|The Lion King (2019 film)|
July 19, 2019
"Disney’s upcoming film journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon, and utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way."
After the ceremony, Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, laments how he is no longer first-in-line for the throne. Mufasa's majordomo, Zazu, arrives, heralding the arrival of the king. Scar attempts to eat Zazu but is thwarted by Mufasa's arrival. Mufasa questions Scar as to why he had been absent at Simba's presentation, to which Scar feigns ignorance. The brothers have a brief argument, in which Scar undermines Mufasa's authority, but makes clear that he will not challenge the king's leadership. Eventually, Scar slinks off, and Zazu suggests that Mufasa banish him before he causes trouble. Mufasa refuses, as Scar is his brother.
Many months pass, with Simba growing into a lively young cub. One morning, he wakes his father and begs to be taken on patrol around the Pride Lands. Mufasa takes Simba to the top of Pride Rock and shows him their kingdom. He declares that Simba will become king someday and that everything the light touches will be his to protect. Simba wonders how far the kingdom's borders extend, and Mufasa forbids him to ever visit the shadowy place.
The two leave Pride Rock behind and walk through the open grasslands, with Mufasa teaching Simba about the Circle of Life. Just then, Zazu arrives and begins to give his morning report to Mufasa. As Zazu drones on, Mufasa encourages Simba to practice his pouncing. Simba pounces on Zazu, knocking him to the ground, and Mufasa congratulates him for a job well done. Zazu then reports that there are hyenas in the Pride Lands, to which Mufasa promises that he will take care of the threat. He orders Simba home, despite the cub's protests.
With Mufasa gone, Simba follows Zazu back to Pride Rock. He attempts to catch a beetle but fails. Scar comments on his hunting skills and Simba declares that he will someday become the king of the Pride Lands. Scar then subtly informs Simba that there is an Elephant Graveyard beyond the borders of the Pride Lands, where only adult lions are allowed to venture.
Simba hastens to where his friend, Nala, is being bathed by her mother and urges her to come and play with him at the water hole. However, before the cubs can depart, Sarabi instructs Simba to bring Zazu with them.
With Zazu flying overhead, Simba and Nala journey to the water hole. Along the way, Zazu informs them that they will someday be married, to which both cubs react with disgust. Simba then asserts that he will not have to marry anyone, as he will be the king. Zazu argues that Simba cannot break tradition, to which Simba declares that he can do everything his way. The cubs race away through a crowd of animals at the water hole ("I Just Can't Wait to Be King").
After losing Zazu, Simba and Nala scuffle and accidentally fall into the Elephant Graveyard. They begin to explore the area, though Nala warns Simba that they should return home. Just then, Shenzi and her clan arrive and surround the cubs. Zazu intervenes, warning Shenzi that she will be starting a war with Mufasa if she hurts Simba, but she declares that hyenas and lions are already at war.
The hyenas attack Simba and Nala, who flee into a network of tunnels. Eventually, they break free and find themselves once more surrounded by hyenas. However, before they can be eaten, Mufasa arrives and fends off the clan. He warns Shenzi to never hurt his son again, then leads the cubs away to safety.
Once back in the Pride Lands, Mufasa orders Zazu to escort Nala home. He then chastises Simba for disobeying him and tells him that he is only brave when it is necessary. Simba asserts that Mufasa is not scared of anything, to which Mufasa admits that he is afraid to lose Simba. The two then have a playful scuffle, and Simba asks his father if they will always be together. Mufasa answers by teaching Simba about the Great Kings of the Past, who live among the stars and watch over the lions of the Pride Lands. He then promises to always watch over his son.
That night, Scar journeys to the Elephant Graveyard and employs Shenzi and her clan to help him kill Mufasa ("Be Prepared (2019 Version)").
The next morning, Scar brings Simba to the gorge and tells him to practice his roar in order to impress his father. Simba does so, scaring off a lizard. No sooner has he done this when a stampede of wildebeests bursts into the gorge. Simba flees the stampede, taking refuge on a dead tree.
