The question has finally been answered and yes, Will Smith's Genie will rap in Aladdin. Those in attendance at CinemaCon were shown some brand new footage from the upcoming live-action remake, which is directed by Guy Ritchie. This included an entire, key sequence from the movie, which will be very familiar to those who are fans of the 1992 animated classic. The response to the footage was divided amongst those who were in attendance, with some being impressed, while others calling it nightmare fuel.
Disney decided to show off the scene where Aladdin, played by Mena Massoud, is sent into the Cave of Wonders to retrieve the magic lamp for Jafar, as portrayed by Marwan Kenzari. Our hero does accomplish his goal and unleashes Will Smith's Genie. This then leads to the musical number, Friend Like Me, which was originally performed by the late, great Robin Williams in the animated movie. Smith reportedly puts on a show, using multiple voices and forcing Aladdin to dance. And amazingly, he even beatboxes a bit. Clearly, they're trying to lean into the actor's strengths here.
From day one, a great deal of whether or not this movie was going to succeed or fail was riding on who was cast to play Genie, given how beloved Robin Williams' version of the character was. Will Smith is as big as stars come and has more charisma than he knows what to do with at times. Unfortunately, his Genie has been a major topic of discussion, largely not positive, ever since the first photos were released. People were unimpressed, to put it nicely, when first seeing him all CGI-ed up and blue. Based on the response coming out of CinemaCon, people are also going to be rather divided when it comes to his ability to carry a musical number.
The CinemaCon crowd was also shown some additional footage, which featured the magic carpet sequence, showcasing a bit more of Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine. There is also apparently a scene where Iago the parrot becomes quite large and chases people through the street. Overall, it sounds like this movie is going to be grand in scale, with Guy Ritchie swinging for the fences. Whether or not that's a good thing, when it all comes together, remains to be seen.
Disney has had a lot of luck with these live-action remakes in recent years, with movies like Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast proving to be huge hits at the box office. But Dumbo stumbled a bit recently. Will this be next? We won't have to wait all that long to find out, as Disney is set to release Aladdin in theaters on May 24. Feel free to check out some of the other reactions to the footage from CinemaCon below.