Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material. Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”
FILM: “The Lion King”
DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau
PRODUCERS: John Bartnicki, Debbi Bossi, Jon Favreau, Karen Gilchrist, Tom C. Peitzman, Thomas Schumacher, Jim Shamoon, Jeffrey Silver, David H. Venghaus Jr., Mario Zvan
WRITERS: Jeff Nathanson, (Screenplay) Brenda Chapman, (Story) Irene Mecchi, (Characters) Jonathan Roberts, (Characters) Linda Woolverton, (Characters)
CAST: Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyonce, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, John Oliver
SYNOPSIS: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the power of responsibility and bravery. (IMDB)
SCHEDULED RELEASE: July 19th, 2019
Following the monstrous success of “Beauty and the Beast,” it’s no surprise that Disney keeps cranking out live-action remakes of its classic films. Next to “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” is one of Disney’s most popular classics. It’s a staple in the households of many nineties children, as it has a universal story that appeals to people from every walk of life. Of course, it’s coming back to theaters, bigger and in live-action. How fun is it to see something from your past on the screen made new again?
The original film was highly awarded, earning Oscars for its score by Hans Zimmer, and Original Song for Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” In 2019, Hans Zimmer returns to score the new version, and he’s joined by some amazing musical talents such as Beyoncé and Donald Glover. With the popularity of the original film, it isn’t likely there will be many changes. What would “The Lion King” be without its signature songs?
Nostalgia always propels the box office, and Disney has been capitalizing on it. While “The Lion King” is a complete remake, it has a lion’s share of the Disney fanbase. There are people who will love it regardless, and that means Disney will make plenty of money from it. Will it surprise “Beauty and the Beast?” It’s very likely. If you combine the love of a childhood classic, and a music megastar’s influence, that’s going to mean big returns.
No pun intended, but the elephant(s) in the room need to be addressed. While Disney is a powerhouse in the entertainment industry, its tent pole films have been suffering from a lack of originality, and many of the reviews have been lackluster. “The Lion King” is one of Disney’s best and loved films, and from previews, the new version appears to be a complete retread of the original. We can probably expect some small deviations, and maybe a new song or two. Unlike some of Disney’s lesser-known films, “The Lion King” has a staying quality, and is near perfect. Altering the story and songs significantly in anyway may upset the most die-hard fans. What will the new film bring besides some flashy CGI and new voices?
For the remainder of 2019, Disney’s slate is filled with live action remakes, sequels, and adaptations. “The Lion King” is perhaps one of the most anticipated in the lineup, but it’s still going to be stacked against the likes of “Frozen 2”, “Toy Story 4”, “Aladdin”, “Star Wars: Episode IX”, “Dumbo“, and “Avengers: Endgame“. As of now, “The Lion King” looks to be a contender for visual effects, sound mixing and editing, and for Best Song.
Aside from remake woes, “The Lion King” faces another dilemma. Not unlike “Beauty and the Beast’s” casting of Emma Watson, will the casting of Beyoncé distract audiences? She’s a talented entertainer, but will her star eclipse the production and awards season? That’s not always a good thing.
POTENTIAL AWARD CATEGORIES IN PLAY:
- Best Original Song (To be announced)
- Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer)
- Sound Mixing (To be announced)
- Sound Editing (To be announced)
- Visual Effects (To be announced)