A Live-Action Aladdin Movie Is Happening, With An Unexpected Director


We are living in a whole new world of Disney movies, where classic animated movies are being translated into live-action interpretations. And as you probably cold have guessed by my all-too-obvious phrasing, Aladdin is going to be one of the next ones on the docket for the Mouse House. This, after Disney recently revealed plans for a live-action take on The Lion King, following its own plans to reintroduce Beauty and the Beast to the world. More on those in a second, because in the news of the live-action Aladdin comes with a director association, and we're more than a little surprised.

What will Guy Ritchie's Aladdin look like? We may find out, as The Hollywood Reporter notes that Ritchie is in negotiations to adapt Aladdin to the big screen for Disney. This is unusual, as Ritchie has been spending the bulk of his career on stylized, period-centirc "bro" adventures, from the Sherlock Holmes franchise (with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law) to the recent The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Sticking with legends, Ritchie is about to reinvent King Arthur, though the first trailer for that excursion made it look VERY much like a Guy Ritchie joint.

Which is fine. But it's not what we'd normally expect from a Disney musical that's set in the Middle East. Aladdin, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, was released in 1992 and soared on its gorgeous animation, it's fantastic soundtrack (featuring songs like A Whole New World and Friend Like Me), and an awards-worthy performance by Robin Williams as the genie in the lamp. Aladdin ended up taking home two Oscars that year for Original Score and Original Song, but I think when you mention Aladdin, people immediately think of this:

Ritchie is... an interesting choice. THR says that John August wrote the screenplay for this Aladdin, which reportedly will still feature several of the musical elements of the Disney cartoon. But the trade also says that this will be a "non-traditional" take on the story -- a given, seeing as how Ritchie doesn't make movies like this.

When might Aladdin hit theaters? That's a great question, as Disney is starting to overload on these live-action adaptations. As mentioned, The Lion King (with Jon Favreau) and Beauty and the Beast (starring Emma Watson) already are set in stone. Disney also has been circling live-action takes on The Little Mermaid, and a Maleficent sequel, as well as a Cruella movie with Emma Stone. Aladdin likely goes to the back of this pack, unless Guy Ritchie can secure a deal and production wheels can spin. What do you think? Good collaboration? Or possible disaster?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.