Disney is remaking The Lion King! Jon Favreau is set to direct the live-action remake of the beloved 1994 Disney classic, Time is reporting.
The Walt Disney company officially announced the live-action remake of The Lion King in a press release issued Wednesday morning.
“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.”
Early Wednesday morning, almost coinciding with a Disney press release, Favreau teased about his involvement with the remake.
Excited for my next project????????
— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) September 28, 2016
For those who don’t see the symbolism, those two emojis there are a lion and a crown. Lion. King. Get it?
— E! News (@enews) September 28, 2016
If anyone is right for the job of directing a new version of The Lion King, it’s Jon Favreau. He was at the helm of the live-action remake of The Jungle Book, which earned back its $175-million budget five-fold and was one of the few certifiable hits in an otherwise disappointing summer at the box office. The remake also won critical acclaim, particularly for Favreau’s direction.
— The Disney Blog (@TheDisneyBlog) September 26, 2016
Other blockbusters in Favreau’s resume include The Iron Man franchise and The Avengers franchise.
Considering the staggering success of the original Lion King, it’s no surprise that the House of the Mouse would try to mine the franchise for more gold. The original 1994 hit won critical acclaim, including an Oscar for Best Original Song, as well as multiple Grammys for its soundtrack. As of this writing, the original film has grossed around $969 million worldwide. Even a 2011 3D re-release, which hit theaters with little fanfare, brought in $94 million.
Considering the value in merchandising, sequels, and the stage adaptation (which currently has shows on Broadway, as well as in London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Mexico City, and Shanghai, according to Deadline), The Lion King franchise is probably worth billions.
“The Lion King‘s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.”
— MP3AzUK.bot (@MP3AzUK) September 14, 2016
The Lion King is the latest classic Disney animated film to be re-imagined as a live-action remake. The House of Mouse has been reaching into its vault of classics to remake as live-action films since 2014, with mostly good results. The 2014 film, Maleficient, was a box-office success despite earning mixed reviews from critics. Maleficent was followed in 2015 with Cinderella, which was a box-office success with mostly positive reviews. In 2016, we saw the release of The Jungle Book and Peter Pan, both of which earned back their budget (and in the case of The Jungle Book, a huge success by every measure), and both were well-received by critics.
Meanwhile, The Lion King isn’t the only animated Disney classic with an upcoming live-action remake in the works. Additionally, 2017 will see the release of the live-action Beauty and The Beast.
“The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017.”
For now, Disney is tight-lipped about what fans can expect from The Lion King remake. Beyond the fact that Jon Favreau is attached to the project, all Disney is saying is that the live-action remake will include at least some of the songs from the original. As of this writing, Disney has not released any casting information or a potential release date for The Lion King remake.
[Featured Image by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images]