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_THE LION KING_ is a 1994 American animated epic musical film produced by Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Feature Animation
Animation
for Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film , and the fourth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance
Disney Renaissance
. _The Lion King_ was directed by Roger Allersand Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts , and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John
Elton John
and lyricist Tim Rice
Tim Rice
, and original scores were written by Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer
. The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
, Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume
Robert Guillaume
, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa
Africa
and was influenced by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
's _ Hamlet
Hamlet
_. _The Lion King_ tells the story of Simba
Simba
, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba's uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba
Simba
is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile . Upon maturation living with two wastrels , Simba
Simba
is given some valuable perspective from his childhood friend, Nala, and his shaman , Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny and take his place in the Circle of Lifeas the rightful King.

Development of _The Lion King_ began in 1988 during a meeting between Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeffrey Katzenberg
, Roy E. Disney
Roy E. Disney
, and Peter Schneider while promoting _Oliver it finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossing release of 1994 and the second highest-grossing film of all time . _The Lion King_ garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy . The film has led to many derived works , such as a Broadway adaptation ; two direct-to-video follow-ups—the sequel, _ The Lion King
The Lion King
II: Simba\'s Pride _ (1998), and the prequel/parallel , _ The Lion King 1½_ (2004)—; two television series, _ Timon and Pumbaa_ and _ The Lion Guard_; and a 3D re-release, in 2011.

In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
National Film Registry
by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". A CGI /live-action remake of the film is scheduled for a July 19, 2019 release in the United States.

CONTENTS

* 1 Plot * 2 Cast

* 3 Production

* 3.1 Development * 3.2 Casting * 3.3 Animation
Animation

* 4 Music

* 5 Release

* 5.1 Home media

* 6 Reception

* 6.1 Box office

* 6.1.1 Original theatrical run

* 6.1.2 Re-releases

* 6.1.2.1 IMAX
IMAX
and large-format * 6.1.2.2 3D conversion

* 6.2 Critical response * 6.3 Accolades * 6.4 Controversies

* 7 Legacy

* 7.1 Sequels and spin-offs * 7.2 CGI live-action remake * 7.3 Video games * 7.4 Stage adaptations

* 8 References * 9 External links

PLOT

In the Pride Lands of Africa
Africa
, a lion rules over the animal kingdom from Pride Rock. King Mufasa's newborn son, Simba
Simba
, is presented to the assembled animals by Rafiki, a mandrill who serves as shaman and advisor. Mufasa shows young Simba
Simba
the Pride Lands and explains to him the responsibilities of kingship and the "circle of life" which connects all living things. Mufasa's younger brother, Scar , covets the throne and plots to kill Mufasa and Simba
Simba
so he can become king. He tricks Simba
Simba
and his best friend Nala (whom Zazu reveals is betrothed to Simba) into exploring a forbidden elephants\' graveyard , where they are attacked by three spotted hyenas who are in league with Scar. Mufasa is alerted to the danger by his majordomo , the hornbill Zazu, and rescues the cubs. Though angry with Simba, Mufasa forgives him and explains that the great kings of the past watch over them from the night sky, from which he will one day watch over Simba.

Scar sets a trap for his brother and nephew, luring Simba
Simba
into a gorge and having the hyenas drive a large herd of wildebeest into a stampede that will trample him. He informs Mufasa of Simba's danger, knowing the king will rush to save his son. Mufasa saves Simba
Simba
but ends up hanging perilously from the gorge's edge and is betrayed by Scar, who sends him falling to his death. Scar convinces Simba
Simba
that the tragedy was Simba's own fault and advises him to flee the kingdom. He orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba
Simba
escapes. Scar tells the pride that both Mufasa and Simba
Simba
were killed in the stampede and steps forward as the new king, allowing a large pack of hyenas to live in the Pride Lands.

Simba
Simba
collapses in a desert and is rescued by Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog who are fellow outcasts. Simba
Simba
grows up in the jungle with his two new friends, living a carefree life under the motto "hakuna matata " ("no worries" in Swahili ). Now an adult, Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaafrom a hungry lioness who turns out to be Nala. She and Simba
Simba
reunite and fall in love, and she urges him to return home, telling him the Pride Lands have become a drought-stricken wasteland under Scar's reign. Feeling guilty over his father's death, Simba
Simba
refuses and runs off. Simba
Simba
encounters Rafiki, who tells him that he does not know who he is. Rafiki reminds Simba that he is Mufasa's son and Mufasa' spirit lives on in Simba. Simba
Simba
is then visited by the ghost of Mufasa in the night sky, who tells him he must claim his rightful place as king. Realizing he can no longer run from his past, Simba
Simba
chooses to return home.

