From a blog on the Washington Times website titled "Why haven't we outgrown fairy tales?" focused mainly on current show "Once Upon a Time" and some upcoming movies:
Maria Tatar, Harvard University folklore and mythology professor, explains why fairy tales and their fans are timeless. 
I did a quick search for "copyright", which doesn't seem to appear [in the article here]. And copyright is the answer. Way to go, Dr. Tatar. 
Anything before 1923 is in the public domain in the United States. Nobody's going to sue you for copying Hansel and Gretel, no matter how badly you do it. These stories keep getting used because it's easier to repackage a past, successful plot than to create one from whole cloth, and there are no royalties to pay to the public domain.  
If you can license Batman, great. Otherwise, you're quickly drawn to what we all own, stories in the public domain. 
Did Shakespeare write one wholly original play? 
The question is why we don't force our government to go back to a copyright system that continually puts valuable property into the public domain for reuse -- and subsequent value we can all share successfully like the shows mentioned here. Copyright is supposed to feed the public domain once the value of exclusive ownership has been sapped for a fair period. Then it belongs to all of us. And let's face it, no idea is created in a bubble. We all contribute to society's values and mores. And society ultimately belongs to us. 
A little more about the history on the hijacking of copyright here:

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