Jon Favreau has just announced his live-action remake of The Lion King will be released in Summer 2019. Disney's remake enterprise has a lot of very intriguing films on the horizon, including Guy Ritchie's Aladdin, Tim Burton's Dumbo and Niki Caro's Mulan, although the one that has fans' attention most is The Lion King.
The 1994 classic is one of the most beloved animated films of all time, and with director Jon Favreau leading the charge there's a hope he can deliver on the immensely high expectations; he was the one who really showed the legitimacy of the live-action remakes with his billion-dollar-grossing The Jungle Book, and King will follow a similar creative approach of photo-realistic animals voiced by A-list celebrities. With production expected to start in May, it was already presumed things were well underway, and now the film has a firm release date.
Favreau has announced on his Twitter that the film is set to come out on July 19, 2019, just over two years from now.
— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) April 25, 2017
It has previously been confirmed that Donald Glover will play the adult Simba and James Earl Jones will reprise his role of Mufasa from the original, while Beyonce is the rumored favorite to play Nala. With the May start date looming it's likely the key roles will be confirmed in the next month or so; like The Jungle Book, The Lion King presumably won't use motion-capture but will have its actors serve as a guide.
The July 2019 date gives the film a generous production schedule in-line with The Jungle Book. In that vein, the big difference between films is the time of year they'll be releasing; the Rudyard Kipling adaptation came out in April 2016, but The Lion King has a prime summer slot, revealing Disney's high hopes for the film. This is hardly surprising; Beauty and the Beast recently made over $1 billion worldwide, and the African Hamlet has if anything more brand recognition so could go even bigger.
Favreau recently talked about his approach to the film, saying he was astutely aware of the level of love out there for the original film and how he hoped to balance iconography reverence and new additions. There's sure to be a big question over how exactly The Lion King will define itself as live-action rather than animation - unlike The Jungle Book there's no human reference point - but given the filmmaker's previous success and his generous production time, there's no real reason to doubt him.
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