Aided by his friends, Simba
Simba
sneaks past the hyenas at Pride Rock and confronts Scar. Scar taunts him over his role in Mufasa's death and forces him to the edge of the rock, where he reveals to Simba
Simba
that he murdered Mufasa. Enraged, Simba
Simba
pins Scar to the ground and forces him to reveal the truth to the rest of the pride. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, and the lionesses fend off the hyenas while Scar, attempting to escape, is cornered by Simba
Simba
at the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs for mercy and attempts to blame the hyenas for his actions; Simba
Simba
spares his life but orders him to leave the Pride Lands forever. Scar then attacks his nephew, but Simba
Simba
manages to toss him from the top of the rock. Scar survives the fall but is eaten alive by the hyenas, who overheard him betray them to Simba. With his enemies gone, Simba
Simba
takes over the kingship as the rains begin to fall, restoring life to the land.

Later, with Pride Rock restored to its former glory, Rafiki presents Simba
Simba
and Nala's newborn cub to the assembled animals, continuing the circle of life.

CAST

Main article: List of characters in The Lion King A promotional image of the characters from the film. From left to right: Shenzi, Scar, Ed, Banzai, Rafiki, Young Simba, Mufasa, Young Nala, Sarabi, Zazu, Sarafina, Timon, and Pumbaa

* Matthew Broderickas Simba
Simba
, son of Mufasa and Sarabi, who grows up to become King of the Pride Lands. Rock singer Joseph Williams provided adult Simba's singing voice. Mark Hennand Ruben A. Aquino respectively served as the supervising animators for young and adult Simba.

* Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
voiced young Simba, while Jason Weaver provided the cub's singing voice.

* Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
as Scar , Mufasa's younger brother and Simba's uncle, who takes the throne. Andreas Deja
Andreas Deja
served as the supervising animator for Scar. * James Earl Jonesas Mufasa, Simba's father, King of the Pride Lands as the film begins. Tony Fucile served as the supervising animator for Mufasa.

* Moira Kellyas Nala , Simba's best friend and later his wife. Sally Dworsky provided her singing voice. Aaron Blaise and Anthony de Rosa respectively served as the supervising animators for young and adult Nala.

* Niketa Calame provided the voice of young Nala while Laura Williams provided her singing voice.

* Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
as Timon , a wise-cracking and self-absorbed yet somewhat loyal meerkat who becomes one of Simba's best friends and adoptive parents. Michael Surrey served as his supervising animator. * Ernie Sabellaas Pumbaa , a naïve warthog who suffers from flatulence and is Timon's best friend and also becomes one of Simba's best friends and adoptive parents. Tony Bancroftserved as his supervising animator. * Robert Guillaume
Robert Guillaume
as Rafiki, a wise old mandrill (although, while counseling Simba, he jokes that "you are a baboon , and I am not") who serves as shaman of the Pride Lands and presents newborn cubs of the King and Queen to the animals of the Pride Lands. James Baxter served as the supervising animator for Rafiki. * Rowan Atkinsonas Zazu, a hornbill who serves as the king's majordomo (or "Mufasa's little stooge", as Shenzi calls him). Ellen Woodbury served as the supervising animator for Zazu. * Madge Sinclairas Sarabi, Mufasa's mate, Simba's mother, and the leader of the lioness hunting party. Russ Edmondsserved as the supervising animator for Sarabi.

* The three hyenas who serve Scar were animated by Alex Kupershmidt and David Burgess.

* Whoopi Goldbergas Shenzi, the sassy and short-tempered female leader of the trio. * Cheech Marinas Banzai, an aggressive and hot-headed hyena prone to complaining and acting on impulse. * Jim Cummingsas Ed, a dim-witted hyena who does not talk, only communicating through laughter . Cummings also voiced a gopher that talks with Zazu and made a guest appearance as Scar in certain lines of "Be Prepared " after Irons blew his voice.

* Zoe Leader as Sarafina, Nala's mother, who is shown briefly talking to Simba's mother, Sarabi.

