Following on from his successful remake of animated classic The Jungle Book, director Jon Favreau is trying to create a similarly photorealistic version of The Lion King – but when will the new take on the Disney hit come to cinemas? And who exactly will be voicing the pride and their allies?
Take a look below to find out everything we know about The Lion King remake.
- First live-action Lion King trailer looks very similar to the original
- Beyonce WILL star in the Lion King remake as full cast is confirmed
Our editorial is completely independent. We may receive commission when you buy products or services linked from this page, but this never affects what we write about.
When is The Lion King remake released in cinemas?
The new version of the movie will be released on 19th July 2019 in the UK, releasing in most other territories – including America – the same weekend (with one or two exceptions).
When can I buy tickets to see The Lion King?
Tickets for The Lion King remake went on sale on 25th Tuesday June – buy your ticket early if you want to squeeze into an early screening.
The Lion King first reactions and reviews
The Lion King is being hailed as a “game-changer” and a worthy remake of the 1994 original, with critics praising the voice-acting and “dazzling” movie. The first comments are in…
The Lion King… was more than anything i ever could’ve wanted. It was BEAUTIFULLY animated, paid the highest of honors to the original, and was packed with modern humor.
Seriously. See #TheLionKing. Please. It’s a piece of art.
— Mica Burton (@MicaBurton) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is visually immaculate & a game-changer for visual effects. It’s absolutely stunning in every way. The music shines (Glover & Beyoncé take it to another level), the performances are great (Timon, Pumbaa & Scar steal many scenes) & the emotions run HIGH. Truly great pic.twitter.com/lPH9Oo4ybb
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is a game changer in the VFX department! Everything that was amazing in The Jungle Book is even better in this film.
The voice work is FANTASTIC but it’s Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa that steal the show. Fans of the original will be pleased! pic.twitter.com/mHbXQKBXEl
— Skyler Shuler (@SkylerShuler) July 10, 2019
— Jenna Busch (@JennaBusch) July 10, 2019
Okay. So #TheLionKing is incredible. Woah woah woah. Can’t give a full review for a few days but DANG Y’ALL. I laughed. I cried. Long live the king!
— Tiff Mink ✨???? (@minkus) July 10, 2019
But while one critic praises The Lion King as “a dazzler” with a “gorgeous score” and “spot-on voice acting,” she adds:
That being said, #TheLionKing does illustrate the limitations of projecting human emotions onto photorealistic animals that can't convey human expression. More in my review when the embargo lifts!
— Alisha Grauso ???? (@AlishaGrauso) July 10, 2019
— Disney (@Disney) November 1, 2017
An all-star cast has been drafted in to lend their voices to the film’s beloved characters, with Donald Glover set to play Simba, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, John Oliver as Zazu, Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar and Black Panther’s John Kani as Rafiki.
Meanwhile, superstar musician Beyoncé is voicing Simba’s love interest, Nala (you can hear a snippet of her singing below)…
… and iconic voice actor James Earl Jones is returning to reprise his role as Mufasa from the original movie.
“I see it as carrying the legacy across,” Favreau told Empire on Earl Jones’s casting. “Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal.”
He added: “The timbre of his voice has changed. That served the role well because he sounds like a king who’s ruled for a long time.”
The all-star cast celebrated at the film’s world premiere in Hollywood, as Beyoncé was joined on-stage by co-stars including Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, and Keegan-Michael Key:
Is there a Lion King trailer?
There is indeed, and it shows off the movie’s impressively realistic-looking lions – as well as just how closely the film looks set to adhere to the original 1990s animated film.
Simba and Scar clashed in the first The Lion King trailer, a full teaser soon followed giving us our first look – or is that listen? – of Beyonce as Nala.
The first trailer went on to become the most viewed Disney trailer of all time.
How similar is The Lion King remake to the original 1994 animated movie?
The remake’s plot is expected to remain largely the same as the original 1994 film which follows young lion cub Simba, son of King Mufasa, who witnesses his father’s death in a terrible stampede, secretly caused by Mufasa’s scheming brother Scar.
Believing the death to be his fault, Simba flees for a carefree existence living with meerkat Timon and warthog Pumbaa, but finds himself called back to his destiny when Scar’s rule turns sour.
