Opening Night Fan Event The Lion King Movie Poster

Trivia for Opening Night Fan Event The Lion King

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  • This is Jon Favreau's second Disney remake based on a Disney animated movie after directing The Jungle Book (2016).
  • Disney's second live action film as well as the first live action reboot of a Disney animated feature film where a voice actor from the original reprises their role - James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa. The first one to do this was Christopher Robin (2018) with Jim Cummings.
  • Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) will voice Simba. He is an actor, writer, stand-up comedian, director, rapper, and musician.
  • Beyoncé is being considered for the role of Nala. She is director Jon Favreau's top choice. She was eventually confirmed to indeed be taking the role in November 2017.
  • Both Donald Glover (Simba) and James Earl Jones (Mufasa) have worked on Star Wars movies, though on separate occasions. Jones provides the voice of Darth Vader in multiple films, and Glover appears as a young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
  • This film will be released on the 25th anniversary of The Lion King (1994).
  • The second live action reboot of a Disney animated feature film that's completely original and not an adaptation of anything, though The Lion King (1994), its direct-to-video sequel (The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998)) and midquel (The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004)) did use elements from plays by William Shakespeare. The first one being Dumbo (2019), released four months earlier in the same year.
  • Billy Eichner's third time voice acting in a film, after Penguins of Madagascar (2014) and The Angry Birds Movie (2016).
  • Seth Rogen's third voice over job in a live-action film, after The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) (Hogsqueal) and Paul (2011) (the titular character) 11 and eight years prior, respectively. This is also his first voice over performance in a live action film to not release the same year as a film in DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda franchise of which Rogen appeared in.
  • This is John Oliver's second live-action adaptation of an animated feature, after having worked on The Smurfs live-action films as Vanity Smurf.
  • Both John Oliver (Zazu in this remake) and Rowan Atkinson (Zazu in the original animated film) have starred in live action films based on Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Oliver was in The Smurfs (2011) and its sequel The Smurfs 2 (2013) as Vanity Smurf, whilst Atkinson was in Scooby-Doo (2002) as Mondavarious.
  • John Oliver (Zazu), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), and Billy Eichner (Timon), as well as Director Jon Favreau, had all voiced characters in theatrical films by Sony Animation. Oliver was in The Smurfs (2011) and its sequel The Smurfs 2 (2013), Key was in Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015), The Angry Birds Movie (2016), The Star (2017) and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018), Eichner was in The Angry Birds Movie (2016), and Favreau was in the first Open Season (2006) movie.
  • Hugh Jackman was rumored to voice Scar, which was quickly denied by his representative. Nearly three weeks after this rumor, it was eventually confirmed to be Chiwetel Ejiofor, making his second time voice acting in a film after Sherlock Gnomes (2018).
  • Released same year as Dumbo (2019) and Mulan (2018), fellow live action reboots of Disney animated feature films.
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) have both voiced characters in movies by DreamWorks Animation. Eichner was in Penguins of Madagascar (2014), and Rogen was in Shrek the Third (2007), Kung Fu Panda (2008), its two sequels Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), and Monsters vs. Aliens (2009).
  • Hugh Jackman's 4th time Voice Acting, after Flushed Away (2006), Happy Feet (2006) and Rise of the Guardians (2012).
  • The seventh live action remake of a Disney animated feature film, after Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Dumbo (2019), and Aladdin (2019), as well as the last one of the 2010s. This does not include Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) which is completely different and not based on the 1950s animated film the same said for Christopher Robin (2018) which is actually a live-action sequel to Winnie the Pooh (2011).
  • John Oliver (Zazu in this remake) previously appeared alongside Matthew Broderick (Simba in The Lion King (1994) animated film) in Wonder Park (2019) by Paramount Animation/Nickelodeon movies four months prior.
  • Donald Glover (Simba), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), John Kani (Rafiki), and Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), as well as director Jon Favreau have all appeared in live action Marvel films. Glover was in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Woodard was in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Ejiofor was in Doctor Strange (2016), Kani was in both Captain America: Civil War (2016) AND Black Panther (2018), Kasumba was in Black Panther (2018), and Favreau directed the first two Iron Man films as well as portraying the MCU character Happy Hogan. All of these films released after Disney's acquisition of Marvel.
  • The second film directed by Jon Favreau where the main villain is played by a Black British actor, after The Jungle Book (2016), which was also both a remake of an animated Disney and directed by Jon Favreau.
  • Much like with the original The Lion King (1994), many actors from this film have made appearances in Sesame Street (1969) sketches over the years, as well as in stuff related to The Muppets. Billy Eichner (Timon), John Oliver (Zazu), and Keegan-Michael Key (Banzai/Kamari) have even met with some Muppets at times on their own talk shows.
  • John Oliver (Zazu) and Billy Eichner (Timon) are both talk show hosts, being off Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014) and Billy on the Street (2011) respectively.
  • Donald Glover (Simba in this remake) and Matthew Broderick (Simba in The Lion King (1994) animated film) both voiced characters in the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time (2010). Glover voiced Marshall Lee, while Broderick voiced the Dream Warrior and the Spirit of the Forest.
  • Alfre Woodard's second film that takes place in Africa, after The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002), which also had her voicing a cheetah mother; she collaborated with the voice of series' protagonist Eliza Thornberry, Lacey Chabert, who appeared in the original The Lion King (1994)'s direct-to-video sequel The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998) as the voice of Vitani, a cub, in the Outlander Pride.
  • Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), John Oliver (Zazu) and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) have all appeared in films by Nickelodeon Movies: Woodard was in The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002), Oliver was in Wonder Park (2019), and Rogen was in The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008).
  • John Kani (Rafiki) and Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) have both starred in features about the comic book hero, the Black Panther; T'Challa was also an African prince. Kani starred as T'Challa's father ,T'Chaka, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Kasumba played Ayo in Black Panther.
  • Alfre Woodard's third time voice acting in a film, after Dinosaur (2000) and The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002), the former of which being another Disney film.
  • Rafiki in this film is voiced by an actual African actor, being John Kani, unlike his original animated counterpart. The original had been voiced by an American actor (Robert Guillaume) using a Swahili accent.
  • John Kani's first film to have "Lion" in the title since White Lion (2010) released nine years ago.
  • Unlike the 1994 original animated film, all the lions in this production are voiced by actors of African descent. In the original, only Mufasa, young Nala, Sarafina, and Sarabi were. This also applies to young Simba as well, but only with his singing voice.
  • Both Donald Glover (Simba) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) appeared in Ridley Scott's film The Martian (2015).
  • This is the next Disney remake in line after Aladdin (2019). Similarly, the original The Lion King (1994) was the next Disney animated feature film to be released after the original animated Aladdin (1992).
  • Though a different incarnation of those characters, this film will mark the first time that Pumbaa and Ed, the Hyena (renamed Azizi in this version), will not be voiced by Ernie Sabella and Jim Cummings respectively. Sabella and Cummings had voiced their original animated counterparts in every appearance prior (films, TV series, video games, etc.); they will both be replaced with Seth Rogen and Eric Andre respectively.
  • Though a different incarnation of the character, this is Sarabi's first appearance outside the original The Lion King (1994). This is the only time her original animated counterpart ever made an appearance.
  • Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Beyoncé (Nala) and James Earl Jones (Mufasa) were in films by Blue Sky Studios. Rogen was in Horton Hears a Who! (2008), Knowles was in Epic (2013) and Jones was in Robots (2005).
  • Keegan-Michael Key's second time voice acting in a film not distributed by either Sony or Warner Bros., after Toy Story 4 (2019) which also released in 2019.
  • The third collaboration between Billy Eichner and Keegan-Michael Key, after Billy on the Street with Billy Eichner (2011) and The Angry Birds Movie (2016).
  • Two of the hyenas are given African names. The hyenas Banzai and Ed are being changed to Kamari and Azizi. Shenzi's name remains the same.
  • Alfre Woodard appeared in Star Trek: First Contact (1996), while James Earl Jones and Donald Glover both appeared in Star Wars films. The original The Lion King (1994) also featured Whoopi Goldberg and the late Madge Sinclair, who had both appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987); Sinclair also appeared in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
  • The hyenas Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi are named after the Swahili words for "savage," "gambling," and "precious," respectively. Kamari and Azizi were originally named Banzai and Ed in The Lion King (1994), but were given African names for this film.
  • The hyena Azizi is weird. Azizi means "moonlight," as moonlight is associated with the strange. Eric André plays Azizi in this adaptation, which is perfect because of his silly style of humor is very crazy and strange.
  • James Earl Jones, Hans Zimmer, Elton John, and Tim Rice are the only people who worked on the original The Lion King (1994) that reprise their respective roles, as the voice of Mufasa, the composer of the film, and songwriters.
  • In November 2017, Hans Zimmer was announced to return to compose the music for this film, as he did for The Lion King (1994). On a similar note, director Jon Favreau previously was able to secure Richard M. Sherman to compose The Jungle Book (2016), as he did, for the 1967 film.
  • James Earl Jones (Mufasa), John Oliver (Zazu), and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) are the only cast members to have done previous voiceover work in live action films in the past.
  • Second collaboration between Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), after 12 Years a Slave (2013).
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar in this remake) and experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed the Hyena in the original The Lion King (1994), who also voiced the gopher and filled in for Jeremy Irons as Scar, during the last few lyrics of the song "Be Prepared"), have both been in films in the Gnomeo & Juliet Franchise on separate occasions. Cummings was in the first Gnomeo & Juliet (2011), by Disney's Touchstone Pictures label as Featherstone, while Ejiofor was in its sequel Sherlock Gnomes (2018), by Paramount Animation as Gnome Watson.
  • Beyoncé's second time voice acting in a film, after Epic (2013). That film also had her voicing a queen, though unlike Nala, she'd already been a queen from the get go.
  • Beyoncé (Nala) was born in September 1981, only four days before Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who in his childhood was the voice of Simba as a cub in The Lion King (1994).
  • Jon Favreau is the first person to direct two Disney live action remakes: The Jungle Book (2016) and this film.
  • Unlike the 1994 version, most of the cast are African or African American. In fact Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, and John Oliver are the only main Caucasian actors in the remake. Those three members of the main cast are the only ones not voicing any lions, hyenas, or animals with Swahili Accents.
  • Seth Rogen's fifth voice acting performance in a film that's not from DreamWorks Animation, after The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Horton Hears a Who! (2008), Paul (2011), and Sausage Party (2016).
  • Two of Alfre Woodard's old co-stars from Dinosaur (2000), Samuel E. Wright and Max Casella, both starred in the Broadway version of "The Lion King" in 1997, where they played Mufasa and Timon respectively.
  • Both Seth Rogen (Pumbaa in this remake) and experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed in the original animated film) have been in films of DreamWorks Animation's Shrek franchise, both voicing captains. Cummings voiced the Captain of the Guards in the first Shrek (2001), and Rogen voiced the Ship Captain in Shrek the Third (2007).
  • Florence Kasumba and John Kani are the second and third actors who have been in a Black Panther film, a film by Jon Favreau. The first had been Lupita Nyong'o who appeared in the fellow Disney live action reboot The Jungle Book (2016), all of whom appeared in Black Panther (2018) released a year prior.
  • Even though James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa, he is 46 years older than Chiwetel Ejiofor, who had been cast as Scar, Mufasa's younger brother. Unlike in the original The Lion King (1994), Jones was only 17 years older than Jeremy Irons.
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) previously appeared in the spin-off film to DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar trilogy, Penguins of Madagascar (2014), where he voiced one of the minor humans in the film. In the original The Lion King (1994)'s Direct-to-Video/DVD Midquel The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata (2004), Timon's uncle Max was voiced by Jerry Stiller, father of Ben Stiller, who voiced Alex the Lion in the main Madagascar films.
  • John Oliver and Billy Eichner have both appeared in episodes of Bob's Burgers (2011) on separate occasions.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi in the original The Lion King (1994)) and Keegan-Michael Key (Banzai/Kamari in this remake) both voiced characters in Disney/Pixar's Toy Story franchise. Goldberg was in Toy Story 3 (2010), as Stretch the Rubbery Octopus, while Key was in Toy Story 4 (2019) as Ducky.
  • Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor appear in The Martian (2015) as co-workers. Here, they appear in this film as nephew and uncle.
  • Billy Eichner's (Timon) birthday is on September 18th, only one day before the birthdays' of Jeremy Irons and Ernie Sabella. Both of these actors are the voices of Scar and Pumbaa, respectively, in the original animated film.
  • Jon Favreau cast Chiwetel Ejiofor in the role of Scar after Favreau watched his antagonistic performance as Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange (2016).
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) recorded their lines together, much like how Nathan Lane (Timon's original animated counterpart) and Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa's original animated counterpart) did so in the original 1994 animated film. This also applies to its direct-to-video/DVD sequel and mid-quel.
  • Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), John Oliver (Zazu) and Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari) also appeared alongside Billy Eichner (Timon) in an episode of Eichner's talk show Billy on the Street (2011) on separate occasions.
  • Scar's villainous song "Be Prepared" was originally to be left out of the film due to its Nazi themes, which Disney executives were afraid to tackle, and because Chiwetel Ejiofor's voice was not fit for the singing. This drew a lot of ire from film critics and fans until the studio relented and put a shortened version of the song back in the film.
  • The film employs songs from the Broadway "The Lion King" musical, particularly "Shadowland" (a song dedicated to Nala) and possibly "He Lives in You".
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Keegan-Michael Key's (Kamari) second movie collaboration, after The Angry Birds Movie (2016), of which had a sequel released the same year as this film; it featured Eric André's on-and-off partner Hannibal Buress.
  • Even though they play Simba and Scar respectively (uncle and nephew), Donald Glover is only six years younger than Chiwetel Ejiofor. Similarly, in the original The Lion King (1994), the voice of Simba (Matthew Broderick) was only 13 years younger than the voice of Scar (Jeremy Irons).
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Young Nala) also appeared together in fellow musical Hairspray Live! (2016).
  • Seth Rogen who had been cast as Pumbaa previously voiced a talking sausage named Frank in Sausage Party (2016). Sausages are meat from pigs, and Pumbaa being a warthog is a member of the pig family.
  • James Earl Jones's second time voice acting in a live action film that's not associated with the Star Wars franchise; he also did so in Casper: A Spirited Beginning (1997) 22 years prior.
  • This is the first Disney production of The Lion King, where Ed the Hyena (renamed Azizi in this version), is voiced by someone other than Jim Cummings.
  • This is one of Disney productions of The Lion King where Banzai (renamed Kamari in this version) is not voiced by Cheech Marin.
  • Second Disney film directed by Jon Favreau, in which the main antagonist is voiced by an African American, first was The Jungle Book (2016) where Idris Elba did the voice of Shere Khan, in this film Chiwetel Ejiofor is doing the voice of Scar.
  • The hyena Kamari is strong. Kamari means "mighty", as might is associated with ferocity.
  • Florence Kasumba, who voices Shenzi in this film, also appeared as the same character in the German musical version of "The Lion King."
  • "The Hawaiian War Chant", did not return from the original 1994 animated film, due to time constraints.
  • The Lion King (2019) will be one of the first films to be released on Disney+ alongside Toy Story 4 (2019) and Frozen II (2019).
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Nathan Lane and Jim Cummings (Shenzi, Banzai, Timon, and Ed the hyena in the original The Lion King (1994)) and Seth Rogen and Beyoncé Knowles (Pumbaa and Nala in the remake) have appeared in animated films by 20th Century Fox. Whoopi Goldberg was in The Pagemaster (1994), Cheech Marin was in Ferngully the last Rainforest (1992), Nathan Lane and Jim Cummings were in Titan A.E. (2000), Seth Rogen was in Horton Hears a Who (2008), and Beyoncé Knowles was in Epic (2013).
  • The teaser trailer was released on November 22, 2018, during the annual Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving night game. Following the premiere, the trailer was uploaded online.
  • In the original The Lion King (1994), Matthew Broderick (Simba) was left-handed and Jeremy Irons (Scar) was right-handed. In this film, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) who is left handed and Donald Glover (Simba) who is right-handed.
  • Disney has never marketed its 2019 "The Lion King" as "live-action." Numerous media outlets have persisted in incorrectly representing the film as live-action since the day its production was announced in 2016. The press revived this incorrect description in their coverage following the Nov 2018 teaser-trailer's release despite its obvious use of computer animation. This has prompted widespread confusion about the term "live-action." The media's and other laymen's confusion may be attributable to a lack of awareness of the technical term "photorealistic" and the novelty of the film's production technologies. Animation artists and animated-film industry experts describe the animation style as "photorealistic CGI". The film's Virtual Production Supervisor Girish Balakrishnan says the film is not live action per se, but has "a completely photorealistic live-action, yet CG, aesthetic [emphasis added]".
  • Jeremy Irons was disappointed that he didn't get to reprise his role as Scar, as James Earl Jones got to reprise his role as Mufasa.
  • Scar's appearance will be completely changed for this new version. Since in the original 1994 version, looked clear brown with black mane, in the remake will be changed into a completely white (albino) frail lion. According to the movie producers, these changes are made to make a difference between the main protagonists (Simba, Mufasa, Nala, etc) and the antagonist (him).
  • Voice acting debut for Eric André (Azizi) in a feature film; he previously did voice over for Netflix's Disenchantment (2018).
  • Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane (Simba and Timon in The Lion King (1994)) appeared alongside Keegan-Michael Key (Banzai/Kamari in the remake) in the American sitcom Modern Family (2009).
  • James Earl Jones (Mufasa) is the only actor to reprise his role from original The Lion King (1994).
  • The trailer for the movie, which played ahead of Mary Poppins Returns (2018), was screened in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio; it was shot in 1.90:1.
  • Although it is implied, Nala is younger than Simba. Beyoncé, who plays Nala in the film, is two years older than Donald Glover, who plays Simba. In The Lion King (1994), Matthew Broderick was less than six years older than Moira Kelly.
  • Several YouTubers view the movie as the most unnecessary of Disney's CGI remakes.
  • Although Timon & Pumbaa are much older than Simba, Donald Glover (who plays Simba) was born in 1983 is only one year younger than Seth Rogen, who was born in 1982 and five years younger than Billy Eichner, who was born in 1978. In The Lion King (1994), Ernie Sabella was almost 14 years older than Matthew Broderick, and Nathan Lane is 6 years older than him.
  • A group of elephants can be seen near Mount Kilimanjaro in the original trailer. This means that the film is set in Tanzania.
  • Jeremy Irons expressed interest in reprising his role as Scar.
  • Seth Rogens third time playing an nonhuman character and the second time, it's animated.
  • Originally 'Be Prepared' was cut from the film but was inserted at the last minute as it was felt it was not right to leave one of the most iconic songs from the film.
  • Nathan Lane (Timon in The Lion King (1994)) and John Oliver (Zazu in the remake) have also appeared in an episode of The Daily Show (1996).
  • Nathan Lane (Timon in the original The Lion King (1994)) and Alfre Woodward (Sarabi in the remake) have previously appeared in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True (1995).
  • Amy Sedaris's 4th time voice acting in a theatrical film, after Chicken Little (2005), Shrek the Third (2007) and Puss in Boots (2011); the former of which was also from Disney.
  • Amy Sedaris' 2nd time in a film directed by Jon Favreau, following Elf (2003) released 16 years prior.
  • John Kani (Rafiki) was also in The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), which is also about lions.
  • The Moving Picture Company, the lead vendor on The Jungle Book, provided visual effects; he was supervised by Robert Legato, Elliot Newman and Adam Valdez.
  • Production on the film commenced in mid-2017 in Los Angeles, California, utilizing "virtual-reality tools", per 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.
  • This serves as the final credit for film editor Mark Livolsi, who died in September 2018.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch turned down the role of the voice of Scar.
  • Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) was in another live-action/CGI hybrid Disney film 19 years earlier as a lemur named Plio in Dinosaur (2000); both her characters are the foster/mother of the main protagonist (Aladar/Simba).
