The Lion King

American ainimatit muisical film

The Lion King (The Lion Keeng) is a 1994 American ainimatit epic muisical film, produced bi Walt Disney Feature Animation an released bi Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nt animatit featur in the Disney animatit featur film. The story taks place in a kinrick o lions in Africae, an wis influenced bi William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The film wis produced in a period kent as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King wis directit bi Roger Allers an Rob Minkoff, produced bi Don Hahn, an haes a screenplay creditit tae Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, an Linda Woolverton. Its oreeginal sangs wis written bi componer Elton John an lyricist Tim Rice, an oreeginal scores wis written bi Hans Zimmer. The film featurs an ensemble vyce cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings.

The Lion King
In an African savannah, several ainimals stare at a lion atap a heich rock. A lion's heid can be seen in the cloods abuin. Atap the image is the text "Walt Disney Pictures presents The Lion King".
Theatrical release poster bi John Alvin[1]
Directit bi
Produced biDon Hahn
Screenplay bi
Story bi
Muisic biHans Zimmer
Eeditit biIvan Bilancio
Distributit biBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • 15 Juin 1994 (1994-06-15)
Rinnin time
88 meenits[2]
KintraUnitit States
Budget$45 million[3]
Box office$968.5 million[3]

The Lion King tells the story o Simba, a young lion that is tae succeed his faither, Mufasa, as Keeng o the Pride Lands; housomiver, efter Simba's uncle Scar murthers Mufasa, Simba is maneepulate intae thinkin he wis responsal an flees intae exile. Upon maturation leevin wi twa wastrels, Simba is gien some vailuable perspective frae his bairnheid friend, Nala, an his shaman, Rafiki, afore returnin tae challenge Scar tae end his teeranny an tak his place in the Circle of Life as the richtfu Keeng.

Development o The Lion King begoud in 1988 in a meetin atween Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney an Peter Schneider whiles promotin Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas Disch writ a film treatment, an Woolverton developpit the first scripts whiles George Scribner wis signed on as director, bein later jynt by Allers. Production begoud in 1991 concurrently wi Pocahontas, that wound up attractin maist o Disney's tap ainimators. Some time efter the staff traivelt tae Hell's Gate Naitional Pairk in Kenyae tae resairch on the film's settin an ainimals, Scribner left production differin wi the deceesion tae turn the film intae a muisical an wis replaced bi Minkoff. Whan Hahn jynt the project, he wis dissatisfee'd wi the script an the story wis quickly rewritten. Near 20 meenit o animation sequences wis produced at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. Computer animation wis forby uised in several scenes, maist notably in the wildebeest stampede sequence.

The Lion King wis released on Juin 15, 1994, tae a positive reaction frae creetics, that praised the film for its muisic, story, an animation; it feenished its theatrical rin as the heichest-grossin release o 1994 an the seicont highest-grossin film of aw time. The Lion King earnt twa Academy Awards for its achievement in muisic an the Gowden Globe Awaird for Best Motion Pictur – Muisical or Comedy. The film haes led tae mony derived warks, sic as a Broadway adaptation; twa direct-tae-video follae-ups—the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), an the prequel/parallel, The Lion King 1½ (2004)—; twa telly series, Timon and Pumbaa an The Lion Guard; a 3D re-release, in 2011; and a photorealistic remak in 2019, that itsel becam the heichest-grossin ainimatit film at the time o its release. In 2016, the film wis selectit for preservation in the Unitit States National Film Registry bi the Library of Congress as bein "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

In the Pride Lands o Africae, a lion rules ower the ainimal kinrick frae Pride Rock. Keeng Mufasa's newborn son, Simba, is presentit tae the assemmled ainimals bi Rafiki, a mandrill wha sers as shaman an advisor. Mufasa shaws young Simba the Pride Lands an explains tae him the responsibilities o keengship an the "circle o life" that connecks aw leevins. Mufasa's younger brither, Scar, covets the throne an plots tae kill Mufasa an Simba fur that he can become keeng. He tricks Simba an his best freend Nala (that Zazu reveals is trystit till Simba) intae explorin a forbidden elephants' graffyaird, whaur thay are attackit bi three spottit hyenas that are in league wi Scar. Mufasa is alertit tae the danger bi his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu, an rescues the cubs. Tho angry wi Simba, Mufasa forgies him an explains that the great keengs o the past watch ower them frae the nicht sky, frae that he will ane day watch ower Simba.

Scar sets aboot fanklin his brither an neffie, wilin Simba intae a cleuch an haein the hyenas drive a lairge herd o wildebeest intae a startle that will trample him. He informs Mufasa o Simba's danger, kennin that the keeng will rush tae save his son. Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hingin perilously frae the cleuch edge an is begowkit bi Scar, wha sends him fawin tae his daith. Scar gous ower Simba that the tragedy wis Simba's ain faut an advises him tae flee the kinrick. He orders the hyenas tae kill the cub, but Simba escapes. Scar tells the pride that baith Mufasa an Simba wis killt in the startle an staps forrit as the new keeng, allouin a lairge pack o hyenas tae bide in the Pride Lands.

