|Close Relations||Mate of Nala, Son of Mufasa and Sarabi, Nephew of Scar, Father of Kiara and Kion, Son-in-Law of Sarafina, and Father-in-Law of Kovu.|
|Appearances||The Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, The Lion King 1½, The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, The Lion Guard|
|Voice Actor(s)||The Lion King (film) - Jonathan Taylor Thomas - (cub), Matthew Broderick - (adult), Jason Weaver - (cub singing voice), Joseph Williams - (adult singing voice), Evan Saucedo - ("The Morning Report") ('See all at bottom of page')|
- "That hairball is my son, and your future king."
- —Mufasa to Scar, when they're talking about Simba
Simba is the main character in the Lion King, the secondary deuteragonist of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, the tritagonist of The Lion King 1½ and a supporting character in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and The Lion Guard.
As a young cub, Simba had golden fur with a slight golden tuft of fur on his head. In his adolescent years he started to grow more head hair. Now an adult, Simba is stronger and has a fully grown red-brown mane that is lighter in color than his father's. His eyes are more gentle and brighter than his father's.
- Sarabi: "Your son is awake."
Mufasa: "Before sunrise, he's your son."
- —Sarabi and Mufasa when Simba is trying to awake his father
As a cub, Simba was curious, adventurous and all too ready to become king of the Pridelands. He was prone to overstepping his authority and attempting to order the other creatures of the Pridelands around. He suffered serious emotional trauma when Scar, his uncle, murdered Mufasa through a twisted scheme directly involving the unsuspecting Simba. He didn't know, however, that Scar was at fault and was convinced by Scar that he was responsible for his father's death. Scar told the young Simba to flee from the Pridelands and never return. He later picked up a happy, carefree lifestyle with Timon and Pumbaa in an idyllic jungle paradise.
As an adolescent, he had long since forgotten his old life, and once again acted as over-confident and adventurous as he did as a cub. Later, when Simba learned that Scar was ruling the Pridelands unjustly, he faced his past and returned to take his place as the rightful king. By having the responsibilities of being a king thrust upon him so suddenly, Simba was forced to mature greatly.
As a ruler and as a father, Simba makes good decisions and is more down-to-earth. However, he still retains some of his childhood innocence in the way he rules. Rather than rule by law and justice, Simba follows his heart and trusts the counsel of his friends, making him a very beloved king.
The Lion King
- "Danger? Ha! I walk on the wild side. I laugh in the face of danger!"
- —Simba, at the Elephant Graveyard
In the beginning of the first film, Simba is an infant curled up in his mother's paws during the royal ceremony, where all cubs of the king and queen are presented from the summit of Pride Rock. For the ceremony, Rafiki the baboon cracks open a gourd and makes a red mark on Simba's forehead. He sprinkles sand on the newborn's head, causing baby Simba to sneeze. After his anointing, Rafiki picks him up and presents Simba to all the animals in the Pridelands who had gathered to see him.
Simba grows into a lively, playful cub. Waking up one morning at dawn, he begs his father to show him the whole kingdom. Simba and his father climb to the top of Pride Rock, where Mufasa explains to his son that everything the light touches is their kingdom, and after his passing, Simba will become the new king. The cub questions the "shadowy place", and Mufasa explains that it is beyond their borders, so he must never go there. His father takes him walking through the Pridelands and Mufasa tells Simba about the "great Circle of Life"; that is, that every living thing is connected, "From the crawling ant to the leaping antelope" to quote Mufasa. As they are walking, Zazu, Mufasa's major-domo, gives the king the morning report. Simba, bored, tries to practice pouncing. After some instruction from his father, Simba succeeds in pinning down Zazu. As Zazu is on his back, a gopher pops up and tells Zazu and Mufasa there are dangerous hyenas in the Pridelands. Mufasa leaves to deal with the threat, forbidding Simba to come with him.
Disappointed, Simba returns to Pride Rock to find his uncle Scar. He gleefully informs Scar that he's will one day be King of Pride Rock, irritating Scar, who unenthusiastically replies, "Forgive me for not leaping for joy- bad back you know." and his uncle eventually asks him whether his brother showed him what lies beyond the northern border; Simba admits that he didn't, and Scar acts relieved, saying only the bravest of lions go there. Objecting, Simba says he's brave and demands to know what's there. Accidentally on purpose, Scar lets slip that "An elephant graveyard is no place for a young prince," aware that Simba's curiosity will lead him there. Simba is excited at the prospect of an adventure, but promises his uncle that he won't visit the dreadful place.
Instead, Simba goes to his best friend Nala being bathed by her mother, Sarafina, opposite his own mother, Sarabi; Simba tries to get Nala to accompany him somewhere, without giving away the location of their adventure. When asked where they are headed, he lies, "around the waterhole." Sarabi sends Zazu to accompany them, much to their dismay. On the way to the waterhole, Zazu makes a nostalgic comment on how the two are "betrothed, intended, affianced," meaning they are set to be mates and rule the Pridelands, but since they are just children, they find it too weird. The duo ditch Zazu by crushing him with a pile of animals set to Simba singing "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". The cubs tumble into the elephant graveyard, and after a quick exploration, Zazu catches up with the them before Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed show up. Simba tries to be brave in front of the hyenas, but realizing the danger, the cubs make a frantic effort to escape while Zazu alerts Mufasa, appearing to save the two cubs.
Going back to Pride Rock, Mufasa tells Simba he's very disappointed in him; Simba says he was trying to be brave like his father. After playing together under the sky, Mufasa talks to his son about the "Great Kings of the Past" looking down from the stars, and whenever he feels alone, the stars will always be there to guide him—and so will he.
The next day, Scar, who had been plotting to kill his brother and nephew to become king, takes Simba with him to a large gorge, saying his father has a surprise" for him. Simba begs his uncle to tell him what it is, but Scar walks away after teasing him about practicing his "little roar". Unknown to Simba, Scar signaled the hyenas to start a wildebeest stampede to chase the frightened herd down to the gorge below. While the cub practices his roar a little louder than usual, the wildebeest charge down the cliff face in the direction of Simba. Terrified, Simba runs for his life. Meanwhile, Scar runs to Mufasa panting Simba is in the stampede down in the gorge. Immediately, Mufasa runs to save his son, who desperately manages to jump and cling on to a branch while the wildebeest thunder below him. Just as his father arrives, a wildebeest collides with the branch and breaks it; Mufasa fights through the stampede to catch his son, then gets Simba to safety. Pulled back ito the crowd, the alpha lion fights and struggles and throws himself on to the ledge, clinging on for dear life. Seeing this, Simba runs to the top of the cliff. As he reaches the top, all he sees is his dad plummet into the stampede below, not knowing he was just thrown by Scar. He cries out and races down to the bottom of the gorge to find his father's body under the branch he was clinging to. Hoping that his father isn't dead, he tries to revive him. Knowing he's not waking up, he calls for help, but starts to cry and crawls under his father's fore paw.
Scar approaches and convinces him that he is responsible for the death of his father, since he roared and caused the stampede, but Scar really caused it. Asked what his mother would think, Simba doesn't know what to do, so Scar tells to run away and never return. Scampering away, Scar sends Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed once again to kill Simba. Panicked, scared, and now chased by the hyenas, he runs on some rocks up the gorge and comes out at the top of a steep cliff. With a patch of sharp thorns below, Simba has no choice but to jump down the cliff to escape the predators. He tumbles down and forces himself through, but the hyenas don't follow, thinking Simba is as good as dead out in the barren desert anyway.
Tired and dehydrated, Simba wanders into the desert; in the burning heat, he eventually faints. Waiting for him to die, vultures circle overhead, but a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa scare away the vultures and save the unconscious cub. They revive him and ask him if he's okay. He shakily replies, then starts to wander off; the two ask what he did, but Simba doesn't want to talk about it. Timon and Pumbaa take the cub into a jungle to teach him to forget the past and live by "Hakuna Matata", meaning "no worries." During the song "Hakuna Matata," Timon and Pumbaa have Simba eat bugs, explore his new home, and live without worry. The three walk across a log, which represents time elapse of a few years, during which Simba goes from a cub to a teenager to an adult.
Young Adult Simba
- Mufasa: "Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life."
Simba: "How can I go back? I'm not who I used to be."
Mufasa: "Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king."
- —Mufasa's ghost and Simba
Growing up in the jungle, Simba learns to be carefree and forget all about his responsibilities. Although happy in the jungle, he feels homesick when stargazing with his friends, recalling what his father told him all those years ago when they looked up at the stars. He gets more upset when Timon's comments mock the Great Kings of the Past. Simba leaves to flop down on the rock, wishing his father was still alive.
A few days later, Simba hears his two friends calling for help in the jungle and immediately rushes to help, finding himself face-to-face with an angry lioness. The lioness easily flips Simba onto his back, a move he recognizes from his childhood friend Nala. They rejoice, and Nala tells Simba he's the rightful King. Simba rejects his responsibility and refuses to go back, still thinking's he's guilty of killing his father; still, he comforts Nala as she struggles with the reality of him being alive after all those years. Enjoying a peaceful sunset evening together, playing "Can You Feel The Love Tonight," the two lions realize their past friendship has now blossomed into love. That evening, Nala tries to persuade Simba to go back to the Pridelands, but he refuses, which leads to an argument. Simba marches away from Nala and, in a grassy field, yells to the sky, "You said you would always be there for me! But you're not... it's because of me. It's my fault."
After this, Simba notices a baboon singing in a tree. Trying to get away from him, Simba goes to lie down away from the monkey; the baboon, the same one from Simba's birth ceremony years ago, refuses to leave him alone, so Simba asks who he is. Simba doesn't know anymore, and after the monkey chants in his ear, he says that Simba is Mufasa's boy. He chases Rafiki and asks if he knew his father, but Rafiki says he knows his father, and explains to Simba that Mufasa lives inside of him, showing him his reflection. Simba's reflection becomes the face of Mufasa; at this, Mufasa's spirit appears in the sky, which Simba recognizes, but Mufasa accuses his son of forgetting him. His father says he has forgotten his father and his own place in the Circle of Life. He reminds Simba that he is his son and the one true King, before telling him to "remember". Simba chases his father's disappearing form in the sky; Rafiki approaches Simba again and, through whacking him on the head with his stick, teaches him the lesson that even though things are in the past, they can still hurt, but you should learn form them. This time, Simba dodges Rakiki's whack and leaves to take back his place as king.
After the battle, Simba greets his mother, Zazu, Nala, and the rest of the pride before Rafiki tells him that "It is time". Simba then climbs up Pride Rock and roars out over his kingdom while rain falls over the ended battle. Seasons later, the Pridelands have grown back green, and all the animals return to Pride Rock once again to welcome the birth of a new cub. Simba and Nala, along with Timon and Pumbaa, proudly look on as Rafiki holds their cub up for all the kingdom to see.
The Lion King 1½
During Timon and Pumbaa's first try at a new home, they saw Simba's birth ceremony. Although they had no interest in it, they came to witness the event anyways. The two later found a small cave in the Pridelands, which they lived in for a month or two until Simba and Nala singing "I Just Can't Wait to be King" drove them out. Although not seen, we can hear Simba say "I'm okay" after the animal pyramid falls down. Later, after Mufasa is murdered and Simba runs away from the Pridelands, he wanders around the desert feeling guilty thinking he killed his father. Simba collapses of fatigue and exhaustion, lying under the sun with buzzards circling overhead.
The cub is found by Timon and Pumbaa, who carry him to shade and water and eventually let him live in the jungle with them. Growing up without worries, Simba soon proves to be a difficult cub to handle and Timon and Pumbaa find it hard to be adoptive parents. Living carefree in the jungle forest, Simba gets into all kinds of mischief that his parents would have never allowed: jumping down from dangerously tall trees, swimming down steep and deadly waterfalls backwards, and spinning Timon around like a play toy. He also keeps Timon up all night having to go to the bathroom, wanting a drink of water, and needing the bathroom again. One night, Simba was awakened by a nightmare, probably involving his father's death.