  • The sixth Disney's live-action/computer-animated hybrid film, after G-Force (2009), The Jungle Book (2016), The BFG (2016), Christopher Robin (2018) and Dumbo (2019).
  • Keegan-Michael Key's 3rd Disney film, after Tomorrowland (2015) and Toy Story 4 (2019), the prior of which also released in 2019.
  • This movie is frequently referred to (quite wrongly) as a "live-action" film, despite not having a single living thing, human or otherwise, actually appearing on screen.
  • The film's release date 25 July 2019 is iconic as it falls during the zodiac sign of Leo who is of course a lion.
  • Keegan-Michael Key (Banzai/Kamari in this remake) and experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed/Azizi in the original animated film) would later work together in the upcoming Sony Animation film The Mitchells vs The Machines (2020).
  • Donald Glover's first theatrical voice role.
  • most likely going to be Disney's biggest movie of 2019, not Avengers: Endgame (and perhaps not even Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker). With so many sequels, remakes, and superhero movies releasing this year, Disney is on track to have their biggest year ever at the box office. Of course, the two major players here are Endgame and The Rise of Skywalker, but it's nonsensical to consider The Lion King an underdog in this race, despite the fervent fanbases that Marvel and Star Wars have developed over the years. Avengers: Endgame is regarded as one of the biggest movies of all-time, and rightfully so. As the concluding chapter if Marvel Studios' Infinity Saga, Endgame is projected to break box office records worldwide over its opening weekend. But what about after? This year's Avengers movie faces stiffer competition than Infinity War did in 2018. Rather than competing with another superhero movie (Deadpool 2) and a somewhat anticipated prequel (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Endgame is going up against heavy hitters like Detective Pikachu and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, both of which come from franchises that carry heavy weight in international territories.
  • Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the iconic animated feature, Hasbro is giving a Disney spin to the classic board game.
  • Jon Favreau stated, "It feels like we're restoring a classic historic architectural landmark. How do you update it without changing the personality of it? How do you take advantage of all the new technological breakthroughs, but still maintain the soul and the spirit of the original The Lion King (1994)?" he told EW on set. "I think this film is a culmination of all the live-action adaptations that Disney has done of their animated classics. The idea of taking these characters and this music, just as the stage play took it, sticking closely to the story but reinventing it for a different medium; I thought that this technology would be separate enough from the animated film that it felt fresh and new, yet completely related to the original. And by the time Jungle Book was done, we had a lot of facility with this technology. So you're hitting that part of your stride when you're saying, 'Now, what can I really do with this?'"
  • Shahadi Wright Joseph (young Nala) screamed when she found out Beyoncé was going to be in the movie; she stated "and when I found out she was going to be playing the older [version of my character] me, I really had to step my game up and think about what Beyoncé would want."
  • J.D. McCrary (young Simba), who pads around the Pride Lands as young Simba, gushes, "Donald Glover is so talented that I actually did have to take it into consideration. Because if Simba is going to grow up to be some sort of figure and you know of it, you have to keep that motive."
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor says of James Earl Jones: "For those of us who grew up with James Earl Jones and his voice, the comfort of that is going to be very rewarding in taking us on this journey again. It's a once-in-a-generation vocal quality."
  • Seth Rogen raves of Beyoncé, "I was once shoved aside by her security guards backstage at the Grammys."
  • According to actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, his version of "Scar is not a cool and collected British lion with an angry streak; he's more of a powder keg ready to explode."
  • In an interview, Chiwetel Ejiofor remarked on how his version of Scar is more "psychologically possessed" and "brutalized" than the one played by Jeremy Irons in The Lion King (1994). The original Scar, whose treacherous character mirrors Claudius in Shakespeare's Hamlet, tended to give off an air of strength and confidence, while having a violent temperament stirring underneath. But this time around, Ejiofor indicates that his version of Scar is more openly obsessive, frustrated, and enraged. "There's something quite interesting in knowing that you're always holding a lethal capacity," he said. "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."
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor commented on how important it is that this version has largely cast actors of African American descent. The original The Lion King (1994) had Caucasian actors like Irons, Matthew Broderick, and Moira Kelly taking on the roles of African characters; there was criticism about it. This was something that was addressed in the Broadway version (though that too has received some feedback), and Ejiofor noted how important it is that the remake did the same thing: "The Lion King is a wonderful opportunity to bring in a cast of black actors to play these extraordinary iconic roles. "Obviously, I feel very connected to anything African, because of my heritage, and that's why it's a very special experience to me." Shahadi Wright Joseph, who plays young Nala, agreed, sharing her own personal story of how she identified with the character growing up: "Representation is really important because you have all of these amazing characters inspiring little black girls and black boys. [I know] Nala inspires little girls, because that happened to me when I was younger; I literally said that I wanted to be her."
  • Jon Favreau stated about casting Beyonce as Nala, "I've seen her live and she's a unique talent, to say the least, and when I finally spoke to her, after reaching out. Although her persona onstage is bigger than life, she's very down to earth and is very much dedicated to her family and having a life that is human-scale."
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) was always Favreau's inspired first choice, a rising talent who has skyrocketed into the comedy elite over the past three years with his bright wit, pop culture expertise, and tantamount-to-Timon quippiness. "He's physically the smallest character, but he has one of the bigger personalities, and I love the combination of those two things," Eichner says. "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."
  • In the performance of Timon's big songs "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "Hakuna Matata" (shared with Pumbaa), audiences will also get acquainted with Eichner's musical theater pedigree, a defining, if underused, side of his identity as an artist that he can't wait to reveal. "Nathan Lane has a great singing voice [but] he didn't lean into it fully in the original version of The Lion King," he says. "I lean into a little bit more, and I think that's another way that this version is distinct: Timon's singing voice in this version is different than the original, and I think that adds a different flavor to it. When Timon speaks and when he's quote-unquote 'being funny,' he's very loud and boisterous, but the singing allows this vulnerable side, a slightly softer side, especially in 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' and other moments. So I was glad that they encouraged me to do that because for me personally, it was pretty major."
  • Favreau's encouragement to the cast and crew took several forms, from the first days of pre-production to the film's current post-production animation crunch; Rogen and Eichner were able to experience their version of it on their very first day on set. The director tasked the pair with performing the entire movie together three times in a black-box theater, twice with script in hand and once without. "Jon said, 'I want you to walk through it,' like we were doing a play, like we were doing a live version of The Lion King - this was the first thing we did," says Eichner. By the third run-through, when they'd familiarized themselves with the beats of each scene, Favreau had them abandon their scripts and improvise and as of Eichner's most recent viewing of the film, "a shocking amount" of improvised dialogue has remained intact from that session.
  • Rogen describes the Timon-Pumbaa relationship that he and Eichner forged as "a little bit of a married-couple dynamic. They care deeply for one another. They're very, very, very close friends, and like any two - I'm gonna say people who spend a lot of time together, they start to have things that start to bother one another about each other. Like, meerkats are very quick, fast-paced animals, and warthogs are a little on the slower side. And that dynamic pays off." Plus, Rogen adds, "it takes on a whole new shape once Glover's Simba enters the picture and is quickly convinced to live a life of languid luxury. Donald really added a hilarious element to the dynamic, and I really felt like me, him, and Billy made a bizarre yet very functional comedic trio."
  • Eichner and Rogen knew that a difference in tone would be necessary for the photo-realistic aesthetic style that defines Favreau's film. As Eichner puts it, "Lane and Pumbaa portrayer Ernie Sabella kept in their characters, the vaudeville banter of the Broadway production of Guys and Dollsthey had just concluded, before recording their roles in the 1994 film." In Disney's National Geographic-chic reinvention, the theatrics had to be recalibrated, if not toned down. "Seth and I are obviously not coming out of a production of Guys and Dolls, but I think overall our dynamic is a bit more conversational," says Eichner. "I'm not saying it's subtle, but it is conversational." Rogen echoes the evaluation: "To me the funniest parts are how casual and off-handed our rapport is, in that it really does not feel like we're putting on a show. It just feels like two characters who genuinely know one another very well. And that's Jon's sensibility. Jon is so good at grounding things. I remember that's why I was obsessed with Swingers when I was young - it's one of the most grounded comedies I've ever seen. And so Jon was always, in a great way, hard on [us] that it shouldn't feel cartoony."
  • Scar's appearance and role in the film is based on Zira and her biological son, Nuka, from Simba's Pride. Like Zira, he has a torn ear and both serve as the primary antagonist in their respective films. Likewise, both Scar in this film and Nuka, are skinny looking and have thin looking manes.
  • John Kani has insisted in several interviews that his voice character, Rafiki, has a different personality than his animated counterpart. According to Kani, Rafiki, is more of a 'down to earth' and 'no nonsense' character this time around and will take his job, getting Simba to see the error of his ways by going back as King, more seriously.
  • Timon in The Lion King (1994) always stood, walked, and ran on his hind legs; Timon will be more realistic in this version, as he, like an actual meerkat, will be walking on all fours.
  • Even though the film is CGI animated and the music scenes between characters make it seem like they were done separately, a lot of the time, the actors recorded their songs in the same room, face-to-face.
  • When asked if he had to sing face to face with the Queen B, herself (Beyoncé); Seth Rogen stated "yes, yes it did". He only had one way to get through it:"A mantra which, apparently, didn't even work because OF COURSE IT DIDN'T, it's Beyoncé we're talking about here!"
  • Beyoncé's (Nala) film debut was Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) in which she shares a scene with Nathan Lane, who provided the voice of Timon in The Lion King (1994).
  • The film had a $191 million opening weekend in the US, breaking Beauty and the Beast (2017)'s record for a Disney remake of $174M.
  • Jon Favreau told the AP that Beyoncé's real-life stage presence also served as inspiration for the character's movements. "Nala is a very powerful character who's a warrior and also has a big heart and encapsulates a lot of different archetypes." He continued, "I wanted the way she was choreographed and with lions and the fight scenes to have a resonance with the power with which she choreographs her stage show."
  • Although Beyoncé's voice isn't featured in Disney's official trailer for the film, Billy Eichner (Timon) said on Crooked Media's "Keep It" podcast in March that he heard Beyoncé sing on a "rough cut;" it made him cry.
  • Jon Favreau, the director of the remake, previously worked with Fergal Reilly, who was a story artist on the original The Lion King (1994) in Sony Animation's first film Open Season (2006); they voiced the two beavers Reilly and O'Toole.
  • Walt Disney Pictures' seventh live-action remake and last one of the 2010s.
  • Walt Disney Pictures' seventh live-action adaption to be a remake after Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Pete's Dragon (2016), The Beauty and The Beast (2017), Dumbo (2019), and Aladdin (2019); the prior of which were released in 2019. This does not include Alice in Wonderland (2010), which was completely different and not based on the original animated classic in 1951. The same can be said for Christopher Robin (2018), which was a sequel to Winnie the Pooh (2011), opposed to being a remake.
  • Billy Eichner (Timon) and John Oliver (Zazu) as well as director Jon Favreau appeared in animated films where studio members, at an animation company, are listed during the casting call of main cast members outside the credits. Eichner was in Penguins of Madagascar (2014), while Oliver was in Wonder Park (2019). Both films, respectively, had a character voiced by Ken Jeong. Additionally, Favreau appeared in the first animated film that has a studio member at an animation company; this was mentioned in the casting call of main cast members, outside the credits, being the first Open Season (2006) movie.
  • In The Lion King (1994), Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa) was less than 7 years older than Nathan Lane (Timon). In this film, Billy Eichner (Timon) is less than 4 years older than Seth Rogen (Pumbaa).
  • It was the prospect of getting inside his head that made Chiwetel Ejiofor really want to play Scar, as he explained: "I was interested in understanding the real psychology of Scar, the psychology of a person who always feels as if they have been somehow mysteriously overpassed by the fates, by the gods themselves. That sense of not being in the rightful place and therefore living in a kind of parallel universe to the one that you're supposed to be in, what sort of psychology would that mean, and what would it go to over a period of time?"
  • "Scar is, simply put, a fascinating character, and the opportunity to examine his psychology and see what makes him tick is what interested me" Chiwetel Ejiofor said about the role. What he wanted to explore in his performance was wanting to understand who Scar was, why he feels the way he does and how that leads to him doing the things that he does. "It's not a simple psychology, because Scar isn't a black and white villain in the way characters like Maleficent (not the live-action one) and Ursula are; he's evil to be sure. But like many great villains, he thinks that he's the good guy, or at least that his actions are somehow justified."
  • As Chiwetel Ejiofor told Entertainment Weekly, Scar feels that he isn't where he is supposed to be, that the universe is out to get him and he is being denied something that he feels he's owed, in this case, the throne. It has shades of Stannis Baratheon's claim to the Iron Throne, but instead of being governed by a strict sense of duty and right, Scar is governed by envy and desire. That psychology results in Scar having a massive chip on his shoulder and crafting a narrative in his head that he's the downtrodden hero that has been mistreated by the world and those around him. And he naturally sees Simba as someone else who stands in his way. Despite being a member of the royal family, this character, inspired by Hamlet's King Claudius, sees himself as an outcast and pals around with the hyenas that also don't have a place within the circle of life governed by the pride. You can see why Chiwetel Ejiofor was so excited to dig into Scar's psychology because there's a lot going on there. Chiwetel Ejiofor talked about what that psychology would do over time, but it's also interesting to ask what birthed those feelings in the first place. Therefore, there is curiosity if The Lion King will explore the history of Chiwetel Ejiofor's Scar at all. In The Lion King (1994), Scar is simply named Scar and the audience never really gets to know much about how he got his name.
  • Jon Favreau revealed in an interview that he brought James Earl Jones back as the voice of Mufasa because: "I see it as carrying the legacy across. Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal, the timbre of his voice has changed. That served the role well because he sounds like a king who's ruled for a long time."
  • Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, and Florence Kasumba all have roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Favreau directed two Iron Man films and plays Happy Hogan as well serves as executive producer to a majority of the films in the MCU, Glover plays Aaron Davis, Ejiofor plays Baron Mordo, Woodard plays Mariah Dillard as well as Miriam Sharpe in a cameo role, while Kani and Kasumba portrays T'Chaka and Ayo, respectively.
  • This marks Donald Glover and Beyoncé Knowles debut with Disney.
  • At 86, at the time, James Earl Jones is the oldest of the cast; he was 63 when he did the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King (1994).
  • According to Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, the directors of The Lion King (1994), they both knew that James Earl Jones' voice was powerful and similar to the roar of a lion.
  • A decade ago, James Cameron's Avatar pioneered a technique in which actors wearing motion-capture suits could be filmed inside digital backgrounds in real time. Later on, films like Ready Player One and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), filmmakers started using VR headsets to examine the virtual world and even plan shots. What Jon Favreau has cooked up, for The Lion King, transforms VR from a handy filmmaking accessory, into a high-powered, improvisational medium in itself. It can be described as a Pete Becker sized leap forward and a stirring reminder that VR is changing the world in ways one does not need a headset to see.
  • Billy Eichner did not have to audition for the voice of Timon. Jon Favreau happened to be a fan of his and suggested the thought to Eichner's agent, who told him about it; he accepted it in a heartbeat.
  • Jon Favreau revealed that hearing Beyoncé sing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" was "definitely extremely memorable." He added that "all of us just listened to it over and over. And she sings the duet with Donald Glover, who is an incredible talent as well, not only comedically, but also musically. So to hear the two of them together singing this classic song, with so much personality and emotion, we felt really confident that people are going to be excited when they heard this."
  • When Jon Favreau was asked about how thrilled he was when Beyoncé joined the cast, he said, "understanding who she is and what she represents to so many people and the fact that she's collaborating with me on this, really helps differentiate it from previous productions. It helps give this production its own personality, because she's such an important figure and her musical interpretation is seen as something that people welcome." He also addressed the mysterious new song that Beyoncé sings in the movie, sharing that "it doesn't replace anything." The new Lion King will include all the original songs, but Bey's new track is one "she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production." Make no mistake though: Favreau assures us that the new record feels "organically a part of the new production."
  • In an exclusive interview with Fandango, the much-anticipated film's director Jon Favreau chatted about the one thing he is sure that entire cast and crew is asked about: What's it like to work with Beyoncé? "I was pretty stoked because I knew my stock was going to rise in my home," he laughed. "Dad got cool for about a week there because my daughters and my wife are huge fans and I was introduced to her music through them, and so it felt exciting. And then, you remember, this was about three years ago, and so really understanding who she is and what she represents to so many people and the fact that she's collaborating with me on this, really helps differentiate it from previous productions. It helps give this production its own personality, because she's such an important figure and her musical interpretation is seen as something that people welcome."
  • Favreau talked about expanding both Nala's and Sarabi's (Alfre Woodard) role in the film. After all, in a lion's pride, the female lions are the baddest bitches. "In the original film, her role is not as large as in the stage production, and we definitely drew inspiration, and that was one of the areas where we were going to expand this," he said. "There's an opportunity to build upon especially the female characters of Sarabi, played by Alfre Woodard and Nala, played by Beyoncé, that the stage play explores further. It has a lot more time to do so than the original film. That was an area that we could build upon the original."
  • According to Jon Favreau, the secret song will be a solo joint by Beyoncé! "We have all the original songs, but there's a song that she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production along with working with Lebo M., who's part of it with Hans Zimmer," Favreau confirmed. "They were all collaborating with her and helping to bring this new piece of music into a film where there's already a very established musical personality to the piece. So it was nice of them to have them working with her, to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production."
  • This film is 30 minutes longer than The Lion King (1994).
  • Of the 14 main characters, just five - Mufasa (James Earl Jones), Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), Sarabi (Madge Sinclair) and the young Nala (Niketa Calame) were of African descent, a casting decision that surely would have raised eyebrows at the time of the original The Lion King (1994). Indeed, virtually all of the main roles, including Scar (Jeremy Irons), Nala (Moira Kelly) and both the young and old Simbas (Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick) were all Caucasian. All four roles have been supplanted with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyoncé, JD McCrary and Donald Glover, respectively. Only three roles that started with Caucasian actors have remained so, with Rowan Atkinson, Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane passing the roles of Zazu, Pumbaa and Timon to John Oliver, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner. While Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings' roles of hyenas Banzai and Ed have been renamed Kamari (Keegan-Michael Key) and Azizi (Eric Andre), they are considered direct substitutions.
  • The first Disney remake of a animated canon and the third Disney film overall, after Toy Story 4 (2019) and Frozen II (2019), to be streamed on Disney+.
  • Matthew Broderick (Simba), Jeremy Irons (Scar) and Moira Kelly (Nala) were never in consideration to reprise their respective roles. Disney only wanted black actors as the new leads for the remake.
  • Like with The Jungle Book (2016), which was also directed by Jon Favreau, this film was released the same year as a film of Sony Animation's The Angry Birds Movie franchise. The Jungle Book (2016) released the same year as The Angry Birds Movie (2016); this film came out the same year as The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019).
  • Like with the Jungle Book (2016) which was also directed by Jon Favreau, this film released the same year as a film of Illumination Entertainment's The Secret Life of Pets franchise. The Jungle Book (2016) released the same year as The Secret Life of Pets (2016) and this film released the same year as The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019).
  • Like with The Jungle Book (2016), which was also directed by Jon Favreau, this film was released the same year as a Pixar sequel. The Jungle Book (2016) was released the same year as Finding Dory (2016) and this film was released the same year as Toy Story 4 (2019).
  • Original Timon voice artist Nathan Lane had a cameo in 2002's Austin Powers In Goldmember which was Beyoncé Knowles-Carter's feature film debut and shared a scene with her.
  • Experienced voice actor Phil LaMarr (the Impala in the 2019 live action reboot) and Experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed in the 1994 Original animated film) both previously appeared in Zambezia (2012) from Triggerfish Animation Studios as the voices of the Announcer Bird and Budzo respectively.
