Disney fan debates which Disney princess remake is the best (Opinion)

Three different strategies are used to determine the answer to this very important question: Which Disney princess live action remake is the best of them all?


Skylar Whalen

Disney started remaking Disney princess films in 2014, starting with Maleficent. Their most recent remake is Mulan, released in 2020.

After writing a review on the newest live action remake from Disney, Mulan, I started to wonder which Disney princess remake is truly the best. Clearly, this is a very important question, and I had to find out the truth once and for all.

These remakes will be scored using three different methods. And no, it will not be based on my favorite princess (sadly, Disney has not made a live action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs yet). The movie that wins in the most categories will be given the title of “best Disney princess remake”. In total, five Disney princess remakes have been released and will be reviewed: Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Aladdin (2019), and Mulan (2020). 

Many avid movie watchers look on Rotten Tomatoes before seeing a movie to avoid wasting two hours of their life if necessary. Though I do not usually use Rotten Tomatoes myself, it seems like a fairly accurate, well known, and relevant scoring system. The movies are given two different percentages out of 100: the Tomatometer and the Audience Score. I will be using the Tomatometer system. This rating system is explained by Rotten Tomatoes, saying, “A red tomato score [indicates] its fresh status… designated when at least 60% of the reviews are positive. A green splat [indicates] rotten status [and] is displayed when less than 60% of the reviews are positive.” The percentages equal the amount of positive reviews.

The top three movies in this category are Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Mulan. Third place in this category is Beauty and the Beast at 71 percent. Second place in this category is Mulan at 73 percent. And finally, the winner of the Tomatometer is Cinderella at 83 percent. On Rotten Tomatoes, the “Critics Consensus” says, “Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella proves Disney hasn’t lost its old-fashioned magic.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s nice to see a film so clean cut and pure.

The next scoring category selected is the domestic box office, which basically measures how much the movie gained in terms of views and purchases in the country. Overall, the domestic box office shows how much money actual watchers in the United States paid to see the movie. Usually, the movie that makes the most money is pretty well made, and many Americans agree that it was a film that transferred anyone watching into each and every scene.

Some of these movies made dollars going into the billions. The top three movies in the domestic box office category are Aladdin, Maleficent, and Beauty and the Beast. Third is Maleficent, coming in at $758.5 million in total. Aladdin is second, making $1.051 billion in the domestic box office. The first place winner came in at $1.264 billion: Beauty and the Beast.

The last scoring group may be a little biased since I’m looking at which movie I believe was best made and most enjoyed. It’s important to get the perspective from an average viewer (and, I’ll admit, Disney fan). I refreshed my memory on these remakes and put a lot of thought into which one was the absolute best. To avoid complete bias from the data, I wrote the my personal opinion down before reviewing the Tomatometer and domestic box office. I first thought that a high school film festival rubric would be suitable for scoring these movies, but I realized that these movies were made by professionals and may need some harsher criteria. All the remakes scored the same highest score on the rubric, so I decided to use a different system.

This winner of the “what a Disney fan thought was the best movie award” (yes, I know it’s a very long and extensive name) was picked out of my top two movies: Cinderella and Maleficent. I rewatched the five movies, and these two were the ones I had the most trouble choosing between due to their incredible production and storylines that brought me along for the ride.

The winning film had an elegant feel and stunning production. It was able to scatter its own small changes of interpretation throughout while keeping key components of the story. I feel that many viewers are able to enjoy this magical fairytale unfold in a graceful way that is realistic to its time period. The winner of the long name award (“what a Disney fan thought was the best award”) — drum roll please — is Cinderella.

The top winners in each category were Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and the Beast scored one point in the box office category, and Cinderella scored two from both the Tomatometer category and the long name award category, making it the winner. The best Disney princess live action remake is Cinderella.

Did you agree or disagree with my ruling? Was there a different movie that you thought should have been awarded as the best Disney princess remake instead?