The Lion King

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The Lion King
In an African savannah, several animals stare at a lion atap a taw rock. A lion's heid can be seen in the cloods above. Atap the image is the text "Walt Disney Pictures presents The Lion King".
Theatrical release poster bi John Alvin[1]
Directit bi
Produced bi Don Hahn
Screenplay bi
Story bi
Muisic bi Hans Zimmer
Eeditit bi Ivan Bilancio
Distributit bi Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • Juin 15, 1994 (1994-06-15)
Runnin time
88 meenits[2]
Kintra Unitit States
Leid Inglis
Budget $45 million[3]
Box office $968.5 million[3]

The Lion King is a 1994 American animatit epic muisical film, produced bi Walt Disney Feature Animation an released bi Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nt animatit featur in the Disney animatit featur film. The story taks place in a kinrick o lions in Africae, an wis influenced bi William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The film wis produced during a period kent as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King wis directit bi Roger Allers an Rob Minkoff, produced bi Don Hahn, an haes a screenplay creditit tae Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, an Linda Woolverton. Its oreeginal sangs war written bi composer Elton John an lyricist Tim Rice, an oreeginal scores war written bi Hans Zimmer. The film featurs an ensemble vyce cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings.

The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is tae succeed his faither, Mufasa, as Keeng o the Pride Lands; houiver, efter Simba's uncle Scar murthers Mufasa, Simba is manipulated intae thinkin he wis responsible an flees intae exile. Upon maturation livin wi twa wastrels, Simba is gien some valuable perspective frae his childhood friend, Nala, an his shaman, Rafiki, afore returnin tae challenge Scar aeo end his tyranny an tak his place in the Circle of Life as the rightful Keeng.

Development o The Lion King began in 1988 durin a meetin atween Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney an Peter Schneider whiles promotin Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas Disch wrote a film treatment, an Woolverton developed the first scripts whiles George Scribner wis signed on as director, bein later jynt by Allers. Production began in 1991 concurrently wi Pocahontas, which wound up attractin maist o Disney's tap animators. Some time efter the staff traveled tae Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya tae research on the film's setting an ainimals, Scribner left production disagreein wi the decision tae turn the film intae a muisical an wis replaced bi Minkoff. When Hahn jynt the project, he wis dissatisfied wi the script an the story wis promptly rewritten. Nearly 20 meenits o animation sequences war produced at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. Computer animation wis an aa uised in several scenes, maist notably in the wildebeest stampede sequence.

The Lion King wis released on Juin 15, 1994, tae a positive reaction frae critics, wha praised the film for its muisic, story, an animation; it finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossin release o 1994 an the seicont highest-grossin film of aw time. The Lion King garnered twa Academy Awards for its achievement in muisic an the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film haes led tae mony derived works, sic as a Broadway adaptation; twa direct-to-video follae-ups—the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), and the prequel/parallel, The Lion King 1½ (2004)—; twa televeesion series, Timon and Pumbaa an The Lion Guard; an a 3D re-release, in 2011.

In 2016, the film wis selected for preservation in the Unitit States National Film Registry bi the Library of Congress as bein "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

A CGI live-action remake of the film is scheduled for a Julie 19, 2019 release in the Unitit States.

Plot[eedit | eedit soorce]

In the Pride Lands o Africa, a lion rules ower the ainimal kinrick frae Pride Rock. Keeng Mufasa's newborn son, Simba, is presented tae the assembled ainimals bi Rafiki, a mandrill wha serves as shaman an advisor. Mufasa shaws young Simba the Pride Lands an explains tae him the responsibilities o keengship an the "circle o life" which connects aw livin things. Mufasa's younger brither, Scar, covets the throne an plots tae kill Mufasa an Simba sae he can acome keeng. He tricks Simba an his best friend Nala (whom Zazu reveals is betrothed tae Simba) intae explorin a forbidden elephants' graveyard, whaur thay are attacked bi three spotted hyenas who are in league wi Scar. Mufasa is alerted tae the danger bi his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu, an rescues the cubs. Tho angry wi Simba, Mufasa forgives him an explains that the great keengs o the past watch ovwer them frae the nicht sky, frae which he will ane day watch ower Simba.

Scar sets a trap for his brither an nephew, lurin Simba intae a gorge an haein the hyenas drive a lairge herd o wildebeest intae a stampede that will trample him. He informs Mufasa o Simba's danger, knowin the keeng will rush tae save his son. Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hangin perilously frae the gorge's edge an is betrayed bi Scar, wha sends him fallin tae his daith. Scar convinces Simba that the tragedy wis Simba's ain fault an advises him tae flee the kinrick. He orders the hyenas tae kill the cub, but Simba escapes. Scar tells the pride that baith Mufasa an Simba war killed in the stampede an steps forward as the new keeng, allouin a lairge pack o hyenas tae live in the Pride Lands.

Simba collapses in a desert an is rescued bi Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat an warthog who are fellae outcasts. Simba grows up in the jungle wi his twa new friends, livin a carefree life under the motto "hakuna matata" ("no worries" in Swahili). Nou an adult, Simba rescues Timon an Pumbaa frae a hungry lioness wha turns oot tae be Nala. She an Simba reunite an faw in love, an she urges him tae return home, telling him the Pride Lands hae acome a drocht-stricken wasteland under Scar's reign. Feelin guilty ower his faither's daith, Simba refuses an runs off. Simba encounters Rafiki, wha tells him that he daes nae know wha he is. Rafiki reminds Simba that he is Mufasa's son an Mufasa' spirit lifes on in Simba. Simba is then visited bi the ghost o Mufasa in the nicht sky, wha tells him he must claim his rightful place as keeng. Realizin he can no langer run frae his past, Simba chooses tae return home.