Simba foonders in a desert an is rescued bi Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat an wartgaut that is fellae ootcasts. Simba growes up in the jungle wi his twa new freends, leevin a lilty life unner the slogan "hakuna matata" ("nae wirries" in Swahili). Nou an adult, Simba rescues Timon an Pumbaa frae a hungry lioness wha turns oot tae be Nala. She an Simba souder an faw in luve, an she eggles him tae return hame, tellin him the Pride Lands haes become a drocht-stricken waste unner Scar's reign. Feelin guilty ower his faither's daith, Simba refuises an rins aff. Simba encoonters Rafiki, that tells him that Mufasa' speerit leeves on in Simba. Simba is then veesitit bi the ghaist o Mufasa in the nicht sky, that tells him he maun claim his richtfu place as keeng. Realisin he canna rin ony mair frae his past, Simba chuises tae return hame.

Aidit bi his freends, Simba sneaks past the hyenas at Pride Rock an confronts Scar. Scar taunts him ower his role in Mufasa's daith an forces him tae the rock edge, whaur he reveals tae Simba that he murthert Mufasa. Hyte as he wis, Simba pins Scar tae the grund an forces him tae reveal the trowth tae the rest o the pride. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, an the lionesses fend aff the hyenas while Scar, attemptin tae escape, is cornered bi Simba at the tap o Pride Rock. Scar begs for mercy an attempts tae blame the hyenas for his actions; Simba spares his life but orders him tae leave the Pride Lands fur aye. Scar then attacks his neffie, but Simba manages tae toss him frae the tap o the rock. Scar survives the faw but is killt bi the hyenas, that owerheard him betray them tae Simba. Wi his enemies gane, Simba taks ower the keengship as the rains begin tae faw, restorin life tae the land.

Later, wi Pride Rock restored tae its umwhile glory, Rafiki presents Simba an Nala's newborn cub tae the assemmled ainimals, conteenuin the circle o life.

A promotional eemage o the chairacters frae the film. Frae left tae richt: Shenzi, Scar, Ed, Banzai, Rafiki, Young Simba, Mufasa, Young Nala, Sarabi, Zazu, Sarafina, Timon, an Pumbaa
  • Matthew Broderick as Simba, son o Mufasa an Sarabi, that graws up tae become Keeng o the Pride Lands. Joseph Williams providit adult Simba's singin vyce. Mark Henn an Ruben A. Aquino respectively sert as the supervisin ainimators for young an adult Simba.[4]
  • Jeremy Irons as Scar, Mufasa's younger brither an Simba's uncle, that taks the throne. Andreas Deja served as the supervisin animator for Scar.[4]
  • James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Simba's faither, Keeng o the Pride Lands as the film begins. Tony Fucile served as the supervisin animator for Mufasa.[4]
  • Moira Kelly as Nala, Simba's best freend an later his wife. Sally Dworsky providit her singin vyce. Aaron Blaise an Anthony de Rosa respectively sert as the supervisin animators for young an adult Nala.[4]
    • Niketa Calame providit the vyce o young Nala while Laura Williams providit her sangin vyce.[4]
  • Nathan Lane as Timon, a bourdin an sellie yet somewhit leal meerkat that forby becomes ane o Simba's best freends an adoptive paurents. Michael Surrey serrt as his owerseein animator.[4]
  • Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, a gullible warthog that suffers frae pumpin an is Timon's best friend an forby becomes ane o Simba's best friends an adoptive parents. Tony Bancroft served as his owerseein animator.[4]
  • Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, a wise auld mandrill (awtho, while coonselin Simba, he jokes that "ye are a baboon, an I amnae") that serves as shaman o the Pride Lands an presents newborn cubs o the Keeng an Queen tae the ainimals o the Pride Lands. James Baxter served as the owerseein ainimator for Rafiki.[4]
  • Rowan Atkinson as Zazu, a hornbill that serves as the keeng's majordomo (or "Mufasa's little stooge", as Shenzi caws him). Ellen Woodbury served as the owerseein animator for Zazu.[4]
  • Madge Sinclair as Sarabi, Mufasa's mate, Simba's mither, an the leader o the lioness huntin pairty. Russ Edmonds served as the owerseein animator for Sarabi.[4]
  • The three hyenas that serve Scar wis ainimatit bi Alex Kupershmidt an David Burgess.[4]
    • Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi, the gallus an capernicious female leader o the trio.
    • Cheech Marin as Banzai, a bairgin an atterie hyena that's aften ready tae molligrant an ackin in a gliff.
    • Jim Cummings as Ed, a donnert hyena that disnae talk, anly communicatin throu lauchter. Cummings forby vyced a gopher that talks wi Zazu an replaced Irons as Scar in certaint lines o "Be Prepared" efter Irons blew his vyce.[5]
  • Zoe Leader as Sarafina, Nala's mither, that is shawn briefly talkin tae Simba's mither, Sarabi.





The idea for The Lion King wis conceived in late 1988 amang a conversation atween Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney an Peter Schneider on a plane tae Europe fur tae promuive Oliver & Company. Amang the conversation, the topic o a story set in Africa cam up, an Katzenberg immediately stendit at the idea.[6] The idea wis then developpit by Walt Disney Feature Animation's vice preses for creative affairs Charlie Fink.[7] Katzenberg decidit tae add elements insnorlin comin o age an daith, an ideas frae personal life experiences, sic as some o his bouts in his roch road in politics, sayin anent the film, "It is a little bit about myself."[8] In November o that year Thomas Disch (author o The Brave Little Toaster) wrote a treatment entitled King of the Kalahari,[9] an efterwart, Linda Woolverton spent a year writin drauchts o the script, that wis titled King of the Beasts an then King of the Jungle.[7] The oreeginal version o the film wis verra different frae the feenal film. The plot wis centred on a battle atween lions an baboons wi Scar bein the leader o the baboons, Rafiki bein a cheetah,[8] an Timon an Pumbaa bein Simba's bairnheid freends.[10] Simba wadnae leave the kinrick aither, but become a "lazy, huggerie, gruesome chairacter" due tae maneepulations frae Scar, sae Simba coud be owerthrawn efter comin o age. By 1990, producer Thomas Schumacher, that haed just completit The Rescuers Down Under, decidit tae yoke the project "acause lions is cuil".[7] Schumacher likened the script for King of the Jungle tae "an animatit National Geographic special".[11]