  • Experienced voice actor Phil LaMarr (the Impala in this remake) and experienced voice actor Jim Cummings (Ed in the original The Lion King (1994) cartoon) both previously appeared in Adventures in Zambezia (2012) from Triggerfish Animation Studios as the voices of the Announcer Bird and Budzo respectively.
  • Phil LaMarr's 4th film to take place in Africa, after Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), Adventures in Zambezia (2012), and Khumba (2013); all but the former also had him voicing one of the animal characters.
  • Experienced voice actor Phil LaMarr (the Impala in this remake) previously appeared alongside Cheech Marin (Banzai in the 1994 original animated film) in the animated film Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011). LaMarr voiced Wood and Ernesto, while Marin voiced the Mad Hog.
  • Chance The Rapper auditioned for the voice of Simba.
  • In the German version, Nala is voiced by Magdalena Turba. Turba voiced Young Nala in the German dub of the 1994 original.
  • Favreau said of casting Ejiofer, "[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."
  • 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".
  • John 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."
  • 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."
  • Seth Rogen said, "As 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".
  • Donald Glover said that the film will focus more on Simba's time growing up than the original film did. He stated 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".
  • 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." Florence Kasumba (Shenzi) elaborated, declaring that "Those hyenas were funny; these hyenas are dangerous."
  • Rafiki's lithe appearance and dull colors make him more closely resemble a female mandrill; although, this could be excused as an attempt to convey his old age. Adult Simba roars atop Pride Rock, but the sound he makes is the typical Hollywood beefed up tiger-esque roar rather than an actual lion vocalization; he also does the stereotypical wide-mouth yelling posture commonly associated with roaring, but actual full-blown lion roars are produced with the mouth in an almost closed position similar to a howling wolf. Zazu has a combination of features from different hornbill species of the genus, Tockus. His general plumage coloration resembles red-billed hornbills, specifically Tanzanian red-billed hornbills (Tockus ruahae); his bill features a prominent casque, which all red-billed hornbill species uniquely lack, as well as being an orange-yellow color that is much more commonly found in both Southern and Eastern yellow-billed hornbills (T. leucomelas and T. flavirostris, respectively). A dik-dik is seen eating bugs alongside Timon, Pumbaa, and the other insectivores; this is something they rarely, if ever, eat in real-life.
  • The Indian rhino prominently featured in the "Circle of Life" sequence, in the earlier trailers, is likely a reference to director, Jon Favreau's previous Disney work, The Jungle Book; the work was set in India and features Indian rhinos.
  • Unlike in the original, Simba's eyes are a hazy blue as a baby. This is true to actual lion biology, in which cubs are born blind and cannot open their eyes until about ten days after their birth. The blue color is a result of delayed melanin production, but this changes as the cubs grow, such that their eyes are golden-brown by the time they're three months old; this as reflected in Simba's "cubhood" design.
  • The zebras specifically look like Grant's zebras (Equus quagga boehmi), a subspecies of zebra that is endemic to the Serengeti ecosystem where the story is set. Considering the surprising number of species and subspecies of zebra, there are three species, one of which has six recognized extant subspecies and the fact that their physical differences are quite subtle, this attention to detail is commendable.
  • Among the animals eating bugs, with Timon and Pumbaa, are a bat-eared fox, which is known to be a species of fox that is primarily an insectivore.
  • The rhinoceroses appear to be both of the black and white species. Black have a narrow, pointed mouth and the White have a wide mouth.
  • The scene of cub Simba, looking at a rhinoceros beetle sitting on a rock, is a reference to a similar moment, in the original film, with Pumbaa.
  • While just a face, instead of the whole body, the painting of Simba on Rafiki's tree is the same design as in the original movie.
  • Sarabi's design features spots on her forelimbs, to give her a more distinctive appearance relative to the other lionesses. This is similar to how in the cartoon canon, Kion (Simba and Nala's son from The Lion Guard) is the only lion character whose design [consistently] includes leg spots.
  • Simba and Nala cuddling on a large rock, in a forested cliffside region, is similar to the end of an early version of the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" scene from the 1994 production. This film also shows Simba seated in-between his father's forelimbs, as he learns about the kings of the past (as opposed to being on his back as in the original), is a position reminiscent of a similar scene between Simba and Sarabi from an earlier scene in the development of the original film.
  • The Russian promo clip features multiple background creatures that are references to various minor characters from prior Lion King projects: The bat-eared fox is a callback to Bhati, a unused character from early drafts of the original film, who was one of Simba and Nala's childhood friends (along with Timon and Pumbaa; the fox's featuring in the Timon and Pumbaa-led clip is itself a reinforcement of this reference); the bushbaby and aardvark are references to Laininote and Muhangus respectively, two minor characters from The Lion Guard who appear in multiple episodes; and the aardvark is also a callback to Daabi, another unused character from early drafts of the original film, who was also one of Simba and Nala's childhood friends.
  • The original film was expected to draw herds of moviegoers at a time when ticket sales are seriously struggling. Box office watchers predicted that the studio's grand return to the Pride Lands could become one of this year's biggest hits. "The Lion King" is expected to debut with $150 million this weekend, though some estimates show that receipts could surpass $180 million. Director Jon Favreau's use of state-of-the-art computer wizardry to bring Simba and crew to life, proved controversial among critics. Disney's crown jewel holds a surprisingly soft 59% on Rotten Tomatoes, a steep decline from Favreau's lauded "The Jungle Book," which first introduced the hyper-realistic technology. Still, there's reason to believe "The Lion King" will be critic-proof. For one, negative reviews didn't hurt the box office prospects of Guy Ritchie's "Aladdin" reboot, which is nearing $1 billion in global ticket sales. Moreover, Simba's multi-generational coming-of-age tale is familiar to just about everyone on the planet. The Tony-winning musical stage adaptation has also been a massive moneymaker over the last 20 years, grossing over $8 billion and counting. "The Lion King" also boasts some serious star power. Disney commissioned an A-list cast to bring "The Lion King" back to the big screen, including the likes of Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa. James Earl Jones is reprising his voice role as Mufasa from the original animated movie. The chance to hear Childish Gambino and Beyonce harmonize on "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" could be a compelling enough reason to buy a movie ticket. The movie debuted in China with a mighty $54 million last weekend, pacing ahead of the studio's recent remakes such as "The Jungle Book," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin;" it launches across the globe in most international markets this weekend, followed by Hong Kong on July 25, Japan on Aug. 9 and Italy on Aug. 21. Only three of Disney's live-action titles, outside of its "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, have grossed over $100 million in their inaugural weekend in theaters - 2017's "Beauty and the Beast" ($174 million), 2016's "The Jungle Book" ($103 million), and 2010's "Alice in Wonderland" ($116 million). "The Lion King" is the third and final of the studio's revisits to its classic properties this year. Tim Burton's "Dumbo" ended its theatrical run with $351 million worldwide, a ho-hum performance if only by Disney's standards. "Aladdin," however, is still chugging along at multiplexes with an impressive $962 million to date.
  • Beyoncé called "The Lion King" album that she worked tirelessly to create and explained how she was able to evoke a new genre of music through soundscapes that paint a picture of what unfolds in the movie. "This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa, and not just use some of the sounds and did my interpretation of it," Knowles-Carter told ABC News. "I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa," she said, adding that they used "a lot" of drums and "incredible new sounds mixed with some of the producers from America." The Beyoncé-produced-and-curated compilation album, "The Lion King: The Gift," features global artists and is due out July 19, the same day the film hits theaters.
  • Zazu's line about Mufasa's rambunctious childhood is adapted from the Broadway play.
  • During the famous log scene, if viewed very carefully, both Timon and Pumbaa are walking slightly slower when Simba is both an adolescent and a fully grown adult; Pumbaa's fur becomes very slightly greyer. The log scene is not just showing Simba grow up, but his two friends (who are much older than him) as well.
  • The film properly begins with a short scene of a mouse scurrying about, minding its own business, before it runs afoul of Scar, much like the Broadway play.
  • When Pumbaa suggests keeping Simba, he explains that "one day when he's big and strong," a quote from "My Lullaby", a song that first appeared in The Lion King (1994)'s direct-to-video sequel The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998).
  • Scar's subplot about trying to make Sarabi his queen is a reworking of a subplot from the original film and the Broadway adaptation, in which Scar tries to make Nala his queen.
  • At the end of the film, when Simba is reuniting with his friends and family, after the battle; the rain causes the mane on Simba's crown to be matted down and resemble his animated counterpart's original hairdo.
  • Donald Glover grew up watching the original film and mentioned that while recording the music for the remake, he didn't need anybody to teach him how to sing the songs he had known since he was a child.
  • According to Seth Rogen, his singing skills were so poor that the vocal coach hired for him (none other than Pharrell Williams) was "literally . . . banging his head against a wall trying to extract . . . a f*cking good note out of me."
  • Jon Faveraus first musical film he directed.
  • The Zulu-language lyrics for the opening chant of "The Circle of Life" are: "Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba / Sithi uhm ingonyama / Nants ingonyama bagithi baba / Sithi uhhmm ingonyama / Ingonyama Siyo Nqoba / Ingonyama Ingonyama nengw enamabala". This translates as: "Here comes a lion, Father / Oh, yes, it's a lion / Here comes a lion, Father / Oh yes, it's a lion / A lion We're going to conquer / A lion A lion and a leopard come to this open place." The lyrics were written by the South African composer Lebo M. Zulu is one of many South African languages along with Swahili, an East African language, used predominantly in this movie. Many characters' names are Swahili including Simba (lion); Nala (gift); Pumbaa (heart); Rafiki (friend); and Sarabi (mirage).
  • This is the first Disney's live-action film to feature the full closing 2011 logo at the end.
  • Zazu is played by John Oliver, a comedic Englishman, whose regular job is being a weekly purveyor of information; he has even made multiple self-deprecating jokes about how he looks like a large-beaked bird, like a parrot or toucan.
  • As seen in all promotional materials so far, by virtue of using realistic animal designs; a lot of the more distinctive color designs for the various characters are either toned down or removed altogether. For instance: Simba and Mufasa's manes are no longer red, Rafiki's dark grey/black body and white underbelly is now almost uniformly light brown, and Scar no longer has tawny brown fur and a fully black mane. Instead, Scar's fur is notably duller compared to the other lions, and as a result, much closer to his brother and nephew's colors than in the original. Zazu lacks the blue of his animated counterpart, resembling his Broadway incarnation (and real-life counterparts) in being mostly white. Timon lacks the cap of red fur he had on his crown, and Pumbaa is gray, as compared to his dark red animated counterpart. The spotted hyenas are now appropriately brownish-gray with solid brown manes, as opposed to their animated gray and black coloration. Nala and Scar both have amber-colored eyes instead of teal and bright green (although the former's eyes do show hints of teal). Baby Simba also has blue eyes, as real newborn lion cubs do, though they change to the familiar light brown when they get older. Sarabi is now a deep brownish-gold color, rather than, a dusty brown; she also sports dark brown spots on her forelimbs, though she lacked any sort of markings in the original
  • Of all the remakes to come out of Disney during the 2010s, this one is arguably the one that sticks the closest to its original. Beauty and the Beast did, but not as much. If there are any additions, they err on the side of being extremely minor and easy to miss, with only one or two outright new scenes. Played intentionally with "The Circle of Life," which remakes every shot from the original exactly as it was down to every last detail in the same order.
  • This film came with a boffo $78.5 million Friday gross, including $23 million in Thursday previews. Including overseas grosses, it has already earned $270.5 million worldwide. The $78.5 million Friday gross is Walt Disney's biggest single-day gross ever, even accounting for inflation, for anything that wasn't an MCU flick or a Star Wars movie; it's the second-biggest single-day July gross, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, which opened with $92 million in 2011. It then front-loaded to $169 million. This is still, until tomorrow, the biggest opening weekend ever, for the month of July. Accounting for inflation, it's fourth behind Harry Potter 7.2 and Chris Nolan's Dark Knight sequels ($67 million in 2008 and $75 million in 2012), all of which opened on this exact weekend in prior years.
  • This film has a record of the second-best opening of 2019 - and could replace "Incredibles 2," which launched last year with $182.7 million, as the ninth biggest North American launch of all time. The film is outperforming pre-release forecasts, which had been in the $150 million to $180 million range, at a record 4,725 domestic locations. Disney reported that "The Lion King" delivered a massive $78.5 million opening day, domestically, becoming the 10th highest opening day in industry history. Though critics were mixed, with a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, moviegoers gave "The Lion King" an A CinemaScore. Disney issued a $175 million forecast for the weekend, while other estimates placed the tentpole at $188 million.
  • Simba boasts [[Disney/Aladdin "There will never be a king like me!"]] before launching into "Just Can't Wait to Be King".
  • Jon Favreau began thinking about remaking "The Lion King" while he was making his 2016 live-action adaptation of "The Jungle Book." "I knew that with the tools that we had and what the technology had to offer and the team that had done such a great job on 'Jungle Book'; that there was an opportunity here to show the naturalism of that world," Favreau said, during an interview for "The Big Ticket" podcast's two-episode "Lion King" special. "I understood how to make animals act and talk through animation; I understood how to direct animation too because there were some sequences in 'Jungle Book' that didn't have Mowgli in them. Those scenes were completely CG. I was comfortable directing the animators."
  • If one looks very extremely close, a brief 'image' of a male lion can be seen near the bottom of the screen, during the opening song "Circle of Life." The actual position is between the large bottom left cloud and the larger upper cloud. This 'image' is most likely the ghost of Mufusa or Scar's and Mufasa's late father.
  • Scar's death is also significantly more graphic. seeing him swarmed by the hyenas instead of a just shadow shot and get to watch him briefly fight for his life before he's overtaken.
  • Unlike Ed from the original film, Azizi actually talks instead of just laughing.
  • Scar says to the hyenas during 'Be Prepared' that a hyenas belly is never full, ironically before he gets killed at the end Shenzi says the same exact thing to him.
  • In North America, the film skews female participation by as much as 60 percent. According to PostTrak, the demographic diversity of crew working on this film was 44 percent Caucasian, 22 percent African American, 20 percent Hispanic and 14 percent Asian/other. "It's a priority for us to bring different voices to the big screen," says Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff. "That's what you saw with this amazing cast and the vision that Jon Favreau and Sean Bailey [Disney production president] brought to life. The story resonated across the board."
  • Like The Lion King 1½, this movie reveals that, after distracting the hyenas, Timon and Pumbaa are then chased into a cave until Pumbaa chase the hyenas off.
  • Disney has donated more than $1.5 million to Panthera and other organizations working on lion conservation; the company also started a "Protect the Pride" campaign and is inviting fans to help double its donation by buying special-edition products. The goal is to support lion populations across Africa as well as the animals who live alongside them. After all, that is Mufasa's message to Simba in "Circle of Life."
  • Florence Kasumba, who had previously portrayed Shenzi on stage, called the change "interesting." This time, she wasn't playing the same character she'd recognized. "No, I had to go deeper," she said.
  • Overall, the hyenas' more sinister tone added a new layer to the characters, but they also couldn't abandon their original purpose. "We had the challenge of injecting comedy into some of the most dramatic scenes in the movie," Eric Andre said. Far from the only funny characters in the movie (Timon and Pumbaa remain and are voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen), Key and Andre were tasked with bringing the mood back up after what's seen as one of the most devastating scenes in Disney history. "We're trying to be the comic relief after Mufasa dies." In itself, that directive is pretty grim. Andre compared this to a stand-up comedian taking the stage after another comedian bombs; "It's an extremely undesirable spot in the line-up," he explained, "because it takes more effort to make an audience laugh when they're not already feeling good." "At the same time," Andre noted, that particular moment is "so heavy, people need to laugh to break the tension." Since Key and Andre, both comedy veterans, had the benefit of recording together, "we just kind of improvised until we got it right," he said. More polished than the '94 hyenas, using their hysterical laughter as the cue to buck up, the duo's humor worked. With one ongoing bit, in particular, garnering the necessary chuckles to warm audiences up for Timon and Pumbaa's mid-movie debut.
  • The differences between, who the hyenas were then and who they are now, are subtle; the nuances add up to more fully realized villains, who aren't just bad because they're too dumb to be good. "As an animal, I would think hyenas are just there; they do whatever they need to do to survive, and they move on with their life," Kasumba said. "But I know that Shenzi has a different agenda. And that agenda is what turned these bumbling, one-note aides into villains in their own right"
  • Scar deliberately aims for Mufasa's right eye when killing him to match his own scar.
  • None of the actors are Kenyan, despite the story taking place there. Of the cast, only John Kani and Florence Kasumba are continent-born Africans, respectively hailing from South Africa and Uganda (although the latter was raised in Germany). Granted, there are African-Americans (most of the cast's black actors, including Glover, Jones, Beyoncé, and Key) and an African-Brit (Ejiofor, whose parents are from Nigeria).
  • The biggest reason Be Prepared was changed so drastically, a lot of it was insulting the intelligence of the hyenas, or remarking on their dependence on Scar. The new movie portrays the hyenas as actual hyenas; intelligent, cunning, and very much a threat. While allying with Scar benefits them, they are not nearly as dependent on him, and none of them are depicted as "stupid" in any sense (with Azizi's only quirk being he has no sense of personal space). The original song would not have fit the new portrayal of the hyenas.
  • The scene where Simba's fur makes its way to Rafiki, is drawn out much longer than the original scene. This is because before this scene, Timon, Pumbaa and even Simba had disrregarded the idea of the Circle of Life, and claimed that they should only mind their own business. This scene, in which his piece of fur crosses the desert from the influences of so many other creatures, effectively proves the trio wrong.
  • raked in $185 million following its debut in nearly 5,000 theaters in North America. The remake of the 1994 animated film beat out industry experts' prediction of a $150 million opening. The film grossed over $531 million in 10 days since it first opened in theaters in China. "The Lion King" also broke some other records. It's the ninth-biggest opening of all time, a July record (unseating "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"), and a PG-rating record (taking over from "The Incredibles 2").
  • Kamari has a bald patch on his head to distinguish him from the other two, Azizi is missing a sizeable portion of his left ear.
  • For the European Spanish dub, some actors reprised their roles from the 1994 original: Miguel Ángel Jenner as Pumbaa, Alberto Mieza & Òscar Mas as Timon's speaking and singing voices, Eduard Doncos as Zazu and Juan Fernández as Rafiki. The dubbing director is also the same, Antonio Lara. Most of the translated dialogues and lyrics have been kept the same, with some slight changes here and there to adapt to the new version.
  • Rafiki is very clearly a mandrill in this iteration, as compared to the original version in which he indirectly referred to himself as a baboon and looks like a mandrill-baboon hybrid.
  • The fruit Rafiki uses in the original film to mark Simba's forehead has been replaced with a kind of root that produces a deep red powder. A group of gemsbok are seen in a shot mimicking that of the topi in the original movie. All but one of the more clearly identifiable birds riding on the elephant's tusks on the way to Simba's presentation (a hornbill, various assorted and stylized parrots and bee-eaters) have been replaced by other species (including an African gray parrot and a pair of red-billed oxpeckers). The chameleon that Simba roars at in the gorge has been promotional species-swapped from a fictional one-horned Jackson's chameleon-esque design to a hornless helmeted species
  • For reference, the filmmakers visited Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., where the animal science department let them observe and record some creatures. But it was essential to see the lions in the wild, so the creative team traveled to Kenya to observe and take some photos actually more than 12 terabytes worth of images. With this visual information, the animators at MPC Film (a division of Technicolor) began sculpting.