Aided bi his friends, Simba sneaks past the hyenas at Pride Rock an confronts Scar. Scar taunts him ower his role in Mufasa's daith an forces him tae the edge o the rock, whaur he reveals tae Simba that he murdered Mufasa. Enraged, Simba pins Scar tae the grund and forces him tae reveal the truth tae the rest o the pride. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, an the lionesses fend off the hyenas while Scar, attemptin tae escape, is cornered bi Simba at the tap o Pride Rock. Scar begs for mercy an attempts tae blame the hyenas for his actions; Simba spares his life but orders him tae leave the Pride Lands forever. Scar then attacks his nephew, but Simba manages tae toss him frae the tap o the rock. Scar survives the faw but is killed bi the hyenas, who owerheard him betray them tae Simba. Wi his enemies gone, Simba taks ower the keengship as the rains begin tae faw, restorin life tae the land.

Later, wi Pride Rock restored tae its umwhile glory, Rafiki presents Simba an Nala's newborn cub tae the assembled ainimals, continuing the circle o life.

Cast[eedit | eedit soorce]

A promotional image o the characters frae the film. Frae left tae richt: Shenzi, Scar, Ed, Banzai, Rafiki, Young Simba, Mufasa, Young Nala, Sarabi, Zazu, Sarafina, Timon, an Pumbaa
  • Matthew Broderick as Simba, son o Mufasa an Sarabi, who grows up tae acome Keeng o the Pride Lands. Joseph Williams providit adult Simba's singing vyce. Mark Henn an Ruben A. Aquino respectively served as the supervisin animators for young an adult Simba.[4]
  • Jeremy Irons as Scar, Mufasa's younger brither an Simba's uncle, who taks the throne. Andreas Deja served as the supervisin animator for Scar.[4]
  • James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Simba's faither, Keeng o the Pride Lands as the film begins. Tony Fucile served as the supervisin animator for Mufasa.[4]
  • Moira Kelly as Nala, Simba's best friend an later his wife. Sally Dworsky providit her singing vyce. Aaron Blaise an Anthony de Rosa respectively served as the supervisin animators for young an adult Nala.[4]
    • Niketa Calame providit the vyce o young Nala while Laura Williams providit her sangin vyce.[4]
  • Nathan Lane as Timon, a wise-crackin an sel-absorbed yet somewhit loyal meerkat who becomes ane o Simba's best friends an adoptive parents. Michael Surrey served as his supervisin animator.[4]
  • Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, a naive warthog who suffers frae flatulence an is Timon's best friend an an aa becomes ane o Simba's best friends an adoptive parents. Tony Bancroft served as his supervisin animator.[4]
  • Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, a wise auld mandrill (awtho, while coonselin Simba, he jokes that "ye are a baboon, an I am nae") who serves as shaman o the Pride Lands an presents newborn cubs o the Keeng an Queen tae the ainimals o the Pride Lands. James Baxter served as the supervisin animator for Rafiki.[4]
  • Rowan Atkinson as Zazu, a hornbill who serves as the king's majordomo (or "Mufasa's little stooge", as Shenzi calls him). Ellen Woodbury served as the supervisin animator for Zazu.[4]
  • Madge Sinclair as Sarabi, Mufasa's mate, Simba's mither, an the leader o the lioness huntin pairty. Russ Edmonds served as the supervisin animator for Sarabi.[4]
  • The three hyenas who serve Scar war animated by Alex Kupershmidt an David Burgess.[4]
    • Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi, the sassy an short-tempered female leader o the trio.
    • Cheech Marin as Banzai, an aggressive an het-headed hyena prone tae complainin an actin on impulse.
    • Jim Cummings as Ed, a dim-witted hyena who daes nae talk, anly communicatin throu lauchter. Cummings an aa voiced a gopher that talks wi Zazu an replaced Irons as Scar in certaint lines o "Be Prepared" efter Irons blew his vyce.[5]
  • Zoe Leader as Sarafina, Nala's mither, who is shawn briefly talkin tae Simba's mither, Sarabi.

Production[eedit | eedit soorce]

Development[eedit | eedit soorce]

The idea for The Lion King wis conceived in late 1988 during a conversation atween Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney an Peter Schneider on a plane tae Europe tae promote Oliver & Company. During the conversation, the topic o a story set in Africa came up, an Katzenberg immediately jumped at the idea.[6] The idea wis then developed by Walt Disney Feature Animation's vice preses for creative affairs Charlie Fink.[7] Katzenberg decidit tae add elements involvin comin o age an daith, an ideas frae personal life experiences, sic as some o his trials in his bumpy road in politics, sayin aboot the film, "It is a little bit about myself."[8] In November o that year Thomas Disch (author o The Brave Little Toaster) wrote a treatment entitled King of the Kalahari,[9] an afterwards, Linda Woolverton spent a year writin drafts o the script, which wis titled King of the Beasts an then King of the Jungle.[7] The oreeginal version o the film wis very different frae the final film. The plot wis centred in a battle bein atween lions an baboons wi Scar bein the leader o the baboons, Rafiki bein a cheetah,[8] an Timon an Pumbaa bein Simba's childhood friends.[10] Simba wad an aa nae leave the kingdom, but acome a "lazy, slovenly, horrible character" due tae manipulations frae Scar, sae Simba coud be overthrown efter comin o age. By 1990, producer Thomas Schumacher, who haed just completit The Rescuers Down Under, decidit tae attach himsel tae the project "acause lions are cuil".[7] Schumacher likened the script for King of the Jungle tae "an animatit National Geographic special".[11]

