Jon Favreau’s “ The Lion King” remake dominated the summer box office with $542 million in the U.S. and over $1.6 billion worldwide, but one person who was not happy with the release was Elton John. The musician created the original songs with Tim Rice for Disney’s 1994 “The Lion King,” many of which were used again in Favreau’s remake. John and Rice’s work on “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” won the Oscar for Best Original Song, but John was not feeling the love for the new “Lion King.”
“The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up,” John recently told British GQ while promoting the release of his new memoir. “Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost.”
In addition to reusing John and Rice’s songs, Favreau’s “The Lion King” also featured new original music from the likes of Beyoncé, who curated an entire album inspired by the remake that she called “The Gift.” John was clearly not impressed by the new additions or the updated versions of his classic songs. Shortly before the film’s July release, a clip of Donald Glover’s rendition of “Hakuna Matata” was put online to much backlash from fans. John told British GQ he played no part in the 2019 remake.
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“I wish I’d been invited to the party more,” John said, “but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad.”
John’s “Lion King” criticism arrives as awards season heats up. Many Oscar prognosticators believe “The Lion King” is a frontrunner to earn a nomination for Best Visual Effects and possibly win the prize. Favreau’s “The Jungle Book” won the category in 2017. Disney will most likely submit Beyoncé’s “Spirit” for the 2020 Best Original Song Oscar, although no one should except any support from John. The singer’s musical biopic “Rocketman” is also hoping to factor into the award race.
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