The Disney Theatrical Production That Deserves a Movie Now: Why ‘Mulan’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ Can Wait

Disney has been on a remake bender — revamping classic animated tales into live-action spectacles — and drawing devout fans to theaters across the globe. As Disney enthusiasts flock to witness their favorite characters transformed for the modern era, the mega-media conglomerate continues stacking its cash. While The Little Mermaid and Mulan are destined for box office success, do fans need two more remakes?

Disney | Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

Though several live-action remakes have been stellar, equally balancing tribute with transformationPete’s Dragon and The Jungle Book — others have left much to be desired. The Lion King was deemed a scene-for-scene recreation of the original with a less fabulous Scar and the absence of a seductive and sny “Be Prepared” to boot. Further, both live-action Alice in Wonderland movies opened to poor critical and audience reviews, smudging the iconicity of the revered source material.

Maybe it’s time Disney stray from the remakes, and opt to bring one of its most successful stage productions to the screen. Though Disney has been focusing on its former filmic masterpieces, the head honchos should remember the Broadway successes that have yet to receive silver screen treatment. Disney should break their remake trend, which is quickly becoming old-hat, and bring Aida to the movies. 

What is ‘Aida?’ 

Aida ran on broadway, under Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, from 2000 until 2004 and managed to snag the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Musical Show Album, and more. Similar to The Lion King, the soul-shaking music and lyrics come from the dynamic duo Elton John and Tim Rice. Let’s just say these two know how to make memorable music. 

Aida is based on the opera of the same name by Antonio Ghislanzoni and tells the story of two lovers, who were forbidden to be together. The show was initially designed to be an animated tale, following the success of The Lion King, but received Broadway musical treatment instead. Now, maybe it’s time Aida make its way to the silver screen.

Aida, like “every story, tale or memoir” is a “tale of human failing,” a tale of “love at heart,” as the opening lyrics inform us. The show’s rock-ballad infused storyline is equal parts heart and humor. 

Why Disney should make an ‘Aida’ movie: now is the right time

From heartwrenching ballads on missed opportunities to comedic numbers about a woman’s “strongest suit” (the dress), the show is perfect for the whole family, yet never strays from important themes surrounding love, acceptance, and humanity. The show reminds us that we are more alike than different, and all connected through our emotions. 

If there was ever a time to reintroduce this show, now would be quite an appropriate one. The lyrics are intelligent and thought-provoking; the vernacular is quite impressive, yet never subversive of the simplicity in the underlying message. The music is mostly upbeat, and each number leaves you wanting one more chorus. Aida is a work of art (as its awards indicate) that deserves a spotlight, now more than ever, in our contemporary cinematic landscape.