Disney dropped a trailer-featurette combo of Tim Burton’s Dumbo in showing off its upcoming slate at CinemaCon today. The ornate period piece brings to mind such movies as The Greatest Showman, Burton’s circus tale Big Fish, and Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful.
But they also had more: Before the session ended, the studio also dropped “The Circle of Life” opening sequence to Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, which hits theaters July 19, 2019, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Guy Richie-directed live-action Aladdin.
As for Lion King, it’s shot for shot with the 1994 feature toon, but what a difference real animals (or what looks like real animals) makes. Baby Simba looks great, and there’s a shot of Rafiki rubbing his forehead with red dust and raising him to the other animals. A big cheer from the exhibitor crowd here in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
While there were still images of Dumbo during its clip, we don’t get to see the CGI pachyderm in action. Danny DeVito said from the stage that the animated film ends with “Dumbo flying off, and this one begins with him flying off” as we see the first POV swoop around the inside of a circus tent. DeVito plays the ringleader; Colin Farrell also joined, saying it’s a “family” story. From the images, it’s a very faithful homage to the original 1941 animated film. No trippy Burton-esque images or scary clowns here. The film opens on March 29 next year.
As with such things at CinemaCon, the trailers are never dropped in sync with their reveals here at the exhibitor confab.
For Aladdin, which bows May 24, 2019, the featurette featured stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott in a fresh and vibrant take on the 1992 original. “Aladdin is one of those perfect stories. It just burrows down inside of you. You don’t know when you saw it. You don’t know how you know every word to the songs. You just do,” Smith said in the video. New distribution head Cathleen Taff describes Smith’s take on Genie as “a little Fresh Prince, a little Hitch, and a whole lot of attitude.” Along with songs from the classics as well as new tunes, the updated version will feature elaborate dance sequences.
Disney’s live-action takes on their animated vault have been a lucrative portion of the studio, with last year’s Beauty and the Beast earning close to $415 million in profit. To a certain degree Burton gets credit for getting Disney’s recent wave of live-action animated reboots going: his 2011 Alice in Wonderland rained $1 billion down on the Burbank, CA-based studio.