They did it to The Lion King. They did it to Aladdin. They’re doing it to Snow White. And now… Disney is making The Aristocats into a live-action film.
If you just had visions of Cats, you’re not alone.
Disney already made Lady and the Tramp into a live-action film that bypassed theaters and went straight to Disney+, and it’s not yet known whether The Aristocats will do the same. The screenplay will be written by Peter Rabbit 2 director Will Gluck and Keith Bunin (Onward, Horns).
When the original Aristocats was released in 1970, Roger Ebert called it “light and pleasant and funny.” The story follows a pampered cat and her three kittens, who live a fancy-cat Parisian lifestyle with their owner, Madame Adelaide Bonfamille, and her butler, Edgar. When Madame decides to leave her fortune to the cats, Edgar—who will get the money anyway after the cats die!—decides he needs to get rid of the cats in hopes of inheriting directly.
Wacky hijinks ensue and the cats are left in the countryside, where they meet an alley cat who leads them back to Paris, eventually to make friends with some other strays who aid in their reunion with Madame. What this all says about poor cats versus poor humans seems iffy at best—though to be fair, Madame’s decision is also rather questionable—but perhaps Edgar is more sympathetic than I remember him being. It’s been a while. (Should you wish to refresh your memory, Mari Ness revisited the film in 2016.)
It remains to be seen how Gluck and Bunin might update this tale to make it a little less… let’s just say dated, though there are a lot of other words that could go here. Will they use real cats? Will this be a Lion King thing where they call it “live action” even though it’s all CGI? Is everyone too scarred to want to see another movie about cats? Maybe by the time this comes out, we’ll all have forgotten. No release date has been announced.