The amount of live action movies based on animated properties that have come out in the last couple years or will be out in the next couple years is getting out of hand. Just take a look at what Disney has released recently or will be releasing in the near future.
Past: Alice in Wonderland (2010), Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Future: Mulan (2018), The Little Mermaid (TBD), The Lion King (TBD), Aladdin (TBD), Dumbo (TBD), Pinocchio (TBD), James and the Giant Peach (TBD), Cruella (TBD), Tink (TBD), Peter Pan (TBD), The Sword in the Stone (TBD)
And that’s just Disney! Plenty of other production companies are churning out live action films, TV shows, and musicals based on animated properties like there is no tomorrow.
The thing is, though, the movies are wildly successful. According to IMDB, Beauty and the Beast is the highest grossing film this year raking in $1.263 billion.
Someone who knows a lot about turning animated franchises into successful billion-dollar movies is Michael Bay. And he’s latching on to a new live action film: Dora the Explorer.
Yes, the man who has directed all of the Transformers movies and is well known for movies filled with explosions and lens flares will be a producer on a new live action film on the young explorer who gained fame on Nickelodeon. But Bay isn’t the only interesting name attached to the project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director of the movie will be Nicholas Stoller. His past credits include Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors.
Then again, Stoller also co-wrote The Muppets, so it’s not like he only has experience writing or directing movies filled with alcohol and other non-child-friendly themes. But still, despite their past children-themed movie and TV show credits, it’s still pretty crazy that the producer and director for the Dora live action movie are possibly more well known for their work on Transformers and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
But the thing is, everyone is trying to work on a live action movie these days. Not only are they cutting edge with their use of CGI and other special effects, but they also target two major demographics in the young and the old.
That could be why live action movies are so popular these days. Most of them are live action remakes of popular children movies from the 20th century so when they are released, not only do modern day children and pre-teens want to see them, but also the people who are much older and grew up watching those movies and shows as children.
Take Dora the Explorer, for example. The show is perfect for children who are anywhere between the ages of let’s say 2 and 9 years old. The show first aired from 2000 all the way to 2015. That means anyone who was between 2 and 9 as early as 2000 and all the way through today may be interested in seeing the live action remake of the popular kids’ cartoon.
And voila, that’s a massive audience and a lot of money. This is why live action remakes are so successful, but also now becoming a little too ridiculous. At some point, someone or something will have to break what may be the easiest path to money in the movie business right now:
- Find a popular animated TV show or movie from the 20th or early 21st century.
- Google whether or not someone has recently made a live action remake of said show or movie.
- Find legitimate writers and directors and a studio to produce it.
- Cash in.
Granted steps 1-4 aren’t THAT easy to accomplish. But at the same time, with the amount of live action remakes currently in the pipeline just at Disney, it seems like this process is relatively easy to replicate right now.
The thing is, the end probably isn’t in sight for the popularity of live action remakes. Not just because they continue to rake in dough, but also because there are still an endless amount of 20th and early 21st century TV shows and movies that can be remade into live action movies or shows. Here’s a few that come to mind:
- Blue’s Clues
- Rocket Power
- The Wild Thornberrys
- Rocko’s Modern Life
- Beavis and Butt-Head
- South park
- The Powerpuff Girls
- Johnny Bravo
- Ed, Edd n Eddy
- Tom and Jerry
- Chip n’ Dale
- Kim Possible
- Princess and the Frog
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Lady and the Tramp
I could keep going, but I’ve run out of ideas. Granted, some of those are probably in development somewhere by someone and it’s not well known yet, but it proves a point. As ridiculous as it is that live action movies seem to come out every single week, there is enough content and enough money to go around for people like Michael Bay to keep making them.