Oliver & Company director George Scribner wis the initial director o the film,[12] bein later jynt by Roger Allers, that wis the lead story man on Beauty and the Beast in October 1991.[6] Allers brocht wi him Brenda Chapman, that wad become the heid o story.[7] Efterhaund, several o the lead crew members, includin Allers, Scribner, Hahn, Chapman, an production designer Chris Sanders, teuk a trip tae Hell's Gate Naitional Pairk in Kenyae, in order tae study an gain an appreciation o the environment for the film.[13] Efter sax month o story development wark Scribner decidit tae leave the project, as he clashed wi Allers an the producers on thair deceesion tae turn the film intae a muisical, as Scribner's intention wis o makkin a documentary-lik film mair focused on naitural aspects.[6][14] Rob Minkoff replaced Scribner,[13] an producer Don Hahn jynt the production as Schumacher becam anly an executive producer due tae Disney promuivin him tae Vice Preses o Development for Feature Animation.[11] Hahn foond the script unfocused an lackin a clear theme, an efter estaiblishin the main theme as "leavin bairnheid an facin up tae the realities o the warld", askit fur a final retool. Allers, Minkoff, Chapman an Hahn then rewrit the story atouer twa week o meetins wi directors Kirk Wise an Gary Trousdale, that haed juist feenished Beauty and the Beast.[13] The script an aa haed its teetle chynged frae King of the Jungle tae The Lion King, as the settin wis nae the jungle but the savannah.[6]

The Lion King wis the first Disney ainimatit faitur tae be an oreeginal story, raither than be based on an awreidy existin wirk. The filmmakers haes said that the story o The Lion King wis inspired bi the lifes o Joseph an Moses, frae the Bible, an William Shakespeare's Hamlet.[15] In the simmer o 1992, the team wis jynt by screenwriter Irene Mecchi, wi a seicont screenwriter, Jonathan Roberts, jynin a few month efter. Mecchi an Roberts teuk chairge o the reveesion process, fixin wanreponed emotional issues in the script an addin divert material fur Pumbaa, Timon an the hyenas.[4] Lyricist Tim Rice wirkit close wi the writin team, fleein tae Californie at least ance a month acause his sangs needit tae wirk in the narrative conteenuity. Rice's lyrics—that war rewirkit up tae the production's end—war pinned tae the storybuirds durin development.[13] Rewrites wis frequent, wi animator Andreas Deja sayin that completit scenes wad be deleevered, anly fur the repone tae be that pairts needit tae be reainimatit acause o dialogue chynges.[7]



The vyce actors wis chuisen for how thay fit an coud add tae the chairacters—fur instance, James Earl Jones wis cast acause the directors foond his vyce "pouerfu" an seemilar tae a lion's roar.[16] Jones commentit that throu the years o production, Mufasa "became mair an mair o a gaupie da steid o [a] grand king".[17]

Nathan Lane oreeginally audeetioned for Zazu, an Ernie Sabella, for ane o the hyenas. Upon meetin ilk ither at the recordin studio, the actors, that at the time baith co-starred in Guys and Dolls, wis askit tae record thegither as hyenas. The directors laucht at thair performance an decidit tae cast thaim as Timon an Pumbaa.[16][18] For the hyenas, the oreeginal intention wis tae reunite Cheech & Chong, but while Cheech Marin acceptit tae play Banzai, Tommy Chong wisnae available. Sicweys his role wis changed intae a female hyena, Shenzi, that wis vyced bi Whoopi Goldberg.[10]

Matthew Broderick wis cast as adult Simba early in production, an in the three years o vyce actin anly recordit wi anither actor ance, an anly diskivered Moira Kelly vyced Nala at the premiere.[19] Jeremy Irons haed at first refuised the role due tae no bein feel gaun frae the dramatic performance as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune tae a comedic role. But ance he came in, Irons' performance even inspired the writers tae incorporate mair o his actin as von Bülow—addin ane o that chairacter's lines, "Ye hae nae idea"—an animator Andreas Deja tae watch baith Reversal of Fortune an Damage tae pick up Irons's facial traits an tics.[17][20]



"The Lion King wis conseidert a wee film acause we war gangin tae tak some risks. The pitch fur the story wis a lion cub gets framed for murther bi his uncle set tae the muisic o Elton John. Fowk said, 'Whit? Guid luck wi that.' But for some reason, the fowk wha endit up on the film wis heichly passionate aboot it an motivatit."

