After “Beauty and the Beast” stormed its way to a record-breaking opening weekend for Disney, box office analysts and fans are likely already looking forward to the coming installments of the company’s slate of live-action remakes of animated classics.
But according to media reports, where “Beauty and the Beast” doubled down on its musical elements, adding new songs and releasing a soundtrack album with more than 50 tracks, one of its fellow remakes will drop all its songs — “Mulan.”
The news was first reported Friday by MovieFone, which interviewed director Niki Caro, who is helming the project. According to Caro, the film, which tells the story of a young Chinese woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight in the army, will be significantly grittier than the animated movie it is based on. Caro described the project as a “big, girly martial arts epic,” adding that it will be “extremely muscular and thrilling.”
When asked about the lack of songs in the film, Caro, confirmed that there would be no musical elements, “much to my children’s horror,” at least as this point in the movie’s development. Caro’s children were not alone in expressing disappointment.
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Released in 1998, Mulan’s soundtrack is considered by many fans to be one of the best in Disney’s history. However, the live-action remake, which isn’t scheduled for release until 2018, has been beset by controversy before. In October, news circulated that the film’s script called for Mulan’s love interest to be a European man who would defeat the main villain, which many said was emblematic of Hollywood’s sexism and tendency to “whitewash” films of minority protagonists.
The lack of musical numbers was confirmed by a report in Vulture, who cited Sean Bailey, a Disney executive in charge of the company’s filmmaking division.
“‘Mulan’ is clearly an empowered-female story but we can also do something new in this reimagining, make it a little more muscular, stronger, with touch of Ridley Scott,” he told Vulture.
With the release of “Beauty and the Beast,” Disney has now remade six of its original classic films, several of which have also ditched their musical elements, with varying box office results. 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” raked in more than $1 billion and spawned its own sequel, but 2016’s “Pete’s Dragon” grossed just $143 million. In between the two, 2015’s “Cinderella” abandoned the songs that that earned the original 1950 animated feature two Oscar nominations and made $543 million across the globe.