A few months pass and Simba is now a teenage lion, who seems to beat Timon and Pumbaa at all kinds of alliterative bug eating contests, including the longest bug belch, slug swallowing, cricket crunching, grub gulping, maggot munching, as well as the snail slurping contest shown in the film. He has grown a small mane on his head and looks even more hot-headed than as a cub. Months or maybe a year later, Simba has now grown to a young adult lion who enjoys his life with Timon and Pumbaa in the jungle. Simba had an interesting conversation with Pumbaa about dung beetles before Nala appears and chases Pumbaa, causing Simba to attack her; he later realizes it's his old childhood friend. In "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?", we see that Simba takes Nala on a romantic evening in the jungle, unknowingly hurting Timon while the meerkat attempts to split the two lovers up. After the familiar scenes of Simba arguing with Nala about whether or not he should return to the Pridelands to be the Lion King, Simba runs off and sees his father's ghost, although the timing is a lot shorter after the argument, happening almost instantly after he runs off. This could be counted as a mistake, although it was probably sped up for the convenience of the filmmakers, who wanted to move the film on.
There are also some new views of Simba fighting against Scar, including a shot of him chasing Scar up to the top of Pride Rock and a different angle of Simba slipping off the cliff when Scar corners him. Simba's leaping up and forcing the truth out of Scar about Mufasa's death is also seen at a new angle. Once the violence is over, Simba thanks Timon and Pumbaa for their help against the hyenas before he climbs Pride Rock, roaring for all of the Pridelands to know they have won.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Seasons later, all the animals, including giraffes, elephants, zebras, gazelles, and other African wildlife in the savannah, return to Pride Rock to welcome the birth of a new cub in the pride, Simba and Nala's daughter, Kiara. The Lion King looks on proudly as Rafiki holds his baby cub up for all of his kingdom to see, just as his parents, Mufasa and Sarabi, did when Simba himself was born.
As his daughter grows up, Simba turns out to be an extremely over-protective father. One time when Kiara goes off to play, he warns her to stay away from the Outlands and to stay on the path he's marked for her. Nala teases Simba about Kiara's likeness to Simba when he was a cub. Simba confesses his feeling to Nala about how much trouble they got themselves into. Nala assures him that Kiara will be fine; but he sends Timon and Pumbaa after her to watch her anyway.
After he realizes that Kiara has sneaked away from her babysitters, he goes out to get her, finding her near the outskirts of the Outlands with a Outsider cub, Kovu growling at her. He jumps in front of Kiara, protecting her; at the same time, Zira launches herself in front of her son. Simba snarls at her, and Zira mockingly gives cover-up for punishment for straying into the Pride Lands. Simba growls at her, "Take him and get out—We're finished here." Zira laughs menacingly, and replies, "Oh no, Simba; we have barely begun!" Simba takes Kiara and walks away. Simba reminds Kiara that she has got to be Queen, even though she may not want to be; he reminds her of the "Great Circle of Life'. He tells her that they are part of each other, and sings to her that they are "one".
Years later on (Kiara's first hunt), Kiara pleads with her father to let her hunt on her own. Simba promises, but sends Timon and Pumbaa to watch her anyway. A few hours later, Simba paces nervously on Pride Rock, where Zazu reassures him that Kiara will be fine. Suddenly, Simba notices smoke on the horizon as Zira's plan goes into action. He and Nala races to Kiara, only to find her talking to Kovu. Simba is roaring menacingly at Kovu when Rafiki appears and brings up the fact that Kovu saved his daughter's life. When Simba asks him why, Kovu asks to join his pride. Simba refuses; but Zazu tells him that his father's law demands all debts be paid. In repayment for his daughter's life, Simba lets Kovu join the pride on judgment, but doesn't allow him to sleep with the pride. That night, Simba has a dream similar to the scenario in which his father was killed by his brother, Scar in the wildebeest stampede. In the dream, Simba tries to save his father, who is hanging on a cliff face. As he reaches down, he realizes that he is also on the cliff face, and Scar is looking over him as Scar grabs his paw. Mufasa slips away. Simba looks up to see Kovu instead of Scar; then Kovu lets Simba fall, and he wakes up out of his dream.
The next morning, Simba has a drink at the waterhole. Unknown to him, Kovu is behind him, ready to kill. Luckily, Kiara turns up wanting her hunting lesson, so Kovu is drawn away. That night, Simba looks down on Kiara and Kovu stargazing together, and asks his father for guidance. Nala then walks beside him and tells him to trust Kovu more. That evening, Simba lets Kovu sleep with the other lions in the cave.
The next morning, Simba asks Kovu to walk with him. He explains to Kovu his side of the story about Scar. As they are walking, Zira and the other Outsiders surround them. Simba angrily snarls at Kovu, thinking this was his plan. The Outsider lionesses close in around him and he manages to throw them off. He runs into a gorge and climbs up the dam. Just as he's climbing, Nuka grabs his ankles, pulling him down. Simba pushes himself up, dislodging a log which tumbles down and crushes Nuka. Simba escapes and weakly makes his way back to Pride Rock, where he manages to whisper to Kiara what happened, before fainting. He is then carried back to Pride Rock by Pumbaa, where he wakes up.
When Kovu returns, asking for forgiveness, Simba does not believe Kovu had nothing to do with the attack. He exiles Kovu, to which Kiara pleads with him to reconsider. Simba sternly tells Kiara that she can't go anywhere without an escort from now on and says that Kovu had used her to get to him. When Simba says that Kovu is following in Scar's pawprints and he himself must follow in Mufasa's, Kiara angrily yells at him, "You will never be Mufasa!"
That night, the rain falls down, and Simba asks Timon and Pumbaa where Kiara is. Just as he finds out she is missing, Zazu informs him the Outsiders are on the attack. He commands Zazu to find Kiara and assembles the lionesses, ready for battle. When they approach the Outsiders, Simba gives Zira a chance to go home. Zira tells Simba that she is already home, and commands her troops to attack. After a bitter battle, Zira jumps down off her rock, ready to attack Simba herself. Just as they are about to go into combat, Kiara jumps in front of her father. She reminds him that they are "one", and there is no point fighting. Simba understands, and as his father shines down from the clouds, he nuzzles his daughter. Zira orders her daughter Vitani to attack Simba; She refuses to do so, and crosses onto his side. Zira, realising she's losing, attempts one more time to attack Simba; as she jumps for him, Kiara jumps in her way. Shocked, Simba jumps down after them, just as Zira slips away into the water below. Simba reaches his daughter and helps her back up the cliff, where a worried Nala is waiting. When Kiara is reunited with Kovu, Simba studies him and admits he was wrong, and accepts Kovu and all the Outsiders into his pride.
At the end, Simba, Nala, Kiara, and Kovu all walk to the top of Pride Rock and roar over their kingdom. As they do so, the sky opens up, and Simba hears Mufasa say to him, "Well done, my son. We are one." Although a very minor role in this movie, it gives the viewers an insight into what Simba's life was like while he was with Timon and Pumbaa in the jungle. Simba banished the dark lions, who became known as Outsiders, to a deserted place referred to as the Outlands for supporting Scar. The hyenas ran off, probably due to lack of support.
Due to his paranoia of losing Kiara, Simba became uptight and overprotective. One day in her early childhood, Kiara had gone off to the Outlands, and Simba had to go rescue her, where he met Scar's mate Zira, who taunted Simba with the implication of the death of another cub. Simba merely took his daughter and left, and did not meet up with Zira again until some years later.
When Kiara finally became a young adult, Simba reluctantly allowed her to go on a hunt alone. Up until then, he would always send out Timon and Pumbaa to watch her, which he did again while Kiara was hunting.
After Kovu's siblings Nuka and Vitani had set the grassland on fire and Kovu began his staged rescue, Simba noticed that Kiara was in danger and went off to get her, meeting Kovu, who at the time had been trained to assassinate him. Simba, reserving judgement of Kovu, allowed him to follow him home. After finally gaining enough trust for Kovu to take a personal walk with him, Simba was ambushed by the Outsiders. Assuming Kovu had set it up, Simba regained his hatred towards Outsiders, and banished Kovu. The death of Nuka, who had been crushed by a log Simba hack kicked on him, stirred up enough hatred from the Outsiders for a war to break out. Kiara had run away, and the Outsiders were now in the vicinity of Pride Rock, and coming for him. Durning the climax of the war, Kovu and Kiara returned, and convinced Simba to let go of his distrust and hated towards The Outsiders. Zira, however, didn't fare too well. The Outsiders joined forces with Simba's pridelanders, and Simba allowed Kovu to become his heir.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
Taking place in the middle of the second film, Simba is first seen at the start of the film on Pride Rock lecturing Kiara about being future Queen, before being interrupted by his son Kion, who is playing Baobab Ball with his friend Bunga. Simba points out to Kion that he needs to talk to Kiara, who is going to track gazelles with her friends. Simba ends up having to separate his children when they start squabbling, before sending Kion and Bunga to play their game elsewhere.
Later that day, Simba, Nala and Rafiki hear Kion roar very loudly, causing Rafiki to declare that Kion is ready to lead The Lion Guard (as the roar he made was The Roar of the Elders, a power possessed by The Lion Guard's leader and fiercest member, which is traditionally the second-born child of The Lion King). Simba is at first reluctant for this to happen as he believes that due to being a cub, Kion isn't ready for that responsibility, however Nala agrees with Rafiki and encourages Simba to listen to him, before leaving the two be. Just then, Kion and Bunga return to Pride Rock where a curious Kion asks Simba what he and Rafiki are talking about. Simba tells Kion that they need to talk, to which Kion thinks at first is about love, saying that they already that talk, but Simba assures him that it's not that. Rafiki tells Kion that the roar he did was The Roar of the Elders before he and Simba take him and Bunga to a secret part of Pride Rock and reveal that Kion is to lead The Lion Guard. Simba then tells Kion that Scar once led The Lion Guard until the power got to his head. Simba then sends Kion out to find the bravest, fastest, strongest and keenest of sight for The Lion Guard.
Later, Simba is told by Kiara that Kion has put Bunga (who is the bravest) in The Lion Guard and proves this when Zazu leads them to Kion, who has chosen Fuli (as the fastest), Beshte (as the strongest) and Ono (as the keenest of sight). Simba thanks Kiara for informing him of this before sending her and her friend Tiifu to track gazelles while he has a word with Kion. Upon seeing whom Kion has picked, Simba tells his son that The Lion Guard has always been made up of lions and scolds Kion for treating his role as leader as a game and says that he should treat his new responsibilities seriously like Kiara is with hers.
Whilst tracking gazelles, Kiara notices Janja and his hyena clan among the herd and sends Tiifu to get Simba. When Simba along with Nala arrive with Tiifu, they watch in horror as Kiara gets caught in a stampede caused by the hyenas. Luckily, Kion and The Lion Guard arrive and get the gazelles away from Kiara and chase away the hyenas. Simba then realizes that Kion was wise to have chosen whom he chose and expresses pride in his son and accepts the new Lion Guard.
The Lion Guard
"The Rise of Makuu"
When Kion expresses worry about the upcoming mashindano between crocodiles Makuu and Pua, Kiara asks Simba why he can't interfere to which Simba tells his daughter that though he is King, he must recognise and respect other animals' traditions.
Later, Simba along with his family, The Lion Guard and several other animals, watch the mashindano. After Makuu triumphs, Simba steps forward and congratulates him before thanking Pua for his services as leader of the crocodiles.
It is later mentioned by Kiara that Simba and Nala are out hunting when baboons invade Pride Rock.
"Can't Wait to Be Queen"
Simba comes across Kion and Kiara arguing over a tree and reveals to them that Kiara will be temporary queen for a few days. He goes on to explain that he, Nala and Zazu are going to attend the funeral of an elephant named Amanifu (who was the first animal to bring his herd back to The Pride Lands after Scar's defeat) and tells Kiara that he was at first afraid of his royal duties and assures his daughter that he has faith in her and The Lion Guard.
The next morning, Simba, Nala and Zazu leave Pride Rock and begin their journey to Kilio Valley, where the funeral is taking place. Simba expresses worry about leaving Kiara as temporary queen, but Nala thinks that he more concerned about the tribute than their daughter as he has to say a line in elephantese. Later, Simba starts to doubt his role as King and is tired of his duties, but Zazu reminds him of the better things about being King to which Simba thanks him. Simba struggles to learn elephantese despite Zazu's many attempts to teach him. In a rage, Simba ends up knocking Zazu into a puddle, but is comforted by Nala.
The trio eventually reach Kilio Valley and look on as elephants put leaves on Amanifu's body. Simba and Nala nuzzle each other sadly before joining the elephants. At the funeral, Simba starts to speak in elephantese but accidentally says "he had poop on him" rather than "he had good on him", which worries Nala and Zazu, but luckily the elephants laugh.
Upon returning to Pride Rock, Kiara asks how the tribute went. Simba is hesitant to answer, but Nala says that it went well in the end.
