- Dec 21, 2002
- Real Name
- Jake Lipson
Tagline: Choose Wisely.
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Music, Romance
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Alan Tudyk, Frank Welker, Numan Acar, Robby Haynes
Release: 2019-05-22Plot: A live-action retelling of the 1992 Disney film of the same name.
I realized while creating the thread for The Lion King's 2019 remake that, as far as I know, the new Aladdin doesn't have a thread either, so I thought I'd go ahead and create that one too.
Aladdin (#1) and The Lion King (#2) are my top two favorite films of all time, so I feel very protective of them and care a great deal about them being remade correctly. Like I said in the TLK thread, my feeling is that the remake is not strictly necessary from a creative standpoint, but, since Disney is going to do it anyway in the name of money, I've already gotten over that. There's no reason that the remake can't be good, and I hope for the best and am generally excited about it. Beauty and the Beast didn't need to be remade either, but was handled with respect and care and tuned out to be pretty great, in my opinion, especially considering the large margin of error looming over such a project. So, I hope they will aim for a similar result with Aladdin, and if we get something resembling Beauty and the Beast in terms of quality level, I'd be good with that.
Even though it is already shooting, the roles of Iago and Abu have not been filled for the remake yet. Even though I really like him, I could see them cutting out Abu -- they did for the Broadway show to nominal effect -- but Iago is a much larger role than Abu, and they did keep him in the Broadway show (albeit as a human, not a bird), but regardless, it's difficult for me to imagine an Aladdin remake in which he is not present. He would likely be a CGI character, so an actor wouldn't need to be on the set, but still. Twice is a pattern, and it appears Disney is either messing with or being unclear about their sidekick villains in their remakes, and I just really wish they would clear that up. I'm not opposed to change if there is a good reason for it and do hope the new film tries something new, but these are beloved characters and we should know what's going on. I'd rather know ahead of time if they've cut these characters out than be rudely surprised when I enter the theater.
The other thing about Iago, specifically, is that because he is a bird, he doe not have to be cast in a particular ethnicity. Disney 100% rightly decided that it was important for Aladdin to have an ethnically correct cast of actors mostly of Middle Eastern descent, which is exactly what they should be doing -- but as a result of that, the cast is also mostly unknowns, which means they lack above-the-title name drawing power. As it stands currently, Will Smith as Genie is the only name actor in that entire cast. Because Iago is a bird and will almost certainly be a computer-generated character, that means they can cast almost anybody to play him. Crudely speaking, it doesn't matter if they give the part to a famous white guy, or anyone else they might want. So, in addition to the fact that Iago in the 1992 film has a rather large part, if they keep him, they can cast another big name who would be able to lend his celebrity status to the film's marketing, which is not something they're going to get from anybody else in there except Smith as things stand now. So they have every reason to find somebody big and famous to play Iago.
Moving on, I also think it's bizarre that both of these films are currently slated for summer 2019 -- Aladdin for Memorial Day and Lion King in July -- and whether it's smart to release them both so close or not, that is what they are currently saying they are going to do. I think it is clear that the audience overlap for those two titles, based on back-to-back '90s animated musical blockbusters, is essentially 100%. They will eat into each other's grosses, de-eventize each other and both make less money than they would if they were playing in separate years, or at least seasons.
This year, when it was two months old in May, Beauty and the Beast was still doing $3-4m per weekend and demonstrating great legs because the film was well-liked and people kept seeing it again and telling other people to go see it. If The Lion King opens in July 2019 after Aladdin opens in May, I don't think that will be the case for Aladdin. Aladdin's grosses will more or less stop dead in their tracks when Lion King arrives, since everyone's attention, from fans to families to Disney's marketing and booking people, will be shifted to Lion King, and Aladdin will lose screens and momentum when Lion King arrives (not to mention that Disney also has '90s nostalgia blast Toy Story 4 in June in between the two remakes.) And yeah, Aladdin will make a lot of money before Lion King opens -- but in terms of total gross potential, I don't think there is any question that both films would make less than they would if they came out at different times. Beauty and the Beast would have been less of an event film if the inevitable remake of The Little Mermaid had materialized right on its heels in May this year, for example.
So, I think it would be smart of Disney to move one or the other so that they're not within spitting distance of each other, and wouldn't be surprised if they do eventually come around to that decision. In their initial announcement of the Memorial Day date for Aladdin, they actually said that it is the "untitled Disney live-action fairy tale #2" movie that they had originally slated for December 22, 2019 -- and December would have been fine for it after a July Lion King, because TLK would have been out of theaters and on Blu-ray by then. But then Colin Treverrow was fired off Episode IX, and J.J. Abrams came in and obviusly needed to dely the film to December (from its original Memorial Day spot) in order to have time to rewrite it from scratch before he shoots it. So, Aladdin got shuffled up to May from December to fill the vacancy in Disney's release schedule created by the reasonable Episode IX move. I get why Disney wants to open a movie on Memorial Day 2019, so the reason for this move makes sense in an isolated world, but in relation to the preexisting presence of Lion King in July, I think something has to give somewhere. Or at least, if it doesn't, they'll be leaving money on the table from both films, and when has Disney ever wanted to do that?
I think that's all I've got right now, but look forward to discussing the movie more as we approach and reach its release.