It was a weekend fit for royalty at the box office for Disney's reimagining of The Lion King dominated all over the world. Directed by Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Iron Man), The Lion King ruled the domestic box office with an estimated $185 million. After a summer jam-packed with underperforming releases, The Lion King's massive launch is a welcome relief to movie theatres.
Aided by an early release in China, The Lion King ruled the international box office with more than $346 million taken at the time of writing. That's one powerful start for Disney's latest reimagining which recently suffered its first flop with Dumbo failing to find the expected audience. Proof that even something a beloved as Dumbo with a filmmaker as unique as Tim Burton can get it wrong. Either that or Dumbo's shortcomings is evidence that not everybody loves these 'live-action' remakes. One flop weighed against the $1 billion box office of Aladdin (that's still in the top ten), and the inevitable $1 billion that The Lion King will bring in, I doubt there's an end in sight for Disney's latest craze.
I'll be the first the admit that Favreau's film is stunning to look at, the filmmaking achievement is undeniably impressive with a pitch-perfect cast lending their talents. However, this might be because I was a kid when the original animated classic was released, it could be that the interim 20 plus years has made me jaded by life. Heck, it could be both. That being the case, the new (photo-realistic) Lion King (just like Aladdin, Dumbo, and most of the other Disney reimaginings) doesn't quite do enough to justify being willed into existence. Again, I'm not made of stone; the new take is a visual feast for the eyes, Donald Glover nails it as Simba, John Oliver is perfect as Zazu, James Earl Jones is the only living man who could ever voice Mufasa everything about the movie is beautifully crafted. Yet for it's mighty $250 million budget, even The Lion King can't quite escape Uncanny Valley.