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Direct-to-Video Sequels

As successful as The Lion King was, both in the box office and in domestic and international merchandise sales, direct-to-video sequels were a foregone conclusion. The following sections are not integrated into the main structure of www.lionking.org, but exist as separate entities.


The Lion King II: "Simba's Pride" (1998)
   Simba's daughter Kiara meets the Outlander cub Kovu, and the two fall in love against the backdrop of a philosophical battle between their two prides.

The Lion King 1 ½: "Hakuna Matata" (2004)
   Timon and Pumbaa retell the story of The Lion King from their own unique, behind-the-scenes perspective.

Lion King News

6/25/2014 - Legacy Collection Soundrack

The 20th anniversary of the release of TLK has come with a flood of new developments. Right on the heels of the announcement of the new "The Lion Guard" cartoon series comes this re-release of the movie's soundtrack/score, under the banner of the "Legacy Collection" series which will cover the upcoming re-releases of many classic Disney film soundtracks.


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.

6/10/2014 - The Lion Guard

Surprising news broken by the WSJ: Disney is planning to launch a new, traditionally (2D) animated Lion King TV series, aimed at the preschool market, called The Lion Guard. It's set to debut in November 2015, and will star Simba's son, Kion—which seems to indicate that it will contradict the canonicity of Simba's Pride.

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.

5/29/2011 - TLK Blu-Ray Release Details Confirmed

Disney is going to be releasing The Lion King on Blu-Ray (including a 3D version) on October 4, 2011.

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.

4/24/2011 - "The Lion King Trilogy" 8-Disc Set Available for Preorder


That's right: eight discs. That includes the original movie in:

  • Blu-Ray 3D
  • Blu-Ray
  • DVD
  • Digital copy

  • On top of that, both Simba's Pride and TLK 1 ˝ 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.

    11/18/2010 - TLK HD trailer on Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray

    The recently released Blu-ray edition of Beauty and the Beast contains a full High Definition trailer for The Lion King, as reported by Michael:

    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.

    6/24/2010 - TLK in 3D?

    This sounds perhaps too weird to be true, but it certainly has the press buzzing:

    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!

    3/24/2010 - TLK Blu-Ray Release: October 2011?

    Word on the web is that the schedule for Disney's animated classics' release on Blu-Ray is being finalized. According to UltimateDisney.com (see the Feb. 3 entry):

    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!

    3/10/2009 - Get Notified of TLK Availability on Blu-Ray

    Disney has posted a notifier page where you can sign up to receive an e-mail when Disney publishes a release date for The Lion King on Blu-Ray (or the DVD re-release).

    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.

    7/29/2008 - "Continue The Lion King" Petition

    I've already endorsed the petition to release The Lion King: The Complete Score as an official Disney product, and I hope visitors to the site still sign that one if they're as interested in seeing that as I am.

    However, there's a new petition being circulated, one which encourages Disney to produce a fourth Lion King movie:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/lionking/petition.html

    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:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/lionking/petition.html

    2/20/2008 - Complete Soundtrack Petition

    Ravi K. mails to let me know of a petition being circulated to ask Walt Disney Records to release The Lion King: The Complete Score as an official licensed product.

    http://www.petitiononline.com/LIONKING/petition.html

    This score has been available on the Internet for some time now as a bootleg, with some audio flaws and without the legal backing of Disney; fans of the movie and Hans Zimmer's masterwork have been forced to resort to using less-than-legal methods to obtain the tracks.

    Online petitions are certainly no foolproof solution, not being legally binding and not addressing the business concerns that a publicly traded, profit-motivated corporation like Disney must weigh when deciding which products to sell and market; but adding your voice to the chorus might yet make a difference if Disney's team is listening to its fans and judges them to be representative of the market as a whole.

    So: if you'd like to see the complete score of The Lion King emerge as a special-edition soundtrack with dozens of tracks of never-before-generally-available material, please feel free to sign!

    1/15/2008 - Blu-Ray Release Speculation

    IGN has an article outlining Disney's plan for movie releases on Blu-Ray format in 2008.

    For the first time ever, Disney will begin releasing its animated classics on Platinum Edition Blu-ray Disc beginning with Sleeping Beauty in the fall of 2008. The classic animated tale has been revitalized to include exceptional high-definition picture and sound quality and compelling interactive content such as virtual games, full motion picture-in-picture and online shopping capabilities via BD-Live broadband connection. The transfer will also feature an all-new enhanced home theater mix in 7.1 surround sound.

