Classic Disney animated features have a special place in the hearts of generations, as parents and children alike grew up watching them in theaters and VHS. In recent years, the House of Mouse has taken to remaking some of these iconic movies into live action. Starting with Angelia Jolie's Maleficent, Disney has seen the cash come in, following suit with blockbusters like Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast. And it appears that the studio has no signs of slowing down, with Mulan, Cruella De Vil, and The Lion King currently being developed, among others. But it seems like the latter comes with the most pressure, and Jon Favreau explained why Simba's story is particularly terrifying to adapt.
The Jungle Book was 50 years ago, Lion King was 20, and people grew up with it in an age of video where they're watching it over and over again. So, I have to really examine all of those plot points. Also, the myths are very strong in that, so you're hitting something even deeper than the movie sometimes. What I'm trying to do is honor what was there... There are certain expectations people have.
This actually makes total sense. Folks love The Lion King, and they know the classic Disney hit extremely well. So any missteps or changes in this new adaption are going to be viewed from a microscopic perspective by the fans.
The original Lion King movie was released in 1994 to universal acclaim and oodles of money. Its theatrical run resulted in two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a whopping $968.5 million. Additionally, almost every household in the country purchased the film on VHS, and 90's kids like me watched the tape until it started getting wonky from overuse. Additionally, The Lion King is a massively successful Broadway musical that is currently in its 20th season on the great white way.
It's this level of iconography that has Jon Favreau understandably nervous to helm the live-action adaptation. But if his work on The Jungle Book is any indication, hardcore fans can probably rest easy. The Jungle Book received a ton of positive attention for its fantastic CGI creation of the titular jungle, as well as the ability to insert newcomer Neel Sethi into a world completely created by visual affects. If he can take this same sensibility and apply it to The Lion King, while also retaining the original film's light(ish) tone, it could be a home run for Disney.
Be sure to check back with us here at CinemaBlend for updated on The Lion King as they become public. In the meantime, check out our full release list and plan your next trip to the movies.