While one could argue 1994's beloved The Lion King isn't in need of a live-action reimagining, that argument is countered by Disney's recent success with The Jungle Book. The Jon Favreau-directed adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's book is one of 2016's great surprises, earning nearly $1B worldwide while gaining the praise of critics and audiences. There's every reason to think Disney can match or surpass those heights with The Lion King, and they're turning to just the right guy to make it happen.
Favreau has been chosen to direct Disney's redo of The Lion King, and it's moving fast into production for obvious reasons. Whether you were around when it opened or not chances are you already know the story of lion cub Simba, the villainous Scar, and the meaning of things like "hakuna matata" and "circle of life" (hold whatever's near you up into the sky!!). The cherished film continues to be a media sensation with a Tony Award-winning Broadway adaptation, cartoon spinoff The Lion Guard, straight-to-DVD animated sequels, and more. The recent 3D re-release scored nearly $200M worldwide, and that doesn't count what the 2002 re-release pulled in. Crazy numbers.
There's no screenwriter or casting yet but it probably won't be long until we start to hear about it. Clearly Favreau is eager to get started.
We can officially confirm that The Walt Disney Studios and director Jon Favreau are putting a new reimagining 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 and has earned $965.8 million worldwide.
The Lion King builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book. The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King will include songs from the animated film. Disney and Favreau are also in development on a sequel to The Jungle Book. No release date has been announced for either film.
The Lion King (1994) is one of the biggest animated films of all time with a lifetime global box office gross of $968.8 million, including $422.8 million domestically. It won Academy Awards for the original song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (Elton John, Tim Rice) and original score (Hans Zimmer), plus two Grammy Awards, with the soundtrack selling over 14 million copies. In 1997, the stage production The Lion King made its Broadway debut, winning six Tony Awards; 19 years later, it remains one of Broadway’s biggest hits alongside several other productions running around the world, including London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Mexico City, Shanghai, and North America. Translated into eight different languages, its 23 global productions have been seen by more than 85 million people across every continent except Antarctica. The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.