Disney Fans Delight in New Lion King Film

Fans are divided over the potential successes and failures this remake could bring.

Anna Harshman, Staff Writer

Walt Disney Studios

The trailer for the remake of The Lion King hit a record breaking number of views for any Disney film, exciting Woodside students and forecasting success for the highly anticipated movie.

On November 22, Walt Disney Studios released a trailer advertising the new ‘live action’ remake of the 1994 film, The Lion King, set to release on July 19, 2019. Uploaded to YouTube, the minute and a half video displays photoreal animation and excerpts of the original soundtrack. Moreso, it gained more than 224.6 million views in just the first twenty-four hours.

The Lion King was one of the best selling Disney renaissance movies in the nineties, so everyone’s excited to see this movie, especially millennials because it was so popular when they were little.”

— Sam Borthwick

“With all of the new technology, I’m really looking forward to seeing the evolution of the film,” Sierra Doran, a Woodside High School sophomore and cinema club member, stated.

The trailer opened on a shot of an African safari, playing the beloved song The Circle of Life. The trailer’s success may have been in part due to this, as many viewers seemed to appreciate the traditional shot after being fearful that the remake film would stray too far from the original.

“I think that it’s really exciting for there to be a new live action movie coming out,” Camille Lagunera, a Woodside sophomore, emphasized. “It’d definitely interesting to see how Disney has evolved with the technology and the CGI and interesting to think of the next generation of Disney kids, and how they will respond to this.”

As can be gathered from the overwhelming number of views of the trailer, many Disney fanatics as well as movie aficionados have shown extreme excitement over the film.

“I think it’s because The Lion King was one of the best selling Disney renaissance movies in the nineties, so everyone’s excited to see this movie, especially millennials because it was so popular when they were little,” Sam Borthwick, Woodside senior and extreme Disney devotee, commented.

On the other hand, some have been extremely loyal to the original film, and skeptical of the possibility for success the remake holds.

“I think people are so split [over the film] because they want it to remind them of their childhood,” Borthwick analyzed. “But this is supposed to be different, so some people want the movie to be exactly like the original, because they want the nostalgia factor, and some people want it to be new and different so that they don’t copy the same old story.”

Disney Twitter
Many known names are set to star in the film, exciting fans both old and new.

However, the sheer number of views of the trailer seems to have The Lion King off to an auspicious start: in past years, Disney remakes have proved to be far less popular than their  original counterparts. The 1996 live-action rendition of 101 Dalmatians grossed a mere 320.7 million, in comparison to the 864.2 million grossed by the 1961 original film. Similarly, the original Cinderella grossed (in modern-day value) an impressive 976.9 million, whereas the 2015 remake only grossed 543.5.

“Remakes are always difficult because there’s always going to be people comparing it to the original,” Doran continued. “But if it’s live action, with that I think helps it so people aren’t comparing it as much.”

In comparison, the current predicted gross from Go Banking Rates of The Lion King remake is a shocking 1.9 billion, whereas the original only grossed 967 million. This may be in part due to nostalgic memories, as well as a star-studded cast. Donald Glover, Beyonce, and John Oliver have been confirmed for the roles of Simba, Nala, and Zazu respectively, while James Earl Jones will return for his second performance of Mufasa.

“I definitely hope that Disney continues to follow their philosophy of making characters that you can relate to, and admire for their hardships, rather than what they succeed,” Lagunera concluded.