PRODUCTION

DEVELOPMENT

The idea for _The Lion King_ was conceived in late 1988 during a conversation between Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeffrey Katzenberg
, Roy E. Disney
Roy E. Disney
and Peter Schneider on a plane to Europe to promote _ Oliver & Company_. During the conversation, the topic of a story set in Africa
Africa
came up, and Katzenberg immediately jumped at the idea. The idea was then developed by Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Feature Animation
Animation
's vice president for creative affairs Charlie Fink. Katzenberg decided to add elements involving coming of age and death, and ideas from personal life experiences, such as some of his trials in his bumpy road in politics, saying about the film, "It is a little bit about myself." In November of that year Thomas Disch(author of _The Brave Little Toaster _) wrote a treatment entitled _King of the Kalahari_, and afterwards, Linda Woolvertonspent a year writing drafts of the script, which was titled _King of the Beasts_ and then _King of the Jungle_. The original version of the film was very different from the final film. The plot was centered in a battle being between lions and baboons with Scar being the leader of the baboons, Rafiki being a cheetah, and Timon and Pumbaabeing Simba's childhood friends. Simba
Simba
would also not leave the kingdom but become a "lazy, slovenly, horrible character" due to manipulations from Scar, so Simba
Simba
could be overthrown after coming of age. By 1990, producer Thomas Schumacher, who had just completed _ The Rescuers Down Under_, decided to attach himself to the project "because lions are cool". Schumacher likened the script for _King of the Jungle_ to "an animated _National Geographic _ special".

_Oliver & Company_ director George Scribnerwas the initial director of the film, being later joined by Roger Allers, who was the lead story man on _Beauty and the Beast _ in October 1991. Allers brought with him Brenda Chapman, who would become the head of story. Afterwards, several of the lead crew members, including Allers, Scribner, Hahn, Chapman, and production designer Chris Sanders , took a trip to Hell\'s Gate National Park in Kenya, in order to study and gain an appreciation of the environment for the film. After six months of story development work Scribner decided to leave the project, as he clashed with Allers and the producers on their decision to turn the film into a musical, as Scribner's intention was of making a documentary-like film more focused on natural aspects. Rob Minkoff replaced Scribner, and producer Don Hahnjoined the production as Schumacher became only an executive producer due to Disney promoting him to Vice President of Development for Feature Animation. Hahn found the script unfocused and lacking a clear theme, and after establishing the main theme as "leaving childhood and facing up to the realities of the world", asked for a final retool. Allers, Minkoff, Chapman and Hahn then rewrote the story across two weeks of meetings with directors Kirk Wiseand Gary Trousdale
Gary Trousdale
, who had just finished _Beauty and the Beast_. The script also had its title changed from _King of the Jungle_ to _The Lion King_, as the setting was not the jungle but the savannah.

_The Lion King_ was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story, rather than be based on an already existing work. The filmmakers have said that the story of _The Lion King_ was inspired by the lives of Joseph and Moses
Moses
, from the Bible, and William Shakespeare
Shakespeare
's _ Hamlet
Hamlet
_. During the summer of 1992, the team was joined by screenwriter Irene Mecchi, with a second screenwriter, Jonathan Roberts , joining a few months later. Mecchi and Roberts took charge of the revision process, fixing unresolved emotional issues in the script and adding comic business for Pumbaa, Timon, and the hyenas. Lyricist Tim Rice
Tim Rice
worked closely with the writing team, flying to California at least once a month because his songs needed to work in the narrative continuity. Rice's lyrics—which were reworked up to the production's end—were pinned to the storyboards during development. Rewrites were frequent, with animator Andreas Deja saying that completed scenes would be delivered, only for the response to be that parts needed to be reanimated because of dialog changes.

CASTING

The voice actors were chosen for how they fit and could add to the characters—for instance, James Earl Joneswas cast because the directors found his voice "powerful" and similar to a lion's roar. Jones commented that during the years of production, Mufasa "became more and more of a dopey dad instead of grand king".

Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
originally auditioned for Zazu, and Ernie Sabella, for one of the hyenas. Upon meeting each other at the recording studio, the actors, who at the time both co-starred in _ Guys and Dolls
Guys and Dolls
_, were asked to record together as hyenas. The directors laughed at their performance and decided to cast them as Timon and Pumbaa. For the hyenas, the original intention was to reunite Cheech clear: right; margin: 0.5em 0 0.8em 1.4em; width:33%; padding: 10px; border: 1px solid #aaa; font-size: 88%; background-color: #F9F9F9;"> "_The Lion King_ was considered a little movie because we were going to take some risks. The pitch for the story was a lion cub gets framed for murder by his uncle set to the music of Elton John. People said, 'What? Good luck with that.' But for some reason, the people who ended up on the movie were highly passionate about it and motivated." Don Hahn

The development of _The Lion King_ coincided with that of _Pocahontas _, which most of the animators of Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Feature Animation decided to work on instead, believing it would be the more prestigious and successful of the two. The story artists also did not have much faith in the project, with Chapman declaring she was reluctant to accept the job "because the story wasn't very good", and writer Burny Mattinson saying to co-worker Joe Ranft"I don't know who is going to want to watch that one." Most of the leading animators either were doing their first major work supervising a character, or had much interest in animating an animal. Thirteen of these supervising animators, both in California and in Florida, were responsible for establishing the personalities and setting the tone for the film's main characters. The animation leads for the main characters included Mark Hennon young Simba, Ruben A. Aquinoon adult Simba, Andreas Deja on Scar, Aaron Blaise on young Nala, Anthony DeRosaon adult Nala, and Tony Fucile on Mufasa. Nearly 20 minutes of the film, including the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence, were animated at the Disney-MGM Studiosfacility. More than 600 artists, animators, and technicians contributed to _The Lion King_. Weeks before the film was to be released, the 1994 Northridge earthquake
1994 Northridge earthquake
shut down the studio and required the animators to finish their work from home.

The character animators studied real-life animals for reference, as was done for the 1942 Disney film _ Bambi
Bambi
_. Jim Fowler, renowned wildlife expert, visited the studios on several occasions with an assortment of lions and other savannah inhabitants to discuss behavior and help the animators give their drawings authenticity. The animators also studied animal movements at the Miami MetroZoo under guidance from wildlife expert Ron Magill. The Pride Lands are modeled on the Kenyan national park visited by the crew. Varied focal lengths and lenses were employed to differ from the habitual portrayal of Africa
Africa
in documentaries—which employ telephoto lenses to shoot the wildlife from a distance. The epic feel drew inspiration from concept studies by artist Hans Bacher—which, following Scribner's request for realism, tried to depict effects such as lens flare —and the works of painters Charles Marion Russell
Charles Marion Russell
, Frederic Remington
Frederic Remington
and Maxfield Parrish
Maxfield Parrish
. Because the characters were not anthropomorphized, all the animators had to learn to draw four-legged animals, and the story and character development was done through use of longer shots following the characters.

Computers helped the filmmakers present their vision in new ways. For the "wildebeest stampede" sequence, several distinct wildebeest characters were created in a 3D computer program, multiplied into hundreds, cel shaded to look like drawn animation, and given randomized paths down a mountainside to simulate the real, unpredictable movement of a herd. Five specially trained animators and technicians spent more than two years creating the two-and-a-half-minute stampede. The CAPS helped simulate camera movements such as tracking shots , and was employed in coloring, lighting, and particle effects.

MUSIC

Main article: The Lion King (soundtrack)

Lyricist Tim Rice
Tim Rice
, who was working with composer Alan Menken
Alan Menken
on songs for _Aladdin _, was invited to write the songs, and accepted on the condition of finding a composing partner. As Menken was unavailable, the producers accepted Rice's suggestion of Elton John
Elton John
, after Rice's invitation of ABBA
ABBA
fell through due to Benny Andersson being busy with the musical _ Kristina från Duvemåla_. John expressed an interest in writing "ultra-pop songs that kids would like; then adults can go and see those movies and get just as much pleasure out of them", mentioning a possible influence of _The Jungle Book
Book
_, where he felt the "music was so funny and appealed to kids and adults".

John and Rice wrote five original songs for the film ("Circle of Life ", "I Just Can\'t Wait to Be King ", "Be Prepared ", "Hakuna Matata " and " Can You Feel the Love Tonight"), with John's performance of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" playing over the end credits. The IMAX
IMAX
and DVD releases added another song, "The Morning Report", based on a song discarded during development that eventually featured in the live musical version of _The Lion King_ . The score was composed by Hans Zimmer , who was hired based on his work in two films in African settings, _The Power of One _ and _A World Apart _, and supplemented the score with traditional African music and choir elements arranged by Lebo M. Zimmer's partners Mark Mancinaand Jay Rifkinhelped with arrangements and song production.