Timon: What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?
Timon: Please don't eat me. Pumbaa: Drop 'em! Banzai: Hey! Who's the pig? Pumbaa: Are you talking to me? Timon: Uh-oh the called him a pig. Pumbaa: Are you talking to *me*? Timon: Ya shouldn't have done that. Pumbaa: ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?! Timon: Now they're in for it. Pumbaa: THEY CALL ME MR.PIG! AHHHHH!
Zazu: [caged while the battle rages around him] Let me out! Let me out! Timon: [fleeing the hyenas] Lemme in! Lemme in!
[singing] Timon: ♪♫And if he falls in love tonight it can be assumed...♪♫ Pumbaa: ♪♫His carefree days with us are history.♪♫ Timon, Pumbaa: ♪♫In short, our pal is doomed!♪♫
Simba: You knew my father? Rafiki: Correction: I *know* your father.
If someone knows how to make these looks like quotes, please edit them to do so.
The Lion King Musical
Following the success of The Lion King, Julie Taymor created the musical The Lion King. In this production, we have an insight into events that were not explored in the original film, as the main character, Simba, young and old, is in nearly all the musical numbers. But in the Broadway production, we see a slightly extended role, which includes scenes like Timon being trapped above a lake full of crocodiles, which was Simba's fault; and the song "Endless Night". Jason Raize plays Adult Simba, and Scott Irby-Ranniar plays Young Simba in the original Broadway cast of The Lion King.
In early sketches, Simba still has the same liveliness and playfulness as the Simba we see in the film, although the style changes when it came to Simba's final design. The early sketches show Simba's character and characteristics such are his earmarks. These sketches also have an original "Disney style" about them, which is softened down in the final designs of all the lions in The Lion King. Interestingly enough, in the sketch on the right, Simba has cheeks similar to those of the Outsiders in Simba's Pride.
An original storyline for Simba that was dropped was Teen Simba saving Nala's little brother Mheetu from a stampede in the gorge.
Kingdom Hearts II
In Kingdom Hearts II, when the main protagonists (Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy) explore the jungle in the Pride Lands world, Simba almost attacks them, not recognizing them as they were turned into animals due to Sora's enchanted clothes. Initially, Simba refuses to go back to the Pride Lands, stating he was "not who he used to be." His father, Mufasa, comes to him and tells him to go back; afterwards, he accompanies Sora, Donald, and Goofy to Pride Rock for a climactic battle with both the hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed and Scar, who had been turned into a Heartless because of his anger and jealousy.
Sora left after the successful coronation of Simba. When Sora returned, Simba had been driven into doubt by rumors of Scar's ghost. He later gained confidence and stood up to Scar's ghost, which was a manifestation of Simba's uncertainty and fear.
Simba has a move with Sora that causes huge rocks to appear and strike opponents, after which he slashes foes - ending, finally, with his summon attack from the first game, Proud Roar.
Cam Clarke voices Simba in the above two appearances, with an archival recording of Jonathan Taylor Thomas used for Young Simba in a flashback sequence in Kingdom Hearts II.
All Voice Actors
- The Lion King (film) - (1994) - (film) - Jonathan Taylor Thomas - (cub), Matthew Broderick - (adult), Jason Weaver - (cub singing voice), Joseph Williams - (adult singing voice), Evan Saucedo - ("The Morning Report")
- The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa - (1995) - (TV series) - Cam Clarke (adult voice)
- The Lion King (musical) - (1997) - (musical) - Scott Irby-Ranniar (cub) (original actor), Jason Raize (adult) (original actor)
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride - (1998) - (film) - Matthew Broderick (adult), Cam Clarke (adult singing voice)
- The Lion King 1½ - (2004) - (film) - Matt Weinberg (cub), Matthew Broderick (teenager and adult)
- Kingdom Hearts II - (2005) - (video game) - Jonathan Taylor Thomas (cub), Cam Clarke (adult voice, English)
- The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar - (2015) - (film) - Rob Lowe ( adult talking and singing)
- The Lion Guard - (2016-) - (TV series) - Rob Lowe (adult talking and singing)
The Lion King
The Lion King is a 1994 Disney animated film in which an East African lion cub and heir to the throne of Pride Rock learns his place in Africa's Tanzania's Serengeti. Tricked into thinking he killed his father, he flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King, only to return years later to face his past.
- Directed by Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff. Screenplay by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Songs by Tim Rice and Elton John.
- [calls out to the sky] You said you'd always be there for me! But you're not.
- [to a mouse he is about to eat] Life's not fair, is it? You see, I... well, I shall never be king. And you... shall never see the light of another day. Adieu.
- [digs his claws into Mufasa's paws] Long live the king. [throws Mufasa off the cliff]
- Run away, Simba. Run. Run away, and never return.
- Mufasa's death was a terrible tragedy. But to lose Simba, who had barely begun to live... For me, it is a deep personal loss. So it is with a heavy heart that I assume the throne. Yet, out of the ashes of this tragedy, we shall rise to greet the dawning of a new era, in which lion and hyena come together in a great and glorious future!
- Mufasa: [about Scar] What am I going to do with him?
- Zazu: He'd make a very handsome throw rug.
- Mufasa: Zazu!
- Zazu: And just think, whenever he gets dirty, you can take him out and beat him.
- [Mufasa laughs]
- Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
- Simba: But, Dad, don't we eat the antelope?
- Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
- Simba: Hey, Uncle Scar, guess what?
- Scar: I despise guessing games.
- Simba: I'm gonna be King of Pride Rock.
- Scar: Oh, goody.
- Simba: My dad just showed me the whole kingdom. And I'm gonna rule it all. Heheh.
- Scar: Yes. Well, forgive me for not leaping for joy. Bad back, you know. [flops on his side]
- Simba: Hey, Uncle Scar, when I'm king, what'll that make you?
- Scar: A monkey's uncle.
- Simba: [laughs] You're so weird!
- Scar: You have no idea.
- Rafiki: Look down there.
- Simba: [looks into a pond of water] That's not my father. That's just my reflection.
- Rafiki: No, look harder.
- [he touches the water; as it ripples, Simba's reflection changes to that of Mufasa]
- Rafiki: You see? He lives in you.
- Mufasa: [from above] Simba.
- Simba: Father?
- [Simba sees his father's spirit in the sky]
- Mufasa: Simba, you have forgotten me.
- Simba: No. How could I?
- Mufasa: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.
- Simba: How can I go back? I'm not who I used to be.
- Mufasa: Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true King. Remember who you are.
- Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back means I'll have to face my past. I've been running from it for so long.
- [Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
- Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
- Rafiki: It doesn't matter. It's in the past. [laughs]
- Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
- Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it. [swings his stick again at Simba, who ducks out of the way] Ha. You see? So what are you going to do?
- Simba: First, I'm gonna take your stick.
- [Simba snatches Rafiki's stick and throws it and Rafiki runs to grab it]
- Rafiki: No, no, no, no, not the stick! Hey, where you going?
- Simba: I'm going back!
- Rafiki: Good! Go on! Get out of here!
- [Rafiki begins laughing and screeching loudly]
- [Simba, Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa, make it to the Pride Lands]
- Timon: Hyenas. I hate hyenas. [whispers to Simba] So what your plan for getting past those guys?
- Simba: Live bait.
- Timon: Good idea. [reacts] Hey!
- Simba: Come on, Timon! You guys have to create a diversion.
- Timon: What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?!
- Scar: Ahh, so you haven't told them your little secret. Well, Simba, now's your chance to tell them. Tell them who is responsible for Mufasa's death!
- Simba: [pause] I am.
- Sarabi: [whispering] It's not true. Tell me it's not true.
- Simba: It's true.
- Scar: You see? He admits it. Murderer!
- Simba: No! It was an accident!
- Scar: If it weren't for you, Mufasa would still be alive. It's your fault he's dead. Do you deny it?
- Simba: No.
- Scar: Then you're guilty.
- Simba: No, I'm not a murderer!
- Scar: Oh, Simba, you're in trouble again. But this time Daddy isn't here to save you. And now everyone knows WHY!
- [Simba falls at the edge of a cliff while a fire burns below.]
- Nala: Simba!
- Scar: [looking at Simba who is clinging to the edge of the cliff] Now this looks familiar. Where have I seen this before? Hm, let me think. Oh, yes, I remember! This is just the way your father looked before he died.
- [He claws Simba's paws the same way he did to Mufasa]
- Scar: And here's my little secret. [whispers] I killed Mufasa!
- Simba: [leaps back up and pounces on Scar] NO! Murderer!
- Scar: No, Simba! Please!
- Simba: Tell them the truth.
- Scar: Truth? But truth is in the eye of the behold... [Simba chokes him, he whispers] All right. All right. I did it.
- Simba: So they can hear you.
- Scar: I killed Mufasa!
- [Timon and Zazu are cornered by the hyenas]
- Timon: Please don't eat me!
- Pumbaa: Drop 'em!
- Banzai: Hey! Who's the pig?
- Pumbaa: Are you talkin' to me?
- Timon: Uh-oh! They called him the pig.
- Pumbaa: Are you talking to me?
- Timon: Shouldn't have done that.
- Pumbaa: ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?!
- Timon: Now they're in for it!
- Pumbaa: They call me... MR. PIG!!!
- [he screams and charges at the hyenas]
- Simba: Murderer.
- Scar: Simba, Simba, please. Please have mercy, I beg you.
- Simba: You don't deserve to live.
- Scar: But, Simba, I... am... family. It's the hyenas who are the real enemy. It was their fault. It was their idea!
- Simba: Why should I believe you? Everything you ever told me was a lie.
- Scar: What are you going to do? You wouldn't kill your old uncle...?
- Simba: No, Scar. I'm not like you.
- Scar: Oh, Simba, thank you. You are truly noble. I'll make it up to you, I promise. How can I, ah, prove myself to you? Tell me anything, anything.
- Simba: Run. Run away, Scar. And never return.
- Scar: Yes. Of course. As you wish, your Majesty!
- See it for the first time ever in 3D (2011 3D re-release)
- The greatest adventure of all is finding our place in the circle of life.
- The King Has Returned. [for Christmas 2002 IMAX release.]
- The Circle of Life
- Bed mat 2016 f150
- Cdo bell schedule
- Calculus 3 triple integrals
- Corsair h55
- Miniature netherland dwarf rabbit
The Lion King
This article is about the 1994 animated film. For its 2019 remake, see The Lion King (2019 film). For the franchise as a whole, see The Lion King (franchise).
For other uses, see The Lion King (disambiguation).
The Lion King is a 1994 American animatedmusical film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer. The film features an ensemble voice 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 (in her last film role), Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by the Biblical stories of Joseph and Moses, and William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The Lion King tells the story of Simba (Swahili for lion), a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba's paternal uncle Scar murders Mufasa to seize the throne, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile. After growing up in the company of the carefree outcasts Timon and Pumbaa, Simba receives valuable perspective from his childhood friend, Nala, and his shaman, Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny and take his place in the Circle of Life as the rightful King.
Development of The Lion King began in 1988 during a meeting between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, and Peter Schneider while promoting Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas M. Disch wrote a film treatment, and Woolverton developed the first scripts, while George Scribner was signed on as director, being later joined by Allers. Production began in 1991 concurrently with Pocahontas, which wound up attracting many of Disney's top animators. Some time after the staff traveled to Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya to research the film's setting and animals, Scribner left production, disagreeing with the decision to turn the film into a musical, and was replaced by Minkoff. When Hahn joined the project, he was dissatisfied with the script and the story was promptly rewritten. Nearly 20 minutes of animation sequences were produced at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Florida. Computer animation was also used in several scenes, most notably in the wildebeest stampede sequence.
The Lion King was released on June 15, 1994, to critical acclaim, praising the film for its music, story, themes, and animation. With an initial worldwide gross of $763 million, it finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossing film of 1994 and the highest-grossing animated film. It is also the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time, as well as the best-selling film on home video, having sold over 30 million VHS tapes. On release, the film drew some controversy in Japan for its perceived similarities to Osamu Tezuka's 1960s anime series Kimba the White Lion. The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film has led to many derived works, such as a Broadway adaptation in 1997; two direct-to-video follow-ups—the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), and the prequel/parallel, The Lion King 1½ (2004); two television series, Timon and Pumbaa and The Lion Guard; a 3D re-release in 2011; and a photorealistic remake in 2019, which also became the highest-grossing animated film at the time of its release.
In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It is, as of December 2019, the only Disney film to have been dubbed in Zulu, the only African language aside from Arabic to have been used for a feature-length Disney dub.