Oliver & Company director George Scribner wis the initial director o the film,[12] bein later jynt by Roger Allers, who wis the lead story man on Beauty and the Beast in October 1991.[6] Allers brought wi him Brenda Chapman, who wad acome the heid o story.[7] Afterwards, several o the lead crew members, includin Allers, Scribner, Hahn, Chapman, an production designer Chris Sanders, teuk a trip tae Hell's Gate Naitional Pairk in Kenyae, in order tae study an gain an appreciation o the environment for the film.[13] Efter sax months o story development wirk Scribner decidit tae leave the project, as he clashed wi Allers an the producers on thair decision tae turn the film intae a muisical, as Scribner's intention wis o makin a documentary-lik film mair focused on naitural aspects.[6][14] Rob Minkoff replaced Scribner,[13] an producer Don Hahn jynt the production as Schumacher became anly an executive producer due tae Disney promotin him tae Vice Preses o Development for Feature Animation.[11] Hahn foond the script unfocused an lackin a clear theme, an efter establishing the main theme as "leaving childhood and facing up tae the realities of the world", asked for a final retool. Allers, Minkoff, Chapman an Hahn then rewrote the story across twa weeks o meetins wi directors Kirk Wise an Gary Trousdale, who haed just finished Beauty and the Beast.[13] The script an aa haed its title changed frae King of the Jungle tae The Lion King, as the setting wis nae the jungle but the savannah.[6]

The Lion King wis the first Disney animated feature tae be an oreeginal story, rather than be based on an already existin wirk. The filmmakers hae said that the story o The Lion King wis inspired bi the lifes o Joseph an Moses, frae the Bible, an William Shakespeare's Hamlet.[15] During the simmer o 1992, the team wis jynt by screenwriter Irene Mecchi, wi a seicont screenwriter, Jonathan Roberts, joining a few months later. Mecchi an Roberts teuk charge o the revision process, fixing unresolved emotional issues in the script an adding comic business for Pumbaa, Timon an the hyenas.[4] Lyricist Tim Rice wirked closely wi the writin team, fleein tae Californie at least ance a month acause his songs needed tae wirk in the narrative continuity. Rice's lyrics—which war reworked up tae the production's end—war pinned tae the storyboards durin development.[13] Rewrites war frequent, wi animator Andreas Deja saying that completit scenes wad be delivered, anly for the response tae be that pairts needed tae be reanimated acause o dialog changes.[7]

Casting[eedit | eedit soorce]

The vyce actors war chosen for how thay fit an coud add tae the characters—for instance, James Earl Jones wis cast acause the directors foond his vyce "powerful" an seemilar tae a lion's roar.[16] Jones commented that durin the years o production, Mufasa "became more and more of a dopey dad instead of [a] grand king".[17]

Nathan Lane oreeginally auditioned for Zazu, an Ernie Sabella, for ane o the hyenas. Upon meetin each ither at the recording studio, the actors, who at the time baith co-starred in Guys and Dolls, war asked tae record thegither as hyenas. The directors lauched at thair performance an decidit tae cast them as Timon an Pumbaa.[16][18] For the hyenas, the oreeginal intention wis tae reunite Cheech & Chong, but while Cheech Marin acceptit tae play Banzai, Tommy Chong wis unavailable. Sicweys his role wis changed intae a female hyena, Shenzi, who wis voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.[10]

Matthew Broderick wis cast as adult Simba early during production, an during the three years o vyce actin anly recorded wi anither actor ance, an anly discovered Moira Kelly voiced Nala at the premiere.[19] Jeremy Irons haed at first refused the role due tae nae bein comfortable going frae the dramatic performance as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune tae a comedic role. But ance he came in, Irons' performance even inspired the writers tae incorporate mair o his actin as von Bülow—addin ane o that character's lines, "You have no idea"—an animator Andreas Deja tae watch baith Reversal of Fortune an Damage tae pick up Irons's facial traits an tics.[17][20]

Animation[eedit | eedit soorce]

"The Lion King wis considered a little movie because we war gangin tae tak some risks. The pitch for the story wis a lion cub gets framed for murther bi his uncle set tae the muisic o Elton John. Fowk said, 'Whit? Guid luck wi that.' But for some reason, the people who endit up on the movie war heichly passionate aboot it an motivatit."