Don Hahn[18]

The development o The Lion King coincided with that o Pocahontas, that maist o the animators o Walt Disney Feature Animation decidit tae wirk on insteid, believin it wad be the mair prestigious an sonsie o the twa.[15] The story artists forby didnae hae muckle faith in the project, wi Chapman declarin she wis laith tae accept the job "acause the story wisna verra guid",[7] an writer Burny Mattinson saying tae co-wirker Joe Ranft "A dinnae ken wha is gaunae want tae watch that ane."[14] Most o the leadin animators aither war daein thair first major wirk supervisin a chiaracter, or haed muckle interest in ainimatin an ainimal.[8] Thirteen o thir owerseein animators, baith in California an Florida, wis responsible for establishin the personalities an settin the tone for the film's main chairacters. The ainimation leads for the main chairacters includit Mark Henn on young Simba, Ruben A. Aquino on adult Simba, Andreas Deja on Scar, Aaron Blaise on young Nala, Anthony DeRosa on adult Nala, an Tony Fucile on Mufasa.[4] Naur 20 meenit o the film, includin the "A jist Cannae Wait tae Be King" sequence,[10] wis ainimate at the Disney-MGM Studios facility. Mair nor 600 artists, ainimators, an technicians contreibutit tae The Lion King.[12] Weeks afore the film wis tae be released, 1994 Northridge yirdquauk shut doun the studio an required the animators tae finish thair wirk frae hame.[21]

The chairacter ainimators studied real-life ainimals for reference, as wis duin for the 1942 Disney film Bambi. Jim Fowler, weel-kent wildlife expert, veesitit the studios on several occasions wi a omnie-gaitherum o lions an ither savannah indwallers tae commune anent behaviour an help the animators gie thair drawins authenticity.[13] The animators forby studied ainimal muivements at the Miami MetroZoo unner guidance frae wildlife expert Ron Magill.[22] The Pride Lands is modeled efter the Kenyan naitional pairk veesitit bi the crew. Varied focal lenths an lenses wis employed tae differ frae the habitual portrayal o Africae in documentaries—that employ telephoto lenses tae film the wildlife frae a distance. The epic feel drew inspiration frae concept studies bi airtist Hans Bacher — whilk, follaein Scribner's request for realism, tried tae depaint eftercomes lik lens flare — an the wirks o penters Charles Marion Russell, Frederic Remington an Maxfield Parrish.[13][23] Acause the chairacters wisnae anthropomorphised, aw the ainimators haed tae learn tae draw fower-leggit ainimals, an the story an chairacter development wis filmed throu uise o langer shots follaein the chairacters.[10]

Computers helpit the filmmakkers tae present thair veesion in new ways. Fur the "wildebeest startle" sequence, several sindry wildebeest chairacters wis creatit in a 3D computer program, multiplied intae hunders, cel shadit fur tae leuk lik drawn animation, an gien randomised paths doun a moontainside tae seemulate the real, wanpredeectable muivement o a herd.[24] Five speicially trained ainimators an technicians spent mair nor twa year creautin the twa-and-a-hauf-meenit startle.[4] The CAPS helpit tae seemulate camra muivements sic as trackin shots, an wis employed in colourin, lichtin, an pairticle effects.[10]



Lyricist Tim Rice, that wis wirkin wi componer Alan Menken on sangs for Aladdin, wis invitit tae write the sangs, an accepit on the condeetion o finnin a componin pairtner. As Menken wisnae available, the producers accepit Rice's suggestion o Elton John,[16] efter Rice's invitation o ABBA fell throu due tae Benny Andersson bein busy wi the musical Kristina från Duvemåla.[8] John expressed an interest in writin "ultra-pop songs that weans wad like; then bodies-muckle can awa an see thae films an get jist sae muckle pleisur oot o thaim", mentionin a possible hank fae The Jungle Book, whaur he felt the "muisic wis sae funny an chairmt weans an bodies-muckle".[25]

John an Rice wrote five oreeginal sangs for the film ("Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", "Be Prepared", "Hakuna Matata", an "Can You Feel the Love Tonight") wi John's performance o "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" playin ower the end credits.[26] The IMAX an DVD releases addit anither sang, "The Morning Report", based on a sang discairdit durin development that eventually featurt in the live muisical version o The Lion King.[27] The score wis componed bi Hans Zimmer, that wis hired based on his wirk in twa films in African settings, The Power of One an A World Apart,[13] an supplementit the score wi tradeetional African muisic an choir elements arranged bi Lebo M.[26] Zimmer's partners Mark Mancina an Jay Rifkin helped wi arrangements an song production.[28]

The Lion King oreeginal motion picture soundtrack wis released by Walt Disney Records on Julie 13, 1994. It wis the fowert-best-selling album o the year on the Billboard 200 an the top-selling soundtrack.[29] It is the anly soundtrack for an animated film tae be certified Diamond (10× platinum) bi the Recording Industry Association of America. Zimmer's complete instrumental score for the film wis never oreeginally gien a full release by Disney, until the soundtrack's commemorative 20t anniversary re-release in 2014.[30] The Lion King an aa inspired the 1995 release Rhythm of the Pride Lands, wi aicht songs by Zimmer, Mancina, an Lebo M.[31]

The uise o the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in a scene wi Timon an Pumbaa led tae disputes atween Disney an the faimily o South African Solomon Linda, that componed the song (oreeginally titled "Mbube") in 1939. In Julie 2004, Linda's filed suit, seeking $1.6 million in royalties frae Disney. In Februar 2006, Linda's heirs reached a legal dounset wi Abilene Music, that held the warldwide richts an haed licensed the sang tae Disney for an undisclosed amunt o money.[32]



