The live-action Lion King is not a shot-for-shot remake. Ranked by many as one of the best animated Disney films of all time, The Lion King blew audiences away upon its release in 1994 and has since gone on to be among the top ten highest-grossing animated films that Disney has ever released.
With this kind of clout behind one of its titles, and given the phenomenal success of Disney’s 2016 live-action retelling of The Jungle Book, few were shocked to learn that the new trend of retelling animated classics in a live-action format was going to take on The Lion King. And, as director Jon Favreau had done such a great job with The Jungle Book, Disney had no qualms with assigning him the monumental task of bringing one of the most cherished animated films of all time to life.
Ever since Disney announced that they would be putting together a live-action version of The Lion King, fans everywhere have felt a distinct mixture of excitement and slight anxiety over how such a beloved title could be reproduced in live-action. Despite assurances late last year from Disney that The Lion King would not be a shot-for-shot remake, fans remained somewhat skeptical. Now, however, IndieWire is reporting that Favreau has doubled-down on that promise, though he has pointed out that some shots in the original are so iconic that they had to be left in. Favreau said:
“The original holds up incredibly well, so the challenge here was to tell a story in a different way but still deliver on people’s expectations while surprising them somehow.”
Favreau’s assurances will likely do much to quell any fears that die-hard fans might have had over the remake, though the film’s recent trailer has offered a glimpse at something so visually stunning that few can resist predicting a huge future for it. Compared to Disney’s Will Smith-backed live-action retelling of Aladdin (arriving in theaters next month), The Lion King’s buzz has been decidedly more positive - though much of this can be arguably attributed to the fact that Aladdin had left a truly indelible mark on an entire generation, thanks to the late Robin Williams’ performance as the film’s genie. That sort of legacy will never be forgotten, and Smith, along with the rest of the Aladdin remake’s cast and crew, have perhaps been judged too soon on the work they’ve done to give fans a different perspective on the tale.
However, the general impression that The Lion King currently gives off - not just from its trailer, but also from its stacked cast (including the voices of James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, and Beyonce) - is of a film that has every chance of ruling the summer box office. Favreau already has the proven experience and skill to pull off a live-action remake of this caliber, and his assurances that it won't simply be a shot-for-shot remake means that much is in store for Lion King fans both old and new.
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019