Don Hahn[18]

The development o The Lion King coincided with that o Pocahontas, which maist o the animators o Walt Disney Feature Animation decidit tae wirk on instead, believin it wad be the mair prestigious an successfu o the twa.[15] The story artists an aa did nae hae much faith in the project, wi Chapman declaring she wis reluctant tae accept the job "acause the story wisna very guid",[7] an writer Burny Mattinson saying tae co-wirker Joe Ranft "I don't know who is going to want to watch that one."[14] Most o the leadin animators aither war daein thair first major wirk supervising a character, or haed much interest in animating an animal.[8] Thirteen o thir supervising animators, baith in California an Florida, war responsible for establishin the personalities an settin the tone for the film's main characters. The animation leads for the main characters included Mark Henn on young Simba, Ruben A. Aquino on adult Simba, Andreas Deja on Scar, Aaron Blaise on young Nala, Anthony DeRosa on adult Nala, an Tony Fucile on Mufasa.[4] Nearly 20 minutes o the film, includin the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence,[10] war animated at the Disney-MGM Studios facility. Mair nor 600 artists, animators, an technicians contreibutit tae The Lion King.[12] Weeks afore the film wis tae be released, 1994 Northridge earthquake, shut doun the studio an required the animators tae finish thair wirk frae home.[21]

The character animators studied real-life ainimals for reference, as wis done for the 1942 Disney film Bambi. Jim Fowler, renowned wildlife expert, visited the studios on several occasions wi an assortment o lions an ither savannah indwallers tae discuss behaviour an help the animators gie thair drawings authenticity.[13] The animators an aa studied animal movements at the Miami MetroZoo under guidance frae wildlife expert Ron Magill.[22] The Pride Lands are modeled on the Kenyan national park visited bi the crew. Varied focal lenths an lenses war employed tae differ frae the habitual portrayal o Africa in documentaries—which employ telephoto lenses tae shuit the wildlife frae a distance. The epic feel drew inspiration frae concept studies by airtist Hans Bacher—which, follaein Scribner's request for realism, tried tae depict effects sic as lens flare—an the wirks o painters Charles Marion Russell, Frederic Remington an Maxfield Parrish.[13][23] Acause the characters war nae anthropomorphised, aw the animators haed tae learn tae draw fower-legged ainimals, an the story an character development wis done throu uise o langer shots follaein the characters.[10]

Computers helped the filmmakers present thair vision in new ways. For the "wildebeest stampede" sequence, several distinct wildebeest characters war creautit in a 3D computer program, multiplied intae hunders, cel shaded tae leuk lik drawn animation, an gien randomised paths doun a moontainside tae simulate the real, unpredictable movement o a herd.[24] Five specially trained animators an technicians spent mair nor twa years creautin the twa-and-a-hauf-minute stampede.[4] The CAPS helped simulate camera movements sic as tracking shots, an wis employed in colouring, lichtin, an particle effects.[10]

Music[eedit | eedit soorce]

Lyricist Tim Rice, who wis wirkin wi composer Alan Menken on songs for Aladdin, wis invitit tae write the sangs, an acceptit on the condeetion o findin a componin pairtner. As Menken wis unavailable, the producers acceptit Rice's suggestion o Elton John,[16] efter Rice's invitation o ABBA fell throu due tae Benny Andersson bein busy wi the musical Kristina från Duvemåla.[8] John expressed an interest in writing "ultra-pop songs that kids would like; then adults can go and see those movies and get just as much pleasure out of them", mentioning a possible influence o The Jungle Book, whaur he felt the "muisic wis so funny an appealed tae kids an adults".[25]

John an Rice wrote five oreeginal songs for the film ("Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", "Be Prepared", "Hakuna Matata", an "Can You Feel the Love Tonight") wi John's performance o "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" playin ower the end credits.[26] The IMAX an DVD releases added anither song, "The Morning Report", based on a song discarded durin development that eventually featurt in the live musical version of The Lion King.[27] The score wis componed bi Hans Zimmer, who wis hired based on his wirk in twa films in African settings, The Power of One an A World Apart,[13] an supplemented the score wi traditional African music an choir elements arranged by Lebo M.[26] Zimmer's partners Mark Mancina an Jay Rifkin helped wi arrangements an song production.[28]

The Lion King oreeginal motion picture soundtrack wis released by Walt Disney Records on Julie 13, 1994. It wis the fowert-best-selling album o the year on the Billboard 200 an the top-selling soundtrack.[29] It is the anly soundtrack for an animated film tae be certified Diamond (10× platinum) bi the Recording Industry Association of America. Zimmer's complete instrumental score for the film wis never oreeginally gien a full release by Disney, until the soundtrack's commemorative 20t anniversary re-release in 2014.[30] The Lion King an aa inspired the 1995 release Rhythm of the Pride Lands, wi aicht songs by Zimmer, Mancina, an Lebo M.[31]

The uise o the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in a scene wi Timon an Pumbaa led tae disputes atween Disney an the faimily o South African Solomon Linda, who componed the song (oreeginally titled "Mbube") in 1939. In Julie 2004, Linda's filed suit, seeking $1.6 million in royalties frae Disney. In Februar 2006, Linda's heirs reached a legal dounset wi Abilene Music, who held the worldwide rights an haed licensed the sang tae Disney for an undisclosed amount o money.[32]

Release[eedit | eedit soorce]

For The Lion King's first film trailer, Disney optit tae featur a single scene, the entire openin sequence wi the song "Circle of Life". Buena Vista Pictures Distribution preses Dick Cook said the decision wis made for sic an approach acause "we were all so taken by the beauty and majesty of this piece that we felt like it was probably one of the best four minutes of film that we've seen", an Don Hahn added that "Circle of Life" worked as a trailer as it "came off so strong, and so good, and ended with such a bang". The trailer wis released in November 1993, accompanying The Three Musketeers in theaters, as anly a third o The Lion King haed been completit.[33][34] Audience reaction wis enthusiastic, causin Hahn tae hae some initial concerns as he became afraid o nae livin up tae the expectations raised bi the preview.[33] Prior tae the film's release, Disney did 11 test screenings.[35]