  • In determining some of the looks and mannerisms for young Simba, the visual effects supervisor, Adam Valdez, focused on a couple of cubs he saw at the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya. "They had a certain character about them," he said in a phone interview, "a certain plucky energy." After bringing images of these cubs back to the studio, Valdez asked himself, "How is this character going to be appealing without looking too cartoony and how am I going to make it relatable?" He and his team focused on the particulars of a lion's face, which is longer than that of other cats. An emphasis was put on the animal's majestic prow, that noble line from the top of its forehead to the tip of its nose. But it was also important to offer ways for audiences to connect this version of Simba to the one in the 1994 original. They did that by giving him a little bit of roughed-up hair on top and also by making his eyes a little rounder and more open than a lion's would normally be.
  • Once one of the most prohibitive challenges of digital animation, fur has come a long way. And yet, it is still incredibly difficult to get right. "These craftspeople spend a lot of time managing the millions of hairs that are on these characters and making sure that it moves with the correct physics," Valdez said. Artists build fur by creating what are called "guide hairs," setting parameters for how thin or how smooth they should be. Then special software uses the information from those guide hairs to duplicate them and make them grow around the animal's body. They also lay a digital pattern on the skin. "The pattern might tell the hair that it should be scraggly, or another layer of the pattern could tell every hair that grows from that piece of skin to be more stuck together with its neighbors," Valdez said. As for the shades and patterns of Simba's hair (like the spots on his belly), Valdez said that's also a result of software that tells each hair what color it should be: white, tan, black. "If you place it all right, you end up with what looks like a lion."
  • For movements Valdez said that he and his team first thought that since a lion cub like Simba was already so cute and warm, it would be easy to create his movement. But it turned out that cute little lions are laborious to light correctly yet still fit well into the environment. And playful scenes with young Simba and Nala, when they engage in big actions like running and tussling, meant a lot of animation for their tiny legs. "Sometimes they would look a bit awkward," Valdez said. The animators figured out ways around this by sometimes putting plants in front of the camera to block certain moments of action.
  • And then there's the talking. "You have a challenge anytime you have a mouth form that doesn't mimic a human mouth," Valdez said. They didn't want to end up in the uncanny valley when it came to how the characters spoke. He said there were a couple of choices. Simba and the others could mumble because they don't have the maws for articulated human speech. But that makes it difficult for audiences to understand them. Or their motions could be simplified, which is what the filmmakers settled on: When the animals speak, there's enough movement to believe that words are being formed without it looking too distracting. "It just so happens that lions have little markings around their eyes and mouths where if you go too big, it starts looking really cartoony and it looks like their faces are made out of rubber," Valdez said. "It's a pretty delicate tricky balance, these things."
  • Favreau used virtual reality tech to walk around the virtual set and design shots, treating it like a real location.
  • When he started developing the movie, Favreau made a list of all the important moments he could remember off the top of his head from the original, as a reminder of the scenes he had to stay most faithful to.
  • While Favreau wanted to stay true to the original movie, but also took inspiration from the Broadway musical, especially for expanding the role of Nala.
  • Although there are a lot of beautiful shots in the movie, Favreau deliberately aimed to be restrained and make sure not every shot was perfect or stunning in a fake way.
  • For Nala, they also took inspiration from Beyoncé's powerful stage performances when designing the way the character moved.
  • The filmmakers decided that adding human expressions to the animal's faces would look "weird", so they tried to convey emotions more through body language.
  • The VFX crew also used backlighting and sidelighting in key moments to make the scenes feel more real.
  • It took 130 animators from 30 different countries to create the character designs for the movie.
  • There are a total of 86 different species to be found in the movie.
  • Favreau felt that the broad comedy of the original hyenas didn't fit with the photorealism of his vision.
  • Pharrell Williams produced a lot of the songs on the updated soundtrack, and he also acted as vocal coach to Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), who says his singing was so bad it had Pharrell banging his head against the wall.
  • Beyoncé says being in The Lion King was important to her because she grew up watching the original, and that it was the first Disney movie that made her cry.
  • JD McCrary scored a fat check to do some voice work for the 'Lion King' remake. the 12-year-old made $5,000 a day to be the voice of Young Simba. Also getting $50,000 for each song in which he performs lead vocals -- he has one, "I Just Can't Wait to be King." He also gets $25,000 a song for duets, but he gets $15,000 for group songs, and he's on "Hakuna Matata" with Seth Rogen, Donald Glover and Billy Eichner. Also getting 10% of the royalties on the album. It says 10%,
  • Shahandi Joseph Wright was really glad that Us (2019) came out before this film, explaining "just so people can see me as a serious actor first, and then they can see me as a singing lion."
  • When ask if they would relate to their characters J.D. McCrary (Young Simba) stated: "I can really relate to Simba. I look up to my dad as he looks up to his dad. I think I'm brave, he's brave. I used to be really scared of stuff, but I guess I grew out of it. And Shahandi Joseph Wright (Young Nala) revealed "Oh yeah, I used to be terrified of everything. I used to be scared of sparkling sodas -- the bubbles scared me. causing J.D. McCary to crack up, saying "That makes me feel a lot better about myself. I thought I was super bad, but you're scared of sparkling bubbles."
  • When Scar meets the hyenas for the first time they threaten to eat him before being persuaded by Scar to see reason and join forces with him instead. That threat happens at the end of the film when Scar throws them under the bus when he begs for Simba's mercy.
  • While large and majestic in appearance, Mufasa still bears his share of small scars across his face that can only really be seen up close. In contrast, his brother Scar has a large unmissable cut mark running across his left eye, as well as various other nicks and bruises across his body that are noticeable within a reasonable distance.
  • Before Mufusa scolds Simba for disobeying him Zazu reminds Mufusa he once knew a cub who was also reckless. This very strongly implies the cub Zazu described was Mufusa himself. This also means Zazu is actually older than Mufusa. This means Zazu is along with Rafiki one of the eldest characters in the film.
  • When adult Simba continues to sing at the end of "Hakuna Matata", Pumbaa comments that he's "grown 400 pounds" since they started the song, a humorous little nod to Simba's sudden age jump.
  • According to Buzzfeed, John Oliver is a huge fan of Beyoncé and recently revealed that she was photoshopped into the epic cast group shot. the image shows Beyoncé standing close to Oliver, but it turns out they weren't actually there together, a fact that Oliver discussed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "Here's you and here's Beyoncé," Colbert points out. "People are speculating that she was photoshopped in." "Yeah, she wasn't there," Oliver revealed. "I can't remember, but I think everyone else was there!" However, Oliver's love for the singer meant he was still nervous at the prospect of being in a photo with her, even if they weren't actually in the same room. "If you look at my face, I look really intimidated and that's because what I'm doing is imagining that I'm about to be put into a photo with Beyoncé," he joked.
  • Interesting that Beyoncé was photoshopped into the photo considering James Earl Jones, who reprised his role of Mufasa, is absent from the image. The movie's director, Jon Favreau, recently explained that the iconic actor was absent from the promotional materials and premiere because he doesn't live in Los Angeles. "He's based on the East Coast. This is something that takes a lot out of you to do," Favreau explained. "So his participation was geared more toward his performance."
  • The cub's gender at the end of the film is confirmed to be male in the official novelization for the film. Although in the sequel of the original Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), we find out Simba has a daughter, Kiara.
  • Timon is shown to have a penchant for eggs in the novelization and supplementary materials.
  • Shenzi in the original, while the smartest one of the hyena trio, was just as comical and at times not particularly bright just like Banzai and Ed and had a southern accent, whereas here she is a much more ruthless, cold, serious, and fierce leader of the pack and had an African accent.
  • The mouse Scar tried to eat appears more frequently in the film where it tries to find shelter in Pride Rock and when Scar notices it where he does not pick it up and attempts to eat it and the mouse later appears during the end of the film among the other animals returning to Pride Rock. In the animated film, the mouse only appears in the beginning of the film and Scar grabs him and tries to eat him, but loses the mouse when Zazu distracts him.
  • The gopher that gave Zazu news about the Pride Lands was absent in the film.
  • Timon and Pumbaa live alone together in the jungle in the original, whereas here, there are other fellow animals that live with them such as some guinea fowl, a bushbaby, some gazelles, an elephant shrew, a bat-eared fox, among others.
  • The scene where Timon and Pumbaa sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" before Nala chases them is expanded in to a short musical number, assuring their fellow herbivores that everything's okay and even sings along with the duo.
  • There are various changes during the musical number "I Just Can't Wait to Be King": In the animated film, Nala only has one solo line and the rest of her singing is done in conjunction with Simba and the chorus. In the live-action remake, she has more solo lines, many of which were originally sung by Simba in the original film. Three cheetah cubs follow Simba and Nala frolicking around the grasslands; this scene does not appear in the animated version; instead in the animated version, Simba pretends to be an adult lion by wearing a bush resembling a lion's mane while he roars at Zazu, pushing him into a muddy puddle and later flung by an elephant. Simba and Nala rode on ostriches in the original film, whereas in the remake, they do not. Instead, the ostriches that Simba and Nala pass through start repelling at Zazu to save the spot for them. The scene where Zazu was standing on a log and falling off the river in the original film was replaced with him standing on a hippopotamus which suddenly submerges underwater and then emerges while Zazu flies away. The famous scene during the end of the song originally included Simba and Nala standing atop a tower of animals in which the tower of animals falls to the ground with a rhinoceros falling on Zazu; in this film, Simba and Nala frolic across a large herd of animals with a flock of weaverbirds flying around Zazu.
  • Certain scenes were changed during the gorge scene: The scene where Shenzi tells Banzai (Kamari) to be patient on trying to catch a wildebeest while waiting for the signal from Scar was omitted. The chameleon seen in this sequence was a different species of chameleon. In the animated film, the chameleon was a horned chameleon. In the remake, the chameleon was not a horned chameleon but a different species seen eating a dragonfly, whereas in the animated film, there was no dragonfly that the chameleon is about to eat. During the part where the wildebeests begin stampeding across the gorge, the part where Shenzi tries to catch a wildebeest and fails to catch one is omitted. In the animated film, Mufasa saves Simba who is sent mid air when a wildebeest runs over the dead tree he is standing on. In the remake, Mufasa arrives at the tree Simba is resting on while a wildebeest pushes Mufasa, destroying the tree. In the original, Scar tells Simba that his father has a "surprise" for him and tells him to wait in the gorge while Scar "gets" Mufasa, not before telling Simba to practice that "little roar" of his. In the remake, he tells Simba to find his roar here in the gorge claiming that the gorge is where Mufasa "would" often go there to find his roar when he was a cub.
  • The scene where Nala sneaks off and leaves the pride to find help and Zazu distracting Scar and the hyenas is based on Shadowland, a number from the broadway musical and a deleted scene of the original where Scar banishes Nala from the Pride Lands by calling in the hyenas, which results in the "Be Prepared" reprise.
  • Rafiki knows Simba is alive when he founds a piece of his mane which was first carried by a bird, then got into a giraffe's mouth which later carried by a dung beetle and finally picked up by one of the ants.
  • While the hyenas trigger Pumbaa by fat shaming him with being followed by Pumbaa vengefully fighting off the hyenas is similar to the original. The differences here: That whereas Banzai insults Pumbaa by referring him as a pig, Azizi call him chubby. Pumbaa furiously responds with "I may run from hyenas, but I do not run from a bully!" as opposed to "They call me Mr. Pig!" before vengefully fending them off. In the original film, Timon cowardly hides in the rib-cage prison that Zazu's imprisoned in. In the remake, he's with Pumbaa when they discovered they're surrounded by hyenas and ask Pumbaa, during the aftermath of his wrath, if that helped him confront his issues towards those that have judged and mocked him for his gluttony and flatulence problem.
  • During the scene where both Timon and Pumbaa are chased by Nala, in the original Pumbaa gets separated from Timon by wandering off before the chase, and gets stuck in a tree stump and Timon, who quickly catches up to him, unsuccessfully attempting to push him out, whereas here the two get separated during the chase and Pumbaa eventually gets cornered into a wall just before Simba comes to the rescue.
  • One scene unique in this film is when Simba adapts to having a new life with Timon, Pumbaa, and some of the neighbors where Simba toppled over a termite mound for Timon, Pumbaa, and their neighbors to have termites for them to eat. This scene does not occur in the animated version. Additonally the scene where Simba belches while the trio are star gazing in this version does tie into it by having Simba respond with "it might be the termites", which is followed by Pumbaa farting and saying "...or the crickets."
  • During the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" scene, Simba doesn't jump into the watering hole and pulls Nala in with him, and instead the two go up to a high hill towards the end of the song. The song doesn't end with Timon and Pumbaa crying, though they still sadly sing the last part of the song.
  • In the original, Zazu is imprisoned during Scar's rule, whereas in this remake, he is free, but hiding from Scar and the hyenas who harass and chase him whenever he is spotted by them.
  • When Simba manages to pull himself up, upon discovering Scar's true role in Mufasa's murder, in the orginal he forces Scar to tell the truth in front of the other lionesses and strangles him furiously when he refuses to, forcing him to do so, whereas here he doesn't hesistate to call his nephew a liar, but Sarabi immediately sees through Scar's lies, when she points out that he "arrive to the gorge too late", and yet he said he remembered "the look of fear in Mufasa's eyes."
  • Scar does not ban anyone from mentioning his dead brother's name in this film. Instead, he sternly limits the conversations about Mufasa.
  • In this film, Rafiki uses his staff to save Zazu from the hyenas whereas in the original, he uses it to save Simba from the hyenas.
  • JD McCrary a fan of the 1994 classic stated "It was amazing finding out when I got the role because it is such an honor just to be part of a Disney movie at all," he admitted. "But being part of one of my favorites, The Lion King, and playing young Simba in the movie is a huge blessing. When I found out I was just so surprised." After the initial shock sunk in, he realized that him and Young Simba have many similarities. "My favorite part about playing young Simba was just being able to be myself during the movie. I didn't have to change my voice because my voice is naturally that high and I can really relate to Simba, so I didn't really have to act too much because I look up to my dad just like he does and we both have scary uncles," McCrary joked.
  • Although JD McCrary says The Lion King has always been one of his favorite movies, he hasn't gotten the chance to speak to Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who voiced the role of Young Simba in the original 1994 movie just yet. "I have never actually talked to him, but hopefully in the future I will," he said.
  • Donald Glover gave JD McCrary advice, stating: "Donald Glover told me to stay true to myself and be natural during recording, and even when you're playing someone else, remember to put your own spice on it."
  • Despite all their meticulous anatomical detail, in a true Disney fashion the animal models still lack reproductive organs.
  • The opening of "The Circle of Life"--the first shot in the film--was just a real picture of Africa.
  • Amy Sedaris was originally announced as playing an elephant shrew in the film. In the final film, Sedaris instead voices a guinea fowl, while Josh McCrary voices the elephant shrew character.
  • Was released one week early in China.
  • Earned $22.3 million its second weekend to again top the box office, totaling -71% from the film's $79 million opening day.
  • earned $75.5 million in its second domestic weekend, taking a drop of 60% from last weekend's $191.8 million debut frame. That's a drop closer to The Dark Knight Rises (-61% in 2012 from a $160 million launch) and Captain America: The First Avenger (-60% in 2011 from a $65 million debut) than The Dark Knight (-53% in 2008 on this weekend from a $158 million debut). However, it's still a $75 million second-weekend gross and a $350.8 million ten-day total. That's the 12th-biggest second-weekend gross (28th when adjusted for inflation, right between Finding Dory and Captain America: Civil War). It's also the eighth-biggest ten-day gross (tenth-biggest when accounting for inflation) of all time. Let's be honest, a 60% drop, even for an animated movie, isn't that bad when you consider that the movie opened with $191.8 million in its first three days. It arguably just means that it's probably going to end up closer to $550 million than $600 million. Horrors. The Dark Knight Rises eventually earned 1.56x its ten-day debut for a $448 million domestic finish while The First Avenger and Star Trek Beyond (same weekend in 2016) both earned 1.5x their ten-day totals for a $176 million finish and $158 million finish. Similar legs would still give The Lion King a domestic end between $525 million and $547 million. Yes, it joined the $100 million losers club, earning $116.3 million less in its second weekend than in its first weekend. Avengers: Endgame dropped $210 million between weekends ($147 million/$357 million) and The Last Jedi dropped $149 million to $71 million after a $220 million debut. The likes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($42 million/$169 million), Batman v Superman ($51 million/$166 million) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($77 million/$191 million) dropped between $121 million and $114 million in their second frames. It is the 12th member of this club and the second animated feature after Incredibles 2. The Pixar sequel earned $80 million (-56%) in its second weekend after a $182 million opening frame, but it turned out to be the leggiest such member with an eventual 1.74x ten-day-to-final multiplier. If by chance The Lion King plays likewise, it's looking at a $611 million domestic finish. That will put it just past Incredibles 2 ($608 million) as Disney's biggest "not an MCU movie or a Star Wars movie" domestic earner. Using the previous members, The Lion King should end up between 1.27x and 1.74x its $350 million ten-day total.
  • The first Disney animated feature film to show feces on screen, or at least certainly in a realistic and clearly identifiable way (granted, it's animal dung, but still).
  • In the Icelandic dub, the actor who here voices adult Simba, Þorvaldur D. Kristjánsson, voiced young Simba in the original. Similarly, the actor who voiced Scar in the original returns for this version, whereas sadly, the actor who originally voiced Mufasa in the Icelandic dub (the only returning voice in the American cast) has since passed away and had to be replaced.
  • Was shot inside a video game world created to look like the iconic settings from the original. Director Jon Favreau and his fellow filmmakers put on VR headsets to scout the in-game locations and line up shots, then programmed the animal characters to "perform" according to the script. Once they got everything just right, they filmed each scene and sent it to a visual effects house to finalize it for the big screen.
  • Favreau took a three-week trip to Kenya with his collaborators to study animals in their natural habitat. This research gave them first-hand perspective on how the animals behaved while they were running, lounging, eating, sleeping, and interacting with one another. The trip was especially eye-opening for animation supervisor Andy Jones. "It was quite fascinating to me because I'd only seen these animals in zoos and to really see them in their own environment and get a feeling for how they do roam around each other and how they react around each other. Especially the lions. The big cats versus the the prey animals. We learned a lot about behaviors and different things that we're gonna try and bring in this film," Jones told us.
  • On set, the area where the actors would gather to perform a scene at the "black box", giving the actors some space to move around and interact was preferable to just having them read their lines in a VO booth. While they were performing, cameras captured their performances so the animators could incorporate certain nuances into the final product. "We're able to bring some of the actors together where they have a scene together and actually have them be off book a little and get some eye contact patterns and certain things that we can use for their performance of the animals," Animator Andy Jones said. "The actors really are driving these characters a bit, which is nice."
  • Most of the film's lines are pulled directly from the original script, but the more comedic bits were given more freedom. It may not come as a surprise that when comedians Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen got together to act out their scenes as Timon and Pumbaa, they came up with some off-the-cuff jokes that were too good not to use. "We did have good black box sessions with them where they really start to improvise a lot," Jones said. "I think Seth embodies Pumbaa really well. In terms of the character, his voice, the tone and how he performs it. There's a certain level of charm and innocence to his performance that actually is working really well of Pumbaa. And likewise with Eichner and Timon. He's got this kind of sarcastic approach that's working really well too."
  • The end battle between Scar and his hyenas versus Simba and his allies suddenly takes on a whole new context in live action as they claw, bite and otherwise try to maim each other. Depicting such a sequence in live-action meant the animators had to be cautious not to make it too realistic. "It was easier and the original film was animated and they could do slow motion. It softens some of the impact and stuff because it is a cartoon," Jones explained. "[For the live-action Lion King] the more realistic we make it can become gory or something you don't wanna watch, you don't want to bring your kids to, so we had to be really careful with where we draw that line and how much we show. Camera work is a big part of that. To make you think you saw more of a fight than you might have seen or just more violence than you might have seen."
