Disney have hit a rich vein of critical and commercial success with their latest series of live action remakes of classic animated features, and the next movie off the production line is Aladdin, starring Will Smith and Naomi Scott, which is set for a May release.
This remake of the 1992 animated classic follows Dumbo, which was released to mixed reviews in March, and there are more Disney remakes to come this year, with The Lion King due for release in July and Maleficient: Mistress of Evil, and Lady and the Tramp both slated to appear in the autumn.
Of course, some remakes present more challenges than others, and in the case of Aladdin, there is the daunting prospect of attempting to fill the shoes of the late Robin Williams, whose voicing of the character of the genie in the 1992 film was widely praised and earned him a Golden Globe.
Will Smith has admitted that the prospect of taking on the role of the genie was terrifying, and when a clip of Smith was previewed during February’s Grammy Awards ceremony, the reaction on social media suggested that audiences could also be in for a dose of terror.
A subsequent trailer produced a more favourable reaction, but it hasn’t moved bookmakers who are generally rating the movie as an outsider for next year’s Best Picture Oscar. Paddy Power have given Aladdin odds of 55/1; a bigger price than they’re offering on Dumbo (50/1) or The Lion King (17/1).
And punters tempted by those odds should note that no animated or partially-animated movie has ever won the Oscar in this category, and only three have been nominated, the latest being Toy Story 3 (2010). If Aladdin is to spring a surprise in this market, it will also have to surpass a host of heavyweight contenders, including the current 3/1 favourite, The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (6/1).