Meanwhile, Scar warns Mufasa of the stampede and leads him to the gorge. Mufasa races into the stampede and bears his son to safety. However, he is drawn back into the herd by the wildebeests and only barely jumps back onto a ledge. He begins to climb, and Simba rushes up to meet him at the top. However, as Mufasa reaches the top, Scar grabs him by the paws and heaves him off the side of the cliff. Simba reaches the rim just in time to see his father fall.
Simba climbs back down to the floor of the gorge, where he finds his father's body. As he grieves, Scar approaches and blames Simba for Mufasa's death. He then urges Simba to run away, and the cub obeys. Shenzi and her clan pursue the cub, only to lose him over a ledge. Shenzi orders her lackeys, Azizi and Kamari, to check that the cub is dead, but they do not follow through, as they believe that the fall is too high for a cub to survive.
That night, Scar takes command of the pride and invites the hyenas to live in the kingdom. From a distance, Rafiki and Zazu watch sorrowfully.
Meanwhile, Simba crosses a desert and passes out beneath the scorching sun. However, just as vultures begin to pick at his body, a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa arrive and fend off the flock. Pumbaa wishes to keep Simba as a pet, and Timon agrees after realizing that Simba can protect them once he is older.
Once Simba awakens, he tells the two that he has done something terrible. They urge him to forget his past and embrace the present with no worries ("Hakuna Matata"). They lead him to their jungle home and take him in as one of their friends. He grows up with them, leaving his past behind.
Across the savanna, Scar and the hyenas overhunt the Pride Lands until it becomes a wasteland. Nala is restless to leave, but Sarabi reminds her that Scar is their king and that they must stay behind to defend their kingdom. Shenzi approaches and tells Sarabi that Scar wishes to have an audience with her. Sarabi relents, and Scar invites her to be his queen. She refuses, and he punishes her by letting the hyenas eat before the pride.
That night, Nala escapes with the help of Zazu.
Meanwhile, Simba attempts to play with his jungle friends, but they deliberately avoid him. Timon and Pumbaa gently explain that he is a predator now and that many animals are afraid to spend time with him. That night, they sit together and wonder what stars are. Simba passes on his father's story about the Great Kings of the Past, only for Timon and Pumbaa to laugh at him. He walks off, saddened, and a tuft of his mane flies off in the wind. The tuft of mane carries across the savanna until it reaches Rafiki in his tree. Rafiki then realizes that Simba is alive.
Back in the jungle, Nala attempts to hunt Pumbaa, only to be thwarted by Simba. The two scuffle until Nala uses a familiar fighting trick and Simba realizes her identity. The two have a joyous reunion. Nala then tells Simba that he must return to the Pride Lands, as Scar has taken over and become a tyrannical king. Unwilling to embrace his past, Simba instead invites her to take a tour of the jungle. They stroll through the jungle together, with Timon and Pumbaa watching unhappily ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight").
Eventually, Nala confronts Simba about why he has not returned to Pride Rock, and Simba explains that he is not the rightful king. Nala argues that Scar is a tyrant, but Simba refuses to return home with her. Disappointed and angry, Nala bids him farewell and leaves.
Simba wanders off, muttering to himself that he does not need to return to the Pride Lands. Along the way, he runs into Rafiki, who reveals that he once knew Mufasa. He promises to show Simba that his father is indeed alive, and Simba follows him on a run through the jungle. Eventually, Rafiki stops beside a pool and urges Simba to look into the water. Simba declares that he can only see his reflection, to which Rafiki asserts that Mufasa lives in him.
Just then, Mufasa's ghost appears, speaking to Simba through a lightning storm. He commands his son to return to the Pride Lands and take his place as the king of the Pride Lands. Moved by his father's words, Simba agrees to return home.