  • How far did Simba go when he ran away from home? It's a question many have perhaps wondered, but given how Chinlund was tasked with re-creating the world of The Lion King in realistic fashion, he actually had to calculate it out. "I remember watching the original Lion King] movie and never could figure out how far Simba ran away for him to grow up independently. How far away did he actually run?" Chinlund mused. "I love the first film but geography was a huge problem for me on that movie. It's an animated movie so they used the available slipperiness of illustration to change scale. Pride Rock changed shape and scale throughout the movie so I don't think it was their intent to deliver like a tight geographical piece, but it did frustrate me as a designer." And so Chinlund set out on building a world map to answer the question. They decided that Simba was out there three or four days crossing the desert before he wound up on the shore of Cloud Forest, so if a cub travels about 12 miles a day, Chinlund gives the rough estimate of 50 miles.
  • Used to create the film's locations in virtual reality, was a video game engine called Unity, all of the movie's sets were built as explorable environments that can be visited and scouted by simply donning a virtual reality headset. standing in a sound stage in Playa Vista, California at 9am, and then, five seconds later, be looking around the African plains as the sun sets in the distance.
  • The idea of purposefully not making a shot look perfect was one that Favreau also focused on during filming, and it's clear he was chasing a visual style that approximates realism by incorporating human error into the equation in slight, almost imperceptible ways. In other words, technological advancements can make things look too good so much so that it sets off internal alarm bells to audiences that we're not actually seeing something real. By having the discipline to override that desire for perfection, it can restore a human touch to a project even one filmed entirely in a virtual world.
  • Legato went on to describe some more practical applications of adopting the Unity/VR technology. "With the actors, you only have them for two weeks. If you have an actor for two weeks and you really want them to be in your movie and half the time is taken traveling from one location to another just to get them in the location that you like or do it artificially on blue screen, you won't do it. But now you could. Now you can have an actor play a younger person and it's starting to become easier and easier to do all those things. There's a thing called Hollow Capture now. Instead of doing a motion capture thing, have somebody in a stage much like ours and photograph them from all angles. Light them the way you like them, and now they're in the computer. Now you can put any camera move you want and you can put them into a realistic-looking background. So all of a sudden you can make films that you need the scope of it, the reason of doing it but the ease of operations of doing it, that could put somebody on the same day they could be in Paris and the same day they could be in New York and the same day could be in Hong Kong. They could be anywhere to help me tell my story, and you don't give it away. And my viewpoint is, it's not a visual effect anymore if it's just moviemaking. If you just look at it and you don't pay attention to it or you don't go, 'God, what great visual effects,' it's like, 'Well, it's just a movie.' I mean, you don't say that about The Godfather when you see it. 'Whoa, great costumes, great sets, interesting light.' You just watch the film. So you don't really pick apart one of the disciplines, you just enjoy it. And what we're hoping to do in this movie that we started on Jungle Book is, why is it even called a visual effect if you just watch the movie and it looks like a movie? It's no less artificial than any other discipline that we make. We don't re-create something real life or that's authentic it's movie authentic. It's cinema, you know? We stage people in a way that makes it interesting for that particular camera. We're not really capturing real life, we're capturing movie life. Costumes are made that way. Sets are made that way. It's no less artificial than any of those other disciplines because we're making the same thing."
  • Ben Grossmann, the virtual production supervisor who managed the virtual reality aspects of The Lion King shoot. (He previously won an Oscar for visual effects on Martin Scorsese's Hugo.) tapped into something anyone would wonder about all the time a kid: what is my favorite movie character doing when they're not on screen "What normally happens is filmmakers make a movie and then later, at the end, somebody thinks about making a VR experience or a game or all that stuff," he said. "But by then the filmmakers are usually exhausted, and the visual effects crews are tired, and everyone's kind of broken and they just want to get the movie out. In this case, we're doing all of that before the movie really kicks in, and so the filmmakers have been in virtual reality the entire time. In a sense, one could argue that the film is just an edited down, truncated, and enclosed view of the story. But inside that world, there are many other stories that could be discovered. You could say, 'What happened when Timon was off screen, when I didn't see him in the movie? What was he up to?' Or, 'What was Nala doing before she had to do that scene?' There may be whole stories there, and traditionally, filmmakers would just make another story like that. They'd film a little television episode or something or a behind the scenes or a vignette. But in the real world, we don't all stop living just because the camera isn't turned on, and sometimes the camera, because it's not turned on, misses a great moment." Maybe you're starting to see how all of this could be a very big deal. It's not just the idea of putting on a headset to explore a set in virtual reality. The implications of this technology could easily lead to a real-life Westworld scenario, or maybe even something not yet fathomed in the realm of science fiction. But while we are still probably years away from understanding the limits of this technology, its immediate practical implementations may unlock a totally new form of entertainment. Grossman explains: "What filmmaking in the future can be like is not filmmaking or storytelling, but world building. You create a world where characters have personalities and they have motivations to do different things, and then essentially, you can throw them all out there like a simulation and then you can put real people in there and see what happens. And so as we start to design characters that are controlled by artificial intelligence or in pre-scripted narratives that we tell it, then you could start creating an experience for audiences that goes far beyond sitting in a movie theatre and watching a film. And in a sense, Lion King, Avatar, and a lot of these new techniques are laying the foundation for that, because they're helping build worlds so that you could shoot movies in them but then what you could do next is open to interpretation. One could argue that there would be a completely new style of filmmaking or storytelling or experience-sharing that could evolve out of this foundation."
  • virtual production supervisor Ben Grossmann used the world of Pandora as a jumping off point to explain the journey from computer screen to big screen. "Avatar solved the problem of: how do you film a movie that usually gets created with computer graphics in a computer?" Grossmann posited. "And so, we put computer graphics into the Cinematographer's Monitor so that they could use more traditional equipment to see the movie." That solution worked wonders for Avatar, which remained the highest-grossing film for a decade before Avengers: Endgame took the crown. But how did The Lion King change up this process? "What we're doing is we're putting the filmmakers inside the monitor," Grossmann explained. "So now, they can put on a VR headset and be in Africa or on the Empire State Building or on the surface of the Moon, so that they can walk around and see and feel the film making process with all the equipment as though they were there." The journey to making The Lion King's filmmaking process "like the real world but with superpowers" was a complicated one, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable for the artists behind the magic. One of the most exciting parts of working with a virtual reality world was having to make it as interactive as a real one. That meant putting not only objects and locations into it, but also characters. "Since we have these artificial worlds that we're creating, then there's no reason you wouldn't want artificial life," the visual effects supervisor said. Artificial life requires artificial intelligence, which helped translate the vision inside director Jon Favreau's mind into a virtual world that Grossmann and his visual effects team could play with. As an example, The Lion King's AI technology could apply what it's been fed about animal skeletons and apply it to the game engine character models in order to make one of the characters walk or run in a certain way. That basic walk can add have a little flavor added to it, allowing the animator to incorporate a certain style that the artificial intelligence program can mix into the already established simulation. In that way, the film creators not only crafted realistic lions that moved as their real counterparts do, but also incorporated some of Timon and Pumbaa's signature behaviors for the next generation to appreciate. Furthermore, this revolutionary style of storytelling could have a direct effect on not just how animated or CG production is done in the future, but also on new stories from The Lion King universe. As Grossmann pointed out, the virtual reality doesn't stop running when the camera shuts off. "You create a world where characters have personalities and they have motivations to do different things, and then essentially, you can throw them all out there like a simulation."
  • Jon Favreau has stated that there is only one "real shot" in the entire film. Writing on Instagram, he said, "There are 1490 rendered shots created by animators and CG artists. I slipped in one single shot that we actually photographed in Africa to see if anyone would notice. It is the first shot of the movie that begins The Circle of Life."
  • Back in 2002, Billy Eichner (voice of Timon) was a bartender at the Lion King on Broadway.
  • Over the weekend, the new "Lion King" pushed Disney (DIS) to $7.67 billion in global box-office ticket sales this year. That's the best-ever box office haul by one studio in one year, beating Disney's own record of $7.61 billion from 2016. That happened just one week after "Avengers: Endgame" jumped over "Avatar" to become the highest-grossing film ever at the global box office. In fact, Disney has all top five movies of 2019 globally this year: "Avengers: Endgame," "Captain Marvel," "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (distributed by Sony but co-produced by Marvel), "Aladdin," and "Lion King." Disney has the top five U.S. movies as well, a list that has "Toy Story 4" instead of "Spider-Man." The dominance is terrifying to competitor studios, but they all should have seen it coming: Disney's wins are the result of methodical, brilliant M&A.
  • VFX supervisor Adam Valdez, found the little cubs to be quite tricky to animate. "I initially thought they'd be sort of straightforward, because they're so cute. But actually, the way they move and making it feel like they're really doing the actions they were doing, in an adventure, and lighting soft, fluffy things, so they look real, but sort of appealing, was quite tricky, to get the balance right. So they took the most sort of care. Scar went really easily. I thought he sort of fell into place and was kind of dramatic looking and kind of fit his part. It's sort of ironic what took the most work."
  • As with Lion King 1½, we find out that Timon and Pumbaa were watching Simba and Nala during their verse at the end of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". **The movie has a shot of baby Pumbaa (who resembles a baby wild boar rather than a baby warthog) making bubbles in the water. In the midquel, Pumbaa made a jacuzzi out of a water hole by continuously passing gas in it.
  • HuffPo reached out to 13 original "Lion King" animators to get their thoughts on Jon Favreau's photorealistic remake, many of whom declined to comment. One animator speaking on anonymity said, "I will only get myself in trouble if I comment on the 'other' version." Another animator added, "There is a huge resentment against these 3D remakes from the original 2D crews. Maybe if we got any kind of royalties it would be different." Only three animators were willing to be interviewed by the Huffington Post. David Stephan, an animator who worked on the original film's hyena designs and the iconic "Circle of Life" opening sequence, went on record sharing his critical thoughts of the 2019 "Lion King." Summarizing the thoughts of many of his colleagues, Stephan told HuffPo, "If you polled the crew of the original 'Lion King,' most of them would say, 'Why? Did you really have to do that?' It kind of hurts." Stephan said that the photorealistic VFX used on the 2019 "Lion King" negated what made the animated 1994 film so special and imaginative. The animators believe the effects were so realistic that it made the film's other prominent elements, such as singing and talking animals, feel widely out of place. "It would jar me out of the film, literally," Stephen said. "Especially with little Simba walking around. It was too real. And then when he would talk, it reminded me of those old nature films where they would dub the voices over and the lips would move. I thought, 'Oh, this is really cheap.' I think it was just too soon for this one." "I just came away going, 'Wow, that was a great story that I worked on back in '93.' How come the apes in 'Planet of the Apes' look so much more alive than the animals in 'Lion King'?" Stephan continued. "This one just said, 'You know what, let's cut the expressions out completely. Let's just keep it real as possible.' And I think it just diminished the film." Stephan went on to criticize the voice performances as well, calling them "so wooden." "[The filmmakers] put themselves into a corner when you do that realistically," Stephan said. "You're really stuck to what the real physics are in real life, or people aren't going to buy it. But there were a few scenes where there were a couple of expressions and suddenly it was a little more alive." HuffPo's other two respondents are both fans of director Jon Favreau's new take. "Overall, I thought the film stands on its own," says Dave Bossert, who worked on a variety of the first film's visual effects. Scar-animator Alexander Williams says his former co-workers have forgotten working for Disney is a "great privilege," and the backlash is really just misdirected nostalgia. "So I don't think you can mourn the old days too much," Williams says, "because everyone's always itching to do it better." He even went so far as to call specific portions of the new movie's animation "breathtaking," saying the "game-changing" technical skill behind it raises the industry bar. Bossert was also supportive, calling the new movie visually "stunning" and "faithful" to Walt Disney's original storytelling dream. Still, he found some design elements lacking. "I wish they had a little bit more emotion in the characters' eyes," he tells the outlet.
  • The original Lion King clearly depicts the dearly departed Mufasa in the night sky, where he promised his son that he and the great kings of the past will always be observing Earthly events. But you have to squint to see the previous lion king's face in Favreau's film; his features are just barely visible within the clouds that drift above the African plains, with random lightning flashes functioning as his eyes. "A lot of that had to do with the style of the movie," Newman explains. "It would have been jarring if Mufasa was suddenly standing up there in the sky, because everything else is so hyper-real. Jon was always saying that he didn't want it to be a literal thing and draw the perfect outline of Mufasa in the clouds. He wanted it to have some build-up and drama, so it would feel really epic." According to Newman, it was actually more of a challenge for his team to not just slap Mufasa's face in the sky. "That sequence was quite hard to animate, because it was a really complex cloud and electrical simulations that took many hours to calculate and render. We had to figure out how to give Jon the benefit of working in a kind of sketch mode without him having to use his imagination too much. Because what would happen is that we'd block out a whole scene [as a sketch], and he'd go 'I can't really tell, but sure,' and then we'd present the final render and he'd say, 'I don't like it.' We ended up with a hybrid approach where we [put] layers of cloud simulation on top of an animated space, so we'd have some control over animating it by hand if we needed to modify it. When we presented it to Jon in that format, he could at least see how the clouds were moving and make decisions about the timing." Newman remembers Favreau testing out multiple variations of the scene, fully aware of how important it is to Simba's emotional journey. "We had some sessions with Jon where we were placing compositional elements in real time. We would take Simba and scale him down, or we'd take Mufasa's face and scale him up. Or we'd say, 'Maybe we need a reverse angle of Simba's reaction to the cloud here.' That scene was fluid right up until close to the end, to be honest. We wanted the filmmakers to feel they could engage with us, and not be like, 'Give us six months, and you'll see something at the end.'"
  • Favreau, on the other hand, seems to think that the prime time for romance is when the sun still hangs high in the sky. So when Donald Glover and Beyoncé finally start belting Simba and Nala's signature song, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," it's more like "Can You Feel the Love in the Late Afternoon." For the record, Newman is aware of the incongruity between the song's lyrics and the scene's lighting. "It's a question for the filmmakers," he says with a chuckle. "That was a decision that was made, and we followed that direction. Our job is to visualize the vision of the filmmakers, you know? If that's what they wanted, then that's what they wanted." Newman can hazard a guess as to why Favreau and his Oscar-nominated director of photography, Caleb Deschanel, chose the daytime over the nighttime, though. "It's a big moment where you really want to see the characters, and it's hard to use natural-looking lighting in a nighttime environment, especially when you're supposed to be shooting [the film] like a documentary," he notes, adding that he's never spoken at length with Favreau and Deschanel about that choice. "The mood of the lighting has the right qualities to go with the song, even if the song is at night!" Rather than focus on the time of day, Newman and his team paid more attention to depicting the body language of two lions in love. "Jon's notion was that you don't have to overdo the expressions of a lion in order to connect emotionally with a lion, you use the visual storytelling to help. We have controls on our facial rig that allow the animators to kind of push certain muscle groups around and move, say, the upper brow into a sad position. But if you're seeing that on a lion, you're really pushing it. So we looked a lot at lion behavior for reference: like Nala lifts her head up and licks Simba, and with the combination of the lighting, camerawork and music, it produces an emotion you believe. If we went beyond that, that's when it would feel overworked for Jon. He was always thinking, 'Let's keep this real and not make it too exaggerated.'"
  • Scar was the clear favorite among the VFX team as well. "Whenever we were struggling with a shot, we would always say, 'It needs more Scar,'" Newman says, laughing. "He's such a good-looking character and worked in so many different lighting environments and framings. Every time we dropped him in a shot, the shot improved straightway." The animators on the original Lion King took their cue from Irons's deliciously menacing vocal performance, exaggerating Scar's features and movements to lend him that extra ounce of villainy. That was an approach that the MPC team tried to pay homage to without upsetting the new film's emphasis on realism. "The voice of Scar lends itself to something that's a bit more pushed than the others. Out of all the characters, he's the least lion-like. His proportions are kind of exaggerated, although we did do a lot of reference and research. There can be huge differences in the proportions between real lions: We'd be looking at pictures, and the skull shapes would be so different, you'd think they're two different species." As for Scar's trademark scar, Newman says that they arrived at the version seen in the finished film via concept art and 3D sculptures in digital clay. "Production designer, James Chinlund, would have done concept art, and we used our digital sculpting tool to show what his face might look like in 3D form. He's just a pretty cool character."
  • Nala and Simba can be assumed to be half brother and half sister. This is only true if Mufasa is the only male in the pride and Scar does not have any mating rights within the pride.
  • Jon Faverau and Donald Glover, were both in Solo a Star Wars Story (2018) the year before.
  • Tony Bancroft, who animated Pumbaa in the original film, described the remake on Twitter as "the 'meh' heard around the world."
  • When Scar arrives at the Elephant Graveyard and Kamari threatens to eat him, Scar asks why they'd settle for one meal now when they could be feasting for the rest of their lives. The 2003 Platinum Edition DVD's director commentary stated that when Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella were auditioning for roles as hyenas, they shared a nearly identical exchange ("One meal now or a million in the future?" "One meal now, definitely one meal now.").
  • Disney never said the film was going to be "live-action"; they said they were going to be using the same photorealistic technology and such that they used for The Jungle Book. (Though this has also sparked further debate, it seems - now people are upset that they're taking a 2D animated piece that still holds up fine today, and essentially updating it into a 3D animated piece.)
  • Concept art by Faraz Shanyar shows a take on Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi more closely resembling their animated versions
  • earned another $7.53 million on Thursday, dropping 50% from last Thursday and 15% from yesterday. That gives the Jon Favreau-directed animated remake a $392 million domestic total after two weeks in North American theaters. Barring a fluke, it'll cross $400 million domestic sometime today. And if it has continued to track 36/64 domestic/overseas, then its current worldwide cume should be just over/under $1.01 billion worldwide. Presuming and over/under $38 million third-weekend gross (-50%), the $175 million flick will have $430 million domestic and around $1.19 billion worldwide by Sunday night. putting it past Aladdin (currently at around $1.015 billion), Spider-Man: Far from Home (currently over/under $1.05 billion) and Captain Marvel ($1.128 billion) to become the year's second-biggest global grosser. And looking at the rest of the year's slate that have a shot in hell at supplanting The Lion King as the second-biggest grosser of the year. Okay, so Hobbs & Shaw could pull Wolf Warrior 2 numbers in China. Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level (opening December 13) could be a breakout sequel even on top of its predecessor's $962 million total. However, realistically speaking, the next two super-duper blockbusters in contention for the silver medal are Frozen II (November 22) and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (December 20). While both films will be huge, can either of them hope to out-gross the (at this juncture) likely over/under $1.425 billion global finish of the Disney musical remake? Let's dive in and see what we're dealing with.
  • Out of the 13 artists who worked on the classic first movie, only three were willing to be interviewed by the Huffington Post. Others, however, admitted they won't see the new film. "There is a huge resentment against these 3-D remakes from the original 2-D crews. Maybe if we got any kind of royalties it would be different," one anonymous animator tells the site. "I will only get myself in trouble if I comment on the 'other' version," another says. The on-the-record trio offers varying levels of critique, with "Circle of Life" and hyena-animator David Stephan summing up the haters: "If you polled the crew of the original 'Lion King,' most of them would say, 'Why? Did you really have to do that?' It kind of hurts," he tells HuffPo. HuffPo's other two respondents are both fans of director Jon Favreau's new take. "Overall, I thought the film stands on its own," says Dave Bossert, who worked on a variety of the first film's visual effects. Scar-animator Alexander Williams says his former co-workers have forgotten working for Disney is a "great privilege," and the backlash is really just misdirected nostalgia. "So I don't think you can mourn the old days too much," Williams says, "because everyone's always itching to do it better." He even went so far as to call specific portions of the new movie's animation "breathtaking," saying the "game-changing" technical skill behind it raises the industry bar. Bossert was also supportive, calling the new movie visually "stunning" and "faithful" to Walt Disney's original storytelling dream. Still, he found some design elements lacking. "I wish they had a little bit more emotion in the characters' eyes," he tells the outlet. Stephan was by far the biggest critic of the three. "'Yeah, we just want to make money,'" he says, saying it's clear the stockholders not the artists are the ones now determining which movies get made. "I thought the performances were weak. I mean, they were so wooden I think it was just too soon for this one."