The _Lion King_ original motion picture soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records
Walt Disney Records
on July 13, 1994. It was the fourth-best-selling album of the year on the _Billboard_ 200 and the top-selling soundtrack. It is the only soundtrack for an animated film to be certified Diamond (10× platinum) by the Recording Industry Association of America . Zimmer's complete instrumental score for the film was never originally given a full release by Disney, until the soundtrack's commemorative 20th anniversary re-release in 2014. _The Lion King_ also inspired the 1995 release _Rhythm of the Pride Lands _, with eight songs by Zimmer, Mancina, and Lebo M.

The use of the song " The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in a scene with Timon and Pumbaa led to disputes between Disney and the family of South African Solomon Linda, who composed the song (originally titled "Mbube") in 1939. In July 2004, Linda's filed suit, seeking $1.6 million in royalties from Disney. In February 2006, Linda's heirs reached a legal settlement with Abilene Music, who held the worldwide rights and had licensed the song to Disney for an undisclosed amount of money.

RELEASE

For _The Lion King_'s first film trailer , Disney opted to feature a single scene, the entire opening sequence with the song "Circle of Life". Buena Vista Pictures Distributionpresident Dick Cooksaid the decision was made for such an approach because "we were all so taken by the beauty and majesty of this piece that we felt like it was probably one of the best four minutes of film that we've seen", and Don Hahnadded that "Circle of Life" worked as a trailer as it "came off so strong, and so good, and ended with such a bang". The trailer was released in November 1993, accompanying _The Three Musketeers _ in theaters, as only a third of _The Lion King_ had been completed. Audience reaction was enthusiastic, causing Hahn to have some initial concerns as he became afraid of not living up to the expectations raised by the preview. Prior to the film's release, Disney did 11 test screenings .

Upon release, _The Lion King_ was accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign which included tie-ins with Burger King
Burger King
, Mattel, Kodak
Kodak
, Nestléand Payless ShoeSource, and various merchandise, accounting 186 licensed products. In 1994, Disney earned approximately $1 billion with products based on the film, with $214 million for _Lion King_ toys during Christmas 1994 alone.

HOME MEDIA

_The Lion King_ was first released on VHS and laserdisc in the United States on March 3, 1995, under Disney 's "Masterpiece Collection " video series. The VHS tape contained a special preview for Walt Disney Pictures ' then-upcoming animated film _Pocahontas _, in which the title character (voiced by Judy Kuhn) sings the musical number " Colors of the Wind
Colors of the Wind
". In addition, Deluxe Editions of both formats were released. The VHS Deluxe Edition included the film, an exclusive lithograph of Rafiki and Simba
Simba
(in some editions), a commemorative "Circle of Life" epigraph , six concept art lithographs, another tape with the half-hour TV show _The Making of The Lion King_, and a certificate of authenticity. The CAV laserdisc Deluxe Edition also contained the film, six concept art lithographs and _The Making of The Lion King_, and added storyboards, character design artwork, concept art, rough animation, and a directors' commentary that the VHS edition did not have, on a total of four double sided discs. The VHS tape quickly became the best-selling videotape of all time: 4.5 million tapes were sold on the first day and ultimately sales totaled more than 30 million before these home video versions went into moratorium in 1997.

On October 7, 2003, the film was re-released on VHS and released on DVD for the first time, titled _The Lion King: Platinum Edition_, as part of Disney's Platinum Edition
Platinum Edition
line of animated classic DVDs. The DVD release featured two versions of the film on the first disc, a remastered version created for the 2002 IMAX
IMAX
release and an edited version of the IMAX
IMAX
release purporting to be the original 1994 theatrical version. A second disc, with bonus features, was also included in the DVD release. The film's soundtrack was provided both in its original Dolby 5.1track and in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, making this one of the first Disney DVDs so equipped. By means of seamless branching , the film could be viewed either with or without a newly created scene – a short conversation in the film replaced with a complete song ("The Morning Report"). A Special Collector's Gift Set was also released, containing the DVD set, five exclusive lithographed character portraits (new sketches created and signed by the original character animators), and an introductory book entitled _The Journey_. The Platinum Edition
Platinum Edition
of _The Lion King_ featured changes made to the film during its IMAX
IMAX
re-release, including re-drawn crocodiles in the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence as well as other alterations. More than two million copies of the Platinum Edition
Platinum Edition
DVD and VHS units were sold on the first day of release. A DVD boxed set of the three _The Lion King_ films (in two-disc Special
Special
Edition formats) was released on December 6, 2004. In January 2005, the film, along with the sequels, went back into moratorium.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainmentreleased the Diamond Edition of _The Lion King_ on October 4, 2011. This marks the time that the film has been released in high-definition Blu-ray
Blu-ray
and on Blu-ray
Blu-ray
3D . The initial release was produced in three different packages: a two-disc version with Blu-ray
Blu-ray
and DVD; a four-disc version with Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray
Blu-ray
3D, and digital copy ; and an eight-disc box set that also includes the sequels _ The Lion King
The Lion King
2: Simba\'s Pride _ and _ The Lion King 1½_. A standalone single-disc DVD release also followed on November 15, 2011. The Diamond Edition topped the Blu-ray charts with over 1.5 million copies sold. The film sold 3.83 million Blu-ray
Blu-ray
units in total, leading to a $101.14 million income.

