Beauty and the Beast. Tarzan. The Jungle Book. Dumbo. Aladdin. Lion King. Mulan.
That might read like an animated Disney greatest hits album, but its a list of the live action remakes of beloved classics that have hit theaters recently. Disney has been working hard to convert its animated masterpieces into real life movies -- and extract a little bit of box office gold along the way.
It might seem like Disney is in danger of trampling on nostalgia, but a plurality of people (33%) are actually in favor of these remakes, according to YouGov data. We asked on March 12, 2019: “When thinking about your favorite animated childhood movies, would you support or oppose them being remade for live action?”
Looking deeper reveals some interesting trends by generation. Millennials and Gen Xers were more likely to support the remakes -- the exact generations that grew up with the films.
What’s more, among fans of Disney movies in particular -- individuals who have said they liked several Disney animated movies -- those numbers increase, according to data from YouGov Plan and Track.
More than half of Disney fans say they’re in favor of the the remakes, and that majority holds for GenXers and Millennials.
(Gen Zer’s in general were also more likely to support remakes by a margin of 43 to 35, but when we sorted by Disney fans the sample size did not meet YouGov standards for reporting, so we excluded the group from that comparison.)
Consider that this same group, fans of Disney movies is more likely than the average American to have a child under 10 years old in their household and you can see why this would be a good group to target.
Let’s not forget that these films make a ton of money for Disney. Beauty and the Beast made more than $500 million, Aladdin brought in $91 million on its opening weekend and has grossed $324 million in five weeks, which is more than the animated original ever made ($217 million).
The film remakes also give them a reason to tap into pop culture icons for the mostly musical films. Lion King, which comes out on July 18 features Beyonce, Donald Glover and Seth Rogen, all of whom are popular according to YouGov ratings data. Beyonce, for example, is the 19th most popular entertainment figure in the United States and is liked by 43 percent of America
With all of these ingredients, nostalgia, fans that are in favor of the remakes and an ability to tap into new stars, Disney seems to have found a good mix. The entertainment company has an opportunity to string together generational admiration for their stories, and keep a love for its movies alive among its most ardent fans.