  • Donald Glover's dad passed away in December of 2018 and he played the role of the young adult Simba throughout the remainder of the movie. The young adult Simba's father, Mufasa, also passed away in the film.
  • Matthew Broderick stated that Donald Glover was the perfect choice for his original role of Simba. And Moira Kelly gave Beyonce two thumbs up for getting her role of Nala.
  • The eighth of many remakes of classic Disney animated films released in the 21st century, following Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Christopher Robin, Dumbo, and Aladdin (Pete's Dragon doesn't count as it is considered a remake of a live-action movie). In addition, The Lion King is the third of four remakes of animated films that Disney has slated for release in 2019, after Dumbo and Aladdin, and followed by Lady and the Tramp.
  • This is the third remake of a Walt Disney Animation Studios movie that is from the Disney Renaissance, after 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin, followed by 2020's Mulan.
  • James Earl Jones was the voice of Mufasa in the original animated film. He is the sixth actor to reprise his role for a Disney remake of a previous Disney animated production after Jim Cummings (who previously voiced both Ed and the Gopher and partially provided Scar's singing voice in the original animated film), Brad Garrett (both of who reprised Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, also voiced by Cummings since the late 1980s, and Eeyore, whom Garrett voiced previously in Animated StoryBook: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and recently in Ralph Breaks the Internet, in 2018's Christopher Robin), Nancy Cartwright (who previously voiced Pumbaa Jr. in the Timon & Pumbaa episode Never Everglades) and Patton Oswalt (both of who reprise Rufus and Professor Dementor in the live-action Kim Possible film), and Frank Welker (who reprised the vocal effects for Abu and Rajah and the voice of the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin, released two months earlier). In addition to that, the film's teaser trailer combines James Earl Jones' archival and newer recordings for his role of Mufasa.
  • Banzai and Ed are the only characters from the original animated film to be renamed.
  • This film marks Sarabi's first full appearance in a Lion King production since the original animated film, apart from her cameos in the midquel The Lion King 1½ and two of the Timon and Pumbaa's Wild About Safety shorts.
  • This is the third Disney remake of a Disney classic to have its music score composed by the same composer as the original animated film after 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin (both of which are composed and scored by Alan Menken).
  • James Earl Jones, Hans Zimmer, Elton John, and Tim Rice are the only people who worked on the original animated film that reprise their respective roles, as the voice of Mufasa, the composer of the film, and songwriters.
  • In addition, this is the third remake to credit Tim Rice within its soundtrack after 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin. This is the second time that Ernie Sabella does not reprise the role of Pumbaa. The first was Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor who voices Scar and Alfre Woodard who voices Sarabi, previously collaborated in the Academy Award winning film, 12 Years a Slave.
  • Donald Glover and John Oliver have collaborated together in the NBC series, Community.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor previously collaborated with the original voice actor of Zazu, Rowan Atkinson, in Love Actually and its television short film sequel, Red Nose Day Actually. On Love Actually, Ejiofor has also worked with Emma Thompson, who portrayed Mrs. Potts in the 2017 live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
  • The scene where Timon and Pumbaa refer to Zazu as a puppet upon their introduction to him might be a call back to his portrayal in the Broadway musical through puppetry. His design is similar in appearance to the Broadway version with a notable feature of white feathers as opposed to the blue ones from the original.
  • The voice of Simba in the original, Matthew Broderick, and the voice of Zazu in the remake, John Oliver, have both collaborated together in the Paramount/Nickelodeon film, Wonder Park, which came out five months prior.
  • Billy Eichner who voices Timon and Keegan-Michael Key who voices Kamari, previously worked together in The Angry Birds Movie.
  • This is the second Disney film to feature the voice of Keegan-Michael Key in a same year, following his voice role of Ducky in Toy Story 4.
  • Both Seth Rogen and Hans Zimmer have worked in the Kung Fu Panda franchise, Rogen voiced Master Mantis while Zimmer did the score of the first two films with fellow composer John Powell and did the score for the third movie on his own, due to Powell's scheduling conflicts.
  • Seth Rogen (who voices Pumbaa) appears as a guest in an episode of The Eric Andre Show to which the titular host voiced Azizi, and in one episode he also roasts Beyonce (who voices Nala) in one of his monologues.
  • This film uses the same 2D animated variant of the 2006 Walt Disney Pictures logo from 2016's The Jungle Book, only the logo does not zoom out at the end this time. It's also the first live-action Disney movie to feature the full closing logo at the end. Previous live-action films had the short closing logo.
  • Disney's first traditionally-animated film to have a computer-animated remake and also the second traditionally-animated film in general to do so after Pokémon: The First Movie (whose remake has still yet to be released in the US, though).
  • This is the first time the end credits song for the original Disney animated film is not the end credits song for a Disney live-action remake; the songs Never Too Late, He Lives in You, and Mbube replace Can You Feel the Love Tonight as this film's end credits songs.
  • This film marks the first time Pharrell Williams has collaborated with Disney on a film; he served as the producer for five songs.
  • Came out the same year as Toy Story 4 coincidentally in the first Toy Story, Andy, Molly, and their mother are listening to Hakuna Matata on the car radio during film's climax.
  • Earned another $38.2 million its third weekend (-49%) to bring its cume up to $431 million. That gives it a bigger (sans inflation) total than the $422 million gross (counting the 2011 3-D reissue) of original The Lion King. At a glance, we're probably looking at a final domestic total of between $505 million and $515 million. That would be right above Beauty and the Beast ($504 million) but below the likes of Rogue One ($529 million) and The Dark Knight ($533 million). Oh, and the Disney flick has earned a whopping $1.196 billion worldwide. That puts it above Captain Marvel ($426 million domestic and $1.128 billion worldwide) to become the year's second-biggest global grosser.
  • Foreshadowing: When young Simba expresses his enthusiasm of being the next king to Scar, he rhetorically asks if that means he can tell his uncle what to do. Years later, when Scar pleads for mercy before the adult Simba, he asks his nephew to tell him what to do
  • Disney's domination at the global box office and its plans to take on Netflix will be centre stage when it reports its latest results this week, with films from Avengers: Endgame to The Lion King driving its best year ever on the big screen. The share price of the world's biggest entertainment company has surged by more than a quarter over the past year, making for a $260bn (214bn) stock market valuation as it continues to dominate cinemas while plotting its streaming future with the launch of its rival to Netflix later this year. Disney, which will report its latest quarterly results on Tuesday, broke its annual worldwide box office record, taking $7.67bn after only seven months. Avengers: Endgame has surpassed Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time ($2.8bn). And Disney has already equalled its record of four $1bn-plus blockbusters in a year (Captain Marvel, Aladdin, The Lion King) with Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker still to come. Disney's strength after the $71bn deal to buy X-Men to Deadpool-maker Fox it controls 40% of the US movie market comes from its carefully curated depth of content. The company is reaping the benefits of a six-year buying spree of top-quality-content businesses, snapping up the Toy Story maker Pixar ($7.4bn), Marvel Studios ($4bn), and Star Wars maker Lucasfilm ($4bn) between 2006 and 2012. However, Disney's upcoming results are likely to show a drop in profits as it spends heavily on breaking into the global streaming market, dominated by Netflix and Amazon, with its rival Disney+ service scheduled to launch in the US on 12 November. Disney has priced it at $6.99, close to half of Netflix US's most popular tier, and is willing to swallow hundreds of millions in lost licensing revenue until it turns its first expected profit in 2024. Last month $18bn was wiped off the value of Netflix after it lost subscribers in its biggest market, the US, for the first time in eight years. Competition is set to further intensify over the next year as streaming services from NBC Universal, AT&T's HBO Max and Apple are launched.
  • When asked how tough was it to create the verisimilitude of a photorealistic environment and at the same time something that was expressive, Julien Bolbach explained "The main thing is that we had a lot of references. We all knew the movie pretty well--it's all in our memories. And then we also knew references that were shot in Africa, which was the end goal. So the big challenge was how to reproduce that complexity in the characters first, but also in the environments. I was a little less involved in the character work, but I worked closely with the environment team to create the savannahs and the jungle--a jungle that goes way beyond what they did on Jungle Book, which was quite contained in the sense that a few meters away from the camera, it was pretty enclosed. And here on the savannah, we need to see miles and miles away. So the challenge was to create something that looks as real as possible, but also within the technical constraints we had, how much we can fit into a computer to be able to render a truly beautiful image."
  • When Julien Bolbach got the lighting supervisor role, "it was more about how do we take the mood of the scene shot by the [director of photography] and the crew on stage and convert that into a realistic image. So that was a more creative and artistic role at that point. There were lots of challenges converting the original one, like you go from a cartoon, which is 2D, to something that needs to look real and could have been photographed but still needs to look beautiful and compelling. So it was a big challenge to convert that into an image that looks believable and real."
  • When asked how influenced he was by the original film to recreate the environments in a way that mirrors the look and locations, but also the expressiveness of the characters and how tough was that balance to strike, lighting supervisor Julien Bolbach revealed "We all had it in our mind pretty strongly, and we all know the songs. We all know the story, we all know the way it looks. But throughout making this movie, we rarely went back to watch it. It was more the memory of it that was strong and that was kind of our legacy. We knew the sequences, but it was more about [doing] a different version of it in a way. But because we had those memories, we would remember all the important moments and tried to do a version that fulfills the vision of the director. So we'd say, how did they overcome that challenge in the original, but it would rarely be matching exactly the shot. But it was tricky. But the mandate from Jon Favreau was really interesting, because it recalled the way Walt Disney started with Snow White and was taking stories that everybody knows and used technology to tell the story in another way. And that is what's happening with this one. While we have this great technology now, let's do a new take on the same story in the same way that the Lion King musical was another take on the same story."
  • When asked how easy is it given the technology that you have for Jon Favreau and the filmmakers to go out and actually photograph and environment and then for him to put characters into that as opposed to creating both the characters and the environment from scratch inside the computer, Julien Bolbach revealed: "Well, environments are very hard, especially when you talk about vegetation and an ecosystem that works together with trees and bushes and grass. It's not something you can easily reproduce in a computer with just reference [materials]. There's a lot of work that's been done recreating each species of grass, of trees, based on those references. But it's still manual work to recreate the shape of the trees, the texture of the bark, all the leaves, and then make them also move through wind movement and all of that. And then it's about how all these plans fit together in the environment. What kind of bushes grow next to the trees? What kind of grass grows in that dry environment, or in a more lush environment? So the references that the team shot at the being of the movie were very helpful to recreate them, but they were more like a guide for how it should look."
  • Due to the innovative photo-realism, Jon Favreau intentionally put his Disney remake squarely in the crosshairs of live action and animation. Thus, while the Technicolor-owned MPC Film team stunningly upped its keyframe character work to meet the requirements of the director's narrative nature-doc aesthetic, it had to basically rewrite the playbook for performance by dialing down facial expressions and lip syncing. To many, this seemed counter-intuitive to what we normally expect from CG-animated character performance, which relies on exaggeration or more caricatured anthropomorphic behavior to express thought and emotion. Yet Favreau was determined to avoid conventional character performance to stay within the life-like parameters of his aesthetic. He introduced distinct yet nuanced physicality along with an ensemble of new vocal performers (led by Donald Glover, Beyoncé, and Chiwetel Ejiofor), and relied on us to fill in the blanks with the familiar story, songs, and score. Still, the instant the animals began talking and singing, the live-action spell was momentarily broken until audiences made the adjustment. "Meaning, the audience was going to relate to this film in a different way," said Adam Valdez, MPC's visual effects supervisor. "And you didn't have all of the comedy turns and exaggerated action and hyper-stylized look that you can do in a cartoon. You get a strange hybrid if you dial up the emotions where you're not sure whether you're watching animation or live action. And it's a film that has to work for a wider audience, so the challenge was, what were you going to put in the place of those things in terms of the overall impact of the film?"
  • "The answer was creating individual characteristics for the animals, which had their own way of moving and behaving in keeping with their species. Yes, there was exaggeration, but it was kept to a minimum. "There's combinations that don't work that well," Carlos Valdez added. "When you're stylized, it allows you to push. But when you're going very real, and you change proportions (bigger eyes) or exaggerate certain moves, it looks out of sync and doesn't have the resonance that we want from reality."
  • MPC first had to write new software for more complex fur shading and rendering (Furtility) and muscle/skin simulation (Muggins). It's so realistic-looking that you can see the veins popping on Mufasa (James Earl Jones) when he starts walking. "The muscles are triggered based on checking the weight," said Andy Jones, the animation supervisor. "We had a team that would go in and, if the muscles were misfiring, we'd give them notes to fix that to make sure the paws on the ground were in check with the weight. And then the skin sliding was something they worked on more than on 'Jungle Book' because you see a lot more of it on the lions."
  • The most requested character to work on for the animators was the villainous Scar (Ejiofor), whose body reveals vulnerability but whose posture emphasizes relaxed cunning. "Scar needed to harken back to the older design from the original but couldn't look too different from the family, and couldn't be too wiry or thin," Valdez said. "He needed to be a physical threat in his own way, a default menace in the way that he was designed in his entire physical presence. Mufasa has a healthy, dominant, powerful form, and Simba needed to clearly look like the son of Mufasa yet have his own youthful persona and be able to fight in the end."
  • The hyenas had a role to play in the ecosystem as scavengers. They were trying to survive and Scar recruits them to destabilize the environment around Pride Rock. The kingdom rivalry dynamic is explored more extensively in Favreau's version. "The hyenas are naturally intimidating," said Valdez. "Their faces have a skull shape that reads in the light and a lot of work was done to their eyes and teeth to emphasize their threat."
  • The comic Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) were a combination of cute and ugly, and there was more leeway to animate as meerkat and warthog. "We first tried to make Timon's hand gestures more human, more anthropomorphic," said Jones. "And we found out right away that it broke the character. So we researched what they really could do, how they stand and move while standing and what they do with their paws. And we were limited to those moments and based the comedy on that. They're a funny animal in general. The way the meerkats move their heads is sporadic, especially when they're on the lookout. They also get a little drugged out by eating scorpions, almost like they're falling asleep, so we gave a narcoleptic sense to him. "With Pumbaa, because his mouth is behind his nose and tusks, you get a sense of it moving," Jones added. "And there's a lot we could do with the corners around the cheeks. They are also very funny animals. You come up to them in Africa and they'll run off really fast like they're scared, and then turn around and look like they forgot what they're running from. We tried to replicate that kind of movement. And Seth captured the tone so perfectly, even with the scraggly beard."
  • Most challenging, though, was limiting the facial expressions, which meant the animators were restricted in the way the animals could realistically move their mouths while speaking or singing. They focused on jaw motion and played with the corners of the mouth and only slighted pressed the upper and lower lips. Although they initially dialed up the brow gestures for the lions, Favreau found it too unsettling and they pulled back. However, with Simba having fun as a cub, he gave way to a few smiles. So, to take attention away from the mouths, they concentrated on choreographing action to convey emotion: jumping up or down rocks, prancing around the watering hole, displaying affection between parents and children, or having Scar slinking around in dialogue-heavy scenes. "Singing was more tricky," Jones said, "because you're holding notes and that's when they kept more to the choreography. Jon wanted to lean on the documentary aspect. Watching the characters in those environments was about making everything look real. With how much we've learned and how much artistry has excelled with all the different disciplines of computer-generated imagery from 'Toy Story' to here is pretty amazing."
  • Early on, it's stated that Scar did once formally challenge Mufasa for the throne, with the obvious implication that this is how he got his iconic injury. Eagle-eyed viewers will also notice that Mufasa has a series of much lighter scars on his muzzle, likely from the same fight. The difference in scarring between the two really helps to emphasize how outmatched Scar is.
  • The scene where Scar's ear twitches was one of the main factors behind the whole 'the animals are definitely real' conspiracy theory as it was too convincing.
  • The 86 species were all hand-animated and entirely new software tools as in, never even existed before this movie, were created to make the fur, skin and muscles look almost indistinguishable from that of real animals.
  • After taking over 240,000 photographs, the voice actors got to whack on some futuristic VR and roam around the African countries like they were genuinely there, which I assume would help immensely when getting into character as an animal. VFX also went into the hyper-realistic CGI too.
  • Three helicopters and six safari Land Cruisers covered 18,000kms of land over a two-week stint.
  • This is the second computer-animated remake of a traditionally-animated feature film after Pokémon the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution (2019).
  • A pair of canny internet users, unhappy with the realism of the new version of The Lion King, have "fixed" the CGI to make it more like the original 1994 feature film. Many viewers of the remake were displeased with the focus on realism in a film containing animals routinely singing and dancing. The general consensus is that the new version lacks the emotion and warmth of the Disney classic. Artist Nikolay Mochkin and Jonty Pressinger have collaborated to create a 'deepfake' using animation from the original film and footage from the 2019 version.
  • Managed to pass the worldwide grosses of Incredibles 2 (2018) and Frozen (2013), dethroning Frozen as the highest-grossing animated movie ever. The Lion King (as of 8/11/19) Worldwide: $1,334,603,826 Frozen Worldwide gross: $1,276,480,335
  • Shenzi is larger than the other hyenas and is a lot more menacing. That's because female hyenas are larger and more aggressive than their male counterparts in real life. Also, notice in the film she works with Scar, and not for him. This Shenzi is the leader of the hyenas, and doesn't seem like the type to take orders from anyone.
  • Running gag: Azizi has a personal space issue with Kamari and keeps getting too close to him.
  • During the Elephant Graveyard scene, when Simba and Nala are cornered by the hyenas just before Mufasa arrives, Simba's attempted roar is really the same one he tried on the lizard before the stampede from the original film, though it was slightly modified in this version.
  • When the hyenas are chasing young Simba and Nala, the cubs run through a tunnel system while the hyenas dig trying to catch them. This is a similar sequence to when the hyenas attack Timon's meerkat family in The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004).
  • Both Nathan Lane, who played Timon in the original, and Billy Eichner, who played Timon in this version, are openly gay.
  • The bushbaby is a reference to Laininote, a recurring minor character from The Lion Guard who appears in a number of episodes.
  • While the ecological destruction of the Pride Lands was present in the 1994 version of the movie, it takes on a more visceral quality in the 2019 version. This is in part due to the unnervingly realistic 3D animation, intended to capture the "spectacle of a BBC wildlife documentary". But it is also because this kind of loss is all too familiar to an audience witnessing the earth hurtle towards a climate breakdown. Yet the climate crisis goes unacknowledged in the reboot. As Disney's highest-grossing animated movie of all time, it could have been a real opportunity to talk about the tragic experience the audience shares with the lions: the unprecedented, rapid destruction of earth. In this sense, the movie remained overly faithful to the original script.
  • leapt past the $500 million mark at the North American box office on Wednesday August 21st, becoming only the second release of 2019 to do so behind fellow Disney blockbuster Avengers: Endgame. Globally, Lion King is already a member of the billion-dollar club, amassing $1.46 billion to date in global ticket sales. Only Marvel Studios' Endgame is bigger among 2019 titles with $2.8 billion (not to mention Endgame is the biggest film of all time). Other notable stats for Simba and his gang: It's only the 14th film in history to jump the $500 million threshold domestically, not adjusted for inflation. (Ten are from Disney.) And it's days away from prancing past Beauty and the Beast to become the top-grossing domestic title from Disney's live-action studio. Through Wednesday, Lion King's domestic total was $501.3 million. The international total stands at $964.4 million.