Upon release, The Lion King wis accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign which included tie-ins wi Burger King, Mattel, Kodak, Nestlé an Payless ShoeSource, an various merchandise,[36] accounting 186 licensed products.[37][38] In 1994, Disney earned approximately $1 billion wi products based on the film,[39] wi $214 million for Lion King toys during Christmas 1994 alone.[40]

Home media[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Lion King wis first released on VHS an laserdisc in the United States on Mairch 3, 1995, under Disney's "Masterpiece Collection" video series. The VHS tape contained a special preview for Walt Disney Pictures' then-upcoming animated film Pocahontas, in which the title character (voiced bi Judy Kuhn) sings the musical nummer "Colors of the Wind".[41] In addition, Deluxe Editions o baith formats war released. The VHS Deluxe Edition included the film, an exclusive lithograph o Rafiki an Simba (in some editions), a commemorative "Circle of Life" epigraph, sax concept airt lithographs, anither tape wi the hauf-oor TV shaw The Making of The Lion King, an a certificate o authenticity. The CAV laserdisc Deluxe Edition an aa contained the film, sax concept airt lithographs an The Making of The Lion King, an added storyboards, character design artwork, concept airt, rough animation, an a directors' commentary that the VHS edition did nae hae, on a tot o fower dooble sided discs. The VHS tape quickly became the best-selling videotape o aw time: 4.5 million tapes war sauld on the first day[42] an ultimately sales totaled mair nor 30 million[43] afore thir home video versions went intae moratorium in 1997.[44]

On October 7, 2003, the film wis re-released on VHS an released on DVD for the first time, titled The Lion King: Platinum Edition, as pairt o Disney's Platinum Edition line o animated classic DVDs. The DVD release featurt twa versions o the film on the first disc, a remastered version creautit for the 2002 IMAX release an an edited version o the IMAX release purporting tae be the oreeginal 1994 theatrical version.[45] A seicont disc, wi bonus features, wis an aa included in the DVD release. The film's soundtrack wis providit baith in its oreeginal Dolby 5.1 track an in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, makin this ane o the first Disney DVDs sae equipped.[46] By means o seamless branching, the film coud be viewed aither wi or wioot a newly creautit scene – a short conversation in the film replaced wi a complete song ("The Morning Report"). A Special Collector's Gift Set wis an aa released, containing the DVD set, five exclusive lithographed character portraits (new sketches creautit an signed bi the oreeginal character animators), an an introductory book entitled The Journey.[44] The Platinum Edition o The Lion King featurt changes made tae the film during its IMAX re-release, includin re-drawn crocodiles in the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence as well as ither alterations.[45] Mair than twa million copies o the Platinum Edition DVD an VHS units war sauld on the first day o release.[42] A DVD boxed set o the three The Lion King films (in twa-disc Special Edition formats) wis released on December 6, 2004. In Januar 2005, the film, alang wi the sequels, went back intae moratorium.[47]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the Diamond Edition o The Lion King on October 4, 2011.[48] This marks the time that the film haes been released in heich-definition Blu-ray an on Blu-ray 3D.[48][49] The initial release wis produced in three different packages: a twa-disc version wi Blu-ray an DVD; a fower-disc version wi Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray 3D, an digital copy; an an aicht-disc box set that an aa includes the sequels The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride an The Lion King 1½.[48][49] A standalone single-disc DVD release an aa followed on November 15, 2011.[48] The Diamond Edition topped the Blu-ray charts wi ower 1.5 million copies sauld.[50] The film sauld 3.83 million Blu-ray units in tot, leadin tae a $101.14 million income.[51]

Reception[eedit | eedit soorce]

Box office[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Lion King earned $422,783,777 in North America an an $545,700,000 in ither territories for a warldwide tot o $968,483,777.[3] It is currently the 29nt highest-grossing film,[52] the saxt highest-grossing animated film o aw time worldwide an the third highest-grossing film o Walt Disney Animation Studios (behind Frozen an Zootopia).[53] The film wis an aa the highest-grossing motion picture o 1994 worldwide.[54] Efter its initial run, haein earned $763.4 million,[55] it ranked as the seicont-highest-grossing film o aw time worldwide, behind Jurassic Park .[56] It held the record for the highest-grossing animated feature film (in North America, ootside North America, an worldwide) until it wis surpassed bi the computer animated Finding Nemo (2003), Shrek 2 (2004), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), an Toy Story 3 (2010) prior tae the 2011 re-release. Wi the earnings o the 3D run, The Lion King surpassed aw the aforementioned films but Toy Story 3 tae rank as the seicont-highest-grossing animated film worldwide—later downgraded tae saxt efter Frozen (2013), Minions (2015), an Zootopia (2016)—an it remains the highest-grossing haund-drawn animated film.[57] It is an aa the biggest animated movie o the last 50 years in terms o estimatit attendance.[58]

