Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire Directors Address Rumors of Live-Action Remake

As The Walt Disney Company continues to find success by rebooting their classic animated films into live-action (or in the cast of The Lion King "photo-real") features, rumors will continue to swirl about what films they'll be giving the reboot treatment next. After grossing a billion dollars with the likes of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, the company continues to mine their IP for another blockbuster hit but not everything has been confirmed to be in the works. One persistent rumor that continues to fill up the information superhighway is talks of a live-action version of the cult animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire. According to the directors of that film though, that's not the case.

Speaking on Collider Connected, co-directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale threw water on this, attributing the talks of it strictly to internet murmurs. When asked, Wise said, "I've heard, so far, the only rumor of Atlantis being tackled as a live-action movie has been strictly on the internet. I haven't gotten any independent corroboration of that."

Trousdale added, "I've actually heard the opposite, that at the last big convention where Disney rolls out their five-year plan [D23 Expo], that Atlantis was not on the docket."

Even if Disney did decide to reboot Atlantis into its own film, something that seems like a longshot as more popular properties like Hercules and Bambi are in development, it probably wouldn't be the kind of news that would have Wise and Trousdale jumping for joy.

"I sort of have mixed feelings about the live-action remakes," Wise said. "On the one hand, it's great to have been involved in movies that have had so much longevity and have created so much affection in the audience that they'd be excited to see a new adaptation of the movie, but sometimes I found myself saying, 'Just go watch the old one, it's still good.'"

Trousdale added, "My completely objective and non-varnished opinion is that the animated ones are better anyway — every single one of them. But that's just me." To that, Wise said, "It's not just you."

Released in 2001, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was an expensive experiment for Disney (featuring character designs by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola) but a costly one as it was a box office and critical disappointment. In the time since however it has developed a cult following and has plenty of fans. Streaming now on Disney+ the original film's description reads:


"A crew of archaeologists and explorers, led by historian Milo Thatch, board an incredible submarine and head deep into the mysteries of the sea in search of the legendary kingdom of Atlantis. The underwater expedition takes an unexpected turn when the team's mission must shift from exploring the submerged kingdom to protecting it from the mystical powers that be."