, he did the music for the original as well; maybe I should just check that out instead).
Anonymous 6 days ago
I saw the trailer for episode IX drop live. I watched the live stream like the total nerd I am.

Pretty stoked Palpatine is back. He's still the best villain in the whole series.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 6 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Wait, that was Palpatine? I thought that was Luke Skywalker reincarnated as The Joker!
Karl The Klown 6 days ago
Nope. Didn't see the trailer. Sue me 
Anonymous 6 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

If I worked for Fox, I’d personally be crying if I were one of the +300 employees who lost their jobs over the takeover. 

If I worked for Sony or Universial, I wouldn’t be worried that much. After all, non Disney studios can not only survive under Disney’s rule at the box office, but also thrive. Venom almost made a billion dollars last year (outgrossing most MCU films by the way), and Jurassic World 2 made 1.3 billion last year as well.

That’s the problem I have with Disney: they don’t really make smaller films that aren’t supposed to make a fortune anymore. Nearly everything they make is franchise, franchise, franchise. Now to be fair, this strategy isn’t bad so long as it is working (which for the most part it is) but what happens to Disney when everyone gets tired of Marvel? What happens when audiences have completely had it with Star Wars? What happens when Disney runs out of animated films to adapt into live action ones?

If I were Disney, I would be concerned about Jumanji 3 overshadowing Star Wars 9. I’d personally move episode 9 to May 2020 since Guardians 3 isn’t coming out then like what was originally planned.

Also, Indiana Jones 5 is coming out in 2021, not 2020.

charitysplace 6 days ago
You make a good point. Disney is either reincarnating all their old stuff (which shows a severe lack of originality / creativity at Disney, IMO) or banking on billion-dollar franchises and praying people don't get sick of super heroes with another 8 films coming up the pike.

Can't see Jumanji crushing Star Wars at the box office. Even people who hate the new franchise will go just to complain later about it. LOL
Anonymous 6 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy 

I don’t think Jumanji 3 is going to crush episode 9 per se, but I do think it’s going to take away a large chunk of its audience (families and kids). 

I also know of many Star Wars fans who are planning to see something else the weekend episode 9 hits and not see episode 9 at all. And as of right now, I’m probably going to be one of them.