Simba races home, catching up with Nala along the way ("Spirit"). They arrive in the Pride Lands and reunite with Zazu. Timon and Pumbaa arrive shortly after and distract the hyenas, while Simba, Nala, and Zazu hasten to Pride Rock. Once there, Simba sees Scar demanding that Sarabi be his queen. She refuses yet again, and Scar attacks her viciously.
Simba intervenes, protecting his mother and ordering Scar to back off. Scar realizes that Simba is alive and declares that the hyenas recognize him as the rightful king now. Nala argues that the pride stands with Simba, and Simba offers an ultimatum: step down or fight. Instead of giving in, Scar accuses Simba of killing Mufasa and calls him a coward. He backs Simba to the edge of Pride Rock until he is hanging only by his claws and confesses that he had in fact killed Mufasa.
Enraged, Simba attacks Scar and demands that he tell the pride of his crimes. Scar refuses, but the pride sees through his lies and attacks. The hyenas jump to Scar's defense, but the lionesses eventually overpower them.
Meanwhile, Simba chases Scar to the top of Pride Rock, where Scar attempts to lay blame on his hyena minions. Simba does not believe Scar's story and instead commands that he leave the Pride Lands forever. In answer, Scar attacks Simba, and the two fight. Simba overpowers Scar and heaves him from Pride Rock, where he lands among the hyenas. At first, Scar is relieved to see them, but Shenzi reminds him of his betrayal and orders her clan to attack. Scar is then devoured among the rising flames.
- Donald Glover as Simba
- James Earl Jones as Mufasa
- Seth Rogen as Pumbaa
- Billy Eichner as Timon
- John Oliver as Zazu
- Alfre Woodard as Sarabi
- John Kani as Rafiki
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar
- Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala
- Eric André as Azizi
- Florence Kasumba as Shenzi
- Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari
- Penny Johnson Jerald as Sarafina
- Amy Sedaris as a guinea fowl
- Chance Bennett as a bushbaby
- Josh McCrary as an elephant shrew
- Phil LaMarr as an impala
- J. Lee as a hyena
On September 28, 2016, the Walt Disney Studios and director Jon Favreau announced they were developing a CGI remake of The Lion King on the fast-track to production. The project follows the technologically groundbreaking smash hit The Jungle Book, directed by Favreau, which debuted in April 2016 and has earned $965.8 million worldwide. On October 13, 2016, Jeff Nathanson was hired to write the screenplay.
Production for the film began in May 2017.
The film served as the final acting credit for film editor Mark Livolsi, who died in September of 2018.
In February 2017, Donald Glover was cast as Simba, with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa from the original film. In March 2017, it was announced that Beyoncé was Favreau's top choice for the role of Nala and that the director and studio would be willing to do whatever it took to accommodate her busy schedule.
In April 2017, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen were cast to play Timon and Pumbaa respectively. In July 2017, John Oliver was cast as Zazu. In August 2017, Chiwetel Ejiofor was announced to be in talks to voice Scar. That same month, Alfre Woodard and John Kani were announced to play Sarabi and Rafiki respectively. On November 1, it was announced that Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Eric André, Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key, JD McCrary, and Shahadi Wright Joseph would be joining the cast as Nala, Scar, Azizi, Shenzi, Kamari, young Simba, and young Nala, respectively.
On November 1, 2017, Hans Zimmer was confirmed to score the film. Zimmer was initially hesitant to write the score for the remake, stating that "[he has] worked very hard to not ruin things through improvement." He agreed to return after performing the original film's score at a concert, where he "suddenly realized what [his] place in this new version was: to try a big experiment and use [his] band and orchestra, go back to Africa, work with Lebo and the chorus and extraordinary musicians from all over the world, and really make this a performance."
On November 28, 2017, it was reported that Elton John had signed on to the project to rework his music from the original film. The following day it was reported that Beyoncé Knowles-Carter would be working with Elton John on new music for the film.
