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The official statement by Disney is sparse on details, and describes the new movie only as "a new reimagining" of the original. Favreau's recent successes have been in the area of live-action remakes of animated classics such as The Jungle Book (which has been a critical and box-office success since its release); this has led many to interpret the announcement as meaning that the new Lion King will be similarly live-action in nature. But that's just speculation, and it could be entirely without merit. It might just as easily be as fully traditionally animated as the original for all we know. But Disney does say the new movie "follows" the "technologically groundbreaking" Jungle Book, so speculation that this will be another in the same vein isn't likely to be off-base.
What we do know is that the new movie is supposed to include songs from the original movie, so it probably won't stray too far from the source material. We don't know anything else yet, including voice cast, creative staff, or release date. But all that is sure to come.
Time to breathe some life back into this franchise, it seems!
The new 2-disc album contains all the movie's songs, naturally, but also mixes in some 30 minutes of never-before-officially-released instrumental score material, with track titles such as "I Was Just Trying to Be Brave Score" and "We Are All Connected Score". Many of these score tracks also feature "demo" alternative versions on the second disc, which are discussed in the new liner notes by producer Don Hahn and composer Hans Zimmer. There are also song tracks such as "The Morning Report" and "Warthog Rhapsody", which were not part of the original theatrical release—being added to the Special Edition in the former case, and cut from the final version in the latter.
Enthusiasts of the movie's soundtrack will no doubt be all over this release, which retails at Amazon.com for around $15.
Updated: Kion is said to be the second-born child of Simba, and so the series is canon with the existing movies. Kiara will play a role in the TV series, which will debut with a direct-to-video movie, according to Disney's own blog.
The series will be about Kion, the son of the now-grown “Lion King” protagonist Simba, who assembles a group of animals to help him protect the jungle prideland as part of a group called the Lion Guard.
“It’s kind of like ‘The Lion King’ meets ‘The Avengers,’” said Disney Junior general manager Nancy Kanter.
Full article and some nice developmental art here (though it remains to be seen how well the art will translate to production).
Next November is a long way off, so we can expect a long period of information trickling in on what kind of expansions to the canon cast and universe we can expect to see.
Also, in advance of this, on September 16, the new 3D version will begin a theatrical run. This will be the first time TLK has been seen in general theatrical release since the IMAX version began its circulation in 2002.
BURBANK, Calif. (May 26, 2011) — Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa are back and better than ever this fall when Disney’s “The Lion King” roars into theaters and homes in breathtaking 3D. A special two-week theatrical extravaganza kicks off Sept. 16, 2011, showcasing the Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winning film on the big screen in Disney Digital 3D™ for the first time ever, and its highly anticipated home entertainment debut kicks off October 4, celebrating the Diamond Edition release of the epic movie “The Lion King” in high-definition Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™.
Get the full press release at Christian's Cartoon Corner.
That's right: eight discs. That includes the original movie in:
- Blu-Ray 3D
- Digital copy
On top of that, both Simba's Pride and TLK 1 ½ are included in both Blu-Ray and DVD formats.
The whole thing lists for $100, but you can preorder it at Amazon for $79.99.
The trailer from the last news is indeed on the "Beauty and the beast" Blu-Ray, but in much better quality than the youtube version. In other words 1080p with four different audio tracks. So far it's looking very good.
The trailer appears in full 1080p, with four different audio tracks, and can be accessed under the "Bonus Features" section. The detail is striking, though it will inevitably put on display a few of the shortcuts taken in the original animation that was made clear in the IMAX re-release, which has a much higher effective resolution than the 35mm print for which the film was animated. It remains to be seen whether Disney will have done any further touch-ups to enhance the detail in background characters that now show up on modern screens.
The Blu-ray release that the trailer advertises remains slated for fall 2011. Head over to s-tlk.org for 1920x1080 screenshots and more details.
First, Hahn revealed that Beauty And The Beast isn’t the only Disney classic about to go 3D. A certain cartoon starring a warthog and a meerkat will be returning to cinemas too. “I’m actually trying to work out a 3D conversion of The Lion King. I’ll be doing that when I go back to the States in a couple of weeks,” he said, explaining that we shouldn’t expect to see it for a while yet, since the Disney boffins are taking their time in making Simba, Zazu et al pop out of the screen. “It’s going to be spectacular – we will do a good job for ya! The technology is tremendous. We did A Nightmare Before Christmas a few years ago and Tim thought it was better than the original because it allows you to walk onto the set.”
Read the original article for more about this interview with Hahn, and to make up your own mind about how good it will look (especially if you've seen the other 3D adaptations he mentions).
Thanks to Ryan and Michael!
Now, thanks to a tip from someone aware of Disney's retail schedules, we've gotten word of the studio's plans for its tentpole titles. This year's anticipated Diamond Editions are still on track to make it to stores in 2010. Beauty and the Beast is slated to make its Blu-ray debut in October, with Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 following in December. Meanwhile, already heavily-marketed Dumbo, which isn't part of the Diamond line but was clearly intended for re-release this week, won't arrive until February 2011 (rendering its proposed 70th Anniversary Edition moniker more accurate). Beyond that, a big October 2011 splash is expected for one of Disney's biggest all-time titles; The Lion King is set to bow on Blu-ray then.
Also, TheDigitalBits writes:
Thanks to the crafty "ask"-manship of Bits reader Thomas R., we now know when Disney tentatively plans to release its new Blu-ray edition of the original Tron! Look for it in November (a month before the theatrical debut of the new Tron Legacy sequel), or so says Jeremy Sheer who administers the Disney Movie Rewards program's Facebook site. He also posts word there that Disney currently has The Lion King set for BD release in October of 2011. Bang-up job, Jeremy!