In the Pride Lands of Africa, a pride of lions rules over the animal kingdom from Pride Rock. King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi present their newborn son, Simba, to the gathering animals by Rafiki the mandrill, the kingdom's shaman and advisor.
Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands and explains to him the responsibilities of kingship and the "circle of life," which connects all living things. Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, covets the throne and plots to get rid of Mufasa and Simba so that he may become king. He tricks Simba and his best friend Nala into exploring a forbidden elephants' graveyard, where they are chased by three spotted hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed. Mufasa hears about the incident from his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu, and rescues the cubs. Though upset with Simba, Mufasa forgives him and explains that the great kings of the past watch over them from the night sky, from which he will one day watch over Simba. Meanwhile, Scar visits the hyenas and convinces them to help him overthrow Mufasa in exchange for hunting rights in the Pride Lands.
Scar sets a trap for his brother and nephew, luring Simba into a gorge and having the hyenas drive a large herd of wildebeest into a stampede that will trample him. He informs Mufasa of Simba's peril, knowing that the king will rush to save his son. Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hanging perilously from the gorge's edge. Scar refuses to help Mufasa, instead sending him falling to his death. He then convinces Simba that the tragedy was Simba's own fault and advises him to leave the kingdom and never return. He orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba escapes. Scar tells the pride that the stampede killed Mufasa and Simba and steps forward as the new king, allowing the hyenas' clan to live in the Pride Lands.
Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog, rescue Simba, who has collapsed in a desert. Simba grows up with his two new friends in their oasis, living a carefree life under the motto "hakuna matata" ("no worries" in Swahili). A grown-up Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, who turns out to be Nala. She and Simba reunite and fall in love, and she urges him to return home, telling him that the Pride Lands have become a drought-stricken wasteland under Scar's reign. Still feeling guilty over his father's death, Simba refuses and storms off. He encounters Rafiki, who tells him that Mufasa's spirit lives on in Simba. Simba is visited by the ghost of Mufasa in the night sky, who tells him that he must take his rightful place as king. Realizing that he can no longer run from his past, Simba decides to return to the Pride Lands.
Aided by his friends, Simba sneaks past the hyenas at Pride Rock and confronts Scar. Scar taunts Simba over his role in Mufasa's death and backs him to the edge of the rock, where he reveals to him that he murdered Mufasa. Enraged, Simba forces him to tell the truth to the rest of the pride. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, and the lionesses fight the hyenas while Scar, attempting to escape, is cornered by Simba at a ledge near the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs for mercy and attempts to blame his crimes on the hyenas; Simba spares his life but orders him to leave the Pride Lands forever. Scar refuses and attacks his nephew, but Simba throws him off the cliff after a brief fight. Scar survives the fall but gets attacked and mauled to death by the hyenas, who overheard his attempt to betray them. Afterward, Simba takes over the kingship and makes Nala his queen.
With the Pride Lands restored to its usual state, Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the assembled animals, continuing the circle of life.
Main article: List of The Lion King characters
- Matthew Broderick as Simba, son of Mufasa and Sarabi, who grows up to become King of the Pride Lands. Rock singer Joseph Williams provided adult Simba's singing voice. Mark Henn and Ruben A. Aquino respectively served as the supervising animators for young and adult Simba.
- Jeremy Irons as Scar, Mufasa's younger brother and Simba's uncle, who takes the throne. Andreas Deja served as the supervising animator for Scar.
- James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Simba's father, King of the Pride Lands as the film begins. Tony Fucile served as the supervising animator for Mufasa.
- Moira Kelly as Nala, Simba's best friend and later his wife and Queen of the Pride Lands. Sally Dworsky provided her singing voice. Aaron Blaise and Anthony de Rosa respectively served as the supervising animators for young and adult Nala.
- Niketa Calame provided the voice of young Nala while Laura Williams provided her singing voice.
- Nathan Lane as Timon, a wise-cracking and self-absorbed yet somewhat loyal bipedalmeerkat who becomes one of Simba's best friends and adoptive parents. Michael Surrey served as his supervising animator.
- Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, a naïve warthog who suffers from flatulence and is Timon's best friend and also becomes one of Simba's best friends and adoptive parents. Tony Bancroft served as his supervising animator.
- Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, an old baboon (with mandrill markings) who serves as shaman of the Pride Lands and presents newborn cubs of the King and Queen to the animals of the Pride Lands. James Baxter served as the supervising animator for Rafiki.
- 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 supervising animator for Zazu.
- Madge Sinclair as Sarabi, Mufasa's mate, Simba's mother, and the leader of the lioness hunting party. Russ Edmonds served as the supervising animator for Sarabi.
- The three spotted hyenas who serve Scar were animated by Alex Kupershmidt and David Burgess.
- Zoe Leader as Sarafina, Nala's mother, who is shown briefly talking to Simba's mother, Sarabi.
The idea for The Lion King was conceived in late 1988 during a conversation between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, and Peter Schneider on a plane to Europe to promote Oliver & Company (1988). During the conversation, the topic of a story set in Africa came up, and Katzenberg immediately jumped at the idea. The idea was then developed by Walt Disney Feature Animation's vice president for creative affairs Charlie Fink. Katzenberg decided to add elements involving coming of age and death, and ideas from personal life experiences, such as some of his trials in his bumpy road in politics, saying about the film, "It is a little bit about myself." In November of that year Thomas Disch (author of The Brave Little Toaster) wrote a treatment entitled King of the Kalahari, and afterwards, Linda Woolverton spent a year writing drafts of the script, which was titled King of the Beasts and then King of the Jungle. The original version of the film was very different from the final film. The plot was centered in a battle being between lions and baboons with Scar being the leader of the baboons, Rafiki being a cheetah, and Timon and Pumbaa being Simba's childhood friends. Simba would also not leave the kingdom but become a "lazy, slovenly, horrible character" due to manipulations from Scar, so Simba could be overthrown after coming of age. By 1990, producer Thomas Schumacher, who had just completed The Rescuers Down Under (1990), decided to attach himself to the project "because lions are cool". Schumacher likened the script for King of the Jungle to "an animated National Geographic special".
In October 1991, Oliver & Company director George Scribner was the initial director of the film, being later joined by Roger Allers, who was the lead story man on Beauty and the Beast (1991). Allers brought with him Brenda Chapman, who would become the head of story. Afterwards, several of the lead crew members, including Allers, Scribner, Hahn, Chapman, and production designer Chris Sanders, took a trip to Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya, in order to study and gain an appreciation of the environment for the film. After six months of story development work Scribner decided to leave the project, as he clashed with Allers and the producers on their decision to turn the film into a musical, as Scribner's intention was of making a documentary-like film more focused on natural aspects.Rob Minkoff replaced Scribner, and producer Don Hahn joined the production as Schumacher became only an executive producer due to Disney promoting him to Vice President of Development for Feature Animation. Hahn found the script unfocused and lacking a clear theme, and after establishing the main theme as "leaving childhood and facing up to the realities of the world", asked for a final retool. Allers, Minkoff, Chapman, and Hahn then rewrote the story across two weeks of meetings with directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, who had just finished Beauty and the Beast. The script also had its title changed from King of the Jungle to The Lion King, as the setting was not the jungle but the savannah. It was also decided to make Scar and Mufasa brothers since the writers felt that it was much more interesting if the threat came from someone within the family.
Not counting most segments in Fantasia (1940); Saludos Amigos (1942); The Three Caballeros (1944); most segments from both Make Mine Music (1946) and Melody Time (1948); and The Rescuers Down Under (1990) (that latter being a sequel to The Rescuers (1977)), The Lion King was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story, rather than be based on an already existing work. The filmmakers have said that the story of The Lion King was inspired by the lives of Joseph and Moses, from the Bible, and William Shakespeare's Hamlet. During the summer of 1992, the team was joined by screenwriter Irene Mecchi, with a second screenwriter, Jonathan Roberts, joining a few months later. Mecchi and Roberts took charge of the revision process, fixing unresolved emotional issues in the script and adding comic situations for Pumbaa, Timon, and the hyenas. Lyricist Tim Rice worked closely with the writing team, flying to California at least once a month because his songs needed to work in the narrative continuity. Rice's lyrics—which were reworked up to the production's end—were pinned to the storyboards during development. Rewrites were frequent, with animator Andreas Deja saying that completed scenes would be delivered, only for the response to be that parts needed to be reanimated because of dialog changes.
The voice actors were chosen for how they fit and could add to the characters—for instance, James Earl Jones was cast because the directors found his voice "powerful" and similar to a lion's roar. Jones commented that during the years of production, Mufasa "became more and more of a dopey dad instead of [a] grand king".
Nathan Lane auditioned for Zazu, and Ernie Sabella for one of the hyenas. Upon meeting each other at the recording studio, the actors, who at the time both co-starred in Guys and Dolls, were asked to record together as hyenas. The directors laughed at their performance and decided to cast them as Timon and Pumbaa. For the hyenas, the original intention was to reunite Cheech & Chong, but while Cheech Marin accepted to play Banzai, Tommy Chong was unavailable. His role was changed into a female hyena, Shenzi, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, who insisted on being in the movie. English double act Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer auditioned for roles as a pair of chipmunks; according to Mortimer, the producers were enthusiastic, but he and Reeves were uncomfortable with their corporate attitude and abandoned the film.
Matthew Broderick was cast as adult Simba early during production. Over the three years, he only recorded with another actor once, and only discovered that Moira Kelly voiced Nala at the premiere. English actors Tim Curry and Malcolm McDowell were considered for the role of Scar; the role went to English actor Jeremy Irons. Irons initially refused the role, as he was uncomfortable going to a comedic role after the dramatic performance as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune (1990). His performance inspired the writers to incorporate more of his acting as von Bülow—adding one of that character's lines, "You have no idea"—and inspired animator Andreas Deja to watch Reversal of Fortune and Damage (1992) to incorporate Irons's facial traits and tics.
"The Lion King was considered a little movie because we were going to take some risks. The pitch for the story was a lion cub gets framed for murder by his uncle set to the music of Elton John. People said, 'What? Good luck with that.' But for some reason, the people who ended up on the movie were highly passionate about it and motivated."
The development of The Lion King coincided with that of Pocahontas (1995), which most of the animators of Walt Disney Feature Animation decided to work on instead, believing it would be the more prestigious and successful of the two. The story artists also did not have much faith in the project, with Chapman declaring she was reluctant to accept the job "because the story wasn't very good", and writer Burny Mattinson saying to co-worker Joe Ranft "I don't know who is going to want to watch that one."[self-published source] Most of the leading animators either were doing their first major work supervising a character, or had much interest in animating an animal. Thirteen of these supervising animators, both in California and in Florida, were responsible for establishing the personalities and setting 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, and Tony Fucile on Mufasa. Nearly 20 minutes of the film, including the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence, was animated at the Disney-MGM Studios facility. More than 600 artists, animators, and technicians contributed to The Lion King. Weeks before the film was to be released, the 1994 Northridge earthquake shut down the studio and required the animators to finish their work from home.
The character animators studied real-life animals for reference, as was done for Bambi (1942). Jim Fowler, renowned wildlife expert, visited the studios on several occasions with an assortment of lions and other savannah inhabitants to discuss behavior and help the animators give their drawings authenticity. The animators also studied animal movements at the Miami MetroZoo under guidance from wildlife expert Ron Magill. The Pride Lands are modeled on the Kenyan national park visited by the crew. Varied focal lengths and lenses were employed to differ from the habitual portrayal of Africa in documentaries—which employ telephoto lenses to shoot the wildlife from a distance. The epic feel drew inspiration from concept studies by artist Hans Bacher—who, following Scribner's request for realism, tried to depict effects such as lens flare—and the works of painters Charles Marion Russell, Frederic Remington, and Maxfield Parrish. Art director Andy Gaskill and the filmmakers sought to give the film a sense of grand sweep and epic scale similar to David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Gaskill explained: "We wanted audiences to sense the vastness of the savannah and to feel the dust and the breeze swaying through the grass. In other words, to get a real sense of nature and to feel as if they were there. It's very difficult to capture something as subtle as a sunrise or rain falling on a pond, but those are the kinds of images that we tried to get." The filmmakers also watched the films of John Ford and other filmmakers, which also influenced the design of the film.
Because the characters were not anthropomorphized, all the animators had to learn to draw four-legged animals, and the story and character development was done through the use of longer shots following the characters.