On February 9, 2018, it was revealed that four of the five songs from the original - "Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait to be King", "Hakuna Matata", and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" - would be included in the remake. Additionally, there would be a new "closing song" that Elton John would create with Beyoncé and Tim Rice. On January 24, 2019, Billy Eichner revealed that Donald Glover and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter would be singing a duet version of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". On February 3, 2019, it was reported that "Be Prepared" would be included as well.
On April 19, 2019, in an interview on Good Morning America, Jon Favreau stated that Lebo M would once again be working with Hans Zimmer to create the music for the film. Favreau stated that the music of the film would be heavily influenced by the stage musical version of The Lion King, as Favreau believed that "[Zimmer and John] really [explored] further what the roots of the music are [in the Broadway show]."
On June 24, 2019, it was announced that the official soundtrack for the film would be released digitally on July 11, 2019, and physically on July 19, 2019. An inspired soundtrack titled The Lion King: The Gift was released alongside the film's soundtrack on July 19, 2019.
The first teaser trailer for The Lion King was released during the Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins football game on November 22, 2018. The first official poster was also released. The trailer generated the second biggest one day debut ever, with 224.6 million views worldwide. That number puts it just behind the first trailer for Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War, which was watched 238 million times in the 24 hour-period following its debut.
An official TV spot for The Lion King was released on February 25, 2019, during the 2019 Oscar Awards. The final poster was also released at this time.
The first official full-length trailer for The Lion King was released on April 10, 2019, to celebrate 100 days until the film's theatrical release.
A second official TV spot for The Lion King was released on May 30, 2019.
On June 26, 2019, Disney released a promotional video for #ProtectThePride, a campaign that focused on protecting and revitalizing the lion population. The video included footage from the 2019 film.
On July 2, 2019, Disney released a featurette on the film that included new footage, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, and interviews with the cast and filmmakers.
Another featurette was released on July 12, 2019.
On July 17, 2019, a third featurette was released that focused on the new version of "Hakuna Matata". It featured voice actors Donald Glover, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen. On the same day, Disney released a promotional video that featured Beyoncé's new single "Spirit".
The film was theatrically released in the United States on July 19, 2019. It was one of the first theatrical films to be released on Disney's new streaming service Disney+, alongside Aladdin, Toy Story 4, Frozen II, and Captain Marvel.
The film premiered in Hollywood on July 9, 2019.
As of September 10, 2019, The Lion King has grossed $543.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.113 billion in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1.656 billion. The film had a global debut of $447 million, the ninth-largest of all-time and the biggest opening for an animated film.
Critics and audiences
The Lion King won three awards at the 18th annual Visual Effects Society Awards, including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature, Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature (The Pridelands), and Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project.
Behind the scenes
- This movie marks the first time in Disney's history that Ernie Sabella does not reprise the role of Pumbaa.
- Frank Welker and James Earl Jones are the only two actors thus far to reprise their roles from a Disney animated canon film in a Disney remake; Welker reprises the Cave of Wonders and Abu in the live-action Aladdin, while Jones reprises Mufasa in this CGI film.
- This film was released on July 19, 2019, which marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the original film.
- It was Jon Favreau's first fully-animated film, as well as his first film to be a musical.
- The Lion King is 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.
- This is the first time the end credits song for the original Disney animated film is not the end credits song for a Disney CG-animated remake; instead the songs “Never Too Late”, “He Lives in You” (entirely in Zulu), and “Mbube” replaced “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.
- Shahadi Wright Joseph previously played young Nala in the Broadway musical when she was six years old. She is the second actor to play her role in both a Broadway musical and a Disney film after Jonathan Freeman (who played Jafar in the Disney animated film Aladdin and its Broadway musical).
- The opening shot of the sun rising is the only non-animated shot in the film.
- Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen (the 2019 voices of Timon and Pumbaa) both recorded their lines and sang their songs together, just like how Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella (the 1994 voices of Timon and Pumbaa) did in the original film.
- According to Favreau, while the crew was making this film, the Northern White Rhino had gone extinct. Thankfully, when Pride Rock is back to normal, the rhino makes an appearance, which might be the last.