Disney has an impressive library of animated movies, but since the start of the decade, the studio has been selecting numerous tales from this collection to adapt for live action. This includes using the best special and visual effects the movie-making industry has to offer to achieve a live action look for Disney movies that couldn't be fully or partially adapted in traditional live action. The Jungle Book did that in 2016 with everything that wasn't Mowgli, and following in its footsteps is The Lion King, arguably the biggest hit from the Disney Renaissance era.
The 1994 Lion King is still one of Disney's most popular releases, so this "live action" remake has its job cut out to come anywhere close to the legacy its animated predecessor has built up. That being said, the news surrounding the movie indicates that this is shaping up to be one of the studio's most ambitious projects. With that in mind, we've gathered all the details that have been released so far about The Lion King so you have a better idea of what to expect from this new journey into the Pride Rock kingdom.
What Is The Lion King's Release Date
The Lion King will be released in theaters on July 19, 2019, a little over 25 years after the animated movie was released. Disney's recent live action remakes have traditionally come out between March and May, so putting Lion King in the latter half of the summer movie season is an interesting move. The main reason for this is likely because Dumbo is already dated for March 29 of that same year, and packing two remakes within a month or two of each other would be over saturation. Of course, this is Disney we're talking about; the studio's track record with movies in the summer (even if it's more on the commercial side than the critical) is typically great. Plus, the original Lion King movie remains one of Disney's most popular animated releases, so you can be sure that audiences will come out in droves to see this new adaptation. So, the July release date probably won't affect The Lion King's performance negatively, although that may change if another studio schedules its own highly-anticipated blockbuster for that same opening weekend.
What Is The Lion King's Rating
It will be a while until we learn what The Lion King's official MPAA rating will be, but looking at the studio's other live action remakes and the target audience, one can logically surmise that it will end up being a PG feature. Look at 2016's The Jungle Book. That was rated PG for "some sequences of scary action and peril." While The Lion King doesn't have a human as its central character like The Jungle Book did, the animal-centric action from the latter is a good indicator that the former will earn a similar rating. Disney wants this movie to be accessible to almost everyone, so while the remake may take some creative liberties to be darker than its predecessor, the studio won't risk making it PG-13. That said, if might be wise to leave the little ones at home and let them enjoy the animated Lion King for a few years before exposing them to this more intense version.
The Lion King's Director
Jon Favreau kicked off his directing career with 2001's Made, and he followed that up with 2003's Elf and 2005's Zathura. 2008's Iron Man, however, marked his biggest blockbuster venture yet, and, along with 2010's Iron Man 2, he helped lay the groundwork for what the Marvel Cinematic Universe would become in later years. After scaling back his MCU duties, Favreau kept the blockbuster train going with 2011's Cowboys and Aliens, and three years after that, he released the acclaimed comedy-drama Chef, which he also wrote and starred in. Which brings us to 2016's The Jungle Book, which was one of Disney's biggest hits of that year and no doubt the reason Favreau was tasked with tackling The Lion King before The Jungle Book 2. Favreau has proven he can deliver a compelling story revolved around realistic-looking, talking animals, so giving audiences a good Lion King re-telling should be no sweat for him.
Is The Live Action Lion King A Musical?
Disney's live action remakes have varied in terms of how closely they match the animated movies they're based off of. Some are straightforward adaptations that have taken a few creative liberties, like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Others have been significantly different from their animated predecessors, like Maleficent and the Alice in Wonderland movies. It remains to be seen how much of the live action Lion King's plot will deviate from the original movie, but it's been confirmed that this new version (which is being penned by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales writer Jeff Nathanson) will remain a musical that features songs that we remember Simba and the gang belting out. What those songs will be haven't been announced yet, and we also shouldn't be surprised if, like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King remake throws in a few original tunes to add extra flair. As a side note, Hans Zimmer has also been brought back to score the remake.