Everyone has a favorite Disney animated classic. Across generations, geography, and cultural divides, Disney’s animated films have lit up the imagination of children and adults alike, ever since 1937’s Snow White kicked off the animation studio on a high note. But Disney’s also no stranger to live-action filmmaking, kicking off their live-action wing with 1950’s Treasure Island and establishing a tradition of adventure films and heartfelt family dramas that carries on to this day through films like the Pirates of the Carribean franchise, and of course, their bustling business of live-action remakes.
The studio tested the waters of live-action remakes in the 90s with Stephen Sommers’ The Jungle Book (1994) and Stephen Herek‘s 101 Dalmatians (1996), and while those early entries found some success (including a Golden Globe nomination for Glenn Close‘s extravagant performance as Cruella DeVil,) the trend didn’t fully kick off until Tim Burton‘s 2010 remake of Alice in Wonderland stunned with billion-dollar box office. Since then, Disney has launched a full-on franchise approach to the subset of their live-action wing, releasing at least one live-action remake title a year since 2014. Heck, this year brings a downright bounty with four remake titles on the calendar: Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
With Aladdin arriving in theaters this weekend, we’re ranking Disney’s recent wave of live-action remakes. There was some debate about what to include. What counts as live-action when there are all-CGI films like The Lion King in the works? What counts as a remake, when reimaginings like Maleficent and Christopher Robin abound? Do we count the sequels to remakes and re-imaginings, even if they aren’t technically remakes themselves? For the purposes of this article, we’re looking at every remake, reimagining, and subsequent sequel that Disney developed after the breakout success of Alice in Wonderland. Rather than get too specific with the definition, we just want to take a comprehensive look at the nostalgia-fuelled wave of (mostly) blockbuster hits Disney produced in the 21st Century.
So, without further ado, check out the best Disney live-action remakes ranked in the list below, and stay tuned as we update our picks with each new theatrical release.