RECEPTION

BOX OFFICE

_The Lion King_ earned $422,783,777 in North America and an $545,700,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $968,483,777. It is currently the 29th highest-grossing film , the seventh highest-grossing animated film of all time worldwide and the third highest-grossing film of Walt Disney Animation Studios
Walt Disney Animation Studios
(behind _Frozen _ and _ Zootopia_). The film was also the highest-grossing motion picture of 1994 worldwide . After its initial run, having earned $763.4 million, it ranked as the second-highest-grossing film of all time worldwide, behind _Jurassic Park _ . It held the record for the highest-grossing animated feature film (in North America, outside North America, and worldwide) until it was surpassed by the computer animated _ Finding Nemo_ (2003), _ Shrek 2
Shrek 2
_ (2004), _Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs _ (2009), and _ Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3
_ (2010) prior to the 2011 re-release. With the earnings of the 3D run, _The Lion King_ surpassed all the aforementioned films but _ Toy Story
Toy Story
3_ to rank as the second-highest-grossing animated film worldwide—later downgraded to sixth after _Frozen_ (2013), _Minions _ (2015), and _ Zootopia_ (2016)—and it remains the highest-grossing hand-drawn animated film. It is also the biggest animated movie of the last 50 years in terms of estimated attendance.

Original Theatrical Run

_The Lion King_ had a limited release in North America on June 15, 1994, playing in only two theaters, El Capitan Theaterin Los Angeles and Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall
in New York City. It still earned $1,586,753 across the weekend of June 17–19, standing at the tenth place of the box office ranking. The average of $793,377 per theater stands as the largest ever achieved during a weekend. The wide release followed on June 24, 1994, in 2,550 screens. The digital surround sound of the film led many of those theaters to implement Dolby Laboratories
Dolby Laboratories
' newest sound systems. _The Lion King_ grossed $40.9 million – which at the time was the fourth biggest opening weekend earning ever and the highest sum for a Disney film – to top the weekend box office. It also earned a rare "A+" rating from CinemaScore
CinemaScore
. By the end of its theatrical run, in spring 1995, it had earned $312,855,561, being the second-highest-grossing 1994 film in North America behind _ Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump
_. Outside North America, it earned $455.8 million during its initial run, for a worldwide total of $768.6 million. Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo
estimates that the film sold over 74 million tickets in the US in its initial theatrical run.

Re-releases

IMAX
IMAX
And Large-format

The film was re-issued on December 25, 2002 for IMAX
IMAX
and large-format theaters. Don Hahnexplained that eight years after _The Lion King_ got its original release, "there was a whole new generation of kids who haven't really seen it, particularly on the big screen." Given the film had already been digitally archived during production, the restoration process was easier, while also providing many scenes with enhancements that covered up original deficiencies. An enhanced sound mix was also provided, to as Hahn explained, "make the audience feel like they're in the middle of the movie." On its first weekend, _The Lion King_ made $2.7 million from 66 locations, a $27,664 per theater average. This run ended with $15,686,215 on May 30, 2003.

3D Conversion

In 2011, _The Lion King_ was converted to 3D for a two-week limited theatrical re-issue and subsequent 3D Blu-ray
Blu-ray
release. The film opened at the number one spot on Friday, September 16, 2011 with $8.9 million and finished the weekend with $30.2 million, ranking number one at the box office. This made _The Lion King_ the first re-issue release to earn the number-one slot at the American weekend box office since the re-issue of _ Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi
_ in March 1997. The film also achieved the fourth-highest September opening weekend of all time. It held off very well on its second weekend, again earning first place at the box office with a 27 percent decline to $21.9 million. Most box-office observers had expected the film to fall about 50 percent in its second weekend and were also expecting _Moneyball _ to be at first place.