Original theatrical run[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Lion King haed a leemitit release in North America on Juin 15, 1994, playin in anly twa theaters, El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles an Radio City Music Hall in New York City.[59] It still earned $1,586,753 across the weekend o Juin 17–19, staundin at the tenth place o the box office ranking.[60] The average o $793,377 per theater stands as the lairgest ever achieved during a weekend.[61] The wide release followed on Juin 24, 1994, in 2,550 screens. The digital surround sound o the film led mony o those theaters tae implement Dolby Laboratories' newest sound seestems.[62] The Lion King grossed $40.9 million – which at the time wis the fowert biggest openin weekend earnin ever an the highest sum for a Disney film  – tae tap the weekend box office.[12] It an aa earned a rare "A+" rating frae CinemaScore.[63] By the end o its theatrical run, in spring 1995, it haed earned $312,855,561,[3] bein the seicont-highest-grossing 1994 film in North America behind Forrest Gump.[64] Ootside North America, it earned $455.8 million during its initial run, for a worldwide tot o $768.6 million.[55] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sauld ower 74 million tickets in the US in its initial theatrical run.[65]

Re-releases[eedit | eedit soorce]

IMAX and large-format[eedit | eedit soorce]

The film wis re-issued on December 25, 2002 for IMAX an large-format theaters. Don Hahn explained that aicht years efter The Lion King got its oreeginal release, "there was a whole new generation of kids who haven't really seen it, particularly on the big screen." Gien the film haed already been digitally archived during production, the restoration process wis easier, while an aa providin mony scenes wi enhancements that covered up oreeginal deficiencies.[35][66] An enhanced sound mix wis an aa providit, tae as Hahn explained, "make the audience feel like they're in the middle of the movie."[35] On its first weekend, The Lion King made $2.7 million frae 66 locations, a $27,664 per theater average. This run ended wi $15,686,215 on Mey 30, 2003.[67]

3D conversion[eedit | eedit soorce]

In 2011, The Lion King wis converted tae 3D for a twa-week leemitit theatrical re-issue an subsequent 3D Blu-ray release.[48][68] The film opened at the nummer ane spot on Friday, September 16, 2011 wi $8.9 million[69] an finished the weekend wi $30.2 million, ranking nummer ane at the box office. This made The Lion King the first re-issue release tae earn the nummer-ane slot at the American weekend box office syne the re-issue o Return of the Jedi in Mairch 1997.[57] The film an aa achieved the fowert-highest September openin weekend o aw time.[70] It held off very well on its seicont weekend, again earnin first place at the box office wi a 27 percent decline tae $21.9 million.[71] Most box-office observers haed expected the film tae faw aboot 50 percent in its seicont weekend an war an aa expecting Moneyball tae be at first place.[72]

Efter its initial box-office success, mony theaters decidit tae continue tae shaw the film for mair nor twa weeks, even tho its 3D Blu-ray release wis scheduled for twa-and-a-hauf weeks efter its theatrical release.[71] In North America, the 3D re-release ended its run in theaters on Januar 12, 2012 wi a gross $94,242,001. Ootside North America, it earned $83,400,000.[73] The successfu 3D re-release o The Lion King made Disney an Pixar plan 3D theatrical re-releases o Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., an The Little Mermaid during 2012 an 2013.[74] Houiver, nane o the re-releases o the first three films achieved the enormous success o The Lion King 3D an theatrical re-release o The Little Mermaid wis ultimately cancelled.[75] In 2012, Ray Subers o Box Office Mojo wrote that the reason why the 3D version o The Lion King succeeded wis acause, "the notion of a 3D re-release was still fresh and exciting, and The Lion King (3D) felt timely given the movie's imminent Blu-ray release. Audiences have been hit with three 3D re-releases in the year since, meaning the novelty value has definitely worn off."[76]

Critical response [eedit | eedit soorce]

The Lion King wis released tae critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating o 91%, based on 113 reviews, wi an average rating o 8.33 oot o 10. It an aa ranked 56th on thair "Top 100 Animation Movies".[77] The site's critical consensus reads, "Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King stands tall within Disney's pantheon of classic family films."[78] On Metacritic, the film haes a score o 83 oot o 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[79] CinemaScore reportit that audiences gae the film a rare "A+" grade.[80]

Roger Ebert gae it 3 1/2 oot o 4-stars an cried the film "a superbly drawn animated feature" and, in his prent review wrote, "The saga of Simba, which in its deeply buried origins owes something to Greek tragedy and certainly to Hamlet, is a learning experience as well as an entertainment."[81] On the televeesion program Siskel & Ebert, the film wis praised but received a mixed reaction whan compared tae previous Disney films. Ebert an his pairtner Gene Siskel baith gae the film a "Thumbs Up" but Siskel said that it wis nae as good as earlier films sic as Beauty and the Beast an wis "a good film, not a great one".[82] Hal Hinson o The Washington Post cried it "an impressive, almost daunting achievement" an felt that the film wis "spectacular in a manner that has nearly become commonplace with Disney's feature-length animations", but wis less enthusiastic toward the end o his review saying, "Shakespearean in tone, epic in scope, it seems more appropriate for grown-ups than for kids. If truth be told, even for adults it is downright strange."[83]

