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Winnie the Pooh and 6 other Disney characters getting the live-action treatment

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Someone once said: "People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day!" That figure was, of course, Winnie The Pooh, the legendary anthropomorphic bear created by author A.A. Milne back in 1926.

Since his early days, Pooh and his friends Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Owl, Kanga and Roo, have been through many different stories, not least since Walt Disney licenced the rights to the characters in 1966, and began making animated featurettes, television shows and movies.

Almost a century later, they are returning to the big screen in a brand new adventure, Christopher Robin, due for release this month. In the film, the gang set about helping the grown-up Christopher (Ewan McGregor) to rediscover his inner child.

But Pooh isn't the only character in the Disney roster returning to the silver screen and here's just a few. Be warned: your wallet is going to get much lighter in the next few years...

Dumbo

If you haven't already welled up at the sight of the new Dumbo soaring through a circus tent in the teaser trailer, then you probably will once the film is released. Under the direction of Tim Burton, who helmed 2010's Alice in Wonderland remake – the "trendsetter" for Disney live-action makeovers – the big-eared elephant returns 77 years after his debut on the big-screen.

Loosely based on the original, the movie promises to bring some signature quirky Burton twists, with the cast including Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Eva Green and Danny DeVito. The film opens March 29th, 2019.


Aladdin

A whole new world and a new fantastic point of view are on the way as the famed love story between a petty thief and the Princess of Agrabah is the next in-line for a modern makeover from director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes).

First released in 1992, Aladdin was the 31st animated film from Disney, continuing its late 80s/early 90s 'renaissance' period, and becoming the first animated film to cross $500 million at the box office. It also began a trend for big A-list actors lending their voices to animated films, with the late Robin Williams helping to redefine both the film itself and the genre with his magnificent performance as Genie.

Will Smith is tasked with filling the big pointy shoes in this version, with Naomi Scott (Power Rangers) as Jasmine and Mena Masooud (Jack Ryan) as Aladdin. Aladdin is released on May 24th, 2019.


Lady and The Tramp

Recently announced, Lady and The Tramp will become the first on this list to debut on Disney's new streaming service, which is set to launch next year. The original film, which tells the "tail" of well-bred cocker spaniel Lady and a streetwise mutt called Tramp, is 63 years old, and when it was first released on VHS in the 1980s, it became the best-selling videocassette ever, selling three million copies.

The new version will be somewhat more traditional in that we will see a combination of live-action actors mixed with CGI animals, with Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) voicing Tramp, Ashley Jensen (Extras) voicing Jackie, a friend of Lady's, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie director Charlie Bean at the helm. Expect to see this at some point in 2019.


The Lion King

Donald Glover. James Earl Jones. Beyoncé. Seth Rogen. Chiwetel Ejiofor. Director Jon Favreau. We could go on about the incredible talent behind the scenes of the new version of The Lion King, but it surely speaks for itself.

Due for release exactly 25 years after the 1994 original, the new "live-action" version isn't quite what it seems – rather than having hand-drawn animated characters singing their hearts out, the film will utilise the photorealistic CGI that Favreau used in 2016's The Jungle Book remake, but will include a number of the songs from the original film. Elton John, lyricist Tim Rice and composer Hans Zimmer all reunite for the music with Beyoncé set to perform a brand new number.

Set your diaries: July 19th, 2019 is the release date.


Mulan

Strangely, Mulan, the 1998 animated smash which featured Eddie Murphy as Mushu the Dragon and Ming-Na Wen in the title role, was one of the very first properties that Disney had set for a live-action treatment. Plans for the film began in the 2000s before the recent glut of remakes and re-imaginings. Originally rumoured to have been gearing up for a 2010 shoot, the film would have starred Zhang Ziyi (Memoirs of a Geisha) and been directed by Chuck Russell (The Mask), but was eventually scrapped.

Eventually, in 2017, Niki Caro (The Zookeeper's Wife) was hired to helm the film and has since cast Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Gong Li and Jason Scott Lee in the film. China-born Liu Yifei has been cast as Mulan, daughter of warrior Fa Zhou, who impersonates a man to replace her dad during the Hun invasion on China. Mulan storms cinemas on 27th March 2020.


Pinocchio

Another of the seminal classics from Disney's archives, the original Pinocchio was released in February 1940, and was only the second feature-length animation that the studio had released, coming off the back of the success of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

There have been many versions of the tale since, with Warner Bros reportedly eyeing their own version with Robert Downey Jr. and Ron Howard attached, but this will, to many, be the 'official' version. Sam Mendes was attached to direct last year but has since left, with Paddington/Paddington 2 director Paul King now aboard to finally make Pinocchio into a real-life boy. It's early days yet, so no release date has been set.

Disney's Christopher Robin arrives on 17th August. Don't forget about our MediCinema advance screenings on 16th August.

Scott J. Davis is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.