Computers helped the filmmakers present their vision in new ways. For the "wildebeest stampede" sequence, several distinct wildebeest characters were created in a 3D computer program, multiplied into hundreds, cel shaded to look like drawn animation, and given randomized paths down a mountainside to simulate the real, unpredictable movement of a herd. Five specially trained animators and technicians spent more than two years creating the two-and-a-half-minute stampede. The Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) helped simulate camera movements such as tracking shots, and was employed in coloring, lighting, and particle effects.
Main article: The Lion King (1994 soundtrack)
Lyricist Tim Rice, who was working with composer Alan Menken on songs for Aladdin (1992), was invited to write the songs, and accepted on the condition of finding a composing partner. As Menken was unavailable, the producers accepted Rice's suggestion of Elton John, after Rice's invitation of ABBA fell through due to Benny Andersson being busy with the musical Kristina från Duvemåla. 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 of The Jungle Book (1967), where he felt the "music was so funny and appealed to kids and adults".
John and Rice wrote five original songs for the film ("Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", "Be Prepared", "Hakuna Matata", and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"), with John's performance of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" playing over the end credits. The IMAX and DVD releases added another song, "The Morning Report", based on a song discarded during development that eventually featured in the live musical version of The Lion King. The score was composed by Hans Zimmer, who was hired based on his work in two films in African settings, The Power of One (1992) and A World Apart (1988), and supplemented the score with traditional African music and choir elements arranged by Lebo M. Zimmer's partners Mark Mancina and Jay Rifkin helped with arrangements and song production.
The Lion King original motion picture soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on April 27, 1994. It was the fourth-best-selling album of the year on the Billboard 200 and the top-selling soundtrack. It is the only soundtrack for an animated film to be certified Diamond (10× platinum) by the Recording Industry Association of America. Zimmer's complete instrumental score for the film was never originally given a full release, until the soundtrack's commemorative 20th anniversary re-release in 2014.The Lion King also inspired the 1995 release Rhythm of the Pride Lands, with eight songs by Zimmer, Mancina, and Lebo M.
The use of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in a scene with Timon and Pumbaa led to disputes between Disney and the family of South African Solomon Linda, who composed the song (originally titled "Mbube") in 1939. In July 2004, Linda's family filed suit, seeking $1.6 million in royalties from Disney. In February 2006, Linda's heirs reached a legal settlement with Abilene Music, who held the worldwide rights and had licensed the song to Disney for an undisclosed amount of money.
For The Lion King's first film trailer, Disney opted to feature a single scene, the entire opening sequence with the song "Circle of Life". Buena Vista Pictures Distribution president Dick Cook said the decision was made for such an approach because "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", and 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 was released in November 1993, accompanying The Three Musketeers (1993) and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) in theaters; by then, only a third of The Lion King had been completed. Audience reaction was enthusiastic, causing Hahn to have some initial concerns as he became afraid of not living up to the expectations raised by the preview. Prior to the film's release, Disney did 11 test screenings.
Upon release, The Lion King was accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign which included tie-ins with Burger King, Mattel, Kodak, Nestlé, and Payless ShoeSource, and various merchandise, accounting 186 licensed products. In 1994, Disney earned approximately $1 billion with products based on the film, with $214 million for Lion King toys during Christmas 1994 alone.
The Lion King had a limited release in the United States on June 15, 1994, playing in only two theaters, El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles and Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and featuring live shows with ticket prices up to $30.
The wide release followed on June 24, 1994, in 2,550 screens. The digital surround sound of the film led many of those theaters to implement Dolby Laboratories' newest sound systems.
When the movie was first released in 1994, it numbered 28 versions overall in as many languages and dialects worldwide, including a special Zulu version made specifically for the movie in South Africa, where a Disney USA team went to find the Zulu voice-actors. This is not just the only Zulu dubbing ever made by Disney, but also the only one made in any African language, other than Arabic.The Lion King marks also the first time a special dubbing is released in honor of a Disney movie background, but not the last: in 2016 the film Moana (2016) received a special Tahitian language version, followed in 2017 by a Māori version, in 2018 by a Hawaiian version; and in 2019 the film Frozen II (2019) was dubbed into Northern Sami, even though Frozen (2013) was not.
The Lion King was first released on VHS and laserdisc in the United States on March 3, 1995, under Disney's "Masterpiece Collection" video series. The VHS edition of this release contained a special preview for Walt Disney Pictures' then-upcoming animatedfilmPocahontas, in which the title character (voiced by Judy Kuhn) sings the musical number "Colors of the Wind". In addition, Deluxe Editions of both formats were released. The VHS Deluxe Edition included the film, an exclusive lithograph of Rafiki and Simba (in some editions), a commemorative "Circle of Life" epigraph, six concept art lithographs, another tape with the half-hour TV special The Making of The Lion King, and a certificate of authenticity. The CAV laserdisc Deluxe Edition also contained the film, six concept art lithographs and The Making of The Lion King, and added storyboards, character design artwork, concept art, rough animation, and a directors' commentary that the VHS edition did not have, on a total of four double sided discs. The VHS tape quickly became the best-selling videotape of all time: 4.5 million tapes were sold on the first day and ultimately sales totaled more than 30 million before these home video versions went into moratorium in 1997. The VHS releases have sold a total of 32 million units in North America, and grossed $520 million in sales revenue. In addition, 23 million units were shipped overseas to international markets. In the Philippines, the film was released on VHS in March 1995 by Magnavision.
On October 7, 2003, the film was re-released on VHS and released on DVD for the first time, titled The Lion King: Platinum Edition, as part of Disney's Platinum Edition line of DVDs. The DVD release featured two versions of the film on the first disc, a remastered version created for the 2002 IMAX release and an edited version of the IMAX release purporting to be the original 1994 theatrical version. A second disc, with bonus features, was also included in the DVD release. The film's soundtrack was provided both in its original Dolby 5.1 track and in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, making this one of the first Disney DVDs so equipped. By means of seamless branching, the film could be viewed either with or without a newly created scene – a short conversation in the film replaced with a complete song ("The Morning Report"). A Special Collector's Gift Set was also released, containing the DVD set, five exclusive lithographed character portraits (new sketches created and signed by the original character animators), and an introductory book entitled The Journey. The Platinum Edition of The Lion King featured changes made to the film during its IMAX re-release, including re-drawn crocodiles in the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence as well as other alterations. More than two million copies of the Platinum Edition DVD and VHS units were sold on the first day of release. A DVD box set of the three The Lion King films (in two-disc Special Edition formats) was released on December 6, 2004. In January 2005, the film, along with the sequels, went back into moratorium. The DVD releases have sold a total of 11.9 million units and grossed $220 million.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the Diamond Edition of The Lion King on October 4, 2011. This marks the first time that the film has been released in high-definition Blu-ray and on Blu-ray 3D. The initial release was produced in three different packages: a two-disc version with Blu-ray and DVD; a four-disc version with Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray 3D, and digital copy; and an eight-disc box set that also includes the sequels The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and The Lion King 1½. A standalone single-disc DVD release also followed on November 15, 2011. The Diamond Edition topped the Blu-ray charts with over 1.5 million copies sold. The film sold 3.83 million Blu-ray units in total, leading to a $101.14 million income.
The Lion King was once again released to home media as part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection first released on Digital HD on August 15, 2017, and on Blu-ray and DVD on August 29, 2017.
The Lion King was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray and 4K digital download on December 3, 2018.
The Lion King grossed $422.8 million in North America and $545.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $968.5 million. After its initial run, having earned $763.4 million, it ranked as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, the highest-grossing film of Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the highest-grossing film of 1994. It held the record for the highest-grossing animated feature film (in North America, outside North America, and worldwide) until it was surpassed by the computer-animated Finding Nemo (2003). With the earnings of the 3D run, The Lion King surpassed all the aforementioned films but Toy Story 3 (2010) to rank as the second-highest-grossing animated film worldwide—later dropping to ninth, and then tenth, surpassed by its photorealistic CGI remake counterpart—and it remains the highest-grossing hand-drawn animated film. It is also the biggest animated movie of the last 50 years in terms of estimated attendance.The Lion King was also the highest-grossing G-rated film in the United States from 1994 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2019 until its total was surpassed by the computer-animated Toy Story 4 (2019) (unadjusted for inflation).
Original theatrical run
In the first two days of limited release in two theaters it grossed $622,277 and for the weekend it earned $1,586,753, placing tenth place at the box office for the weekend. The average of $793,377 per theater stands as the largest ever achieved during a weekend and it was the highest-grossing opening weekend on under 50 screens, beating the record set by Star Wars (1977) from 43 screens. The film grossed $3,766,690 from the 2 screens in just 10 days.
When it opened wide, The Lion King grossed $40.9 million – which at the time was the fourth biggest opening weekend ever and the highest sum for a Disney film – to top the weekend box office. In September 1994, Disney pulled the film from movie theaters when its gross was $267 million and announced it would be re-released during Thanksgiving in order to take advantage of the holiday season. Following its re-release, by March 1995, it had grossed $312.9 million, being the highest-grossing 1994 film in the United States and Canada, but was soon surpassed by Forrest Gump.Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 74 million tickets in the US in its initial theatrical run, equivalent to $812.1 million adjusted for inflation in 2018.
Internationally, the film grossed $455.8 million during its initial run, for a worldwide total of $768.6 million. It had record openings in Sweden and Denmark.
IMAX and large-format
The film was re-issued on December 25, 2002, for IMAX and large-format theaters. Don Hahn explained that eight years after The Lion King got its original release, "there was a whole new generation of kids who haven't really seen it, particularly on the big screen." Given the film had already been digitally archived during production, the restoration process was easier, while also providing many scenes with enhancements that covered up original deficiencies. An enhanced sound mix was also provided to, as Hahn explained, "make the audience feel like they're in the middle of the movie." On its first weekend, The Lion King made $2.7 million from 66 locations, a $27,664 per theater average. This run ended with $15.7 million on May 30, 2003.
In 2011, The Lion King was converted to 3D for a two-week limited theatrical re-issue and subsequent 3D Blu-ray release. The film opened at the number one spot on Friday, September 16, 2011, with $8.9 million and finished the weekend with $30.2 million, ranking number one at the box office. This made The Lion King the first re-issue release to earn the number-one slot at the American weekend box office since the re-issue of Return of the Jedi (1983) in March 1997. The film also achieved the fourth-highest September opening weekend of all time. It held off very well on its second weekend, again earning first place at the box office with a 27 percent decline to $21.9 million. Most box-office observers had expected the film to fall about 50 percent in its second weekend and were also expecting Moneyball (2011) to be at first place.
After its initial box-office success, many theaters decided to continue to show the film for more than two weeks, even though its 3D Blu-ray release was scheduled for two-and-a-half weeks after its theatrical release. In North America, the 3D re-release ended its run in theaters on January 12, 2012, with a gross $94.2 million. Outside North America, it earned $83.4 million. The successful 3D re-release of The Lion King made Disney and Pixar plan 3D theatrical re-releases of Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo (2003), Monsters, Inc. (2001), and The Little Mermaid (1989) during 2012 and 2013. However, none of the re-releases of the first three films achieved the enormous success of The Lion King 3D and the theatrical re-release of The Little Mermaid was ultimately cancelled. In 2012, Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo wrote that the reason why the 3D version of The Lion King succeeded was because, "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."
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, which categorizes reviews only as positive or negative, 93% of 130 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.40/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, The Lion King stands tall within Disney's pantheon of classic family films." It also ranked 56th on their "Top 100 Animation Movies".Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 88 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare "A+" grade on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of a possible four and called it "a superbly drawn animated feature". He further wrote in his print review, "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." On the television program Siskel & Ebert, the film was praised but received a mixed reaction when compared to the previous Disney films. Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel both gave the film a "Thumbs Up", but Siskel said that it was not as good as Beauty and the Beast and that it was "a good film, not a great one". Hal Hinson of The Washington Post called it "an impressive, almost daunting achievement" and felt that the film was "spectacular in a manner that has nearly become commonplace with Disney's feature-length animations", but was less enthusiastic toward the end of 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."
Owen Gleiberman of 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".Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers praised the film and felt that it was "a hugely entertaining blend of music, fun, and eye-popping thrills, though it doesn't lack for heart".James Berardinelli from Reelviews.net 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."
Some reviewers still had problems with the film's narrative. The staff of TV Guide wrote that while The Lion King was technically proficient and entertaining, it "offers a less memorable song score than did the previous hits, and a hasty, unsatisfying dramatic resolution."The New Yorker's Terrence Rafferty considered that despite the good animation, the story felt like "manipulat[ing] our responses at will", as "Between traumas, the movie serves up soothingly banal musical numbers and silly, rambunctious comedy".