  • Earned another $1.33 million in North America on Tuesday, which is a jump of 61% from its Monday gross of $825,136. That was the Disney remake's first day earning under $1 million, and absent the now-expected Tuesday jump, that Sunday would have been its last $1 million-plus day (barring a reissue of some kind). So instead yesterday was likely its last $1 million-plus day, and the Tuesday bumps are complicating things for weirdos like me who keep track of how long it takes big films to drop below $1 million on a day-to-day basis. That brings the film's domestic cume to $512.7 million in 40 days of release. And it has now earned a robust $1.0119 billion overseas, giving it a current global cume of $1.5246 billion. That's a 33.6/66.4 domestic/overseas split and also above the $1.516 billion cume (sans 3-D) of Universal's Furious 7 back in 2015 and the $1.519 billion cume of The Avengers in 2012. The Lion King is the seventh-biggest global grosser, sans inflation, 3-D bumps, overseas exchange rates or Chinese expansion, sometime in the next 24 hours. the film is the ninth picture (and just the seventh since early 2015) to cross $1 billion in overseas earnings. Prior to 2015, it had happened only twice, with James Cameron's Titanic and James Cameron's Avatar. Since then, we saw it thrice in 2015 (Furious 7, Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens), once in 2017 (Fate of the Furious), once in 2018 (Avengers: Infinity War) and now twice in 2019 (Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King).
  • Beyoncé had previously turned down the role of Tiana in The Princess And The Frog.
  • Released the same year as the Elton John biopic Rocket Man. Elton John provides the songs with Tim Rice for both the original 1994 animated version and this film.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofur (the voice of Scar in the 2019 remake) appeared as Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange which is part of Marvel Cinematic Universe where as Jeremy Irons (the original voice of Scar in the 1994 animated version) appears as Alfred Pennyworth in Batman VS Superman and Justice League which are part of the DC Extended Universe. Interestingly, both Doctor Strange and Batman VS Superman were released the same year (2016) as Jon Favreau's live action remake of The Jungle Book. Jeremy Irons is also slated to appear in HBO's Watchmen TV series which is also based on a DC comic property and is due four months after The Lion King 2019's release.
  • Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba sleep together in a stump similar to The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata (2004).
  • Both Chiwetel Ejiofor and Seth Rogen are left-handed.
  • Surpassed the Joss Whedon-directed original The Avengers from 2012 on the all-time box office chart, with the former now ranking seventh after making $1.65 billion USD and the superhero blockbuster dropping to eighth with $1.52 billion USD. The Lion King now only trails behind Jurassic World, which sits at sixth place with $1.67 billion USD.
  • Jon Favreau was quick to credit the Broadway version of The Lion King, which includes several original songs and a somewhat altered storyline, as the source of inspiration for his version of Nala. Favreau was certainly smart to try to look to Broadway's Lion King for ideas, as that stage show is the highest-grossing Broadway show ever and beloved in its own right among Disney fans and Broadway fans alike.
  • Despite the mixed reviews, critics were unanimous in their praise for the film's beautiful visuals. This is surprising given that Favreau actually went out of his way to make sure that every shot of the film was not stunning. The director felt that if the film's landscapes were always great to look at, then the film would quickly begin to feel artificial. He wanted the film to feel more like a documentary than an animated film, and to some degree, he succeeded as many critics likened the film to Disneynature documentaries. He made certain shots of the film using long-shot lenses as such lenses are used in documentaries. Between Scar pushing his brother over the side of a cliff and various fight scenes between the lions and the hyenas, the remake is actually fairly violent for a children's film, especially since the violence isn't Tom and Jerry-style slapstick. With that in mind, Favreau and company made sure that the violence in their remake wasn't too realistic so as not to upset younger audiences.
  • When Beyoncé was cast as Nala, many fans felt that it was the role she was born to play. In fact, Favreau's Nala was tailored to Beyoncé's strengths as a performer. Nala's movements were modeled on the way that Beyoncé moves while she's on stage. Favreau's decision to model Nala on Beyoncé seems to have worked, as even critics who decried the film tended to like Queen B's performance and felt that she held her own among the film's cast. That's quite a feat given that Beyoncé shared the screen with actors with much longer acting résumés than her own.
  • Plenty of Disney (and William Shakespeare) fans know that The Lion King is an adaptation of Hamlet. More accurately, it's an extremely, extremely loose adaptation of Hamlet. Even more accurately, it's a mostly original story which happens to borrow two scenes and its basic setup from Hamlet, and that's fine; a faithful adaptation of the play would probably be inappropriate - not to mention too cerebral - for most modern youngsters. What's interesting about the remake is that when Chiwetel Ejiofor played Scar (a character loosely modeled on King Claudius from Hamlet) he was actually channeling the title character from Macbeth.
  • Beyoncé apparently took the film's African setting very seriously. When she was tasked with creating a soundtrack for the film, the singer designed the album as a "love letter to Africa" and reached out to some of her favorite African artists to collaborate with her, including Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, and Yemi Alade. The first single from the soundtrack, the gospel-inspired "Spirit," even begins with the Swahili phrase "Uishi kwa mda mrefu Mfalme," which translates to "Long live the king."
  • As is mandatory in all Disney movies made from the early 1990s onward, The remake includes a pop single over its closing credits. That single was by none other than Sir Elton John. Not everyone noticed who sang it, largely because Sir Elton's voice has changed drastically over the years, but Disney managed to bring back the man who was key to the success of the original Lion King. Whether fans loved or hated this remake it is the only film in the history of the world to feature original soundtrack contributions from both Elton John and Beyoncé, which undoubtedly makes it a film for the history books.
  • One of the most important aspects of any Disney musical is its villain song. From "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid to "Hellfire" from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Disney's more ghoulish numbers have proved to be some of their most memorable. Scar's villain song "Be Prepared" was no exception, but it was far different and far shorter in the remake than it was in the original film. This was probably because the new version of Scar lacks the campy humor that Jeremy Irons famously brought to the role. Audiences seem to respond to darker villains in 2019 than they did in 1994 and the original "Be Prepared" is too gaudy to fit in with Scar's more serious personality.
  • What most fans probably don't know is that Favreau only made The Lion King because he felt that he came to understand digital technology through making The Jungle Book.
  • According to Technicolor, the pipeline that evolved on The Lion King essentially served as a something they dub a "translational system," which acted as means of communication between several departments including planning, visualization, art, production design, and virtual production and linked them to the visual effects and animation departments.
  • "Evolving the workflow was crucial," says Francesco Giordana, realtime software architect at MPC. "How do you get people from different parts of the world working together seamlessly on a huge production where there isn't a real stage? How do you capture every decision made and track everything that you've done? How do you define what composes your shots and carry that all the way through to post-production? The pipeline and tracking system are really the backbone of virtual production." Moreover, the VR implementation lets live-action directors step into a provisional version of the scene, replete with an environment, characters, and animations. This, we learn, gives them the ability to line up shots, rethink lighting, and make other changes as if the virtual set was entirely real.
  • In an interview with The Independent, director Jon Favreau likened the film's production process to a "multiplayer filmmaking game."
  • The Moving Picture Company (MPC) helped build the tools for virtual production, and used Unity to emulate live-action film production in VR. Although The Lion King was entirely computer generated--every environment is made digitally by MPC artists, with every character keyframe animated, it helped the studio create a suite of tools that Favreau says are now available to any filmmaker.
  • The first Disney remake thats the most faithful out of all of the Disney's remakes.
  • The film shows the juxtaposition between Scar and Mufasa's views on the throne. While Scar envies Mufasa for his immense privilege as king (he lambasts Mufasa's limited hunting policy and promises unlimited access to food in pitching his takeover plan to the hyenas), Mufasa advises young Simba that a good ruler is more interested in what they can give to their kingdom as opposed to reaping the personal benefits of the job and is shown to be against the idea of territory expansion through conquest when Simba inquires about it.
  • In the final battle sequence, the film makes a point to shine a spotlight on Shenzi vs Nala. Apparently they had been waiting for a "rematch" since the Elephant Graveyard incident.
  • The animation, color palette, and even character models are markedly improved between the two teaser trailers, a trend that continued into the more recent TV spots and ultimately the film itself.
  • The mouse that Scar trys to eat is a four-striped grass mouse.
  • A group of banded mongooses and a flock of black-headed weavers are featured in the "Just Can't Wait to be King" sequence.
  • A flock of white-backed vultures surround an unconscious Simba in the desert.
  • Other residents in Timon and Pumbaa's home include a lesser bushbaby, a bat-eared fox, an aardvark, a black and rufous elephant shrew, Günther's dik-diks, and vulturine guineafowls
  • Several pieces of concept art depict the Elephant Graveyard similar to how it appeared in the animated film, as well as portions of "Be Prepared" involving a fiery backdrop. In addition, Scar's design was initially closer to the original, featuring a less emaciated frame, fuller mane and his trademark goatee.
  • The special features on the Blu-ray include a potentially fascinating commentary track by director Jon Favreau, and a section covering hopefully in plenty of depth the creation of the film's amazing special effects. also a couple of disappointments to digest. Namely that as usual with recent Disney releases, there will be no support on The Lion King 4K Blu-ray for either the Dolby Vision dynamic HDR format, or the IMAX resources used during the film's run in IMAX theaters.
  • While not as eccentric as his animated counterpart Rafiki does tend to laugh or chuckle at various points in the film.
  • The bakora staff the original version carries seems to be absent here. That is, until the final act. "Old friend" implying he was a warrior in his youth. Interestingly, the novelization maintains the staff in all of Rafiki's scenes, thereby reincoroporating his "the past can hurt" lesson into the narrative.
  • Kamari and Azizi's names are never actually said or spoken.
  • Released the same year as HBO's Watchmen which stars Jeremy Irons who voiced Scar in the original 1994 animated version of The Lion King.
  • Jeremy Irons, the original voice of Scar is scheduled to appear in HBO's Watchmen, which will be released four months after The Lion King's 2019 remake.
  • Micro Studio Camera 4Ks used as witness cameras, DaVinci Resolve Studio, ATEM video switchers and other hardware were used by visual effects supervisor Rob Legato during production.
  • Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato used a wide variety of Blackmagic Design products to create the virtual production environment for Disney's new version of the classic. PVC's previous article revealed how the new film changed virtual production. With the technology available today, producing a 3D animated feature film doesn't have to be a process of waiting for test animations from an animation team. Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato, an Academy Award winner for films such as "Hugo" and "The Jungle Book," wanted to take the technology to a new level, and create a space where traditional filmmakers could work in a digital environment, using the familiar tools found on live action sets. "The goal wasn't to generate each shot in the computer," said Legato, "but to photograph the digital environment as if it were a real set."
  • Bringing beloved characters back to the big screen in a whole new way, the story journeys to the African savanna where a future king must overcome betrayal and tragedy to assume his rightful place on Pride Rock. Like the original 1994 movie from Disney Animation, which was for its time an amazing accomplishment in 2D animation, the 2019 version pushed the abilities of modern technology once more, this time utilizing advanced computer graphics to create a never before seen photorealistic style. But beyond the final look, the project embraced new technology throughout, including during production, utilizing a cutting edge virtual environment. to begin filming, Director Jon Favreau and Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel wore headsets that placed them in the virtual world of Mufasa and Simba.
  • Rather than forcing the filmmakers to adapt to digital tools, Rob Legato modified physical filmmaking devices to work within the virtual world. A crane unit was modified with tracking devices to allow the computers to recreate its motion precisely in the computer. Even a Steadicam was brought in, allowing Cinematographer Deschanel to move the camera virtually with the same tools as a live action shoot. The goal was to let production create in a traditional way, using standard tools that existed not just on a stage but in the computer. "In traditional pre vis you would move the camera entirely within the computer," said Legato. "But in our virtual environment, we literally laid down dolly track on the stage, and it was represented accurately on the digital set."
  • Blackmagic Design was not simply a part of the system, but the backbone for the process, providing the infrastructure for the virtual world as well as the studio as a whole. "We used Blackmagic products first as video routing for the entire building," said visual effects producer Matt Rubin, "and at every stage of handling video, from capturing footage shot by the team using DeckLink cards, through Micro Studio Camera 4Ks as witness cameras, Teranex standards converters and various ATEM video switchers such as the ATEM Production Studio 4K and ATEM Television Studio HD."
  • Editorial and visual effects were networked together via Smart Videohub routers to allow both departments access to the screening room, as well as act as sources to the screening room for shots. During virtual production, as the computers generated the virtual environment, DeckLink capture and playback cards captured the footage and played through a video network, feeding into a control station and recorded on HyperDeck Studio Minis.
  • Despite the cutting edge systems used to virtually shoot The Lion King, the final product reflects the true art form of filmmaking, simply by providing real tools for cinematography and a creative workflow throughout. "The virtual environment created a truly flexible world to shoot in," said Legato. "From Caleb being able to move the sun to achieve the right time of day, or the art director able to place trees or set pieces during production, the virtual world allowed us an amazing platform to shoot the movie. It was definitely a new type of filmmaking, one with all the trappings of standard production, but even more flexibility to be creative."
  • Once footage was shot and captured onto computers, the setup was turned over to visual effects company MPC to create the photorealistic imagery. Throughout the process of reviewing footage and maintaining an up to date edit, Legato and his team utilized DaVinci Resolve Studio and DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panels in two suites, with Legato applying color to shots as guides to the final colorists. The DaVinci Resolve project was often updated many times a day with new footage from MPC. Legato only screened for Favreau in context of the cut, rather than showing individual shots, so it was important to be able to balance shots to provide a smooth screening experience. The facility shared a DaVinci Resolve database to allow various team members around the facility to view the same timeline without tying up a screening room.
  • Producer John Bartnicki said about John Oliver playing Zazu, "He was born to play Zazu."
  • John Oliver liked Zazu when he was a kid. "I've always like a wisecracking bird and now I am that wisecracking bird," he stated.
  • Jon Faverau and Co. used VR to plan and shoot the reboot. They wanted to use real camera equipment to walk around and film, just like a live action movie. So they made a "game" a virtual reality environment where you could do just that simply by donning a VR headset. "Instead of cars and guns and points being scored, we've got cameras and lights and lions," producer Jeffrey Silver explains. For previous Disney reboot The Jungle Book (2016), the crew built rudimentary sets so the camera team could film the movie's human star, Mowgli, and used bluescreen to add the digital background afterwards. There aren't any humans in The Lion King, so there was no need for even the most basic physical sets. Instead, the crew worked in a blank room dubbed "The Volume." When they donned VR headsets or watching screens, they felt as if they were in the animated world. They could even fly drone cameras round the room as if they were swooping over the savanna. As movies rely more and more on computer-generated sets, VR offers a great way for filmmakers to treat the digital environments like real sets. When Steven Spielberg made Ready Player One (2018), for example, he wore a VR helmet to walk around the virtual environment and look for interesting camera angles.
  • 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".
  • Shahadi Wright Joseph chose to work on the film because "Nala inspires little girls [...] She's a great role model".
  • 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".
  • 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."
  • The scene where both Timon and Pumbaa are chased by Nala, and Pumbaa gets cornered at a wall and can't climb up it as it's to steep, is similar to the original when Simba and Nala are attacked by the hyenas and are climbing up a mountain of bones ultimately Nala starts slipping making Simba come to her rescue.
  • When Shenzi watches Mufasa fight off the hyenas of her clan to rescue Simba and Nala, and watches them leave is similar to the original when Scar watches Mufasa save the cubs from the hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai and Ed).
  • When Nala corners Pumbaa at a wall forcing Simba to save him, is similar to the original when the hyenas corner Simba and Nala at a wall, until Mufasa saves them.
  • The opening Disney logo was created for The Jungle Book (2016) (directed by Jon Favreau) and hand painted using multiplane camera techniques to honor its animation roots. A glowing pinpoint encircling the castle with fairy dust was added for The Lion King.
  • The first shot of the sun rising is the only photographed shot in the movie. It was filmed during a research trip. Everything else is completely computer generated.
  • In Zulu, the first line of the song "Circle of Life" translates to "Here comes a lion, Father."
  • Lindiwe Mkhize, the singer of "Circle of Life," had been with the London company of the musical production for 20 years and had just retired. Hans Zimmer asked her to come back to record the song.
  • The filmmakers traveled thousands of miles throughout Kenya studying the animals and the environments, capturing over 12 terabytes of images for reference.
  • The Pride Lands were inspired by Masai Mara, Kenya, which is part of the Serengeti National Park.
  • The Ndoto Mountains near Losai National Reserve, as well as the rock formations found in Chyulu Hills, Kenya, were the inspiration for the iconic Pride Rock in the film.
  • Rafiki no longer has a long tail, making him look much more like a real-life mandrill.
  • Lion cubs are born with blue eyes that change to amber or brown around the age of two to three months.
  • "Circle of Life" is director Jon Favreau's favorite sequence.
  • Director Jon Favreau played the bass drum in Hans Zimmer's orchestra on the final booming drum hit at the end of "Circle of Life."
  • While everything in the mouse sequence is computer animated, the filmmakers studied the way nature documentaries used cameras, editing and music to bring emotion to their real-life animal subjects.
  • In the original movie, Scar's mane is black; however, in reality, lions with black manes are the alpha lions, which does not align with the story.
  • The shot with Mufasa blocking the sun when he first enters Scar's lair is a nod to Henry VIII in the 1966 film A Man For All Seasons.
  • James Earl Jones, who plays Mufasa, is the only voice actor from the original movie to return for this version.
  • In Swahili, the word "simba" means lion.
  • The night-sky shot was inspired by time-lapse photography but was completely computer generated.
  • The filmmakers paid homage to the original film's most iconic moments. The scene of Simba waking Mufasa for the morning report remains very true to the original, with Mufasa's words reflecting the timeless truths that one generation passes to the next.
  • Instead of designing a camera move in the computer, a film crew wearing VR headsets and operating virtual cameras could actually "stand" in the environment with the animals and choose the best location for each camera angle.
  • The film was produced like a live-action movie set, with call sheets for each day of filming, crews operating actual equipment, and the dailies from their virtual reality shoots sent off to editorial for assembly, as they would in a live-action production.
  • The filmmakers would operate a crane inside the production stage, but instead of filming actors, they were capturing the moves of the cameras within the virtual space, mixing game-engine technology with traditional filmmaking techniques.
  • The scene where Scar and Simba look out over the Pride Lands before they go into the cave was one of the most difficult shots in the film to create, because everything is seen at the same time, with no camera movement, and it appears to be photographed.
  • At just nine years old, Shahadi Wright Joseph played young Nala in Disney's Broadway production of The Lion King, and there was no question among the filmmakers as to who should voice young Nala in the film - the role was hers from the beginning.
  • JD McCrary, who plays young Simba, was "super excited" to get the iconic role and found it "awesome" to be transported to Africa virtually using VR headsets and game controllers that allowed him to walk around the Pride Lands.
  • To capture the fun and energy of the original "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" scene, the filmmakers choreographed the animals around the cubs to create a dynamic, colorful environment that evokes the surreal fantasy of the iconic musical moment.
  • The watering hole was inspired by Kenya's Buffalo Springs Shaba Reserve.
  • Donald Glover, who voices adult Simba, calls "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" his favorite part of The Lion King.
  • Though the lyrics of "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" remain the same, composer Hans Zimmer partnered with his friend, song producer Pharrell Williams on this version, whose musical influence can be heard in the updated production.
  • The producers composed shots using live-action documentary techniques, including long-lens photography to capture the characters in a natural environment. The goal was to present them as they might be found in the wild, behaving like real animals.
  • While Africa was by far the greatest influence for the film, for the elephant graveyard, filmmakers used the tufas in Mono Lake, California, as reference, and photographed geothermal areas in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park since Dallol Volcano at Lake Abbe in Ethiopia was inaccessible due to toxic gases.
  • Actors Eric André and Keegan-Michael Key, who come from a comedy background, improvised and recorded 25 different versions of the scene where they first encounter Simba and Nala in the elephant graveyard, giving filmmakers a lot of options to worth with.
  • Being an actor and coming from the world of improv himself, Jon Favreau brought the cast together in what they called a black box theatre, where the cast could walk around with their scripts and interact with each other in a way that is similar to rehearsals for the theater, which created a natural chemistry in their performances.