For The Lion King's first film trailer, Disney optit tae featur a single scene, the enteer appenin sequence wi the song "Circle of Life". Buena Vista Pictures Distribution preses Dick Cook said the deceesion wis made for sic an approach acause "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", an Don Hahn added 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 wis released in November 1993, accompanyin The Three Musketeers in theatres, as anly a third o The Lion King haed been completit.[33][34] Audience reaction wis enthusiastic, causin Hahn tae hae some ineetial concerns as he becam afraid o nae livin up tae the expectations raised bi the preview.[33] Prior tae the film's release, Disney did 11 test screenins.[35]

Upon release, The Lion King wis accompanied bi an extensive mercatin campaign that included tie-ins wi Burger King, Mattel, Kodak, Nestlé an Payless ShoeSource, an various merchandise,[36] accounting 186 licensed products.[37][38] In 1994, Disney earned approximately $1 billion wi products based on the film,[39] wi $214 million for Lion King toys during Christmas 1994 alane.[40]

Home media


The Lion King wis first released on VHS an laserdisc in the United States on Mairch 3, 1995, unner Disney's "Masterpiece Collection" video series. The VHS tape conteened a special preview for Walt Disney Pictures' then-upcomin ainimatit film Pocahontas, in that the teetle chairacter (vyced bi Judy Kuhn) sings the musical nummer "Colors of the Wind".[41] In addition, Deluxe Editions o baith formats war released. The VHS Deluxe Edition included the film, an exclusive lithograph o Rafiki an Simba (in some editions), a commemorative "Circle of Life" epigraph, sax concept airt lithographs, anither tape wi the hauf-oor TV shaw The Making of The Lion King, an a certificate o authenticity. The CAV laserdisc Deluxe Edition an aa conteened the film, sax concept airt lithographs an The Making of The Lion King, an addit storybuirds, chairacter design airtwark, concept airt, rough animation, an a directors' commentary that the VHS edeetion did nae hae, on a tot o fower dooble sidit discs. The VHS tape quickly becam the best-sellin videotape o aw time: 4.5 million tapes war sauld on the first day[42] an ultimately sales totaled mair nor 30 million[43] afore thir home video versions went intae moratorium in 1997.[44]

On October 7, 2003, the film wis re-released on VHS an released on DVD for the first time, teetled The Lion King: Platinum Edition, as pairt o Disney's Platinum Edition line o animated classic DVDs. The DVD release featurt twa versions o the film on the first disc, a remastered version creatit for the 2002 IMAX release an an edited version o the IMAX release purporting tae be the oreeginal 1994 theatrical version.[45] A seicont disc, wi bonus features, wis an aa included in the DVD release. The film's soundtrack wis providit baith in its oreeginal Dolby 5.1 track an in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix, makin this ane o the first Disney DVDs sae equipped.[46] By means o seamless branching, the film coud be viewed aither wi or wioot a newly creatit scene – a short conversation in the film replaced wi a complete song ("The Morning Report"). A Special Collector's Gift Set wis an aa released, containing the DVD set, five exclusive lithographed chairacter portraits (new sketches creatit an signed bi the oreeginal chairacter animators), an an introductory book entitled The Journey.[44] The Platinum Edition o The Lion King featurt changes made tae the film during its IMAX re-release, includin re-drawn crocodiles in the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence as well as ither alterations.[45] Mair nor twa million copies o the Platinum Edition DVD an VHS units war sauld on the first day o release.[42] A DVD boxed set o the three The Lion King films (in twa-disc Special Edition formats) wis released on December 6, 2004. In Januar 2005, the film, alang wi the sequels, went back intae moratorium.[47]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the Diamond Edition o The Lion King on October 4, 2011.[48] This marks the time that the film haes been released in heich-definition Blu-ray an on Blu-ray 3D.[48][49] The initial release wis produced in three different packages: a twa-disc version wi Blu-ray an DVD; a fower-disc version wi Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray 3D, an digital copy; an an aicht-disc box set that an aa includes the sequels The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride an The Lion King 1½.[48][49] A standalone single-disc DVD release an aa followed on November 15, 2011.[48] The Diamond Edition topped the Blu-ray charts wi ower 1.5 million copies sauld.[50] The film sauld 3.83 million Blu-ray units in tot, leadin tae a $101.14 million income.[51]



Box office


The Lion King earned $422,783,777 in North America an an $545,700,000 in ither territories for a warldwide tot o $968,483,777.[3] It is currently the 29nt highest-grossing film,[52] the saxt highest-grossing animated film o aw time worldwide an the third highest-grossing film o Walt Disney Animation Studios (behind Frozen an Zootopia).[53] The film wis an aa the highest-grossing motion picture o 1994 worldwide.[54] Efter its initial run, haein earned $763.4 million,[55] it ranked as the seicont-highest-grossing film o aw time worldwide, behind Jurassic Park .[56] It held the record for the highest-grossing animated feature film (in North America, ootside North America, an worldwide) until it wis surpassed bi the computer animated Finding Nemo (2003), Shrek 2 (2004), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), an Toy Story 3 (2010) prior tae the 2011 re-release. Wi the earnings o the 3D run, The Lion King surpassed aw the aforementioned films but Toy Story 3 tae rank as the seicont-highest-grossing animated film worldwide—later downgraded tae saxt efter Frozen (2013), Minions (2015), an Zootopia (2016)—an it remains the highest-grossing haund-drawn animated film.[57] It is an aa the biggest animated movie o the last 50 years in terms o estimatit attendance.[58]