After its initial box-office success, many theaters decided to continue to show the film for more than two weeks, even though its 3D Blu-ray
Blu-ray
release was scheduled for two-and-a-half weeks after its theatrical release. In North America, the 3D re-release ended its run in theaters on January 12, 2012 with a gross $94,242,001. Outside North America, it earned $83,400,000. The successful 3D re-release of _The Lion King_ made Disney and Pixar
Pixar
plan 3D theatrical re-releases of _Beauty and the Beast _, _ Finding Nemo_, _ Monsters, Inc.
Monsters, Inc.
_, and _The Little Mermaid _ during 2012 and 2013. However, none of the re-releases of the first three films achieved the enormous success of _ The Lion King
The Lion King
3D_ and theatrical re-release of _The Little Mermaid_ was ultimately cancelled. In 2012, Ray Subers of _Box Office Mojo_ wrote that the reason why the 3D version of _The Lion King_ succeeded was because, "the notion of a 3D re-release was still fresh and exciting, and _ The Lion King
The Lion King
(3D)_ felt timely given the movie's imminent Blu-ray
Blu-ray
release. Audiences have been hit with three 3D re-releases in the year since, meaning the novelty value has definitely worn off."

CRITICAL RESPONSE

_The Lion King_ was released to critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes , the film holds a rating of 91%, based on 113 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3 out of 10. It also ranked 56th on their "Top 100 Animation
Animation
Movies". The site's critical consensus reads, "Emotionally stirring, richly drawn, and beautifully animated, _The Lion King_ stands tall within Disney's pantheon of classic family films." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 83 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". CinemaScore
CinemaScore
reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade.

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
gave it 3 1/2 out of 4-stars and called the film "a superbly drawn animated feature" and, in his print review wrote, "The saga of Simba, which in its deeply buried origins owes something to Greek tragedy and certainly to _Hamlet_, is a learning experience as well as an entertainment." On the television program _Siskel for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Original Score , as well as two Academy Awards, for Best Original Score ( Hans Zimmer
Hans Zimmer
) and Best Original Song with " Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John and Tim Rice
Tim Rice
. The songs " Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata " were also nominated. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" also won the Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal Performance. _The Lion King_ also won Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature , Best Achievement in Voice Acting (for Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
) and Best Individual Achievement for Story Contribution in the Field of Animation.

At the Saturn Awards
Saturn Awards
, the film was nominated in two categories, Best Fantasy Film
Film
and Best Performance by a Younger Actor although it did not win in either category. The film also received two nominations at the British Academy Film
Film
Awards , for Best Sound as well as the Anthony Asquith Award for Film
Film
Music although it lost in both categories to _Speed _ and _Backbeat _ respectively. The film received two BMI Film
Film
"> The alleged "SEX" frame.

Protests were raised against one scene where it appears as if the word "SEX" might have been embedded into the dust flying in the sky when Simba
Simba
flops down, which conservative activist Donald Wildmon asserted was a subliminal message intended to promote sexual promiscuity . One of the animators, Tom Sito, has stated that the letters spell "SFX" (a common abbreviation for "special effects "), not with an "E" instead of the "F", and were intended as an innocent "signature" created by the effects animation team.

Hyena biologists protested against the animal's portrayal: one hyena researcher sued Disney studios for defamation of character , and another—who had organized the animators' visit to the University of California 's Field Station for Behavioural Research, where they would observe and sketch captive hyenas— included boycotting _The Lion King_ among the ways it would help preserve hyenas in the wild. The hyenas have also been interpreted to represent an anti-immigrant allegory, where the hyenas would be black and Latino ethnic communities. The film has also been criticised for advancing a fascist narrative in its portrayal of the lion kingdom and the circle of life where "only the strong and the beautiful triumph, and the powerless survive only by serving the strong."

LEGACY

SEQUELS AND SPIN-OFFS

The first _Lion King_-related animated projects involved the characters of Timon and Pumbaa. First, the duo starred in the animated short "Stand by Me", featuring Timon singing the eponymous song , which was released in 1995 accompanying the theatrical release of _Tom and Huck _. Then the duo received their own animated show, _The Lion King\'s Timon and Pumbaa_, which ran for three seasons and 85 episodes between 1995 and 1999. Ernie Sabellacontinued to voice Pumbaa, while Timon was voiced by Quinton Flynnand Kevin Schonin addition to Nathan Lane.

