Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Aristocats’ Will Likely Go Directly to Disney+

Throughout the 2010s, Disney has been busily dusting off its archives. After the $1 billion success of Alice in Wonderland, the studio has been intent to remake many of its animated classics as live-action movies. And for the most part, it’s been a lucrative venture for Disney. But many have wondered just how far the efforts would go. Now a live-action version of 1970’s The Aristocats is in the works. Here’s why it will probably release directly to Disney+.

The U.S. poster for Disney’s ‘The Aristocats’
The U.S. poster for Disney’s ‘The Aristocats’ | LMPC

Disney’s ‘The Aristocats’ will get a live-action remake

Following Cruella‘s box office success last year, Disney has added a new project to the growing list of remakes in the works. Now Deadline reports that a live-action version of The Aristocats is on the way. The movie — which features Eva Gabor and Phil Harris among its voice cast — centers on a family of aristocratic cats that becomes lost during a botched kidnapping attempt. An alley cat named Thomas O’Malley helps them find their way back home.

The Aristocats is currently in early development. Will Gluck — director of the Peter Rabbit films — is attached to produce and co-write the script with Keith Bunin (Pixar’s Onward). Though Deadline doesn’t clarify whether Gluck will also direct, that’s possible, considering his proven success taking CGI animals into a live-action environment. Also, it’s unconfirmed whether Disney’s The Aristocats live-action remake will go to theaters or straight to Disney+.

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The movie will probably wind up a Disney+ exclusive

While Disney has yet to make an announcement, the chances are good The Aristocats will wind up as a streaming release. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, the Deadline piece compares the movie’s blend of live-action and CGI animals to Disney’s 2019 Lady and the Tramp remake. That film was a Disney+ release, and The Aristocats is another “sheltered animals discover life on the streets” story. So it feels like a natural extension of that approach.

Meanwhile, the future of movie theaters remains fickle. With the pandemic still raging. Disney faces tough choices about which movies are better served to boost Disney+. Much like Lady and the Tramp and the upcoming Pinocchio starring Tom Hanks, The Aristocats isn’t a sure thing with today’s audiences. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King earned more than a $1 billion worldwide. But the original animated films all hit theaters in the 1990s.

These live-action Disney remakes are also in the works

Regardless what happens with The Aristocats, Disney has no plans to stop mining its vault for live-action remake material anytime soon. Sequels to The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Cruella are all in the works for potential theatrical release. So are new versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bambi, Hercules, Peter Pan, The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, and Lilo & Stitch.

Fans should expect the studio to continue dividing its efforts between Disney+ and theaters. The aforementioned Pinocchio — from director Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express) — hits the streaming platform in late 2022. And the live-action version of The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey as Ariel is set to hit theaters on May 26, 2023.

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