    There is no explicit word on when The Lion King or its sequels will appear in Blu-Ray, but if the DVD rollout plan of several years ago is any indication, it won't be the second in line. However, we can be pretty well assured that Disney will be taking full advantage of all that space available on the new format to throw in all kinds of new special features, to a level that will put to shame the DVD release and even the legendary old Deluxe Laserdisc Edition.

    Fingers crossed...!

    Via Ryan R.

    11/9/2007 - Empire State Building Lit to Honor Ten Years of TLKoB

    According to Disney, a year of citywide celebrations will begin on November 9, 2007 to honor the tenth anniversary of the opening of The Lion King Broadway show.

    The first such display, kicking off the string of festivities, is a special lighting scheme for the Empire State Building.


    12/11/2006 - TLK on Blu-Ray Sooner than Later?

    Ryan R. reports that on the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest DVD, there's a preview of upcoming Blu-Ray releases of Disney classics such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, National Treasure, and (third on the list) The Lion King.

    This is interesting news for early adopters, particularly those who have gone the HD-DVD route rather than Blu-Ray; evidently Disney has thrown in its lot with the Sony/Samsung consortium and decided to back the technically superior but (possibly) less well-supported Blu-Ray. We shall see how it plays out, but Sony's track record with storage media formats is not good...

    5/29/2006 - The Sad Case of Il Re Leone

    Italian reader "giagia" has alerted me to an issue with the Italian version of The Lion King and its voice recording tracks. In the interest of spreading awareness of this matter throughout the Lion King fan community and the Italian fan base in particular, I'm posting the message here in full.

    As Disney fans will know "The Lion King" was the first (Disney) movie to have the voices of the charaters recorded on different tracks. If we go back to 1994 we see that "The Lion King"'s italian dubbing, made by the sons of Disney Legend Roberto De Leonardis, had a preliminary version that was refused by Disney Character voices. Then a new dubbing was made and the movie was released with the second one (this time approved by Disney Character Voices). A VHS was made in 1995, with the ufficial dubbing that went in cinemas. But a track of the first dubbing remained in London and it was labeled "Timon & Pumbaa Italy". When the new DTS track was made for 2003 cinema release (the movie went in just three cinemas here), the wrong track was used and nobody noticed it. Then the DVD was released and the audio used in it had the wrong voices of Timon and Pumbaa. When the DVD went in Buena Vista Italy from London, none saw it and the DVD was copied and sent in all the country. The funny thing is that in the end titles report the names of the dubbers of T&P was the original dubbing and was different from the voices you heard on the DVD. The wrong dubbing was used for "The Lion King Trilogy" too. The only items to have a correct version of the movie are the VHS and the soundtrack (that didn't need the new DTS track.) I protested very much in Buena Vista forum, but BVI closed it.

    I hope that you publish this thing in your site to prevent any further error (you know, with your visibility it would help very much)and allow us to have the original film enriched by its original uffcial dubbing.

    Let's hope Disney can be convinced to correct this error in a future DVD release.

    5/17/2006 - Recent downtime

    My apologies for the ten days' downtime suffered by lionking.org during the first half of May. This was the result of the hosting company undergoing a physical move from one end of the country to the other, and the process ran far longer than the 24-48 hours originally estimated.

    All services have been restored as of today, though there will likely be additional periods of downtime during the next few days as hardware is swapped and network adjustments are made.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

    5/4/2006 - fanart.lionking.org temporarily offline

    The Lion King Fan-Art Archive is currently being migrated to a new network at the hosting company. The ETA I've been given for restored service is midnight tonight, but we all know these things often take longer than anticipated.

    Thanks for your patience.

    4/5/2006 - Wikipedia page on Kingdom Hearts II

    Bernardo C. points us at the comprehensive page for Kingdom Hearts II at Wikipedia. Along with lots of information on the game's plot and world details, there's a complete voice cast list, which includes the following pieces of information (filtered by Bernardo):

    Quinton Flynn as Timon
    Cam Clarke as Simba
    Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa
    James Earl Jones as Mufasa (not listed as being recycled. And Mufasa does sound a bit different in KH2, IMO)
    Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Simba (recycled from the movie)
    Robert Guillaume as Rafiki
    Cheech Marin as Banzai
    Jim Cummings as Ed
    Tress MacNeille as Shenzi

    There is no English voice actor listed for Nala or for Scar. Because Wikipedia is a collaborative documentation effort, the listing is subject to change, and will become more accurate as people make changes to incorrect information.

    Meanwhile, another cast listing is available at GameFAQs, though it lists Jim Cummings as the voice of Scar, and Nathan Lane as Timon, suggesting that this listing is less accurate than the Wikipedia one. However, it does have a name for Nala's voice: Vanessa Marshall.

