We love our animated Disney classics—but the live-action interpretations have been met with mixed feelings.
A more cynical person might say Disney is afraid to get creative with new stories, and these films are a terrific money-grubbing ploy. But at HowtoWatch.com, we wanted to see how fans and critics felt these remakes live up to the originals.
We brought in fan ratings from IMDb and critic ratings from Metacritic for the original animated films and their live-action reimaginings. After giving fan and critic ratings equal weight, here’s how the movies compared.
The only live-action film better liked than its animated counterpart is The Jungle Book (2016)—most trail far behind the Disney Classics.
The table below shows the giant gap in quality between the two types of films. Note that the animated films are in red and the live-action films are blue.
Data effective 7/22/19.
There’s a bunch going on in the chart above, but here are the highlights:
- The Lion King (2019) drew huge crowds in the USA, with an estimated domestic box office over $185 million in its first weekend. Despite beating out the previous $175 million record of Beauty and the Beast (2017), it tied in only twelfth place.
- The oldest live-action remake, 101 Dalmatians (1996), is the lowest ranked. It seems that for the most part, Disney has gotten better at remakes over time.
- The live-action movie with the most significant difference between audience and critic score was Aladdin (2019), with audiences preferring it more than critics.
- The animated film with the most significant difference between audience and critic scores was Dumbo (1941), with critics preferring it more than audiences.
- Despite the original Dumbo (1941) being the second-highest ranked, its new counterpart is the second lowest. Tim Burton flubbed that movie even worse than Alice in Wonderland (2010).
- The remakes average a rating of 1.6/10 points below the originals.
Though the numbers show a clear preference for the animated films, the Disney remake train isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Stories like Mulan, Peter Pan, Sword in the Stone, and The Little Mermaid are up next for the treatment.
But with Disney+ coming November 12 of this year, we might start seeing less of them in the box office: the new Lady and the Tramp is set to premiere on Disney’s streaming service, not in theaters. To learn more about streaming TV, check out our guide to cutting the cord.
- 101 Dalmatians (1961) is property of the Walt Disney Company.
- Aladdin (1992) is property of Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
- Aladdin (2019) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- Alice in Wonderland (1951) is property of Walt Disney Productions.
- Alice in Wonderland (2010) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- Beauty and the Beast (1991) is property of the Walt Disney Company.
- Beauty and the Beast (2017) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- Cinderella (1950) is property of the Walt Disney Company.
- Cinderella (2015) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- Dumbo (1941) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- Dumbo (2019) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- The Jungle Book (1967) is property of The Walt Disney Company.
- The Jungle Book (2016) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- The Lion King (1994) is property of Walt Disney Pictures Pictures & Television.
- The Lion King (2019) is property of Disney Enterprises, Inc.