’The Lion King’ (Disney)
By Borys Kits, The Hollywood Reporter
Disney’s animated classic The Lion King is the latest movie that will be re-imagined as a live-action/CG project.
Disney is reteaming with Jon Favreau, the filmmaker who brought to life The Jungle Book, for a 21st century take on the tale, which it has fast-tracked to production, it announced.
Excited for my next project 🦁👑
— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau)
“The Lion King builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book,” the company said on its website. “The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King will include songs from the animated film.”
The new take won’t be live-action per se but will definitely look it. Favreau will build on what he accomplished with Jungle Book — using a real child actor and bringing to life the jungle and its animals via cutting edge technology and a green-screen set in a Los Angeles studio.
Lion King is considered one of the pinnacles of Disney’s animated movies, and in animation in general. The 1994 movie was the culmination of the successful turnaround the studio undertook after spending much of the 1970s and 1980s in the doldrums.
Set in the African savanna, the story told of a young lion named Simba who loses his father Mufasa thanks to his evil uncle Scar, and is cast out into far reaches of the wilderness. Years later, he returns to reclaim his throne.
The movie for years was the top-grossing animated movie of all time — $968.8 million worldwide, including $422.8 million domestically. It won Academy Awards for the original song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and original score. The soundtrack selling over 14 million copies.
Disney also translated the movie for the stage, where it surprised naysayers by winning six Tony Awards and has gone on to become one of Broadway’s biggest hits.
Purists may roar but in light of Disney’s continued success with this strategy (there’s already a sequel in the works for Jungle Book given its almost $1 billion at the box office), to them the studio says, “Hakuna matata.”