- 2nd – Douglas Armstrong, The Milwaukee Journal
- 5th – Sandi Davis, The Oklahoman
- 5th – Todd Anthony, Miami New Times
- 6th – Stephen Hunter, The Baltimore Sun
- 6th – Christopher Sheid, The Munster Times
- 7th – Joan Vadeboncoeur, Syracuse Herald American
- 7th – Dan Craft, The Pantagraph
- 8th – Steve Persall, St. Petersburg Times
- 8th – Desson Howe, The Washington Post
- 10th – Mack Bates, The Milwaukee Journal
- 10th – David Elliott, The San Diego Union-Tribune
- Top 7 (not ranked) – Duane Dudek, Milwaukee Sentinel
- Top 9 (not ranked) – Dan Webster, The Spokesman-Review
- Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – Matt Zoller Seitz, Dallas Observer
- Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – Mike Mayo, The Roanoke Times
- Top 10 (not ranked) – Bob Carlton, The Birmingham News
- "The second 10" (not ranked) – Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune
- Honorable mention – Michael MacCambridge, Austin American-Statesman
- Honorable mention – Dennis King, Tulsa World
- Honorable mention – Glenn Lovell, San Jose Mercury News
- Honorable mention – John Hurley, Staten Island Advance
- Honorable mention – Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
The Lion King received four Golden Globe Award and Oscar nominations. The film would go on to win three Golden Globes; for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John and Tim Rice as well as two Academy Awards, for Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer) and Best Original Song with "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". The songs "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata" were also nominated. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" also won the Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance.The Lion King also won Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature, Best Achievement in Voice Acting (for Jeremy Irons), and Best Individual Achievement for Story Contribution in the Field of Animation.
At the Saturn Awards, the film was nominated in two categories, Best Fantasy Film and Best Performance by a Younger Actor although it did not win in either category. The film also received two nominations at the British Academy Film Awards, for Best Sound as well as the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music although it lost in both categories to Speed and Backbeat respectively. The film received two BMI Film & TV Awards for Film Music and Most Performed Song with "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." At the 1995 MTV Movie Awards, the film received nominations for Best Villain and Best Song, though it lost in both categories.The Lion King won the Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie at the 1995 Kids' Choice Awards.
In 2008, The Lion King was ranked as the 319th greatest film ever made by Empire magazine, and in June 2011, TIME named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films". In June 2008, the American Film Institute listed The Lion King as the fourth best film in the animation genre in its AFI's 10 Top 10 list, having previously put "Hakuna Matata" as 99th on its AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs ranking.
In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Kimba the White Lion
Further information: Kimba the White Lion § The Lion King controversy
Certain elements of the film were thought to bear a resemblance to Osamu Tezuka's 1960s Japanese anime television series, Jungle Emperor (known as Kimba the White Lion in the United States), with some similarities between a number of characters and various individual scenes. The 1994 release of The Lion King drew a protest in Japan, where Kimba and its creator Osamu Tezuka are cultural icons. 488 Japanese cartoonists and animators, led by manga author Machiko Satonaka, signed a petition accusing Disney of plagiarism and demanding that they give due credit to Tezuka. Matthew Broderick believed initially that he was, in fact, working on an American version of Kimba since he was familiar with the Japanese original.
The Lion King director Roger Allers claimed complete unfamiliarity with the show until the movie was almost completed, and did not remember it being ever mentioned during development. Madhavi Sunder has suggested that Allers might have seen the 1989 remake of Kimba on prime time television while living in Tokyo. However, while Allers did indeed move to Tokyo in 1983 in order to work on Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989), he moved back to the United States in 1985, four years before the 1989 remake of Kimba began airing. Co-director Rob Minkoff also stated that he was unfamiliar with it. Minkoff also observed that whenever a story is based in Africa, it is "not unusual to have characters like a baboon, a bird or hyenas."
Takayuki Matsutani, the president of Tezuka Productions which created Kimba the White Lion, said in 1994 that "[q]uite a few staff of our company saw a preview of 'The Lion King', discussed this subject and came to the conclusion that you cannot avoid having these similarities as long as you use animals as characters and try to draw images out of them". Yoshihiro Shimizu of Tezuka Productions has refuted rumors that the studio was paid hush money by Disney and stated that they have no interest in suing Disney, explaining that "[w]e think it's a totally different story". Shimizu further explained that they rejected urges from some American lawyers to sue because "we're a small, weak company... Disney's lawyers are among the top twenty in the world!" Tezuka's family and Tezuka Productions never pursued litigation.
Fred Ladd, who was involved early on with importing Kimba and other Japanese anime into America for NBC, expressed incredulity that Disney's people could remain ignorant. Ladd stated there was at least one animator remembered by his colleagues as being an avid Kimba fan and being quite vociferous about Disney's conduct during production. Animators Tom Sito and Mark Kausler have both stated that they had watched Kimba as children in the 1960s. However, Sito maintains there was "absolutely no inspiration" from Kimba during the production of The Lion King, and Kausler emphasized Disney's own Bambi as being their model during development.
The controversy surrounding Kimba and The Lion King was parodied in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons, where a lion appearing in the clouds is saying, "You must avenge my death, Kimba... I mean, Simba."
Protests were raised against one scene where it appears as if the word "SEX" might have been embedded into the dust flying in the sky when Simba flops down, which conservative activist Donald Wildmon asserted was a subliminal message intended to promote sexual promiscuity. Animator Tom Sito has stated that the letters spell "SFX" (a common abbreviation for "special effects"), not with an "E" instead of the "F", and were intended as an innocent "signature" created by the effects animation team.
Hyena biologists protested against the animal's portrayal, though the complaints may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek. One hyena researcher, who had organized the animators' visit to the University of California, Berkeley, Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Reproduction, where they would observe and sketch captive hyenas, listed "boycottThe Lion King" in an article listing ways to help preserve hyenas in the wild, and later "joke[d] that The Lion King set back hyena conservation efforts." Even so, the film was also credited with "spark[ing] an interest" in hyenas at the Berkeley center.
The film has been criticized for race and class issues, with the hyenas seen as reflecting negative stereotypes of black and Latino ethnic communities.
Sequels and spin-offs
Main article: The Lion King (franchise)
The first Lion King-related animated projects involved the characters of Timon and Pumbaa. First, the duo starred in the animated short "Stand by Me", featuring Timon singing the eponymous song, which was released in 1995 accompanying the theatrical release of Tom and Huck (1995). The duo then received their own animated series, The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, which ran for three seasons and 85 episodes between 1995 and 1999. Ernie Sabella continued to voice Pumbaa, while Timon was voiced by Quinton Flynn and Kevin Schon in addition to Nathan Lane.
Disney released two direct-to-video films related to The Lion King. The first was sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, released in 1998 on VHS. The film centers around Simba and Nala's daughter, Kiara, who falls in love with Kovu, a male lion who was raised in a pride of Scar's followers, the Outsiders.The Lion King 1½, another direct-to-videoLion King film, saw its release in 2004. It is a prequel in showing how Timon and Pumbaa met each other, and also a parallel in that it also depicts what the characters were retconned to have done during the events of the original movie.
In June 2014, it was announced that a new TV series based on the film would be released called The Lion Guard, featuring Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala. The Lion Guard is a sequel to The Lion King and takes place during the time-gap within The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, with the last 2 episodes of Season 3 taking place after the events of that film. It was first broadcast on Disney Channel as a television film titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar in November 2015 before airing as a series on Disney Junior in January 2016.
Main article: The Lion King (2019 film)
In September 2016, following the critical and financial success of The Jungle Book, Walt Disney Pictures announced that they were developing a CGIremake of The Lion King by the same name, with Jon Favreau directing. The following month, Jeff Nathanson was hired to write the script for the film. Favreau originally planned to shoot it back-to-back with the sequel to The Jungle Book. However, it was reported in early 2017 that the latter film was put on hold in order for Favreau to instead focus mainly on The Lion King. In February 2017, Favreau announced that Donald Glover had been cast as Simba and that James Earl Jones would be reprising the role of Mufasa. The following month, it was reported that Beyoncé was Favreau's top choice to voice Nala, but she had not accepted the role yet due to a pregnancy. In April 2017, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen joined the film as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively. Two months later, John Oliver was cast as Zazu. At the end of July 2017, Beyoncé had reportedly entered final negotiations to play Nala and contribute a new soundtrack. The following month, Chiwetel Ejiofor entered talks to play Scar. Later on, Alfre Woodard and John Kani joined the film as Sarabi and Rafiki, respectively. On November 1, 2017, Beyoncé and Chiwetel Ejiofor were officially confirmed to voice Nala and Scar, with Eric André, Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key, JD McCrary, and Shahadi Wright Joseph joining the cast as the voices of Azizi, Shenzi, and Kamari, young Simba, and young Nala, respectively, while Hans Zimmer would return to score the film's music. On November 28, 2017, it was reported that Elton John had signed onto the project to rework his musical compositions from the original film.
Production for the film began in May 2017. It was released on July 19, 2019.
Black Is King
Main article: Black Is King
In June 2020, Parkwood Entertainment and Disney announced that a film titled Black Is King would be released on July 31, 2020 on Disney+. The live-action film is inspired by The Lion King (2019) and serves as a visual album for the tie-in album The Lion King: The Gift, which was curated by Beyoncé for the film. Directed, written and executive produced by Beyoncé, Black Is King is described as reimagining "the lessons of The Lion King for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns". The film chronicles the story of a young African king who undergoes a "transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity" to reclaim his throne, utilizing the guidance of his ancestors and childhood love, with the story being told through the voices of present-day Black people. The cast includes Lupita Nyong'o, Naomi Campbell, Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Aweng Ade-Chuol, and Adut Akech.
Main article: The Lion King (video game)
Along with the film release, three different video games based on The Lion King were released by Virgin Interactive in December 1994. The main title was developed by Westwood Studios, and published for PC and Amiga computers and the consoles SNES and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Dark Technologies created the Game Boy version, while Syrox Developments handled the Master System and Game Gear version. The film and sequel Simba's Pride later inspired another game, Torus Games' The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure (2000) for the Game Boy Color and PlayStation. Timon and Pumbaa also appeared in Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games, a 1995 PC game collection of puzzle games by 7th Level, later ported to the SNES by Tiertex.
The Square Enix series Kingdom Hearts features Simba as a recurring summon, as well as a playable in the Lion King world, known as Pride Lands, in Kingdom Hearts II. There the plotline is loosely related to the later part of the original film, with all of the main characters except Zazu and Sarabi.The Lion King also provides one of the worlds featured in the 2011 action-adventure game Disney Universe, and Simba was featured in the Nintendo DS title Disney Friends (2008).
Main article: The Lion King (musical)
Walt Disney Theatrical produced a musical stage adaptation of the same name, which premiered in Minneapolis, Minnesota in July 1997, and later opened on Broadway in October 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The Lion King musical was directed by Julie Taymor and featured songs from both the movie and Rhythm of the Pride Lands, along with three new compositions by Elton John and Tim Rice. Mark Mancina did the musical arrangements and new orchestral tracks. The musical became one of the most successful in Broadway history, winning six Tony Awards including Best Musical, and despite moving to the Minskoff Theatre in 2006, is still running to this day in New York, becoming the third longest-running show and highest grossing Broadway production in history. The show's financial success led to adaptations all over the world.
The Lion King inspired two attractions retelling the story of the film at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The first, "The Legend of the Lion King", featured a recreation of the film through life-size puppets of its characters, and ran from 1994 to 2002 at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Another that is still running is the live-action 30-minute musical revue of the movie, "Festival of the Lion King", which incorporates the musical numbers into gymnastic routines with live actors, along with animatronic puppets of Simba and Pumbaa and a costumed actor as Timon. The attraction opened in April 1998 at Disney World's Animal Kingdom, and in September 2005 in Hong Kong Disneyland's Adventureland. A similar version under the name "The Legend of the Lion King" was featured in Disneyland Paris from 2004 to 2009.
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The Lion King (2019 film)
2019 film by Jon Favreau
This article is about the 2019 photorealistic computer-animated film. For its 1994 traditionally animated film, see The Lion King. For the franchise as a whole, see The Lion King (franchise).
