Jon Favreau proved, earlier this year, that cutting-edge technology allows filmmakers to breathe new life into animated classics when he brought The Jungle Book back to theaters. Many wondered if Favreau would rush into a Jungle Book sequel, seeing as how successful this first movie was. As it turns out, he has something different, and equally awesome, in mind.
Walt Disney Studios confirmed this morning that Jon Favreau will fast-track a live-action retelling of The Lion King, which will include songs from the original animated movie. No release date has been set for the film just yet, though knowing the intense and lengthy production schedule for The Jungle Book, we don't imagine that we will see it in theaters any time soon.
The Lion King, released back in 1994, banked a staggering $968 million dollars during its box office rune, making it on of the highest-grossing animated movies of all time... at that time. It even won an Oscar, for Elton John and Tim Rice's "Can you Feel the Love Tonight." (Naturally, Lion King has been surpassed by Frozen and a handful of recent Walt Disney animated movies since then, but it's still a smash.) Yet, The Lion King also has branched out into numerous other avenues of pop culture, including a very successful Broadway show that had award-winning music.
This is a new trend for Walt Disney. After The Jungle Book, the studio is prepping for a live-action interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, which co-stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast. Now we'll have a live-action Lion King to look forward to, and in the news break, Disney confirms that they are moving ahead with negotiations for The Jungle Book 2, also with Jon Favreau.
The biggest question will be timing. Favreau spent years working on The Jungle Book, because the CGI and green screen work needed to bring the animals to life acting alongside young actor Neel Sethi. And the story of The Lion King means that Favreau will have to create several CGI creatures, as well... in fact, 100% of them. But maybe the process that he perfected on The Jungle Book will allow him to work quicker? Hopefully not at the expense of quality.
Disney will have Beauty and the Beast in theaters in 2017, so it's POSSIBLE that this movie could make it into theaters by the end of 2018. We will continue to track all details on the movie, but with the studio confirming the news, we can officially get very excited for Favreau's interpretation of the classic Walt Disney story!