All of Disney’s animated classics are going to be remade as live-action features. That’s been a given since Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which wasn’t exactly a redo, became a massive hit for the studio in 2010. Since then we’ve seen others come out to decent success, but this year’s The Jungle Book has topped them all in terms of both box office and critical reception. So, it’s not a surprise that Disney is now especially interested in another talking animal movie and letting Jon Favreau direct it.
Favreau will take the helm of a live-action remake of 1994’s The Lion King as his next project behind the camera. The Walt Disney Company officially confirmed the news that they’re fast-tracking the “reimagining.” Their press release acknowledges the achievement of The Jungle Book and the anticipation of next year’s Beauty and the Beast and reminds us that there’s also going to be a Jungle Book sequel, which will also be directed by Favreau. There’s no release date for that or this addition to the slate.
The live-action Lion King will feature songs from the original. One of those, Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” won the Oscar for its year. They were also nominated for “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata.” Presumably there will be a new tune or two as well to chase more Academy Awards. The original also won for Hans Zimmer’s score. Whether any songs or other elements from the hit Broadway version of The Lion King will be used is unknown.
Favreau is now clearly Disney’s favorite director for its live-action remakes, or at least he’s on the same level as Burton, who produced this year’s disappointing sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass but is still on board to helm the studio’s live-action reimagining of Dumbo. Favreau is also a regular at Disney through the Marvel movies, of which he serves as a producer on anything involving Iron Man. He’s also been attached to the Disney mashup movie Magic Kingdom for years.