Home  /  Everything Else: Article  /  6 Live-Action Movies based on Your Favourite Cartoons

6 Live-Action Movies based on Your Favourite Cartoons

By Flora  /  01 Aug 2018 (Wednesday)

There are many fiction books that are now being adapted to big-budget blockbusters, the same goes for comic books and retelling of historical events (read Thai cave rescue). But you may be surprised at the number of live-action movies that were actually adapted from your favourite childhood cartoons! 

Apart from Disney animations, read on to find out which are some of the movies that were inspired/adapted from cartoons, all the way back from the 1930s!

The Flintstones


Way before The Simpsons dominated your screens, the hit cartoon 1960s series ‘The Flintstones’ was what your parents and grandparents were crazy over. Set in a romanticised stone age era featuring the Flintstone and Rubble families getting into squabbles and tiffs. The caveman characters were so adorable and relatable that it became the first animated series to broadcast at a primetime schedule. 

Fast forward 30 years later, the live-action motion picture adaptation was also a box-office hit that earned almost $342 million worldwide against a $46 million budget. Starring John Goodman as Fred Flintstone and Rick Moranis as Barney Rubble, audiences praised the film for its visual effects and art direction, which definitely was a pleasing ‘throwback’ to watch. 

The Flintstones proves that you don’t need your IG and Snapchat stories to have fun. Just rocks and stones will do the job. 

Popeye the Sailor Man

I’m Popeye the sailor man, Toot-toot! 

If you grew up in the 90s, Popeye the Sailor cartoons were the PSA for parents at that time to convince their children to eat their veggies. In the animated series, each episode roughly follows a textbook plot: Popeye has a love interest Olive Oyl, but his plans are often ruined by the villain, Bluto whenever he makes a move on her. But what makes Popeye so special is his spinach - whenever he downs a can of spinach, he gains some kind of superhuman strength to defeat Bluto. 

The cartoon series was first released in the 1930s, but aired an altered form in 1957 with a total of 231 shorts produced. It was broadcast on television for numerous years that even this writer was a fan of the super sailor man. 

Dubbed as one of Robin Williams’ best works, the 1980 live-action musical comedy remake was directed by Robert Altman and also starred Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl and Paul L. Smith as Bluto.  Though the film did not do as well as expected, it did make a decent profit, earning approximately $60million worldwide in box office sales. 

The Sweethaven set that was built for the film still exists and yes, you can visit the attraction in Malta, known as the ‘Popeye Village’


The history of Smurfs goes way back, from a Belgian comic series in 1958 to an animated series in 1981 and recently, two live-action films that starred Neil Patrick Harris. These are excluding the major expansions of the franchise to merchandise, theme parks and video games that were well-received with children. 

The animated TV series aired for 256 episodes, with a total of 418 stories about little blue human-like creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest. With more than 100 Smurf characters, their endearing characters were based on adjectives that described their characteristics such as ‘Brainy Smurf’, ‘Vanity Smurf’, ‘Clumsy Smurf’, etc. 

A 3D live-action comedy film loosely based on the animated series of the same name was released in 2011 starring Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Hank Azaria. The Smurfs characters were voiced by Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, George Lopez and Alan Cumming. Although critics crushed the film, it went on to gross a worldwide total of $563.7 million, followed by $347 million for its sequel ‘The Smurfs 2’, released in 2013. 



The talking brown Great Dane dog with a coward nature, Scooby-Doo, has charmed audiences with its antics and missteps whenever his crime-busting human allies go on a mission to solve mysteries. The success of the 1969 animated series prompted many spinoffs and related works, including a new addition of a pup character - Scooby’s nephew, Scrappy-Doo.

You definitely saw this coming - a live-action/computer-animated movie that revolves around Mystery Incorporated, a group of four young adults and a dog, Scooby who solve mysteries. It was directed by Raja Gosnell and written by James Gunn, yes, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy director, and stars  Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini and Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr Bean. It went on to rank No. 1 in various countries with a total worldwide gross of $275.5 million, making it the 15th most successful film worldwide in 2012. 

Mr Magoo

The 1949 animation series, Mr Magoo is a comedy that focused on a character who was so myopic that he stumbles into a series of comical situations that affected people around him thinks that he is a lunatic. The series was so well-received that it was even nominated for the Academy Award four times for its Best Animated Short Film category. While people found it funny at that point, the live-action movie film was criticised for mocking people with nearsightedness. 

Not many people knew that the 1997 Mr. Magoo live-action adaptation film was directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Stanley Tong, marking it his sole English-language film. It starred Leslie Nielsen as the title character, alongside Kelly Lynch, Matt Keeslar and Jennifer Garner. It was a commercial failure, grossing only $21 million on its $30 million budget. 


Winnie the Pooh

Think, think, think!

Our favourite yellow bear who loves his honey is such an endearing character loved by many people young and old. There were many spinoffs and franchises revolving around the Winnie the Pooh characters since its inception of the anthropomorphic teddy bear in 1926. It was created by English author A. A. Milne who wrote the book inspired by a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne. 

Many of its animated films and shorts were extremely well-received that Forbes ranked Winnie-the-Pooh as the most valuable fiction character and in 2005, it generated $6 billion, a figure that only surpassed Micky Mouse by far. 

The live-action movie, Christopher Robin, tells the origin story of how it all came about. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael with  Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh; Chris O’Dowd as Tigger; Brad Garrett as Eeyore; Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.

Christopher Robin opens InCinemas 2 August 2018.

Which of these movies or cartoon are your favourites? Tell us in the comments below!
You say

Get Showtimes