No date has been set, nor has production begun, yet we have reports all over the web expressing concern for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King. The New Zealand Herald, The Global Headlines and The Denver Post all featured the exact same headline that reads: “A live-action Lion King is a bad idea — here's what Jon Favreau could do to save it.” Washington Post columnist and "Comic Riffs" cartoonist Michael Cavna was responsible for the popular headline that loosely questioned the potential success of the film.The article suggested that Jon Favreau could “save” the film by doing something totally different:
“In the best of all worlds, Lion King can be made more like 'Maleficent' — a remake that actually, unlike 'Jungle Book,' has something new to say. Give the viewer a fresh narrative aria, instead of mere CG bells and whistles…Be inspired by the best of Julie Taymor, and give us something truly new.”
While I agree 100 percent with reporter Michael Cavana’s CG-less approach, without any details it’s hard to say which direction Favreau will take. However, The Hollywood Reporter claims to have some idea:
“The new take won’t be live-action, per se, but will definitely look it. Favreau will build on what he accomplished with 'Jungle Book' — using a real child actor and bringing to life the jungle and its animals via cutting-edge technology and a green screen set in a Los Angeles studio.”
Gamenguide.com kind of echoed those sentiments:
"'Lion King' live-action movie is expected to impress the viewers with high-end and state of the art graphics and animation — less brightness and vivid colors, more focus to realistic details. 'Lion King' live-action movie is reportedly following the footsteps of the recently released 'Jungle Book' movie."
No matter the direction I think the "House of Mouse" deserves the benefit of the doubt, especially with their impeccable track record.
Once Upon A Time Disney Took A Trip In Wonderland
There is no need for Disney to play it safe. When you are a conglomerate why should you? Disney has already proven that it can successfully pull off live-action versions of its animated films and characters. It all started with the $1 billion award winning live-action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway back in 2010. This film was visually spectacular and fun thanks to Tim Burton's wild imagination and a fantastic screenplay by Linda Woolverton. The live-action adaption received general positive reviews from at least one very famous critic, Robert Ebert. Could the impending success of Once Upon a Time be attributed to Alice in Wonderland?
Not only would Disney dominate the box office, but they would take over the small screen as well with ABC’s Once Upon a Time. This take on the collision between fairy-tale and modern worlds debuted in 2011 and is currently in its sixth season. The small-screen gem features a plethora of characters like: Snow White, Captain Hook, Rumpelstiltskin, and many more. Its strong 8.5/10 rating on tv.com and three Primetime Emmy Award nominations all but cements Disney's ability to successfully recreate its characters.
Disney's Box Office Success Was No Fairy-Tale
In 2014 the world got its first look at Maleficent, which was Disney’s live-action adaptation of its 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty. The film focused on the origin story of a fairy turned bad who would later be the reason for Princess Aurora’s deep sleep. Though it wasn’t as critically acclaimed as its animated counterpart, Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, did excellent at the box office, exceeding $750 million worldwide — more than triple its production budget, adding another notch in their live-action belt.
In 2015, Disney would once again break the bank with their live-action adaptation of their 1950 animated film Cinderella. The live-action version starring Lily James as the titular character added another $543 million to Disney’s wallet, which was more than five times, its budget. Of course, that would pale in comparison to The Jungle Book, which was also both critically acclaimed and an absolute blockbuster. The amazingly crafted, next-level CGI film was a star-studded affair, with names like Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Ben Kingsley, and Lupita Nyong'o (among others) lending their voice and/or face to the film. The $103,261,464 it grossed in April was the second highest opening weekend in that month of all time.
What was the only movie to gross more than 'The Jungle Book' in the month of April?
Disney's Golden Boy Will Take Another Trip To The Jungle
Director/producer/actor Jon Favreau played a major part in The Jungle Book's success. As you may have guessed from the headline, Jon Favreau will be the man behind the lens. Jon Favreau is another reason why The Lion King will undoubtedly be a success. The man seems to have the golden eye — six of his last nine films (either directed or produced) have destroyed the box office north of $3 billion. His name has been attached to Iron Man 1,2, and 3, Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and of course, The Jungle Book. With this Disney extraordinaire at the helm, the odds are already in The Lion King’s favor.
No Reason For Disney To Shy Away From The Pride Lands
With a director in place and excitement growing The Lion King has already received a ton of buzz. The 1994 billion dollar Disney classic has had great success long after the original film. Disney took The Lion King to Broadway and has since become an award-winning experience. The Lion King also spawned a number of spin-offs, starting with an animated series titled Timon and Pumbaa, which ran from 1995–1999. There was also the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, that's based on Simba and Nala's daughter, Kiara, who loves the son of exiled and vengeful lioness Zira.
In 2016, Disney introduced a new generation to Simba's son, Kion, with its television movie and eventual TV series The Lion Guard as the third installment to the Lion King franchise.
Its no question why Disney would want to exploit and capitalize on a property so popular like The Lion King — their history and financial success warrants taking a gamble and introducing the world to a version that we hope to be as unique as it is satisfying.
If those box office numbers weren't enough to blow your mind, then the video below has a few facts that you likely didn't know about the Disney/Pixar powerhouse:
What do you think will happen with the live-action adaptation of The Lion King?