A few years ago, Disney tried something outside the box with Maleficent, a live-action retelling of Sleeping Beauty. After making plenty of money off of that movie, the studio has gone hard with live-action retellings of other animated projects, and will soon be moving forward with The Lion King, director Jon Favreau's follow-up to The Jungle Book. Plenty of people have feelings about the pros and cons of these endeavors, but if there are any people who are qualified to have opinions, it is the creators behind the original animated Lion King movie. I recently spoke to producer Don Hahn and co-director Rob Minkoff ahead of the film's latest Blu-ray release, and they had plenty to say about the upcoming movie. Hahn gave us his honest observations, noting there are two sides to the coin. He said about his feelings:
There are certainly conflicting feelings related to seeing your babies get remade. Don Hahn, especially, has experience with working in Disney's live action environment, as he was an executive producer on Maleficent and Beauty and the Beast. So, in some ways it's easy to see why the producer might be excited to see something new come down the pipeline that was directly influenced and inspired by the classic Lion King. However, even with Jon Favreau at the helm, that's no guarantee of box office success. Disney wants to make a good movie, surely, but it may not be exactly what the studio is envisioning when the final project is released. And that could be better. But it could be worse, as well.
One thing is for certain. Jon Favreau's The Lion King will be different from the animated 1994 movie, simply because it will be stylized in a different way, and will presumably be mimicking nature in real life. Co-director Rob Minkoff shared that Favreau's version really may not be super close to the animated version. He said,
Although the live action movie will be using CGI and motion capture, similar to The Jungle Book, I think there is a comparison between what Rob Minkoff has said about the live action film and how the live action Jungle Book felt, style-wise, when compared to the animated movie. There will certainly be a lot of changes with the new movie, but hopefully those changes will keep new audiences entertained and will serve to help both movies remain special in the hearts of audiences, for different reasons.
While we wait for the new movie, Disney is releasing The Lion King back onto Blu-ray with a slew of new special features as part of its Signature Collection. You'll be able to get your hands on that movie starting on August 29. As for Jon Favreau's version, you'll be able to see that in theaters in 2019.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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