Disney is taking no chances with the upcoming release of its live-action version of The Lion King, releasing a new TV spot featuring Beyoncé and Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, singing the tune “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
In the teaser, James Earl Jones, reprising his performance as Mufasa, Simba’s father, from the 1994 version, tells young Simba that the stars above “will always look down on [you] … and so will I,” presaging his fate in the story.
It’s the first time people are hearing Beyonce and Glover’s version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” — and the internet is freaking out.
EVERYBODY LISTEN AND WATCH!!! WE FINALLY HAVE A TASTE OF BEYONCÉ AND DONALD GLOVER SINGING IN THE LION KING! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭💕 CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT?!?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/saz2kzDBuD— ✨Francis Dominic✨IN GALAXY’S EDGE! 🚀🌌🖤 (@frncissdominc) June 20, 2019
Me: I am so productive today.— Randy Cook Jr. (@randy_monster21) June 20, 2019
*Lion King trailer with Can You Feel The Love Tonight feat. Beyonce and Childish Gambino drops*
Also Me: pic.twitter.com/XFLhlYP276
In the new CGI-animated version, Glover voices Simba, the lion cub seeking to take command of his kingdom after his father Mufasa is murdered by a jealous relative (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Beyoncé voices Nala, Simba’s love interest and future queen.
Although the new Lion King is also animated, director Jon Favreau has said he wants to make the CGI animation as life-like as it can. (The original version was drawn by hand.)
“We’re really giving them the time to do it right,” Favreau said in a recent interview about the extra effort to realize the computer animation. “It's a lot of the same people I worked with on Jungle Book. … Now I'm up to speed…and I know what the tech could do and there’s all-new tech.”
Beyoncé’s involvement has co-star Keegan-Michael Key more than a bit nervous about the stress that will likely accompany the promotional tour for the new movie, which is guaranteed to be a grand affair.
“I mean, it’s Beyoncé Knowles. I’m not looking forward to the press for this movie because you’re just gonna be on the carpet, and they’re just gonna go ‘So Lion King… Beyonce! So Beyonce’s in it!,’” Key said recently. (He plays Kamari in the film.)
Elton John wrote and performed “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” for the original 1994 animated film, which starred Matthew Broderick as Simba, Moira Kelly as Nala and Jeremy Irons as Scar. That version pulled in well over $300 million, and was the second-highest-grossing film of 1994 after Forrest Gump.
The story was later translated to a Broadway musical directed by Julie Taymor. The musical debuted in 1997 and continues to run in New York and around the world in various other road productions.
The first trailer for The Lion King, which debuted Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, was viewed some 225 million times in the first 24 hours of its release. The new version is expected to gross anywhere between $180 million and $230 million on its opening weekend, according to some box office predictions. If those numbers hold, it would likely break the previous July opening mark set by The Dark Knight in 2008 ($201 million).
Favreau’s new version opens in theaters Thursday. In addition to Beyoncé, Glover, Jones and Key, the cast includes Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Alfre Woodard and Amy Sedaris.
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