Original theatrical run


The Lion King haed a leemitit release in North America on Juin 15, 1994, playin in anly twa theaters, El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles an Radio City Music Hall in New York City.[59] It still earned $1,586,753 across the weekend o Juin 17–19, staundin at the tenth place o the box office ranking.[60] The average o $793,377 per theater stands as the lairgest ever achieved during a weekend.[61] The wide release followed on Juin 24, 1994, in 2,550 screens. The digital surround sound o the film led mony o those theaters tae implement Dolby Laboratories' newest sound seestems.[62] The Lion King grossed $40.9 million – that at the time wis the fowert biggest openin weekend earnin iver an the heichest sum for a Disney film  – tae tap the weekend box office.[12] It an aa earned a rare "A+" rating frae CinemaScore.[63] Bi the end o its theatrical run, in ware 1995, it haed earned $312,855,561,[3] bein the seicont-highest-grossing 1994 film in North America ahint Forrest Gump.[64] Ootside North Americae, it earned $455.8 million in its ineetial rin, for a warldwide tot o $768.6 million.[55] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sauld ower 74 million tickets in the US in its ineetial theatrical rin.[65]


IMAX and large-format

The film wis re-issued on December 25, 2002 for IMAX an large-format theaters. Don Hahn explained that aicht years efter The Lion King got its oreeginal release, "there was a whole new generation of kids who haven't really seen it, particularly on the big screen." Gien the film haed already been digitally archived during production, the restoration process wis easier, while an aa providin mony scenes wi enhancements that covered up oreeginal deficiencies.[35][66] An enhanced sound mix wis an aa providit, tae as Hahn explained, "make the audience feel like they're in the middle of the movie."[35] On its first weekend, The Lion King made $2.7 million frae 66 locations, a $27,664 per theater average. This run ended wi $15,686,215 on Mey 30, 2003.[67]

3D conversion

In 2011, The Lion King wis converted tae 3D for a twa-week leemitit theatrical re-issue an subsequent 3D Blu-ray release.[48][68] The film opened at the nummer ane spot on Friday, September 16, 2011 wi $8.9 million[69] an finished the weekend wi $30.2 million, ranking nummer ane at the box office. This made The Lion King the first re-issue release tae earn the nummer-ane slot at the American weekend box office syne the re-issue o Return of the Jedi in Mairch 1997.[57] The film an aa achieved the fowert-highest September openin weekend o aw time.[70] It held off very well on its seicont weekend, again earnin first place at the box office wi a 27 percent decline tae $21.9 million.[71] Most box-office observers haed expected the film tae faw aboot 50 percent in its seicont weekend an war an aa expecting Moneyball tae be at first place.[72]

Efter its initial box-office success, mony theaters decidit tae continue tae shaw the film for mair nor twa weeks, even tho its 3D Blu-ray release wis scheduled for twa-and-a-hauf weeks efter its theatrical release.[71] In North America, the 3D re-release ended its run in theaters on Januar 12, 2012 wi a gross $94,242,001. Ootside North America, it earned $83,400,000.[73] The successfu 3D re-release o The Lion King made Disney an Pixar plan 3D theatrical re-releases o Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., an The Little Mermaid during 2012 an 2013.[74] Houiver, nane o the re-releases o the first three films achieved the enormous success o The Lion King 3D an theatrical re-release o The Little Mermaid wis ultimately cancelled.[75] In 2012, Ray Subers o Box Office Mojo wrote that the reason why the 3D version o The Lion King succeeded wis acause, "the notion of a 3D re-release was still fresh and exciting, and The Lion King (3D) felt timely given the movie's imminent Blu-ray release. Audiences have been hit with three 3D re-releases in the year since, meaning the novelty value has definitely worn off."[76]

Critical response


The Lion King wis released tae critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating o 91%, based on 113 reviews, wi an average rating o 8.33 oot o 10. It an aa ranked 56th on thair "Top 100 Animation Movies".[77] 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."[78] On Metacritic, the film haes a score o 83 oot o 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[79] CinemaScore reportit that audiences gae the film a rare "A+" grade.[80]

Roger Ebert gae it 3 1/2 oot o 4-stars an cried the film "a superbly drawn animated feature" an, in his prent 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."[81] On the telly program Siskel & Ebert, the film wis praised but received a mixed reaction whan compared tae previous Disney films. Ebert an his pairtner Gene Siskel baith gae the film a "Thumbs Up" but Siskel said that it wis nae as guid as earlier films sic as Beauty and the Beast an wis "a good film, not a great one".[82] Hal Hinson o The Washington Post cried it "an impressive, almost daunting achievement" an felt that the film wis "spectacular in a manner that has nearly become commonplace with Disney's feature-length animations", but wis less enthusiastic taewart the end o his review sayin, "Shakespearean in tone, epic in scope, it seems more appropriate for grown-ups than for kids. If truth be told, even for adults it is downright strange."[83]

Owen Gleiberman o Entertainment Weekly praised the film, writin that it "has the resonance to stand not just as a terrific cartoon but as an emotionally pungent movie".[84] Rolling Stone film creetic Peter Travers praised the film an felt that it wis "a hugely entertaining blend of music, fun and eye-popping thrills, though it doesn't lack for heart".[85] James Berardinelli frae ReelViews praised the film saying, "With each new animated release, Disney seems to be expanding its already-broad horizons a little more. The Lion King is the most mature (in more than one sense) of these films, and there clearly has been a conscious effort to please adults as much as children. Happily, for those of us who generally stay far away from 'cartoons', they have succeeded."[86]