    4/2/2006 - Welcome to the Lion King Generation

    Daniel Weisfield in the Yale Daily News gives a name to the people entering college right about now:

    Our generation needs a name. The slacker generation got their X. Our parents got their Boom. We've been preceded by the Silent Generation, the Beat Generation and somewhere deeper down those marble halls, the Greatest Generation.

    I've got a proposal for the narrow sample of kids currently attending Yale College. If you were born between 1983 and 1987, welcome to the "Lion King" Generation.

    Hakuna matata.

    Lots more nostalgia that people from that era will remember, as well as those from the first TLK generation (those people who were entering college and writing the first Web pages in 1994, when the movie came out—hey, that's me.)

    The guy gets a few things wrong (Anastasia was not a Disney movie), but it's a good read nonetheless.

    3/31/2006 - Kingdom Hearts II Voice Actors Listed

    Bernardo C. sends this link, a comprehensive list of voice actors in Kingdom Hearts II.

    The Lion King characters are voiced as follows:

    Cheech Marin as Banzai
    Jim Cummings as Scar (possibly Ed too)
    Cam Clarke as Simba
    James Earl Jones as Mufasa
    Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Young Simba
    Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa

    So they couldn't get Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, or Whoopi Goldberg, and I'm unsure how Jonathan Taylor Thomas fits into the picture (surely he's too old to voice Simba convincingly anymore—after all, they got someone else for the "Morning Report" song). But they did get James Earl Jones, apparently...

    3/29/2006 - Kingdom Hearts II Released in US

    The game is now generally available, Lion King world and all, and Gamespot has a positive review.

    Via Bernardo.

    3/25/2006 - Kingdom Hearts II Website Updated


    The official U.S. website for Kingdom Hearts II has been updated with detailed information on the Lion King world and a lot of screenshots (though the dialogue subtitles are still in Japanese).

    There is also detailed voice cast information on the main news page, in anticipation of the March 28 ship date.

    Thanks to Ryan R.

    3/3/2006 - Kingdom Hearts II Voice Actors Confirmed

    KHInsider.com has an official list of the voice actors who will appear in this game; there are lots of big names from original Disney movies, including James Woods as Hades and Bruce Boxleitner as Tron, and appearances by Dan Castellaneta, Christopher Lee, Sean Astin, and others as well, reprising familiar roles or taking over for others.

    Unfortunately, however, it appears that no original Lion King voice actors are present; but then, nobody else is confirmed for known Lion King roles, so keep an eye on this site for further updates.

    Via Bernardo C.

    2/11/2006 - Kingdom Hearts II U.S. Release Date Confirmed

    The official press release from Square-Enix confirms that Kingdom Hearts II will be released in the U.S. on March 28, 2006. (Via Ryan R.)

    In it, there's information about an "all-star" voice cast, which suggests that the original voice actors might be featured in the game. As Bernardo C. notes, the IMDB page for the game lists Jeremy Irons as the voice of Scar.

    12/28/2005 - Kingdom Hearts II Scar/Simba Footage Posted


    If you just can't wait to see how the Pride Lands sequence ends in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts II game, a lengthy video has been posted here showing the climactic battle with Scar (featuring a few additional characters).

    Scar seems to be considerably harder to defeat than he was in the movie. (He also seems to have only one facial expression...)

    12/20/2005 - Kingdom Hearts II U.S. Website Online

    Ryan R. notes that the U.S. website for Disney/Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II has gone live. The game, featuring many licensed Disney characters and settings, will reportedly contain a full Lion King world; although the site currently doesn't have information about that world, it's expected that it will be added as more content is developed for the site.

    The release date for the game is given by the site as "Spring 2006". The Japanese version (which requires a Japanese PS2) will be released December 22. The English version is widely expected to feature voice work by the included movies' original actors, in keeping with the previous game.

    Earlier Kingdom Hearts II news and press materials here.

    UPDATE: The exact release dates, according to GameSpot, are:

    North America: March 1, 2006
    Japan: December 22, 2005
    Europe: Spring 2006

    Thanks to Bernardo C. for the link.

    12/13/2005 - From the Lion's Mouth

    Rolf DeWolf sent me a couple of rough construction model sheets for Adult Simba that were used during the production of the movie by Simba's animators.


    The resolution isn't very good, but you can make out the notes—they're bound to be of interest to fan-artists, costume designers, or just anyone with an interest in the art of animation. Enjoy!

