From the recent releases of Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Pete’s Dragon, to the upcoming Beauty and the Beast, Disney is moving full speed ahead on a seeming quest to produce live-action remakes of all of its biggest animated classics. Not that this is in any way a bad thing, as Cinderella, Jungle, and Pete’s Dragon have all been met by terrific reviews, and profit margins ranging from good to amazing.
The biggest hit of the live-action Disney remakes so far is definitely Jungle Book, which sits at a lofty 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and has hauled in nearly one billion dollars on a budget of $175 million. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Disney has officially opted to entrust Jungle Book director Jon Favreau with the duty of remaking arguably its most treasured animated property of all-time: 1994’s The Lion King. Disney has also confirmed that a sequel to Jungle Book is in development, with Favreau still at the helm.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone reading this needs an introduction to The Lion King, which won Oscars for its music and itself has a lifetime box office gross of nearly a billion dollars. The film also spawned an incredibly successful Broadway show, which has now been running for nearly two decades. Lovers of the classic Elton John-created songs can rest easy, as Disney and Favreau plan to include them in this new live-action take on the material.
While many questioned the wisdom of Disney setting out to remake its animated classics in live-action, it’s hard to argue with the results so far. In an age where the divide between critical and moviegoer opinion on the latest studio blockbusters just seems to be getting wider, Cinderella and Jungle Book managed to become huge hits with both reviewers and audiences. Even Pete’s Dragon – the lowest grossing of the three efforts so far – still went over great with critics, and is close to doubling its production budget in theaters.
As well as Favreau’s Jungle Book has performed, The Lion King’s shadow looms even larger over the Disney brand, with many regarding it as the greatest movie of any kind that the studio has ever released. If Favreau pulls this off well, Disney may very well be in for one of its biggest hits in history. In the meantime, fans should be prepared to fall in love with Simba and company all over again, as it seems Favreau just can’t wait to be king.
Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of The Lion King has no current release date.