Naturally, take these rumors as just that: unofficial scuttlebutt. But we know it'll happen sooner or later. The only question is whether the transfer quality will be all we hope for from a true HD medium... or if all that resolution will only magnify flaws we never realized were there. Oh, and whether they'll include a "theatrical" version without the "Morning Report" song.
Thanks to Lindsay M. for the tip!
No word as yet on what that date will be, of course; also uncertain is whether this release date will coincide with any release schedule for Disney's more tightly-guarded features on digital download sites such as iTunes, whether for rental or purchase.
Information courtesy of s-tlk.
However, there's a new petition being circulated, one which encourages Disney to produce a fourth Lion King movie:
There are already more signatures for this signature than the soundtrack petition ever accumulated. Clearly there is some interest in seeing Disney produce more movies in this series. And even though John Lasseter, Disney's new chief creative officer imported from Pixar, has instituted a policy of avoiding the cheaply made direct-to-video sequels that have tarnished Disney's reputation for quality in the past, I think that under the right circumstances the TLK universe could benefit from another installment.
This is not something I say lightly. I was never much of a fan of TLK 2: Simba's Pride; I thought it was poorly conceived and poorly executed, with lackluster animation and an unimaginative, tawdry story—but more importantly (and more subtly), I thought it detracted from the unity and epic timelessness of the original movie by being a mere "continuation". There's a scene in the Kathleen Turner/Michael Douglas movie Jewel of the Nile where Joan Wilders, a romance novel author, is talking with her publisher, who has to admonish her that she can't keep confusing real life with a romantic novel—when your characters ride off into the sunset, that's The End. There is no "next morning", when the sun comes up and the characters have to make breakfast and go to work and argue over paying bills. Joan keeps falling prey to the urge to imagine what comes next, but her publisher knows that doing so ruins the story she's just told. And I feel it's the same deal with TLK: it starts and ends with the big "BOOM" of the title splash and the "Circle of Life" song, and that really ought to have been The End. "Simba's Pride" just told us that it wasn't epic after all, and there was a "next day" and a next and a next, with more and more generations of cardboard lion royalty that argue and fight and sing songs about Upendi, which to me deflates all the magic and majesty of the original.
On the other hand, I actually loved TLK 1 1/2, because it was precisely the kind of "sequel" that I did think would work with TLK: more of a parody than a continuation, something that kept the original story intact but looked at it through a cockeyed, tongue-in-cheek, yet affectionate way. The very fact that it was imagined in such a silly manner just made the original's epic scale all the more apparent by the explicit comparison it invited. Plus it was just plain fun, and better animated than TLK 2 to boot. The silhouetted theater scene at the end with all the gathered Disney characters was like one giant cast-and-crew screening of Disney's greatest achievement, and the retrospective "Digga Tunnah Dance" song over the credits gave the whole thing a feel of being sort of a wrap party, a celebration of the original. Nothing like the workmanlike, linear inevitability of TLK 2, which just felt like a preview of ever more mundane and tedious sequels to come. Small wonder, to me, that TLK 1 1/2 never even acknowledged TLK 2's existence.
Now, a lot of whether another sequel would be a storytelling and financial success depends on how it's framed. For instance, a prequel showing the lives of Mufasa and Scar before the events of the original movie has potential. Prequels are tricky things to do—as the Star Wars films proved, it's very difficult to present an engaging and surprising story when you already know how it turns out. But on the other hand you're working with characters you already know, rather than having to invent new ones to get the audience interested in; and unlike with Star Wars, there's no implausibility in asserting that all these well-known characters knew each other way back when. After all, in the case of TLK, they did.
In short, if there's to be another sequel, I'd want it to feel necessary from a storytelling standpoint to create it, a key part of the story that deserves to be realized—not something they did just because they couldn't come up with any better ideas.
Finally, I should point out carefully that signing a petition does nothing to legally bind Disney to sink millions of dollars into the business investment that is a new movie project. We all must keep in mind that every movie Disney creates—whether a theatrical blockbuster or a direct-to-video cheapquel, whether 3D, 2D, or live-action—is a fresh business venture that has to be carefully studied and approved from within the company. You can be sure that the subject of doing another sequel to the biggest cash cow in Disney's modern history is something that comes up in board meetings every other week; this isn't some brilliant new idea that nobody has thought to suggest to management before. Disney is constantly brainstorming story ideas of which we have no idea, and for every one that gets green-lit, dozens lie on the boardroom floor. The fact that no TLK 4 in in the works tells us that Disney has evaluated the proposal—probably numerous times—and determined that the potential rewards wouldn't be worth the investment. What's more, there are legal issues surrounding any story ideas that Disney uses from outside its walls; it has enough sidelong scrutiny from fans of Osamu Tezuka's Kimba/Jungle Emperor Leo and Richard Williams' The Thief and the Cobbler without having to worry about what happens if they use a story idea suggested by some fans in public and then don't mention where they got the idea in the credits and pay the originators a hefty sum. That's why Disney's official policy is to return unopened any unsolicited script or screenplay sent to them: they can't legally afford to even look at it without compromising their plausible deniability.
Disney has to make the decision to produce another Lion King sequel on its own. A petition can give them a sense for how well it would do in the marketplace; but that's about it. We shouldn't get our hopes up. There is a lot of internal resistance to the idea of pillaging the TLK war chest once more—potentially reducing the impact and value of the original in the interest of the short-term gains to be had from another sequel—and the Disney management under Lasseter might be dead set against it, in which case we have to accept that reality.
Yet a fan petition got Family Guy reinstated, so who knows?
That URL again: