Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast hits theaters Friday, and the widely-publicized remake of the 1991 animated musical has already inspired a great deal of discussion and controversy over its success — and if it should have been remade at all.
Beauty and the Beast is hardly the first Disney film to receive the live-action treatment, or the only live-action fairy tale scheduled to hit Hollywood in 2017. Several more movies are in the works. And with Disney's vault of animated features accumulating since Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was released in 1938, another Disney Renaissance might be in the works. So what movie should be re-filmed next?
1) Lady and the Tramp
This entire project could be cast simply by scrolling through the numerous accounts on Instagram that feature adorable dogs. The unlikely love story, with the iconic spaghetti scene, has warmed hearts for generations and, with animation and a talented animal trainer or two, this could be an adorable film for the big screen. Bonus points if Manny the Frenchie is given a role.
This 1995 film inspired a great deal of controversy thanks to its presentation of both the title character and her community. Accusations of racism, hypersexualism and straying from historical accuracy accompanied the film's release. It would require a sensitive and diverse team to ensure a second round at this story was treated with more sensitivity, and the result could provide a great lesson for adults and children alike.
3) Sleeping Beauty
This 1959 film offers endless opportunities for advanced technology — the dragon scene alone could break new ground for animation. But if Sleeping Beauty is going to hit the big screen again, it will require some new writing, namely around the idea of consent in relationships. The subject was addressed in Maleficent, the film starring Angelina Jolie that explored the backstory of the wicked witch, and a new telling of the fairy tale would need even more exploration. On a lighter note, imagine how much fun it would be to cast the three fairies!
This could be a star-making movie. By casting an unknown in the title role, Disney could introduce Hollywood to a new talent who could sing, dance and isn't in bad shape. Exploring the myth of Hercules, the son of Zeus, in a live-action musical would offer the opportunity for on-site shooting in Greece, and battle scenes could be created with live-action filming and CGI would be a real adventure.
5) The Princess and the Frog
One of the more recent animated musicals, The Princess and the Frog provided the welcome change of the first black leading lady in an animated Disney feature and a female protagonist who's a career woman and a surprise twist on tired plotline of the a royal man saving a poor woman. The story takes place in New Orleans, and if new music were written for the film, some local bands from the Big Easy could compose original and authentic jazz. And after seeing what was done with Lumiere and Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast, who's to say the trumpet-playing alligator and firefly sidekicks couldn't appear in a live-action film?
6) The Sword in the Stone
The legend of King Arthur is always providing opportunities for yet another adaptation, especially one that involves Merlin's sorcery, a talking owl and transforming people into fish. A bonus comes with the story of Merlin educating the young Arthur about physics, gravity and other aspects of modern education.
And just picture who could play Merlin! Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are the first two possibilities that come to mind, but the roster of actors to choose from offers so many great opportunities.
7) Robin Hood
Robin Hood is another story that offers seemingly endless opportunities for adaptation, whether in the form of serious drama or silly spoof. Given the income inequality in America and the fear of it being furthered through government legislation, the story is even more relevant.