Disney has Finally Remade “The Lion King”

Disney fans wait anxiously as "The Lion King" release date quickly approaches


Jacob Barton

This poster, made for the 2019 remake of The Lion King, can be seen outside of many theaters to entice those passing by.

The Lion King’s theatrical success has led to many sequels and adaptations, including a live show that has been performed on Broadway.

Is the remake ever as good as the original? This question, debated in circles from film, to music, to books, has once again been brought to the forefront in anticipation of Disney’s CGI remake of The Lion King, set to be released on the 25th anniversary of its initial release. Ever since it was brought to theaters in 1994 as Disney’s 32nd animated feature film, the tale of the young lion Simba’s evolution from a scared orphan to the king of the African pridelands has been a beloved Disney classic, garnering countless awards, including two Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, and various musical awards for the soundtrack, composed of songs by Elton John, Tim Rice, and legendary composer Hans Zimmer.

Blu-ray copies of the 2010 “Alice in Wonderland” remake lie in a bin at Costco, ready for purchase.

This is part of a current Disney campaign to remake many of its classic films using modern Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) technology, the first of which (though some dispute it) is 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, the remake of the original 1951 film of the same name.

After the campaign’s inception, many wondered when it would be The Lion King’s turn to be remade, as it is considered one of Disney’s flagship animated films.  Finally, in September 2016 it was confirmed that a remake was in the works, using the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones. The film’s soundtrack will once again be produced by Hans Zimmer, and the director is going to be Jon Favreau, known for films such as the Iron Man and Avengers series. The Lion King will actually be Favreau’s second Disney remake that he has directed, having worked on The Jungle Book in 2016. This is set to be Disney’s 10th modern remake, and the third to be released in 2019, following Dumbo, in March, and Aladdin, scheduled for release in May.

Though many undoubtedly are planning on seeing The Lion King once it hits theaters in July, viewer expectations vary due to Disney’s hit-or-miss reception for each of its modern remakes. While the visual effects of all of these films are understandably impressive and well-received, the reception of the movies as a whole vary widely. Dumbo, the remake most recently released, holds only a 47 percent on movie aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes and was referred to as crowded and “more workmanlike than wondrous” by critics, providing a stark contrast to the typical 70 percent or above that these remakes typically garner. Also, other films negatively received by the critical mass (though not nearly as much) were Christopher Robin, which was described as magical, but not quite up to Disney standards, and Maleficent, in which Angelina Jolie’s performance as the title character and the special effects were well received, though many critics agreed that the rest of the movie was subpar.

Jacob Barton
Elim Utterback, 18, has been an avid Disney fan since age 3, watching every movie he could get his hands on

Another remake to receive mixed-to-negative reviews was Alice in Wonderland, which was said to sacrifice narrative and heart in favor of visuals. Despite these, remakes of Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon, and Beauty and the Beast were all tremendously well received and complemented by audiences and critics alike. With this wide variety of reception, it is understandable that some are wary about just what 2019’s The Lion King will bring, and whether it will be a faithful reimagining or a well-intentioned flop that fails to resonate with faithful fans.

Jacob Barton
David Berry, 18, frequently reminisces about his trips to the movie theater as a child, a place where he could stay caught up with the most current Disney releases

What do Lafayette High School students think of the upcoming film? David Berry, 18, asserts “I don’t really know what to expect right now. I’ve only seen one trailer, but I’m hoping for the best.” Elim Utterback, 18, says “Will Smith better not ruin Disney for me by acting badly in Aladdin” providing an interesting insight into the minds of Disney fans. At this point, however, one can only wait and hope that the future of The Lion King will only be supplemented, and not jeopardized, by the upcoming film.


A full comprehensive list of modern Disney remakes already available for viewing can be seen below:

  • 2010’s Alice in Wonderland (from 1951’s Alice in Wonderland)
  • 2014’s Maleficent (remade from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty)
  • 2015’s Cinderella (remade from 1950’s Cinderella)
  • 2016’s The Jungle Book (remade from 1967’s The Jungle Book)
  • 2016’s Pete’s Dragon (remade from 1977’s Pete’s Dragon)
  • 2017’s Beauty and the Beast (remade from 1991’s Beauty and the Beast)
  • 2018’s Christopher Robin (remade from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh media franchise, which begun in 1966)
  • 2019’s Dumbo (remade from 1941’s Dumbo)
  • 2019’s Aladdin (remade from 1992’s Aladdin)*


*To be released on May 24th, 2019