Disney released two direct-to-video films related to _The Lion King_. The first was sequel _ The Lion King
The Lion King
II: Simba\'s Pride _, released in 1998 on VHS. The film centers around Simba
Simba
and Nala's daughter, Kiara, who falls in love with Kovu, a male lion who was raised in a pride of Scar's followers, the Outsiders. 2004 saw the release of another _Lion King_ film on DVD, _ The Lion King 1½_. It is a prequel in showing how Timon and Pumbaamet each other, and also a parallel in that it also depicts what the characters were retconned to have done during the events of the original movie.

In June 2014, it was announced that a new TV series based on the film would be released called _ The Lion Guard_, featuring Kion, the second-born cub of Simba
Simba
and Nala. _The Lion Guard_ is a sequel to _The Lion King_ and takes place during the time-gap within _The Lion King II: Simba's Pride._ It was first broadcast on Disney Channel
Disney Channel
as a television film titled _The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar_ in November 2015 before airing as a series on Disney Junior
Disney Junior
in January 2016.

CGI LIVE-ACTION REMAKE

In September 2016, following the critical and financial success of _The Jungle Book
Book
_, Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
announced that they were developing a CGI created live-action remake of _The Lion King_, with Jon Favreau
Jon Favreau
directing. The following month, Jeff Nathansonwas hired to write the script for the film. Favreau originally planned shoot it back to back with the sequel to _The Jungle Book_ . However, it was reported in early 2017 that the latter film was put on hold in order for Favreu to instead focus mainly on _The Lion King_. In February 2017, Favreau announced that Donald Glover
Donald Glover
had been cast as Simba
Simba
and that James Earl Joneswould be reprising the role of Mufasa. The following month, it was reported that Beyoncéwas Favreau's top choice to voice Nala, but she had not accepted the role yet due to a pregnancy. In April 2017, Billy Eichnerand Seth Rogenjoined the film as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively. Two months later, John Oliver was cast as Zazu.

Production for the film is set to begin in May 2017. It is scheduled for release on July 19, 2019.

VIDEO GAMES

Main article: The Lion King (video game)

Along with the film release, three different video games based on _The Lion King_ were released by Virgin Interactivein December 1994. The main title was developed by Westwood Studios
Westwood Studios
, and published for PC and Amiga
Amiga
computers and the consoles SNES and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis . Dark Technologies created the Game Boy
Game Boy
version, while Syrox Developments handled the Master Systemand Game Gearversion. The film and sequel _Simba's Pride_ later inspired another game, Torus Games ' _The Lion King: Simba\'s Mighty Adventure _ (2000) for the Game Boy
Game Boy
Color and PlayStation
PlayStation
. Timon and Pumbaaalso appeared in _Timon ">_ Advertisements for the musical adaptation of The Lion King_ at Minskoff Theatre
Minskoff Theatre
.

Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Theatrical produced a musical stage adaptation of the same name, which premiered in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
in July 1997, and later opened on Broadway in October 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre . _The Lion King_ musical was directed by Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
and featured songs from both the movie and _Rhythm of the Pride Lands_, along with three new compositions by Elton John
Elton John
and Tim Rice. Mark Mancinadid the musical arrangements and new orchestral tracks. The musical became one of the most successful in Broadway history, winning six Tony Awards
Tony Awards
including Best Musical , and despite moving to the Minskoff Theatre
Minskoff Theatre
in 2006, is still running to this day in New York, becoming the third longest-running show and highest grossing Broadway production in history. The show's financial success led to adaptations all over the world.

_The Lion King_ inspired two attractions retelling the story of the film at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The first, "The Legend of the Lion King ", featured a recreation of the film through life-size puppets of its characters, and ran from 1994 to 2002 at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World
. Another that is still running is the live-action 30-minute musical revue of the movie, "Festival of the Lion King ", which incorporates the musical numbers into gymnastic routines with live actors, along with animatronic puppets of Simba
Simba
and Pumba and a costumed actor as Timon. The attraction opened in April 1998 at Disney World's Animal Kingdom , and in September 2005 in Hong Kong Disneyland 's Adventureland . A similar version under the name "The Legend of the Lion King" was featured in Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris
from 2004 to 2009.

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