Some reviewers still haed problems wi the film's narrative. The staff o TV Guide wrote that while The Lion King wis technically proficient an enterteenin, it "offers a less memorable song score than did the previous hits, and a hasty, unsatisfying dramatic resolution."[87] The New Yorker's Terrence Rafferty considered that despite the guid ainimation, the story felt lik "manipulat[ing] our responses at will", as "Between traumas, the movie serves up soothingly banal musical numbers and silly, rambunctious comedy".[88]



The Lion King received fower Golden Globe an Academy Awaird nominations. The film wad go on tae win twa Golden Globes; for Best Motion Pictur – Muisical or Comedy an Best Oreeginal Score,[89] as well as twa Academy Awairds, for Best Oreeginal Score (Hans Zimmer) an Best Oreeginal Sang wi "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John an Tim Rice.[90] The sangs "Circle of Life" an "Hakuna Matata" war an aa nominatit.[90] "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" an aa wan the Grammy Awaird for Best Male Vocal Performance.[91] The Lion King an aa won Annie Awairds for Best Ainimatit Featur, Best Achievement in Vyce Actin (for Jeremy Irons) an Best Individual Achievement for Story Contreibution in the Field o Animation.[92]

At the Saturn Awairds, the film wis nominatit in twa categories, Best Fantasy Film an Best Performance bi a Younger Actor awtho it did nae win in aither category.[93] The film an aa received twa nominations at the British Academy Film Awards, for Best Soond as weel as the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music awtho it lost in baith categories tae Speed an Backbeat respectively.[94] The film received twa BMI Film & TV Awards for Film Music an Most Performed Song wi "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."[95] At the 1995 MTV Movie Awards, the film received nominations for Best Villain an Best Song, tho it lost in baith categories.[96] The Lion King won the Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie at the 1995 Kids' Choice Awards.[97]

In 2008, The Lion King wis ranked as the 319t greatest film ever made bi Empire magazine,[98] an in Juin 2011, TIME named it ane o "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".[99] In Juin 2008, the American Film Institute listed The Lion King as the fowert best film in the animation genre in its AFI's 10 Top 10 leet,[100] haein previously put "Hakuna Matata" as 99t on its AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs rankin.[101]

In 2016, the film wis selected for preservation in the Unitit States National Film Registry bi the Library of Congress as bein "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".



Certaint elements o the film war considered tae bear a resemblance tae a 1960s Japanese anime telly shaw, Jungle Emperor (kent as Kimba the White Lion in the United States), wi chairacters haein seemilar analogues, an various individual scenes bein seemilar in composition tae the shaw. Matthew Broderick believed initially that he wis, in fact wirkin on an American version o Kimba syne he wis familiar wi the Japanese oreeginal.[102] Houiver The Lion King director, Roger Allers, claimed he wis unfamiliar wi the shaw:

The whole time I worked on The Lion King the name of that show never came up. At least I never heard it. I had never seen the show and really only became aware of it as Lion King was being completed, and someone showed me images of it. I worked with George Scribner and Linda Woolverton to develop the story in the early days but then left to help out on Aladdin. If one of them were familiar with Kimba they didn’t say. Of course, it’s possible... Many story ideas developed and changed along the way, always just to make our story stronger. I could certainly understand Kimba’s creators feeling angry if they felt we had stolen ideas from them. If I had been inspired by Kimba I would certainly acknowledge my inspiration. All I can offer is my respect to those artists and say that their creation has its loyal admirers and its assured place in animation history.[103]

Co-director Rob Minkoff claimed he wis unfameeliar wi it "I know for a fact that ["Kimba"] haes never been discussed as lang as I've been on the project... In my experience, if Disney becomes aware o anything lik that, thay say you will nae dae it. Fowk are claiming copyright infringement aw the time." He statit that whaniver a story is based in Africae, it is "not unusual to have characters like a baboon, a bird or hyenas." an aw.[104] Yoshihiro Shimizu, o Tezuka Productions, that creatit Kimba the White Lion, haes refuted rumours that the studio wis peyed hush money by Disney but explains that thay rejected urges frae within the industry tae sue acause, "we're a small, weak company. It wouldn't be worth it anyway ... Disney's lawyers are among the top twenty in the world!"[105]

Protests war raised against ane scene whaur it appears as if the wird "SEX" might hae been embeddit intae the dust fleein in the sky whan Simba flops doun,[106] that conservative activist Donald Wildmon assertit wis a subliminal message intendit tae promote sexual promiscuity. Ane of the animators, Tom Sito, haes stated that the letters spell "SFX" (a common abbreviation for "special effects"), nae wi an "E" insteid o the "F", an war intendit as an innocent "signature" creatit bi the effects animation team.[107]

Hyena biologists protestit against the ainimal's portrayal: ane hyena resaircher sued Disney studios for defamation o chairacter,[108] an anither—that haed organised the animators' veesit tae the Varsity o Californie's Field Station for Behavioural Research, whaur thay wad observe an skeitch captive hyenas—[109] includit boycottin The Lion King amang the weys it wad help preserve hyenas in the wild.[110] The hyenas hae an aa been interpretit tae represent an anti-immigrant allegory, whaur the hyenas wad be black an Latino ethnic commonties.[111][112][113][114] The film haes an aa been creeticised for advancin a fascist narrative in its portrayal o the lion kinrick an the circle o life whaur "only the strong and the beautiful triumph, and the powerless survive only by serving the strong."[115]



