Since 2010, with the major success of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Disney has seemingly found a goldmine with live-action remakes of their classic animated films. Most of these films have been massive money makers at the box office and their latest, “Beauty and the Beast,” has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. There seems to be no end in sight for the future of the Disney live-action remake trend, so it should come as no surprise that one of the studio’s upcoming works is the remake to the 1994 smash hit “The Lion King.”
Announced in September of 2016, this retelling of the classic tale is being directed by Jon Favreau, who recently hit it big with another live-action remake, “The Jungle Book.” While that film succeeded both critically and financially, his name wasn’t enough to save this upcoming remake from some major criticism, and now, with Favreau revealing the release date for the “Lion King” for July 19, 2019, the questions are really flying.
Who is going to star as these iconic characters? What songs will they include, take out or add in to this version? What story elements will they change? How will this even be executed if it’s only animals, yet proclaims to be a live-action film? Is it even necessary to remake this?
As expected, our community here at SCAD had some opinions on the subject. Some students are looking forward to the circle of life starting all over again. First-year film and television student Ivy Buford said, “I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great movie with valuable lessons in it. I just hope they don’t mess up. I don’t know too many successful remakes of great movies. The remakes usually suck. But just the thought of a remake for the next generation of children is cool, hopefully it’ll be epic enough for them to recall it as a classic like our old generation does.”
Similarly, first-year graphic design student Tia Mack said, “I love live action remakes, so I’m excited. ‘The Jungle Book’ remake was really good and I haven’t seen the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ movie but people say it was good. I would definitely go see a remake of ‘The Lion King,’ it’s one of my favorite Disney movies.”
However, some students aren’t completely on board with the idea of a “Lion King” remake. Second-year fashion student Janay Cooper said, “Truthfully speaking, I don’t feel like it’s necessary. I think it might be one of those things where it’s just being made for the money aspect.”
Similarly, first-year film and television student Sydney Seabron said, “I feel it’s unnecessary. I wish there were more original ideas coming out of Disney.”
While some students had a definite stance on either side of the argument, other students appeared indifferent about the film’s existence, such as first-year animation student Reniecia Callahan. “I don’t care about it coming out,” Callahan said. “It wasn’t really one of my favorite movies or anything, but I don’t think it’s going to be bad because of some of the voice actors they got.”
We can all only cross our fingers and wait to see if this remake will deliver the goods. It’s pretty obvious why the studio would want to remake the highest-grossing, hand drawn animated film of all time. But at the same time, we may be in for a surprise. At the very least, we can hope they will try to pay some respect to one of their biggest franchises and if they can at succeed there, then we just can’t wait to see this lion be king.