Owen Gleiberman o Entertainment Weekly praised the film, writing that it "has the resonance to stand not just as a terrific cartoon but as an emotionally pungent movie".[84] Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers praised the film an felt that it wis "a hugely entertaining blend of music, fun and eye-popping thrills, though it doesn't lack for heart".[85] James Berardinelli frae ReelViews praised the film saying, "With each new animated release, Disney seems to be expanding its already-broad horizons a little more. The Lion King is the most mature (in more than one sense) of these films, and there clearly has been a conscious effort to please adults as much as children. Happily, for those of us who generally stay far away from 'cartoons', they have succeeded."[86]

Some reviewers still haed problems wi the film's narrative. The staff o TV Guide wrote that while The Lion King wis technically proficient an entertaining, it "offers a less memorable song score than did the previous hits, and a hasty, unsatisfying dramatic resolution."[87] The New Yorker's Terrence Rafferty considered that despite the good animation, the story felt lik "manipulat[ing] our responses at will", as "Between traumas, the movie serves up soothingly banal musical numbers and silly, rambunctious comedy".[88]

Accolades[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Lion King received fower Golden Globe an Academy Award nominations. The film wad go on tae win twa Golden Globes; for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy an Best Original Score,[89] as well as twa Academy Awards, for Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer) an Best Original Song wi "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John an Tim Rice.[90] The songs "Circle of Life" an "Hakuna Matata" war an aa nominated.[90] "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" an aa won the Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance.[91] The Lion King an aa won Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature, Best Achievement in Voice Actin (for Jeremy Irons) an Best Individual Achievement for Story Contreibution in the Field o Animation.[92]

At the Saturn Awards, the film wis nominated in twa categories, Best Fantasy Film an Best Performance by a Younger Actor awtho it did nae win in aither category.[93] The film an aa received twa nominations at the British Academy Film Awards, for Best Sound as well as the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music awtho it lost in baith categories tae Speed an Backbeat respectively.[94] The film received twa BMI Film & TV Awards for Film Music an Most Performed Song wi "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."[95] At the 1995 MTV Movie Awards, the film received nominations for Best Villain an Best Song, tho it lost in baith categories.[96] The Lion King won the Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie at the 1995 Kids' Choice Awards.[97]

In 2008, The Lion King wis ranked as the 319th greatest film ever made by Empire magazine,[98] an in Juin 2011, TIME named it ane o "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".[99] In Juin 2008, the American Film Institute listed The Lion King as the fowert best film in the animation genre in its AFI's 10 Top 10 leet,[100] haein previously put "Hakuna Matata" as 99th on its AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs ranking.[101]

In 2016, the film wis selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry bi the Library of Congress as bein "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Controversies[eedit | eedit soorce]

Certaint elements o the film war considered tae bear a resemblance tae a 1960s Japanese anime televeesion shaw, Jungle Emperor (kent as Kimba the White Lion in the United States), wi characters haein seemilar analogues, an various individual scenes bein seemilar in composition tae the shaw. Matthew Broderick believed initially that he wis, in fact wirkin on an American version o Kimba syne he wis familiar wi the Japanese oreeginal.[102] Houiver The Lion King director, Roger Allers, claimed he wis unfamiliar wi the shaw:

The whole time I worked on The Lion King the name of that show never came up. At least I never heard it. I had never seen the show and really only became aware of it as Lion King was being completed, and someone showed me images of it. I worked with George Scribner and Linda Woolverton to develop the story in the early days but then left to help out on Aladdin. If one of them were familiar with Kimba they didn’t say. Of course, it’s possible... Many story ideas developed and changed along the way, always just to make our story stronger. I could certainly understand Kimba’s creators feeling angry if they felt we had stolen ideas from them. If I had been inspired by Kimba I would certainly acknowledge my inspiration. All I can offer is my respect to those artists and say that their creation has its loyal admirers and its assured place in animation history.[103]

Co-director Rob Minkoff an aa claimed he wis unfamiliar wi it "I know for a fact that ["Kimba"] haes never been discussed as lang as I've been on the project... In my experience, if Disney becomes aware o anything lik that, thay say you will nae dae it. Fowk are claiming copyright infringement aw the time." He also stated that whenever a story is based in Africa, it is "not unusual to have characters like a baboon, a bird or hyenas."[104] Yoshihiro Shimizu, o Tezuka Productions, which creautit Kimba the White Lion, haes refuted rumours that the studio wis peyed hush money by Disney but explains that thay rejected urges frae within the industry tae sue acause, "we're a small, weak company. It wouldn't be worth it anyway ... Disney's lawyers are among the top twenty in the world!"[105]

The alleged "SEX" frame.

Protests war raised against ane scene whaur it appears as if the wird "SEX" might hae been embedded intae the dust fleein in the sky whan Simba flops down,[106] which conservative activist Donald Wildmon asserted wis a subliminal message intendit tae promote sexual promiscuity. Ane of the animators, Tom Sito, haes stated that the letters spell "SFX" (a common abbreviation for "special effects"), nae wi an "E" instead o the "F", an war intendit as an innocent "signature" creautit bi the effects animation team.[107]

Hyena biologists protested against the animal's portrayal: ane hyena researcher sued Disney studios for defamation of character,[108] an anither—who haed organized the animators' veesit tae the University of California's Field Station for Behavioural Research, whaur thay wad observe an sketch captive hyenas—[109] included boycotting The Lion King amang the ways it wad help preserve hyenas in the wild.[110] The hyenas hae an aa been interpreted tae represent an anti-immigrant allegory, whaur the hyenas wad be black an Latino ethnic communities.[111][112][113][114] The film haes an aa been criticised for advancing a fascist narrative in its portrayal of the lion kingdom and the circle of life whaur "only the strong and the beautiful triumph, and the powerless survive only by serving the strong."[115]