Sequels an spin-offs


The first Lion King-relatit ainimatit projects involved the chairacters o Timon an Pumbaa. First, the duo starned in the ainimatit short "Stand by Me", featurin Timon singin the eponymous sang, that wis released in 1995 accompanyin the theatrical release o Tom and Huck. Then the duo received thair ain ainimatit shaw, The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa, that ran for three saisons an 85 episodes atween 1995 an 1999. Ernie Sabella conteena'd tae vyce Pumbaa, while Timon wis vyced bi Quinton Flynn an Kevin Schon in addeetion tae Nathan Lane.[116]

Disney released twa direct-to-video films relatit tae The Lion King. The first wis sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, released in 1998 on VHS. The film centres aroond Simba an Nala's dochter, Kiara, that faws in love wi Kovu, a male lion that wis raised in a pride o Scar's follaers, the Outsiders.[117] 2004 saw the release o anither Lion King film on DVD, The Lion King 1½. It is a prequel in shawin how Timon an Pumbaa met ilk ither, an an aa a parallel in that it an aa depicts what the chairacters war retconned tae hae duin in the events o the oreeginal movie.[118]

In Juin 2014, it wis annoonced that a new TV series based on the film wad be released cried The Lion Guard, featurin Kion, the seicont-born cub of Simba an Nala. The Lion Guard is a sequel to The Lion King an takes place during the time-gap within The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.[119] It wis first broadcast on Disney Channel as a telly film titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar in November 2015 afore airing as a series on Disney Junior in Januar 2016.[120][121]

CGI live-action remake


In September 2016, follaein the critical and financial success of The Jungle Book, Walt Disney Pictures annoonced that thay war developin a CGI creatit live-action remake of The Lion King, with Jon Favreau directing.[122] The follaein month, Jeff Nathanson wis hired to write the script for the film.[123] Favreau will shoot it back to back with The Second Jungle Book.[122][124] In Februar 2017, Favreau annoonced that Donald Glover haed been cast as Simba and that James Earl Jones wad be reprising the role of Mufasa.[125] The follaein month, it wis reportit that Beyoncé wis Favreau's top choice to vyce Nala, but she haed nae acceptit the role yet due to a pregnancy.[126] In Apryle 2017, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen jynt the film as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.[127]

Production for the film begoud in Mey 2017.[128] It wis released on 19 Julie 2019.[129]

Video games


Alang wi the film release, three different video gemmes based on The Lion King war released bi Virgin Interactive in December 1994. The main teetle wis developed bi Westwood Studios, an published for PC an Amiga computers an the consoles SNES an Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Dark Technologies creatit the Game Boy version, while Syrox Developments handled the Master System an Game Gear version.[130] The film an sequel Simba's Pride later inspired anither gemme, Torus Games' The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure (2000) for the Game Boy Color an PlayStation.[131] Timon an Pumbaa an aa appeared in Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games, a 1995 PC gemme collection o puzzle games by 7th Level, later ported tae the SNES by Tiertex.[132]

The Square Enix series Kingdom Hearts featurs Simba as a recurring summon,[133][134] as well as a playable in the Lion King warld, kent as Pride Lands, in Kingdom Hearts II. Thare the plotline is lowsely relatit tae the later pairt o the oreeginal film, wi aw o the main chairacters except Zazu an Sarabi.[135] The Lion King an aa provides ane o the worlds featurt in the 2011 action-adventure gemme Disney Universe,[136] an Simba wis featurt in the Nintendo DS title Disney Friends (2008).[137]

Stage adaptations


Walt Disney Theatrical produced a muisical stage adaptation o the same name, that premiered in Minneapolis, Minnesota in Julie 1997, an later appent on Broadway in October 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The Lion King muisical wis directit bi Julie Taymor[138] an featurt songs frae baith the movie an Rhythm of the Pride Lands, alang wi three new composeetions bi Elton John an Tim Rice. Mark Mancina did the muisical arrangements an new orchestral tracks.[139] The muisical becam ane o the maist successfu in Broadway history, winnin sax Tony Awairds includin Best Muisical, an despite muivin tae the Minskoff Theatre in 2006, is still rinnin tae this day in New York, becomin the third langest-rinnin shaw an heichest grossin Broadway production in history. The shaw's financial success led tae adaptations aw ower the warld.[11][140][141]

The Lion King inspired twa attractions retellin the story o the film at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The first, "The Legend of the Lion King", featurt a recreation o the film throu life-size puppets o its chairacters, an ran frae 1994 tae 2002 at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.[142] Anither that is still rinnin is the live-action 30-minute muisical revue o the movie, "Festival of the Lion King", that incorporates the muisical nummers intae gymnastic routines wi leeve actors, alang wi animatronic puppets o Simba an Pumba an a costumed actor as Timon. The attraction appent in Aprile 1998 at Disney World's Animal Kingdom,[143] an in September 2005 in Hong Kong Disneyland's Adventureland.[144] A seemilar version under the name "The Legend of the Lion King" wis featurt in Disneyland Paris frae 2004 tae 2009.[145][146]


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