The Lion King roared into the box office with a massive $531 million 10-day opening worldwide.
The live-action remake also set new records in the U.S. by scooping $185M over the weekend!
With an estimated $185 million, Disney’s The Lion King topped the weekend box office with a record opening weekend for the month of July, topping the previous record held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($169.1m).
The debut is the second largest opening of the year so far and seventh largest of all-time. The film’s debut in 4,725 locations was also a record and the debut was also the largest ever for a PG-rated film.
Read our review of The Lion King below written by our resident movie guru, B. Gunn.
Wassup, y’all! I have a confession to make: I never saw “The Lion King”. Now, before you revoke my film critic pass and black card, let me say that as of today, I rented it and just finished watching this iconic piece of cinema, ok? C’mon, this movie came out back in 1994. You know what I was doing in ’94? Attending college and going to Freaknic.
“The Lion King” was the last thing on my mind (although I was Lyin’ King, but that’s another story). Well, years have passed but the get-money folks at Disney have decided to continue their recent animated-to-live-action take-over, setting their eyes on the life-shaping film “The Lion King”. When you tamper with a classic, failure is not an option. This better not be another “Dumbo”…
“The Lion King” is live and in full effect! It stars James Earl Jones, Donald Glover, Beyonce, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogan, Billy Eichner, and Alfrie Woodard among others. For those of you, like me, who never saw the original animated version, let me put you on to the plot. King Mufasa runs things in Africa, his younger brother Scar is super jealous that he’s not the H.L.I.C, head lion in charge, but is constantly watching the throne. Mufasa’s young son Simba is being groomed to take daddy’s place one day, but Scar’s envy is on level-10, and he’s scanning while planning ways to sabotage them. Scar is about to turn into Scarface. Say hello to his little friends – the hyenas.
This live-action version, well, as live-action as it can be because it’s actually an all-CGI film, captures the essence of the cartoon rather well. Whereas some directors like to change core elements, John Favreau sticks to the script for the most part. There are a few additions and omissions but I’ll get into that later. The updated cast is great. Jones reprises his role as Mufasa. I mean hey, who can replace that voice, huh? He’s not a carbon copy of the animated Mufasa. Times change and so has the King. It’s a welcome change, too. I still think of Darth Vader every time I hear him, though (No Simba…I am your father).
Speaking of Simba, the young one and the old one both do good jobs. I think when you hear young Simba played by JD McCrary sing, he kinda tries too hard, but he’s a kid so I’m gonna give him a break. Jason Weaver is a tough act to follow. Glover fits right in, however. He brings Simba to life and gives us life while doing so. When Jeremy Irons voiced Scar, he exuded deceit and calculated covertness. Ejiofor continues this and doesn’t disappoint. His take on Scar makes him the master manipulator, the cerebral assassin. I began to look at Scar as the Lex Luthor of lions, better yet…Lucious Lyon.
Without a doubt, however, the show-stoppers are Pumba and Timon voiced by Rogan and Eichner. These two are hilarious! Their chemistry is undeniable. In fact, the live-action meerkat and warthog over-achieve. They have more dialogue than in the animated film but boy is it funny! Some characters have more screen time, some have less, but I want to talk about Nala. Her character has the best development out of all the original characters. Beyonce’s voicing of Nala is a bit erratic at times – she over-enunciates words like an English teacher in some scenes but then gets back into the flow (I guess that’s the singer in her) but Nala has purpose, much more than she did in the animated version. This ensemble cast brings that African heat! Shout-out to all of ‘em.
So, we’re calling this a live-action movie? That’s what we’re doing? Hey, if you didn’t know this was totally CGI-produced, you’d think it was live! Disney’s special-effects are the G.O.A.T, not up for debate. The life-like details of the various animals, the plains, caves and especially the Hyena’s lair – cot-toe-mighty!
The stampede of the wildebeest in the cartoon is nothing compared to this live one. Poor Mufasa. Technology and imagination never cease to amaze me. Now, about those additions and omissions. Some songs are cut short, some scenes are cut out and you may have a problem with that but the extended scenes give us more clarity to overall storylines. There is a new song added in the 3rd act but it’s meant as a rallying cry and I’mma be honest with y’all because we’re fam…it had my eyes sweating a little.
The knocks on this rendition of “The Lion King” are that the animals don’t have vivid facial expressions and some of the songs hit different – not in a good way. Uh, these animals are speaking fluent English and concocting intricate plans, but you’re worried about facial expressions? Ohhh-kaaaay. I thought the songs were fine but I ain’t a composer so what do I know? I do know this, I scanned the crowd only looking for kids’ reactions and they absolutely LOVED IT! I can’t really go by an adult’s assessment because this movie wasn’t made for them. Sure, some of us are attached to the original, but it’s 2019. You gotta pass the torch.
For me, I enjoyed this live-action version and the kid in me is co-signing “The Lion King” to the fullest! IMAX is always dope, but you’ll have a good time in any format with your children or your children’s-at-hearts. Hakuna Matata!
Have you seen The Lion King?