    11/14/2005 - TLK Expanded Score Unearthed


    It's been circulating from hand to hand for a while now, but now it's been posted on an official page at Hans-Zimmer.com that a long-lost "Lion King Expanded Score" has appeared on several download sites and is achieving broad acknowledgment among fans of Zimmer's music and TLK alike.

    This score contains 21 tracks, 16 of which consist of never-before-released instrumental music from Hans Zimmer's original masterpiece score. The linked site contains track information and a message discussion board, where more information can be obtained on how to find a copy of the score.

    8/24/2005 - Lion King Level in Kingdom Hearts II

    Ryan R. e-mails with this bit of info:

    I think it should be mentioned that the sequel to Kingdom Hearts(which features Simba as a summon) will have a actual Lion King world. The creator of Kingdom Hearts II, Tetsuya Nomura, has told people in numerous interviews of The Lion King being featured as a stage in Kingdom Hearts II, whereas in Kingdom Hearts 1, the idea for Lion King to be a stage was denied. Hopefully this can get Lion King fans to check it out in the game which will be released this Winter.

    Sounds like something to look forward to. Ryan mails in a follow-up (9/30/05) that it has yet to be officially confirmed by Square-Enix that the TLK world will be in the game, but it remains a strong possibility.

    UPDATE (10/13/05): Confirmation of this development is reported; thanks to Zala, Ryan, and Seryi for forwarding the news!

    UPDATE (10/23/05): High-res scans of the Japanese press material are available at RPGamer.com. An even better site, full of well-processed scans and screenshots, is at Kingdom Hearts Ultimania. Thanks to Simba B. for the links!

    2/14/2005 - DVD Exclusive Awards for TLK 1 1/2

    Simba B. alerts me to this information posted at UltimateDisney.com by Luke:

    The Lion King 1½ took home five trophies at last night's DVD Exclusive Awards in Los Angeles. The direct-to-video "in-between-quel" earned the award for Best Animated DVD Movie Premiere, as well as Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing honors for a DVD premiere. One of the film's lead personalities, sarcastic meerkat Timon (voiced by Nathan Lane, animated by Alexis Stadermann), was commended as Best Animated Character Performance.

    Congratulations on a job well done!

    1/9/2005 - TLK Going Back In the Vault

    According to Amazon.com, all three Lion King movies are set to be discontinued on January 31, 2005. Get yours now while supplies last!

    Thanks to Jess Walzak!

    10/14/2004 - Vinyl Special Edition Soundtrack (That's Right, Vinyl)

    For those fans who still have the means and the desire to play vinyl records, Disney has now apparently released a Vinyl Record Version of the Lion King Special Edition Soundtrack. It's got a unique art overlay (which, I presume, doesn't interfere with the playback), and looks really hot. Might be worth collecting even if you don't have a vinyl record player! Price is $17.99.

    Thanks to Roku!

    UPDATE: Ugo Coppola, who bought a copy of this product, found that it's the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, not the Special Edition as reported above (even though it's seemingly marketed by Disney as the Special Edition). Be aware, potential buyers!

    9/21/2004 - TLK Trilogy Boxed Set Art

    A forum at UltimateDisney.com has the box art for the upcoming TLK Trilogy collection.


    Looks like it's little more than a bunch of pre-existing clip-art composited together. Too bad they couldn't have commissioned some new original art... but I suppose it could have been worse.

    Thanks to Lindsay M. for spotting this!

    9/7/2004 - 6-Disc Lion King Trilogy DVD Set Available for Preorder

    Set for release on December 7, 2004, there's a new six-disc "Lion King Trilogy" set that you can preorder from Amazon.com or Circuit City. List price is $69.99, but the retail chains have lower prices than that.

    Thanks to Lion Queen for the info!

    UPDATE: Scroll down to the 5/5/2004 entry to see the box art for this set; also note that it's been out in Region 2 areas (such as the UK) since June 28. Thanks to Mark H. for pointing this out!

    UPDATE: Best Buy has it too (thanks Bryan B.).

    9/2/2004 - "Simba's Pride" Special Edition DVD and Soundtrack Released

    The Special Edition re-release of Simba's Pride is now available everywhere, including Wal-Mart and DisneyDVD.com.

    Laura (aka "coolraptor") has submitted this review:

    First off, the bonus lithograph pictured on the Disney Store website is the same one that came with the DVD. It comes in a large envelope almost as nice (maybe nicer than) the litho itself. I own the original DVD release of SP but this one actually looks clearer onscreen. I don't know if it's possible that the quality could be better than the original DVD release but I swear it looks better—for example, during the opening as the sun is rising I see details on the elephants I don't remember seeing before, such as the actual folds of skin whereas in the original DVD all I saw were silhouettes. The colors in general appear a little less intense than the original DVD release—in general the film is "not so orange".

