Aladdin: A Whole New World in Live Action

It’s a whole new world for Aladdin as the animated classic is the newest film to receive the live-action treatment on the big screen. Much like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin stays true to the animated film in terms of plot.  Aladdin (Mena Massoud) meets Agrabah Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and falls in love with her thanks to an assist from the Genie (Will Smith).  There’s the evil Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) trying to steal the…

"Aladdin: A Whole New World in Live Action"

The Walt Disney Company Will Own The 2019 Box Office

Films under the Disney umbrella earned over $3 billion at the box office in 2018 but the company is looking to exceed expectations in 2019. When one looked at the 2018 calendar, Disney films accounted for at least one film every month.  As pointed out by The Big Picture, Disney CEO Bob Iger tightened things down to the point that the studio releases about a dozen films a year or less.  The Mouse didn’t release…

"The Walt Disney Company Will Own The 2019 Box Office"

Aladdin kicks off Tuesdays with Robin

While Aladdin holds up as a beautifully animated motion picture with awesome songs, there’s a major flaw in casting non-Persians. Fresh off of The Little Mermaid, directors Ron Clements and John Musker went to work on Aladdin.  Walt Disney Animation Studios had offered the pair a choice between Swan Lake, Aladdin, and some film about lions in the jungle but they were like, “Who would want to see that?”  The latter of which went on…

"Aladdin kicks off Tuesdays with Robin"

Tribeca 2018: Howard – A Nostalgic Documentary

Howard is a long-overdue documentary that tells the story of the late songwriter/composer Howard Ashman, who passed away as a result of AIDS in March 1991. To those who grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ashman’s music played a large role in our cinematic upbringing.  Ashman and Alan Menken teamed up for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast.  Make no mistake about it, these films simply would not be…

"Tribeca 2018: Howard – A Nostalgic Documentary"

John Musker on Animation, Filmmaking, and Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers

Walt Disney Animation Studios director John Musker was in Chicago this week and addressed students of The Second City Training Center and Harold Ramis Film School.  I didn’t take a lot of notes during the Q&A session but here’s a recap of what I did jot down. Musker has an impressive resume over the years, having co-directed The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, The Princess and The Frog, and most…

"John Musker on Animation, Filmmaking, and Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers"

Remembering actor/comedian Robin Williams

It’s been three years since actor-comedian Robin Williams ended his life in 2014.  His suicide followed a misdiagnosis of Parkinson’s disease when what he was suffering from was diffuse Lewy body dementia. When he was alive, he was one of the funniest people I have ever seen.  Even as Disney produces the live-action Aladdin, Will Smith will never be able to bring to that role what Robin brought to his performance as The Genie.  It’s…

"Remembering actor/comedian Robin Williams"

Disney D23: Live Action, Marvel, and Lucasfilm Presentation

On Saturday, the live-action films from Disney, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm were showcased at Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center.  The presentation was hosted by Sean Bailey (President, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production), Alan Horn (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios), and Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios). The films being showcased on Saturday included Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and Mary Poppins Returns, Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok,…

"Disney D23: Live Action, Marvel, and Lucasfilm Presentation"

Disney’s Aladdin Problem

Walt Disney Pictures has an Aladdin problem as they have been unable to find a male lead to play Aladdin in their live-action film. Guy Ritchie is directing the movie and the studio has searched for months to find a male lead.  In addition to the unknown actors, the search has included known actors such as Riz Ahmed and Dev Patel.  Newcomers include Achraf Koutet, Mena Massoud and George Kosturos. Their problem is that they…

"Disney’s Aladdin Problem"