Legacy[eedit | eedit soorce]

Sequels an spin-offs[eedit | eedit soorce]

The first Lion King-relatit animated projects involved the characters o Timon an Pumbaa. First, the duo starred in the animated short "Stand by Me", featurin Timon singing the eponymous song, which wis released in 1995 accompanying the theatrical release o Tom and Huck. Then the duo received thair ain animated shaw, The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa, which ran for three seasons an 85 episodes atween 1995 an 1999. Ernie Sabella continued tae vyce Pumbaa, while Timon wis voiced by Quinton Flynn an Kevin Schon in addition tae Nathan Lane.[116]

Disney released twa direct-to-video films relatit tae The Lion King. The first wis sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, released in 1998 on VHS. The film centers aroond Simba an Nala's daughter, Kiara, who faws in love wi Kovu, a male lion who wis raised in a pride o Scar's followers, the Outsiders.[117] 2004 saw the release o anither Lion King film on DVD, The Lion King 1½. It is a prequel in shawin how Timon an Pumbaa met each ither, an an aa a parallel in that it an aa depicts what the characters war retconned tae hae done during the events o the oreeginal movie.[118]

In Juin 2014, it wis annoonced that a new TV series based on the film wad be released cried The Lion Guard, featurin Kion, the seicont-born cub of Simba an Nala. The Lion Guard is a sequel to The Lion King an takes place during the time-gap within The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.[119] It wis first broadcast on Disney Channel as a televeesion film titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar in November 2015 afore airing as a series on Disney Junior in Januar 2016.[120][121]

CGI live-action remake[eedit | eedit soorce]

In September 2016, follaein the critical and financial success of The Jungle Book, Walt Disney Pictures annoonced that thay war developin a CGI creautit live-action remake of The Lion King, with Jon Favreau directing.[122] The follaein month, Jeff Nathanson wis hired to write the script for the film.[123] Favreau will shoot it back to back with The Second Jungle Book.[122][124] In Februar 2017, Favreau annoonced that Donald Glover haed been cast as Simba and that James Earl Jones wad be reprising the role of Mufasa.[125] The follaein month, it wis reportit that Beyoncé wis Favreau's top choice to vyce Nala, but she haed nae acceptit the role yet due to a pregnancy.[126] In Apryle 2017, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen jynt the film as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.[127]

Production for the film is set to begin in Mey 2017.[128] It is scheduled for release on Julie 19, 2019.[129]

Video games[eedit | eedit soorce]

Alang wi the film release, three different video games based on The Lion King war released by Virgin Interactive in December 1994. The main title wis developed by Westwood Studios, an published for PC an Amiga computers an the consoles SNES an Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Dark Technologies creautit the Game Boy version, while Syrox Developments handled the Master System an Game Gear version.[130] The film an sequel Simba's Pride later inspired anither game, Torus Games' The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure (2000) for the Game Boy Color an PlayStation.[131] Timon an Pumbaa an aa appeared in Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games, a 1995 PC gemme collection o puzzle games by 7th Level, later ported tae the SNES by Tiertex.[132]

The Square Enix series Kingdom Hearts features Simba as a recurring summon,[133][134] as well as a playable in the Lion King world, kent as Pride Lands, in Kingdom Hearts II. Thare the plotline is loosely relatit tae the later pairt o the oreeginal film, wi aw o the main characters except Zazu an Sarabi.[135] The Lion King an aa provides ane o the worlds featurt in the 2011 action-adventure gemme Disney Universe,[136] an Simba wis featurt in the Nintendo DS title Disney Friends (2008).[137]

Stage adaptations[eedit | eedit soorce]

Walt Disney Theatrical produced a musical stage adaptation o the same name, which premiered in Minneapolis, Minnesota in Julie 1997, an later opened on Broadway in October 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The Lion King musical wis directed by Julie Taymor[138] an featurt songs frae baith the movie an Rhythm of the Pride Lands, alang wi three new compositions by Elton John an Tim Rice. Mark Mancina did the musical arrangements an new orchestral tracks.[139] The musical became ane o the maist successfu in Broadway history, winnin sax Tony Awards includin Best Musical, an despite muivin tae the Minskoff Theatre in 2006, is still running tae this day in New York, acomin the third longest-running shaw an highest grossing Broadway production in history. The shaw's financial success led tae adaptations aw ower the world.[11][140][141]

The Lion King inspired twa attractions retelling the story o the film at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The first, "The Legend of the Lion King", featurt a recreation o the film throu life-size puppets o its characters, an ran frae 1994 tae 2002 at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.[142] Anither that is still running is the live-action 30-minute musical revue o the movie, "Festival of the Lion King", which incorporates the musical nummers intae gymnastic routines wi live actors, alang wi animatronic puppets o Simba an Pumba an a costumed actor as Timon. The attraction opened in Aprile 1998 at Disney World's Animal Kingdom,[143] an in September 2005 in Hong Kong Disneyland's Adventureland.[144] A seemilar version under the name "The Legend of the Lion King" wis featurt in Disneyland Paris frae 2004 tae 2009.[145][146]

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