There is at least one new character – an elephant shrew, played by Amy Sedaris, has been added to the story, and a couple of the hyenas (played by Florence Kasuma, Keegan Michael-Key and Eric Andre) have had their names changed.
According to Favreau, the design of the hyenas also “had to change a lot” when remaking the original animation. “They didn’t feel like they matched up well with the photo-realism,” he explained to Empire. “A lot of the stuff around them was very stylised.”
Some fans have taken the time to point out some shots from the trailers that look near-identical to their animated counterparts, as you can see in the video below.
But Favreau has countered that, explaining: “If you look at the plot points, it tracks pretty accurately to the old one. But if you watched the films side by side you’d realise they actually deviate a great deal.”
Favreau has also said that the character of Nala has been expanded to take into consideration Beyonce’s presence.
“In the original film, [Nala’s] role is not as large as in the stage production, and we definitely drew inspiration, and that was one of the areas where we were going to expand this,” he told Fandango.com.
Will there still be songs in The Lion King remake?
Taking its lead from the other realistic Disney remakes, it appears that the Lion King will bring back some but not all of its iconic songs. Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Hakuna Matata, I Just Can’t Wait to be King and Circle of Life are set to return, with Beyoncé and Elton John teaming up to write a new song for the end credits.
The Lion King soundtrack has been announced and Be Prepared has been included. It’s listed as a reworked version (2019) with Chiwetel Ejiofor singing.
There’s also a new Beyonce song ‘TBA’ on the soundtrack, which is all very mysterious, but we know it doesn’t replace any songs. Update: Beyonce’s new The Lion King song is called Spirit and is now available to buy.
“We have all the original songs, but there’s a song that she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production along with working with Lebo M., who’s part of it with Hans Zimmer,” Favreau told Fandango. “They were all collaborating with her and helping to bring this new piece of music into a film where there’s already a very established musical personality to the piece. So it was nice of them to have them working with her to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production.”
The Lion King soundtrack
1. Lindiwe Mkhize / Lebo M: ‘Circle of Life / Nants’ Ingonyama’
2. Hans Zimmer: ‘Life’s Not Fair’
3. Hans Zimmer: ‘Rafiki’s Fireflies’
4. JD McCrary / Shahadi Wright Joseph / John Oliver: ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’
5. Hans Zimmer: ‘Elephant Graveyard’
6. Chiwetel Ejiofor: ‘Be Prepared (2019 Version)’
7. Hans Zimmer: ‘Stampede’
8. Hans Zimmer: ‘Scar Takes the Throne’
9. Billy Eichner / Seth Rogen / JD McCrary / Donald Glover: ‘Hakuna Matata’
10. Hans Zimmer: ‘Simba Is Alive!’
11. Billy Eichner / Seth Rogen: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’
12. Beyoncé / Donald Glover / Billy Eichner / Seth Rogen: ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’
13. Hans Zimmer: ‘Reflections of Mufasa’
14. TBA – Beyonce
15. Hans Zimmer: ‘Battle for Pride Rock’
16. Hans Zimmer: ‘Remember’
17. Elton John: ‘Never Too Late’
18. Lebo M: ‘He Lives in You’
19. Lebo M: ‘Mbube’
The Lion King soundtrack will get a digital release on 11th July and a physical version on 19th July.
Can I still get The Lion King 1994 movie?
The original movies aren’t going anywhere, don’t worry. The full movie is available to watch and buy. Of course if you’re feeling really nostalgic you could always watch Simba’s Pride too or The Lion King 1 1/2 – you know, the one where Timon and Pumbaa’s story gets fleshed out. If you really, really can’t wait there’s also The Lion King TV series, The Lion Guard. The series followed Kion, Simba and Nala’s second son.
The Lion King clips
Disney has released two clips from the movie ahead of its release (not long now!) The first shows the moment when Pumbaa and Timon find Simba, the second is when Scar tries to convince Simba to give a “gift” to Mufasa which leads to him waiting where the wildebeest will stampede through and, well, we know how that ends.
What other Disney remakes are released in 2019?
Disney’s The Lion King is released in cinemas on 19th July 2019