The Lion King is a 2019 American computer-animatedmusicaldrama film directed and produced by Jon Favreau, written by Jeff Nathanson, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney's traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name. The film stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Florence Kasumba, Eric André, Keegan-Michael Key, JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, as well as James Earl Jones reprising his role from the original film. The plot follows Simba, a young lion who must embrace his role as the rightful king of his native land following the murder of his father, Mufasa, at the hands of his uncle, Scar.
Plans for a remake of 1994's The Lion King were confirmed in September 2016 following box office successes for Disney remakes such as The Jungle Book (2016), which was also directed by Favreau. Favreau was inspired by certain roles of characters in the Broadway adaptation, and developed upon elements of the original film's story. Much of the main cast signed in early 2017, and principal photography began in mid-2017 on a blue screen stage in Los Angeles. The "virtual-reality tools" utilized in The Jungle Book's cinematography were used to a greater degree during filming of The Lion King. Composers Hans Zimmer, Elton John, and lyricist Tim Rice, all of whom worked on the original's soundtrack, returned to compose the score alongside Knowles-Carter, who assisted John in the reworking of the soundtrack and wrote a new song for the film, titled "Spirit", which she also performed. The film serves as the final credit for editor Mark Livolsi, and it is dedicated to his memory. With an estimated budget of around $260 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made.
The film was theatrically released in the United States on July 19, 2019. It has grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide during its theatrical run, overtaking Frozen to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time. It also became the seventh highest-grossing film of all time and the second highest-grossing film of 2019. The Lion King received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its visual effects, music, and vocal performances (particularly Rogen and Eichner), but criticism for its excessive similarity to the original film, and lack of originality and facial emotion on the characters. The film received nominations for Best Animated Feature Film and Original Song categories at the 77th Golden Globe Awards and 25th Critics' Choice Awards. It was also nominated at 73rd British Academy Film Awards and 92nd Academy Awards, both for visual effects. A follow-up film is in development with Barry Jenkins attached to direct.
In the Pride Lands of Africa, a pride of lions rule over the animal kingdom from Pride Rock. King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi present their newborn son, Simba, to the gathering animals by Rafiki the mandrill, the kingdom's shaman and advisor.
Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands and explains to him the responsibilities of kingship and the "circle of life," which connects all living things. Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, covets the throne and plots to get rid of Mufasa and Simba, so he may become king. He tricks Simba and his best friend Nala into exploring a forbidden elephants' graveyard, where they are chased by a clan of hyenas led by the ruthless Shenzi. Mufasa hears about the incident from his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu, and rescues the cubs. Though upset with Simba, Mufasa forgives him and explains that the great kings of the past watch over them from the night sky, from which he will one day watch over Simba. Meanwhile, Scar visits the hyenas and convinces them to help him overthrow Mufasa in exchange for hunting rights in the Pride Lands.
Scar sets a trap for his brother and nephew, luring Simba into a gorge and having the hyenas drive a large herd of wildebeest into a stampede that will trample him. He informs Mufasa of Simba's peril, knowing that the king will rush to save his son. Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hanging perilously from the gorge's edge. Scar refuses to help Mufasa, instead sending him falling to his death. He then convinces Simba that the tragedy was Simba's own fault and advises him to leave the kingdom and never return. He orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba escapes. Scar tells the pride that the stampede killed Mufasa and Simba and steps forward as the new king, allowing Shenzi's clan to live in the Pride Lands.
Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog, rescue Simba, who collapses in a desert. Simba grows up in the oasis with his two new friends and other animals in their oasis, living a carefree life under the motto "hakuna matata" ("no worries" in Swahili).
A grown-up Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, who turns out to be Nala. She and Simba reunite and fall in love, and she urges him to return home, telling him that the Pride Lands have become a drought-stricken wasteland under Scar's reign. Feeling guilty over his father's death, Simba refuses and storms off. He then encounters Rafiki, who tells him that Mufasa's spirit lives on in Simba. Simba visits the ghost of Mufasa in the night sky, who tells him that he must take his rightful place as king. Realizing that he can no longer run from his past, Simba decides to return to the Pride Lands.
Aided by his friends, Simba sneaks past the hyenas at Pride Rock and confronts Scar, who was about to fight Sarabi. Scar taunts Simba over his role in Mufasa's death and backs him to the edge of the rock, where he reveals to him that he murdered Mufasa. Enraged, Simba tells the truth to the rest of the pride. Scar attempts to defend himself, but his knowledge of Mufasa's last moment (despite having previously claimed that he arrived too late at the gorge) exposes his role in Mufasa's death. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, and the lionesses fight Shenzi and her clan while Scar, attempting to escape, is cornered at a ledge near the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs for mercy and attempts to blame his crimes on the hyenas; Simba spares his life but orders him to leave the Pride Lands forever. Scar refuses and attacks his nephew, but Simba throws him off the cliff after a brief fight. Scar survives the fall but gets attacked and mauled to death by the hyenas, who overheard his attempt to betray them. Afterward, Simba takes over the kingship and makes Nala his queen.
With the Pride Lands restored to its usual state, Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the assembled animals, continuing the circle of life.
Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, (top)Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and James Earl Jones(bottom) voice the characters of Simba, Scar, Nala, Pumbaa, Timon, and Mufasa for the remake.
Main article: List of The Lion King characters
- Donald Glover as Simba:
A lion who is the crown prince of the Pride Lands. Glover said that the film will focus more on Simba's time growing up than the original film did, stating that "[Favreau] was very keen in making sure we saw [Simba's] transition from boy to man and how hard that can be when there's been a deep trauma".
- Seth Rogen as Pumbaa:
A slow-witted warthog who befriends and adopts a young Simba after he runs away from home. Rogen said, "[a]s an actor, I [...] don't think I'm right for every role—there are a lot of roles I don't think I'm right for even in movies I'm making—but Pumbaa was one I knew I could do well". Favreau encouraged Rogen and Timon's Billy Eichner, who did their voice recordings together, to improvise a lot. Rogen's casting would also mark the first time that Pumbaa isn't played by Ernie Sabella, who reprised the role for every Disney project the character was involved in.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar:
The treacherous brother of Mufasa, the brother-in-law of Sarabi and the uncle of Simba who seeks to take the mantle of king of the Pride Lands. Ejiofor described Scar as more "psychologically possessed" and "brutalized" than in the original film. Ejiofor said that "especially with Scar, whether it's a vocal quality that allows for a certain confidence or a certain aggression, to always know that at the end of it you're playing somebody who has the capacity to turn everything on its head in a split second with outrageous acts of violence—that can completely change the temperature of a scene". Ejiofor also said that "[Scar and Mufasa's] relationship is completely destroyed and brutalized by Scar's way of thinking. He's possessed with this disease of his own ego and his own want". Favreau said of casting Ejiofor, "[He] is just a fantastic actor, who brings us a bit of the mid-Atlantic cadence and a new take on the character. He brings that feeling of a Shakespearean villain to bear because of his background as an actor. It's wonderful when you have somebody as experienced and seasoned as Chiwetel; he just breathes such wonderful life into this character." When Jeremy Irons was interviewed on Larry King Now on November 30, 2016, he expressed interest in reprising the role.
- Alfre Woodard as Sarabi:
The Queen of the Pride Lands, Mufasa's wife, and Simba's mother.
- Billy Eichner as Timon:
A wise-cracking meerkat who befriends and adopts a young Simba after he runs away from home. Eichner described Timon as "physically the smallest character, but he has one of the bigger personalities, and I love the combination of those two things. I kind of played into Timon, as I've done with many characters of mine, [the notion that] he might be small in stature but he has a huge sense of entitlement, which is always funny to play," and that "when Timon speaks and when he's quote-unquote 'being funny', he's very loud and boisterous, but [his] singing allows this vulnerable side, a slightly softer side, especially in 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' and other moments." Eichner also talked about having "what some may consider a gay sensibility" that he brought to the table when he voiced Timon.
- John Kani as Rafiki:
A wise mandrill who serves as the shaman of the Pride Lands, and a close friend of Mufasa's. Likening his role to that of a grandfather, Kani said, "Rafiki reminds all of us of that special wise relative. His wisdom, humor and his loyalty to the Mufasa dynasty is what warms our hearts towards him. [He's] always happy and wisecracking jokes as lessons of life and survival."
- John Oliver as Zazu:
A hornbill who is the majordomo to the King of the Pride Lands. Speaking of his role, Oliver said, "I think Zazu is basically a bird who likes structure. He just wants things to be as they should be. I think there are British echoes there because we tend to favor structure in lieu of having an emotional reaction to anything."
- Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala:
Simba's childhood best friend and future love interest. According to Favreau, the character has a bigger role than in the original film. Favreau felt that "part of [Beyoncé joining the film] is that she's got young kids, part of it is that it's a story that feels good for this phase of her life and her career, and she really likes the original very much. And then, of course, there are these wonderful musical numbers that she can be involved with, and my God... she really lives up to her reputation as far as the beauty of her voice and talent".
- James Earl Jones as Mufasa:
The King of the Pride Lands, Sarabi's husband and the father of Simba. Jones reprises his role from the original 1994 animated film. According to Favreau, Jones' lines remain mostly the same from the original film. Ejiofor said that "the comfort of [Jones reprising his role] is going to be very rewarding in taking [the audience] on this journey again. It's a once-in-a-generation vocal quality". Favreau saw Jones' return as "carrying the legacy across" the original film and the remake, and felt that his voice's change in tonality compared to the original film "served the role well because he sounds like a king who's ruled for a long time".
- Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key, and Eric André voice Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi: Three hyenas who are members of the hyena clan whom Scar join forces with to kill Mufasa. While Shenzi is a character that was featured in the original 1994 animated film, Kamari and Azizi are the respective names of new characters loosely based on Banzai and Ed from the original film. The hyenas' characterizations were heavily altered from the original film's, as Favreau felt that they "had to change a lot" to fit the remake's realistic style, stating that "[a] lot of the stuff around them [in the original film] was very stylised". Kasumba elaborated, declaring that "[t]hose hyenas were funny. These hyenas are dangerous." Kasumba also voices Shenzi in the German dub of the film.
Additionally, Penny Johnson Jerald voices Sarafina, Nala's mother.Amy Sedaris, Chance the Rapper, Josh McCrary, and Phil LaMarr voice a guineafowl, a bushbaby, an elephant shrew, and a topi (miscredited as an impala), respectively, Timon and Pumbaa's neighbors in the oasis.J. Lee voices a hyena that chases after Timon and Pumbaa.
On September 28, 2016, Walt Disney Pictures confirmed that Jon Favreau would be directing a remake of the 1994 animated film The Lion King, which would feature the songs from the 1994 film, following a string of recent box office successes of Disney live-action remake films such as Maleficent, Cinderella, Favreau's The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast, with the latter three also earning critical praise. On October 13, 2016, it was reported that Disney had hired Jeff Nathanson to write the screenplay for the remake.
In November, talking with ComingSoon.net, Favreau said the virtual cinematography technology he used in The Jungle Book would be used to a greater degree in The Lion King. Although some reports reported The Lion King would be a live-action film, it actually utilizes photorealistic computer-generated animation. Disney also did not describe it as live-action, only stating it would follow the "technologically groundbreaking" approach of The Jungle Book. While the film acts as a remake of the 1994 animated film, Favreau was inspired by the Broadway adaptation of the film for certain aspects of the remake's plot, particularly Nala and Sarabi's roles. Favreau also aimed to develop his own take on the original film's story with what he said was "the spectacle of a BBC wildlife documentary".
This serves as the final credit for film editor Mark Livolsi, who died in September 2018. The film is dedicated to him.
In mid-February 2017, Donald Glover was cast as Simba, with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa from the 1994 film. In April 2017, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen were cast to play Timon and Pumbaa, respectively. In July 2017, John Oliver was cast as Zazu. In August 2017, Alfre Woodard and John Kani were announced to play Sarabi and Rafiki, respectively.
Earlier in March 2017, it was announced that Beyoncé Knowles-Carter was Favreau's top choice for the role of Nala and that the director and studio would be willing to do whatever it took to accommodate her busy schedule. Later on November 1, 2017, her role was confirmed in an official announcement, which also confirmed that Chiwetel Ejiofor would play the role of Scar, and announced that Eric André, Florence Kasumba, and Keegan-Michael Key would be the voices of Azizi, Shenzi, and Kamari while JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph would be the voices of young Simba and young Nala, respectively. In November 2018, Amy Sedaris was announced as having been cast in a role created for the film.