  • The filmmakers set up cameras and microphones to capture the actors in black box theater performances, which contributed to the live-action feel. The cast would work out any improvisational script changes with Favreau and writer Jeff Nathanson, who was also present.
  • In Swahili, the word "shenzi" means savage.
  • Because the filmmakers were striving for photorealism, much of the emotion was conveyed by the score instead of over-animating the characters' faces.
  • The filmmakers felt a responsibility to honor the original film by staying true to iconic moments like the one between Mufasa and young Simba, where he's taught a valuable lesson after disobeying his father by going to the elephant graveyard.
  • "Be Prepared" is a musical moment the filmmakers wrestled with, as it didn't quite fit to have Scar break into song as he does in the original film.
  • Jeff Nathanson initially wrote "Be Prepared" as a monologue, but knowing how important a villain song is in Disney films, Jon Favreau asked Hans Zimmer to craft a new take on the score, and together they approached Tim Rice, who revised the lyrics to fit this film's version of Scar's conspiracy with the hyenas.
  • "Be Prepared" was one of the last sequences in the film to be finished.
  • The gorge where Simba practices his roar was inspired by Sesriem Canyon in Namibia.
  • In order to get the sound right in the scene where Simba is practicing his roar in the gorge, the sound crew traveled to Germany's Magdeburg Zoo to record audio of lion cubs.
  • The stampede sequence was one of the first to be worked on, due to the large amount of rendering it required.
  • The filmmakers wanted to capture the energy and feel of the original stampede sequence, but given the live-action nature of the film, they were careful not to make it too extreme.
  • Lighting and composition were very important to the way cinematographer Caleb Deschanel approached the emotion in the moments when Simba discovers Mufasa after the stampede. The scene uses a long lens and is framed as a wider shot for a longer time.
  • The filmmakers have said that parts of The Lion King are inspired by the lives of Joseph and Moses in the Bible, but Scar's killing of his brother Mufasa so that he can become king is a direct nod to William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • Hans Zimmer recorded the music as if it were a concert for The Lion King. All who worked on the film were invited to attend scoring sessions with his team of musicians from the Re-Collective Orchestra, the Hollywood Studio Symphony, and his own band. Having an audience attend the recording sessions brought a whole new energy to the score.
  • Hundreds of artists in over 30 nations worked together to animate the movie and make it as photorealistic as possible.
  • Rafiki was one of the first characters the animators developed to showcase the potential of this new medium. Some of the producers were fooled into thinking it was footage of a real mandrill.
  • The spectacular sand dunes of Sossusvlei, in Namibia's Namib Desert, served as reference for Simba's lonely departure from the Pride Lands.
  • The shot of Timon and Pumbaa coming towards the camera from far off on the desert horizon to save Simba from the vultures is a tribute to Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
  • Billy Eichner, who plays Timon, was a bartender at the Broadway Lion King show before becoming a successful actor.
  • Seth Rogen swears he must have recorded the line "It ain't no passing craze" around 30 times before he got the take just the way he wanted.
  • Director Jon Favreau found the cutest image of a baby warthog and felt they could create a fun departure from the flatulence flashback in the original film with the inclusion of a furry little Pumbaa sending zebras running up wind.
  • In the original "Hakuna Matata," Pumbaa doesn't say the word "farted"; however, because of the internet and evolving norms, Jon Favreau joked that kids were now ready to hear the word in this version.
  • Mount Kenya, with its oversized flora, offered filmmakers the look they needed for the cloud-forest home that Timon and Pumbaa welcome Simba to live in with them.
  • Timon and Pumbaa have friends in this film! Amy Sedaris is the guinea fowl, Chance the Rapper is Bush Baby and several other critters, Phil LaMarr is the impala, and Josh McCrary, younger brother of JD McCrary (young Simba), plays the elephant shrew.
  • The actors were given carrots to chew on while recording, to simulate the sound of eating grubs.
  • JD McCrary, who plays young Simba, previously worked with Donald Glover, who plays grown Simba, on a Childish Gambino album. They even performed at the 2018 Grammy Awards together.
  • Six months prior to first talking to Disney about doing the film, John Favreau was on a trip to Africa. When a warthog ran by the safari vehicle, someone started singing "Hakuna Matata." It was this trip that pointed him toward The Lion King.
  • The filmmakers gave Nala, played by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, a classic movie star reveal in the film, with a nice turn around and rack focus shot.
  • To capture the feel of a documentary, the filmmakers would use slow-motion shots, which in live-action nature films can give the animals more of an anthropomorphic quality, making their emotions feel a bit more human.
  • The distinct voices of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, who plays adult Nala, and Alfre Woodard, who plays Sarabi, help distinguish the two characters; otherwise, female lions look quite similar and it can be hard to tell them apart. The filmmakers use the character names in the movie dialogue as a clue to who's who.
  • In the stage production, Scar pursues Nala to be his queen; however, in this version, he pursues Sarabi, which keeps with the Hamlet inspiration.
  • In the original film there was a deleted scene where Scar banishes Nala from the Pride Lands after she refuses to be his queen. In this new telling, Nala sneaks away in the night to go find help for her and the pride.
  • The stunning footage of the impala grazing, just before Simba surprises him, is composed like a live-action nature documentary, where the animal subjects are filmed with long lens photography through objects in the foreground.
  • The scene in which Timon and Pumbaa talk about how there's no Circle of Life, that it's just a line, was improvised during recording sessions with the director and the cast.
  • The scene with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa gazing up at the night sky and pondering the stars is another iconic moment in the original movie that the filmmakers wanted to honor by staying close to what people know and love about this important scene.
  • Billy Eichner reached out to Nathan Lane, who played Timon in the original movie, for his blessing. Growing up in New York, Eichner admits he was starstruck by Lane from the moment he saw him in Guys and Dolls on Broadway when he was just 13 years old.
  • The dung beetle sequence was inspired by documentary footage of the tenacious little insects, as in the 1996 film "Microcosmos."
  • In Swahili, the word "rafiki" means friend.
  • The expanded '"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was one of the first musical numbers that Pharrell Williams worked on for the film.
  • The synchronized nodding and bopping of all the animals in "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is a tribute to "Steamboat Willie," a short film that put Walt Disney on the map in how it synchronized sound with the animated cartoon.
  • For the chase sequence where Nala surprises Timon and Pumbaa, the filmmakers were inspired by footage from Apocalypto (2006), as well as documentaries. The slow-motion and off-speed camera work contributes to the photorealism in the film.
  • Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) had previously worked together on Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016), and Seth had also done an episode of Eichner's comedy game show, Billy on the Street.
  • The environments for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" were inspired by Aberdare National Park in Kenya, including Karuru waterfall, the tallest in Kenya.
  • Jon Favreau drew inspiration for the interaction between Rafiki and adult Simba from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), when Yoda trains Luke on Dagobah.
  • Rafiki's dialogue is a mixture of Khoisan and English.
  • John Kani, who voices Rafiki, was finishing up production on Black Panther when production began on The Lion King.
  • "Spirit," performed by Beyoncé, was not in the original animated movie. Lebo M, who produced the African vocals and choir arrangements for The Lion King, accompanies Beyoncé and the choir in this new song.
  • For Jon Favreau, the sequence with Simba and Nala making the journey back to the Pride Lands is reminiscent of classics like The Right Stuff (1983) and The Black Stallion (1979), films on which Caleb Deschanel was also the director of photography.
  • When Timon and Pumbaa arrive at Pride Rock, Timon calls Zazu a puffin, a nod to the arctic puffin in Elf (2003), which Jon Favreau directed.
  • In the scene where Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas, Timon starts singing "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast. The Lion King stage show had fun with this as well, using songs from Frozen instead of the hula sequence from the original film.
  • While this is an animated movie with talking animals, Jon Favreau felt it would be too unrealistic to have Rafiki walking around with his stick the whole time, but it was too important to leave behind in the final fight scene.
  • Nala's entrance when she confronts Scar before the final fight sequence was inspired by Beyoncé's concert performances, her presence on stage, and all of the single ladies backing her up here on Pride Rock.
  • The filmmakers utilized lighting and silhouettes to create intensity without it becoming too graphic.
  • In creating the fight scene, the filmmakers experimented with using the stuttery slow motion found in the original The Lion King (1994), but it didn't quite fit and the idea was abandoned.
  • The northern white rhino became functionally extinct during preparation of the film, so it was important to Director Jon Favreau to memorialize the species in the film.
  • Much like a curtain call in a live performance, there are several characters from earlier in the film who return for the end sequence, from the mouse who escaped Scar, to the little dung beetle, all of Timon and Pumbaa's friends, and even baby Pumbaa returns.
  • It was a huge honor for director Jon Favreau to collaborate with Elton John and Tim Rice on the new song "Never Too Late," which Elton John performs during the movie's end credits.
  • According to We Got This Covered, Disney wants to do a follow-up sequel., though, director Jon Favreau isn't so keen on the idea, which may mean that a new director will be hired to helm it. .
  • Nala and Scar never exchange dialogue throughout the film, the only part where it comes close to it is near the end when Nala rallies the other lionesses to fight, and says: "Your reign is over Scar, if you want to get to him you have to go through us."
  • In an interview with GQ U.K. on October 13, 2019, songwriter and musician Elton John heavily criticized the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King (1994), citing both the remake film and its music as a "huge disappointment." "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," John said. "The magic and joy were lost." John also highlighted the soundtrack's commercial performance, arguing that the franchise's original music debuted to a much stronger reception in 1994. The new "Lion King" soundtrack and Beyoncé's "The Lion King: The Gift," both struggled commercially in comparison to the 2019 film and previous music that inspired both projects. During the first week of release, Beyoncé's album debuted at number three on The Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums Chart, while the "Lion King" album lodged at 19. By the next week, "The Gift" fell to 21, while the soundtrack decreased to 42. "The soundtrack hasn't had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success [of the 2019 remake]," John said. "I wish I'd been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around, and I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I'm so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King [1994 film and] stage musical."
  • Elton John disowned the remake, stating: "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. The soundtrack hasn't had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box office success. I wish I'd been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I'm so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical."
  • Visual Effects supervisor Robert Legato says they worked to find ways to bring actual practical elements of filmmaking into the VR world in which the movie was created. They were able to set up dollies, cranes, steadicams, and even handheld cameras in the virtual set, which helped bridge the gap between two teams that can sometimes experience friction on traditional movie sets. As Legato explains, sometimes the team responsible for a film's visual effects may run up against the team responsible for the practical moviemaking--the cinematographer, the production designer, etc. A cinematographer may light a scene one way, but in post-production it may be altered to account for certain visual effects, which then alters the DP's vision. On The Lion King, Legato explains how they were able to bring these two teams together closer than ever before, to ensure the creative vision moved forward in complete collaboration. Additionally, Legato discussed the difficulty in animating the mouths of the photoreal animals in The Lion King. He and the filmmakers decided to stick to a certain rule to guide how the animals would be shown talking: they could only use muscles and body parts that actually existed, rather than twisting their faces into impossible contortions to exhibit more animated emotions.
  • When Donald Glover first heard Jon Favreau was doing the film, he was very excited because being a fan of The Jungle Book adaptation he did. Glover revealed "And he was like 'hey, I don't know if you heard, but I'm making The Lion King.' And I was like oh, yeah, yeah, congratulations.' He was like 'Do you wanna be Simba?' It was like that." In an interview on the Blu-Ray extras, Glover explained the exchange. He also shared his initial thoughts about the massive role: "I never hesitated for a moment, I guess the only thing really scary is singing with Beyonce. That's the only part where I'm, like 'Y'all sure y'all want me to do this?'" As it turned out, he didn't record his duet with Beyoncé live in the same room. Due to their other responsibilities around the world, they collaborated together by sending recordings back and forth to one another. Glover has expressed some relief because of her goddess-like status, saying it was a tad less intimidating to throw pieces of paper in the trash at home rather than play with Michael Jordan on the court.
  • Jon Favreau, who has directed various few projects for Disney, Marvel and, more recently, Star Wars, was thrilled at the opportunity he had with the remake. Where others saw an uphill battle, Jon Favreau noted on the Blu-Ray director's commentary he spotted a chance to potentially change filmmaking for the foreseeable future. As he put it: "You're taking an incredibly antiseptic digital medium and telling one of the most emotional stories that we have in our tradition using these tools. And to me, that dichotomy, that underlying tension, creates a lot of creative opportunity. And also it's a high wire act so there's a sense that we really have to give it our all because this is an experiment. It's a big experiment overall. But I think that urgency and that sense of, if we do something really cool here we can be affecting the way people make movies moving forward is very exciting."
  • Adult Simba is larger than Scar, in real life Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) is two inches taller at 5'10 than Donald Glover (Adult Simba who is 5'8. same with Timon and Pumbaa as the latter is bigger than the former in real life Billy Eichner (Timon) is five inches taller at 6'3 than the 5'11 Seth Rogen (Pumbaa).
  • Florence Kasumba said Shenzi is someone who wants to have power, and is someone who doesn't feel comfortable with their life. She also said she's someone you can't trust.
  • Florence Kasumba described Jon Favreau as real fun to work with, and someone who knows what he wants and can lead you in the right direction which she likes also too. Sometimes if she wasn't going in the right direction, he had a nice way of saying what he needed and even would give examples like "don't do it like this, that's wrong" she greatly liked working with him and trusted him.
  • Keegan-Michael Key described the experience as "Overwhelming. I'm not even sure if there's another word for it other than overwhelming, it's such a cultural flashpoint in the history of our country, in the history of animation, it's something that resonates with me, something that I saw in the theater and felt humbled and privileged, it's mythical in a way."
  • Keegan-Michael Key said Kamari feels like he's second in charge and very kind of quick on his feet, and someone who understands how the system works, understands that he has to be loyal.
  • Keegan-Michael Key said that Kamari is very patient with Azizi, who is played by "The brilliant Eric André, and because he's very sarcastic and has a real nice way with words and Azizi doesn't grasp sarcasm easily Kamari would be like I just made a joke and now I don't have to explain the joke to you, but states that Kamari is a loyal soldier to the hyena cause."
  • The bite force of a hyena is stronger at 1100 psi than a lions which is 650 psi
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor previously appeared with Idris Elba in American Gangster. Idris Elba was the voice of Shere Khan In Jon Favreau's live action remake of The Jungle Book, where he voiced Shere Khan who, like Scar, is also the main villain of his respective film and is a big cat (Scar is a lion and Shere Khan is a Tiger)
  • The scene where Simba's voice echoes in the graveyard is likely a reference to The Lion King, when Timon and Pumbaa visited the Elephant Graveyard and Timon's voice echoed as he spoke.
  • This isn't the first time Nala gets into a designated girl fight with a villian the first time was in Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998).
  • Although Phil LaMarr is listed in the credits as the voice of "Impala," no impala appear anywhere in the film. It can be assumed that the character actually being referred to is the topi that is startled by Simba when he's chasing butterflies - the one who says: "I thought it was a real lion!"
  • Mufasa's mane is noticeably darker around the edges, which is a sign of a strong, healthy lion in real life. In contrast, Scar's mane is sickly pale and scraggly, which justify his status as the runt of the two, though nearly all the scenes featuring Scar position him in low lighting to make his mane as dark as his animated counterpart
  • During the stampede, Mufasa gets to the tree Simba is holding onto and asks him to jump to him, just as his Broadway counterpart did. He doesn't get the chance to catch Simba, however, because this time, a wildebeest plows into him, knocking them all over.
  • The Beauty and the Beast Easter egg was conceived after Director Jon Favreau saw a production of the musical in which Zazu sang "Let It Go", and felt it would be funny if the film also paid tribute to a fellow Disney musical in such a way. And by coincidence, when said show first debuted on Broadway, "Be Our Guest" was the song Zazu sang in that scene.
  • Scar saying he will not challenge Mufusa again implies that the brothers had a fight before the events of the film and Mufusa may have been the one responsible on giving Scar his famous disfigurement across his face. Mufusa also sounds guilty when Scar walks away from him near the start of the film again implying this. It would also explain why Scar swiped Mufusa across the face before killing him as part of his revenge.
  • Alfre Woodard has no worries after Elton John criticized the remake of The Lion King. "I don't traffic in any of those things," she told Us Weekly exclusively at the 29th annual IFP Gotham Awards sponsored by Fiji at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Monday, December 2. "I didn't even read reviews. Don't tell anybody. It's like, you do your work and you go on and that's it." The legendary singer, made headlines in October when he called the Jon Favreau-directed photorealistic remake "a huge disappointment." "I believe they messed the music up," he told GQ U.K. at the time. "Music was so much a part of the original The Lion King (1994) and the music in the current film didn't have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost. The soundtrack hasn't had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success." John continued, "I wish I'd been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I'm so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical." The pianist famously composed and sang several songs in the original 1994 animated Disney movie, including the Oscar-winning "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." The 2019 soundtrack includes songs by Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen. Despite John's criticism, Woodard told Us on Monday that she thinks Beyoncé, is "a brilliant performer," adding, "Sometimes people can be good and even really wonderful and great, but there's times when there's people that nobody is like them or has been or can be like them, and we cherish them."

Spoilers

  • In the original movie, the characters to have (human) African names are Mufasa (said to be the name of the last king of Kenya) and Timon. Simba, Sarabi, Zazu, Rafiki, Pumbaa, Shenzi and Banzai are all words in Swahili. The only ones to have non-African names are Scar and Ed. Scar and Timon are the only characters to have their names stay the same in the remake (Scar is assumed to be a nickname due to the scar he has), while Banzai and Ed are the only ones to be renamed.
  • The film uses the original songs from The Lion King (1994); it also feature new songs: from the stage adaptations, "Shadowlands" (Nala leaves Pride Rock) and "He Lives In You" (Rafiki summons Mufasa's spirit to counsel Simba), and two brand new songs written by the original songwriters, "Don't Leave Me" and "Cry of the Pride Lands".
  • To distract the hyenas, Timon stands on Pumbaa, faces the hyenas and launches into a dramatic rendition of Lumière's intro to the song "Be Our Guest." from Beauty and the Beast (1991); Timon only gets as far as the first actual sung lyric before the hyenas attack him and they have to make a break for it.
  • In this version of "Hakuna Matata", Pumbaa actually manages to say the word "farted" because Timon doesn't bother to stop him this time. Even Pumbaa seems genuinely caught off-guard. Because of the Internet and evolving norms, Jon Favreau joked that kids were now ready to hear the word in this version.
  • At the end of the film, Timon and Pumbaa bring their friends to live with Simba at Pride Rock. One would think it sounds heartwarming and all, until one realizes that the Prideland lions do not really follow Timon and Pumbaa's messages of Hakuna Matata.
  • During the 'Hakuna Matata' song, Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) has his solo which ends with "And I got down-hearted, every time that I farted". He subsequently voices his surprise that Timon did not cut him off. This is an in-joke to the same scene in the original The Lion King (1994), where Timon indeed silences Pumbaa before he can say the word 'farted', saying "Not in front of the kids!"
  • In the original The Lion King (1994), just before Simba's ascension of the throne, Zazu (Rowan Atkinson) can be seen mouthing a word but not making any sound. He was originally saying "Your Majesty" to Simba, but this was muted out (probably to focus completely on the power of the score and the moment). Here, Zazu (now voiced by John Oliver) delivers the exact words in the corresponding scene.
  • In a nod to 'Beauty and the Beast', when Pumbaa and Timon invite Simba to eat, they do so with Lumiere's intro to 'Be Our Guest'.
  • When Nala tells Simba he needs to come home to overthrow Scar, Simba tells her "This is my home." Interestingly, in the climax to The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, Simba tell Zira, the main villain of the film to "go home" which Zira replies saying "I am home"
  • In the final battle scene between Simba and Scar, Scar falls down in a way that's similar to Shere Khan falling in The Jungle Book, which was also directed by Jon Favreau.
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