I think Disneyfied is still a thing. There’s a through line between stuff like Beauty and the Beast, the Force Awakens, the Marvel films. They’re all pretty safe and tame, they don’t grapple with big or interesting ideas, they rarely do anything interesting visually, they reel off the same kinds of jokes and beats.
The McDonalds metaphor is a cliche but it’s completely apt. You go into a Disney film knowing exactly what to expect. The baseline quality is generally high, the amount of risk generally low. There are zero surprises, but the value tends to be good, which is the important thing—particularly for families.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all. I just don’t want it to be everything.
As for the Apes and Alien, who knows. I’m not convinced Alien has much wide appeal—Prometheus did well but I think it was curiosity-seekers intrigued by Ridley Scott’s return, who ultimately didn’t like what they saw. Apes was a trilogy or seemed like one, and it’s over. This latest film added a Disney-like character and people laughed at some of its jokes, but it also felt a little incongruous. It is a franchise that has never been “light” however—it’s about animal cruelty, racism, and the downfall of mankind and has been as such since Heston wore the loincloth. Who knows what will happen with these franchises.
I will also add that the one recent Disney film that didn’t adhere to the “McDonalds” comp I laid out above was Rogue One, and that was a terrible movie that I sense they regret making. Age of Ultron was similar (I liked it but I know many didn’t). So maybe they shouldn’t even try to take chances.