The Moving Picture Company, the lead vendor on The Jungle Book, provided the visual effects, which were supervised by Robert Legato, Elliot Newman, and Adam Valdez. The film uses "virtual-reality tools," according to Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Legato. Virtual Production Supervisor Girish Balakrishnan said on his professional website that the filmmakers used motion capture and VR/AR technologies. According to Favreau, MPC worked together with tech firms Magnopus and Unity Technologies to build the film's technology platform using the Unity game engine.
MPC was in charge of all the VFX shots for the film. There are 1,490 VFX shots. The animals were designed from art and photo references. From that, the characters were built; all the rigging, shapes, textures, and furs were rendered step-by-step for further improvement. After that, the animation of the animals was crafted by hand, based on the reference clips. The movements, muscles, eyes, facial expressions, and the way the animals breathe was animated for more than 30 species. The environment was created entirely in CGI from reference materials such as high-definition photos of the African landscape. All the FX simulations—such as water, dirt and fire—were created by combining VR technology with cameras shots so that scenes could be digitally built within in a VR-simulated environment. New software developed for the movie made it possible to create scenes with the shaky-cam look of a handheld camera.Sean Bailey, Disney's President of Production, said of the film's visual effects, "It's a new form of filmmaking. Historical definitions don't work. It uses some techniques that would traditionally be called animation, and other techniques that would traditionally be called live action. It is an evolution of the technology Jon [Favreau] used in Jungle Book".
Rather than have animators do everything, the team used artificial intelligence to allow virtual characters to behave in ways that mimicked real animals. The sole non-animated shot in the entire film is the sunrise in the opening scene.
Main articles: The Lion King (2019 soundtrack) and The Lion King: The Gift
Hans Zimmer, who composed the 1994 animated version, would return to compose the score for the remake with Pharrell Williams as a collaborator.Elton John also returned to rework his musical compositions from the original film before his retirement, with Knowles-Carter assisting John in the reworking of the soundtrack. John, the original film's lyricist, Tim Rice, and Knowles-Carter were also slated in 2018 to create a new song for the film. However, the collaboration between Knowles-Carter and John did not pan out as the unreleased song was not added to the official soundtrack. John and Rice also wrote a new song for the film's end credits, titled "Never Too Late" and performed by John.
"Spirit", performed by Knowles-Carter and written by herself, Ilya Salmanzadeh, and Labrinth, was released on July 9, 2019, as the lead single from the soundtrack. The film also features all the songs from the original film, a cover of The Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", and the song "He Lives in You" from Rhythm of the Pride Lands and the Broadway production. The soundtrack, featuring Zimmer's score and John and Rice's songs, was released digitally on July 11, 2019, and physically on July 19, 2019.
Knowles-Carter also produced and curated an album titled The Lion King: The Gift, which features "Spirit", as well as songs inspired by the film. The album was released on July 19, 2019.
The first teaser trailer and the official teaser poster for The Lion King debuted during the annual Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day game on November 22, 2018. The trailer was viewed 224.6 million times in its first 24 hours, becoming the then 2nd-most-viewed trailer in that time period. A special sneak peek featuring John Kani's voice as Rafiki and a new poster were released during the 91st Academy Awards on February 24, 2019. On April 10, 2019, Disney released the official trailer featuring new footage which revealed Scar, Zazu, Simba and Nala (both as cubs and as adults), Sarabi, Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa, and the hyenas. The trailer was viewed 174 million times in its first 24 hours, which was revealed on Disney's Investor Day 2019 Webcast. On May 30, 2019, 11 individual character posters were released. A special sneak peek featuring Beyoncé Knowles-Carter's, Billy Eichner's, and Seth Rogen's voices as Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa, respectively, was released on June 3, 2019. A special sneak peek featuring Knowles-Carter and Donald Glover's voices as Simba and Nala singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and also featuring James Earl Jones' voice as Mufasa, was released on June 20, 2019. On July 2, 2019, Disney released an extensive behind-the-scenes featurette detailing the various aspects of the film's production along with seven publicity stills featuring the voice actors facing their animal counterparts. All-in-all, Disney spent around $145 million promoting the film.
A tie-in novelization of the film written by Elizabeth Rudnick was published by Disney Publishing Worldwide on June 4, 2019.
The trailers of the film led to a claim of its being a shot-for-shot remake of Disney's 1994 film. On December 23, 2018, Sean Bailey, Disney's President of Production, said that while the film will "revere and love those parts that the audience wants", there will be "things in the movie that are going to be new". On April 18, 2019, Favreau stated that "some shots in the 1994 animated film are so iconic" he couldn't possibly change them, but "despite what the trailers suggest, this film is not just the same movie over again", and later said "it's much longer than the original film. And part of what we're doing here is to (give it more dimension) not just visually but both story-wise and emotionally." On May 30, 2019, Favreau said that some of the humor and characterizations are being altered to be more consistent with the rest of the film, and this remake is making some changes in certain scenes from the original film, as well as in its structure. On June 14, 2019, Favreau said that, while the original film's main plot points would remain unchanged in the remake, the film would largely diverge from the original version, and hinted that the Elephant Graveyard, the hyenas' lair in the original film, will be replaced by a new location. The film is approximately 30 minutes longer than the original. Despite Favreau's claims, upon release, the film was criticized by fans and critics alike for being nearly identical to the original, with many citing its overall lack of originality as a major flaw.
The Lion King premiered in Hollywood on July 9, 2019. The film was theatrically released in the United States on July 19, 2019, in IMAX and 3D. It is one of the first theatrical films to be released on Disney+, alongside Aladdin, Toy Story 4, Frozen II, Captain Marvel, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film began its international rollout a week before its domestic release, starting with July 12 in China.
The Lion King was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Digital HD on October 11, 2019, followed by a DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray release on October 22. It started streaming on Disney+ on January 28, 2020. With the launch of Disney+Hotstar in India on April 3, 2020, the film was made available in India as well in multiple languages.
The Lion King grossed $543.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.113 billion in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.657 billion.
The film had a global debut of $446 million, the ninth-largest of all time and the biggest opening for an animated film. On July 30, 2019, the film grossed $1 billion, becoming the 42nd film to ever reach the milestone, as well as fastest animated film to gross $1 billion, doing so in 21 days, surpassing Incredibles 2 (46 days). The Lion King is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, the highest-grossing musical film of all time, the highest-grossing remake of all time, the highest-grossing Walt Disney Pictures film of all time, the highest-grossing film of Favreau's career, the second-highest-grossing film of 2019, and the 7th-highest-grossing film of all time.Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $580 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.
United States and Canada
Beginning on June 24, 2019 (which marked the 25th anniversary of the release of the original film), in its first 24 hours of pre-sales, The Lion King became the second-best pre-seller of 2019 on Fandango in that frame (behind Avengers: Endgame), while Atom Tickets reported it was their best-ever first-day sales for a family film. Three weeks prior to its release, industry tracking projected the film would gross $150–170 million in its domestic opening weekend. By the week of its release, estimates had the film debuting to as much as $180 million from 4,725 theaters, beating Avengers: Endgame's record of 4,662. The film made $77.9 million on its first day, including $23 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $191.8 million over the weekend, the highest opening total of the Disney reimaginings of animated films (beating Beauty and the Beast's $174.8 million), a July release (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2's $169.2 million) and Favreau's career (Iron Man 2's $128.1 million). The film had a slightly higher-than-expected drop of 60% in its second weekend, but still topped the box office with $76.6 million. It was dethroned by newcomer Hobbs & Shaw in its third weekend but still grossed $38.5 million, crossing the $400 million mark in the process. On August 21, the movie become the second animated film to have grossed $500 million at North America box office, after Incredibles 2.
The film was expected to gross around $450 million over its first 10 days of a global release, including $160–170 million from its worldwide opening weekend. In China, where it released a week prior to the rest of the world, the film was projected to debut to $50–60 million. It ended up opening to $54.2 million, besting the debuts of The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast. Over its first 8 days of global release, the film made a total of 751 million, including $351.8 million from overseas territories. This included $269.4 million from its opening weekend (sans China), with its largest countries being the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta ($20.8 million), France ($19.6 million), Mexico ($18.7 million), Brazil ($17.9 million), South Korea ($17.7 million), Australia ($17.1 million), and Russia ($16.7 million, second-largest ever in the country), as well as $6 million in the Netherlands, the best opening of a film ever in the country. As of September 16, 2019, the film's top 10 largest markets were China ($120.4 million), the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta ($91.3 million), France ($79 million), Brazil ($69.1 million, second-highest all time in the country), Japan ($60 million), Germany ($53.8 million), Mexico ($51.8 million), Russia ($47.3 million), Australia ($42.8 million), and Italy ($40 million). The film became the first animated and musical film to gross $1 billion at overseas box office.
As of September 2019, the film became the highest-grossing film of all time in the Netherlands ($30.2 million), surpassing previous record held by Titanic ($28.5 million including re-release) and South Africa (R107.6 million, $7.29 million), surpassing Black Panther in local currency terms (in dollar terms, is still second-highest of all time). Meanwhile, the film become the highest-grossing films of 2019 in many other countries and regions: Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg, Bulgaria, France, Algeria, Monaco, Morocco and Tunisia, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal and Angola, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain. It is also the highest-grossing foreign film of 2019 in Poland In India, the film grossed $26.3 million, making it the fourth-highest-grossing Hollywood or foreign films of all time, highest-grossing animated film of all time (both local and foreign films), and one of top 50 highest-grossing films of all time in India. In Europe, Middle East, and Africa the film surpass Avengers: Endgame to become the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time and highest-grossing film of 2019 across the region.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 52% with an average rating of 6.00/10, based on 429 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved—though for some fans that may just be enough."Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, based on 54 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, and those at PostTrak gave the film a four out of five stars.
Kenneth Turan at the Los Angeles Times called the film "polished, satisfying entertainment." Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter considered it to be inferior to the original, noting, "The film's aesthetic caution and predictability begin to wear down on the entire enterprise in the second half." At The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw found the film "watchable and enjoyable. But I missed the simplicity and vividness of the original hand-drawn images." Among the vocal performances, the roles of Eichner and Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively, received particular praise by critics, with The A.V. Club's A. A. Dowd proclaiming: "Ultimately, only Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, as slacker sidekicks Timon and Pumbaa, make much of an impression; their funny, possibly ad-libbed banter feels both fresh and true to the spirit of the characters—the perfect remake recipe."
Sreeparna Sengupta of The Times of India praised the film, giving it a score of 3.5/5 and stating "For those who haven’t seen the original, 'The Lion King' (2019) is certainly worth a watch for its gorgeous visuals and technical genius." Helen O'Hara of Empire Magazine gave the film a three out of five stars, saying, "The great circle of life has thrown up a gorgeous, star-studded story, but trading feeling for realism means that we lose something of the original film’s excellence." Matt Zoller Seitz of Rogerebert.com gave the film a three out of four stars, saying, "The worst thing you can say about this movie, and perhaps the highest compliment you can pay it, is to say it would be even more dazzling if it told a different story with different animals and the same technology and style—and maybe without songs, because you don't necessarily need them when you have images that sing."
A. A. Dowd, writing for The A.V. Club, summarized the film as "Joyless, artless, and maybe soulless, it transforms one of the most striking titles from the Mouse House vault into a very expensive, star-studded Disneynature film." Dowd bemoaned the film's insistence on realism, commenting, "We're watching a hollow bastardization of a blockbuster, at once completely reliant on the audience's pre-established affection for its predecessor and strangely determined to jettison much of what made it special." Scott Mendelson at Forbes condemned the film as a "crushing disappointment": "At almost every turn, this redo undercuts its own melodrama by downplaying its own emotions." David Ehrlich of IndieWire panned the film, writing, "Unfolding like the world's longest and least convincing deepfake, Jon Favreau's (almost) photorealistic remake of The Lion King is meant to represent the next step in Disney's circle of life. Instead, this soulless chimera of a film comes off as little more than a glorified tech demo from a greedy conglomerate—a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail."
Elton John, who worked the film's soundtrack, disowned the film and stated "The new version of 'The Lion King' was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up. Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost."
On September 29, 2020, Deadline Hollywood reported that a follow-up film was in development with Barry Jenkins attached to direct. While The Hollywood Reporter said the film would be a prequel about Mufasa during his formative years, Deadline said it would be a sequel centering on both Mufasa's origins and the events after the first film, similar to The Godfather Part II. Jeff Nathanson, the screenwriter for the remake, has reportedly finished a draft. In August 2021, it was reported that Aaron Pierre and Kelvin Harrison Jr. had been cast as Mufasa and Scar respectively.
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