Updates for Disney’s Mulan and Aladdin Adaptations

Walt Disney Studios provided updates on their live action adaptations of Mulan and Aladdin.  Check it out below.

If yesterday is any indication, Beauty and the Beast will continue Disney’s string of live-action adaptation successes.  The film brought in a total of $63.8 million its opening Friday and should threaten to top Batman v Superman’s March weekend record of $166 million.  There are many other Disney adaptations in the works (including Dumbo, which had casting announcements recently), and today we’ve received an update for Mulan and Aladdin courtesy of Sean Bailey, the president of Motion Picture Production at Walt Disney Studios (via Coming Soon).

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“Mulan is clearly an empowered-female story but we can also do something new in this reimagining, make it a little more muscular, stronger, with touch of Ridley Scott.’. (Sources close to production say that, unlike Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast, Mulan is not expected to prominently feature songs, though that could change.)”

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Regarding Aladdin:

“Guy became interested in doing a Disney movie and we talked a lot about it. When we talked about Aladdin, he said, ‘My stories are really about street hustlers. That’s what I know how to do. And Aladdin is a classic street hustler who makes good.’ Guy’s got his own version of that story in his life. But he wanted to honor and respect the Disney of it all. We never want to feel like we have a playbook to these things because we worry it’ll make us creatively complacent. The idea of a highly energized Guy Ritchie Disney musical felt like, Oh, we haven’t done that before.” 

It’s kinda surprising that Disney is opting not to go with a Mulan musical (and my wife will be particularly disappointed because she loves the songs from that film).  Perhaps they’ll do something more along the lines of the Jungle Book adaptations where they incorporate a few of the songs without making it feel like a full blown musical.  It’d be strange to have a Disney adaptation of the tale without songs like “Be A Man” or “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You”.  All early rumors point to Disney creating a Chinese war epic with a light tone, which could be a nice take on the material.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating a direct adaptation of their animated classics since they are held in such high regard, but seeing frame by frame adaptations would grow boring.

As far as Aladdin, that was my favorite Disney film growing up so I have high hopes for this movie.  When it was first announced that Guy Ritchie would direct the film it struck me as odd.  I still can’t picture his style of film-making fitting with the source material, but I’ll reserve judgement until I start seeing photos and trailers for the movie.  Sean Bailey’s focus on Aladdin’s street-hustler life early on in the movie and Guy Ritchie’s typical “high energy” gives us a slightly better idea of what type of movie that will be.  Their decision on how they portray the Genie, and who takes on the role, could make or break that film.

What do you think?  Are you excited about a Mulan adaptation that could forego the songs?  Does talk of a street-hustler Aladdin in a high energy action film sound like a fun direction for that movie?  Share your opinions in the discussion board below.  Mulan arrives in theaters November 2, 2018 and Aladdin doesn’t yet have a release date.

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