What's With All the Disney Remakes?

Kim Possible, Aladdin, High School Musical. What do all of these films have in common? They are being rebooted into new and improved versions of themselves in live action movies and sequential television series.

Image courtesy of Skylar Sahakian

Recent years have sparked a revolution of rebooted film series, from film classics like The Lion King and Mary Poppins, to children’s television like Full House. Our society has formed an odd infatuation with chasing the ghosts of 20th-century film and television, and it has led many to wonder why the film industry is so interested in recycling content. The 21st century has been described as the media’s Golden Age, so why is it that producers are reducing creativity by reliving the glory days, rather than creating innovative pilots?

Ironically, the fact that there is so much original content produced in one year, alone, has been one of the leading factors to this reboot revolution. Desperate to stand out above the hundreds of film series, new and returning, airing on television, producers have fed into the nostalgia of millennials by reviving their favorite characters and giving a glimpse into their lives after “death” – a.k.a. series finale. Using this technique, producers find that they can top the charts before the pilot has even aired. With one single announcement of the resurrection of a television favorite, the show is guaranteed off-the-chart ratings and a loyal fan base, which in turn assures steady revenue for the premiere season, and possibly more to come.

Along the same line of nostalgia, millennial’s evocative presence on social media has been the continuous driving force behind the reboot revolution. As they lament over their glorious childhoods and “good” entertainment, they wish and sometimes even beg for the reappearance of their childhood favorites. Thus, the money-hungry film industry leaps at the chance to capitalize on this reminiscent audience. 

However, millennials are not the only generation that drives this resurgence; younger generations are also pushing the accelerator in this revolution. With their head-over-heels adoration of Disney plots, school-aged children have been the main supporters of the movie to series adaptations such as Tangled: The Series and Big Hero 6: The Series, which are cartoon series that continue their respective plot after the movie’s final scene. 

Image courtesy of Skylar Sahakian

Following the desire for revenue and relevance, actors and actresses also contribute to the reboot revolution. Longing to relive their glory days and reunite with their family of cast members, many actors eagerly agree to the revival of their respective series. This willingness makes it all too easy for producers to pick-up a new reboot.

Finally, as each generation experiences the disapproval of those before them, the 21st century has received much criticism for its film production, and it is often considered subpar to that of previous decades. Thus, in an attempt to produce quality television and share the 20th-century classics with the younger generations, producers have taken it upon themselves to recreate classics in a new age platform for youth to enjoy. For example, Disney’s Girl Meets World, the sequential reboot of the 90s comedy Boy Meets World. 

This reboot revolution is a supreme example of the cyclical pattern of trends. The incessant need to resuscitate film speaks to our society’s inability to release the past. The reality that so many people pine for the ability to be updated on the lives of fictional characters to ensure that their future is the same as one may have speculated speaks loudly to how many embrace adulthood. Have people really lost sleep pondering the lives of fictional characters, rather than simply living their own lives? Series end for a reason, and fortunately, many have concluded with a well-awaited happy-ending, that gave viewers proper closure.

Nevertheless, this revolution has and continues to flourish, and its effects are great. In the best cases, the reboot unites generation and cast members – new and old – by giving a shared love for a great program. After all, we’re all in this together!