- Disney is currently remaking a bunch of its animated movies for a new generation. Among them is “Lady and the Tramp.”
- The film was announced to launch on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, launching later this year.
- In a new interview with Barron’s, Disney CEO Bob Iger says the movie was never even considered for a theatrical release.
- That decision appears to divide Disney’s vast animated library into two categories – those it believes are easy box-office hits and those the company is simply remaking for its streaming platform.
If you didn’t know, Disney is currently working on a live-action remake of its 1955 animated movie “Lady and the Tramp.” It’s one of many beloved classics the Mouse House is currently plucking from the Disney vault to reimagine for a new generation.
Disney announced the film would premiere on its upcoming streaming service, Disney+. But according to a new interview in Barron’s with Disney CEO Bob Iger, it was never even considered to be a theatrical release.
“There was not one discussion about whether we should make that for the big screen,” said Iger of “Lady and the Tramp.” “Everybody said this is a great story, would love to make it again, let’s make it for what we call ‘the service’ internally.”
The movie, about a cocker spaniel named Lady and a homeless stray dog, the Tramp, who fall in love, is set to star Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux voicing the two main characters. Yvette Nicole Brown, Benedict Wong, and Janelle Monae will also star.
In the interview, Iger said the company isn’t looking to make movies that cost north of $100 million for Disney+, which is expected to launch in late 2019. He also noted that movies released theatrically are expected to hopefully be “big box-office films.”
In other words, if any theatrical release isn’t bringing in a lot of money – say around $1 billion – it’s probably not worth the gamble. And a live-action “Lady and the Tramp” probably wasn’t a sure-fire hit.
$1 billion seems like an insane expectation for any movie, but if you look at Disney’s release schedule for this year, about half of them will certainly gross at least that amount: “Avengers: Endgame,” “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” and “Star Wars: Episode IX.” Each previous sequel topped that number. “Avengers: Infinity War” grossed more than $2 billion at theaters. I wouldn’t be surprised if “The Lion King” also hits $1 billion.
Read more: Every live-action remake Disney has planned
Of course, there’s also an upcoming live-action adaptation of “Dumbo” in March. Among Disney’s other 2019 movies, that one seems like a risk. But when you have director Tim Burton at the helm, who directed 2010’s successful “Alice in Wonderland,” which grossed, you guessed it, $1 billion, there’s a proven track record for success.
The bummer here is whether or not fans should care as much for a remake of a Disney animated classic made for Disney+ if it isn’t getting the same budget and treatment as the Mouse House’s renaissance classics (“Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King”).
It starts to send across a message of which animated classics Disney values as upper-tier quality versus a “B”-level animated movie that can easily be remade for Disney+. “Lady and the Tramp” certainly sounds like a “B.”
Other live-action reimaginings Disney has planned for its streaming service include “The Sword in the Stone.” Disney+ is scheduled to launch in late 2019.
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