    I did see the aforementioned change in Kovu's facial expression during the one instant in the Crocodile Attack screen. Why that was done beats me...he gasps straight at the camera for a split second before turning his head to the left at which point the animation looks identical to the original release. Also I noticed how the screen fades a little faster right after the Upendi sequence so we don't see Kiara and Kovu going from walking to the beat of the song to a regular walk. I had to skim through most of the movie (a bit busy today :) so if there are any other miniscule changes I did not see them—it'll have to wait either until tomorrow when I get to actually watch the film and maybe for sharper eyes than mine.

    Chapters are all the same except that the chapter entitled "Alligator Attack" is now called "Crocodile Attack". Menu pages are nice, not nearly as fun as TLK 1.5 but also no horrific 3D animation to deal with as per TLK:SE. The "Matter-Of-Facts" option is a bit annoying turned on—it supposed to be a pop up of interesting facts you can choose to have on while watching the film. A great idea, except for the fact the pop ups block virtually the entire screen!

    "One by One" short is an uplifting sequence, using a longer, modified version of the song One by One, about kids escaping their rather depressing town to go to the surrounding veldt to fly kites. "Find out why" shorts are fun but there's only five of them—I recall quite a few more shorts existed during the One Saturday Morning run. The Timon and Pumbaa's virtual tour is possibly the least interesting of the three virtual tours and here we finally get subjected to some bad 3D animation, including the duo's new pet elephant Gertie (and yes, eventually she starts talking). Rafiki's challenge is a gourd shuffling game that plays for about five rounds. Pride Land Games consist of three games (two mathematical, one a shape game) that are extremely basic. Of all the bonus features, in fact, the Proud of Simba's Pride is by FAR the most interesting. We get to see some of the storyboards, character model sheets, and hear a few lines that never made the film, including one by Mufasa (or more accurately perhaps Mufasa's ghost) where he blames Simba for the war between the Pridelanders and Outlanders. Also, it made me respect what is still my least favorite of the TLK trilogy a little bit more when I learned how some of the things we see in the film were done intentionally to invoke a deeper meaning. For example, the animators explain how during the original we always see Pride Rock from the right but in the sequel it is nearly always shown from the left to cue in viewers that this is a different story to be viewed from a different perspective. They also try to explain some of Simba's behavior during the sequel that I had previously considered irrational. As I said, in all it made me respect TLK 2 just a bit more.

    So in conclusion: the film looks a bit better and cleaner to me and the bonus features, with the exception of the Proud of Simba's Pride featurette, are disappointing. Which leads me to the question: Where are the deleted scenes? I could've sworn I had read somewhere that some of the pencil tests that have been floating around online for years (i.e., Vitani and Nuka's introductions, Zira's suicide) would be included here. I even played the games and did the safari in the hopes that maybe we would get them as rewards at the end. But there is no sign of these at all. So if someone else figures out that they are on the disc and how to get them, let the rest of us know, OK?



    The soundtrack has also been re-released, according to DisneyStore.com; it doesn't contain all the songs from "Return to Pride Rock", the original edition of the soundtrack; the original (non-TLK-related) Lebo M. songs have been omitted.

    8/3/2004 - "Simba's Pride" Special Edition DVD Menus and Bonus Feature Screenshots

    A thread at UltimateDisney.com has screenshots of the menus on the new "Simba's Pride" Special Edition DVD, as well as shots of some of the bonus features such as the animated "One By One" short.

    Thanks to Epesi, who memorably notes that Pumbaa, drawn again in the "Simba's Pride" style rather than the TLK 1.5 style, looks like "an asphyxiated beet".

    7/27/2004 - "Simba's Pride" DVD Reanimated Segments

    Shoka and Thiago Medeiros send word of some scenes in the Simba's Pride Special Edition DVD that have been re-animated, as well as the whole film being recolored to bring out formerly drab and flat colors.

    In the original VHS (and I'm assuming, the original DVD) version, Kovu jerks his head back and screams at one point. In the new DVD he turns and looks at Kiara, with the same backing scream. IMHO, it doesn't fit as well, but it's another one of those little odd changes that we'll never discover the purpose of. It's only about a second, so if you'd not seen the original recently, you'd probably not notice it.



    (Screen captures by Thiago M.; commentary by Shoka)



    The other change I noticed is right after Upendi. In the original, there is a short section right after the song where we see Kovu and Kiara walking back towards Pride Rock, singing "In Upendi" over and over, until they eventually finish, and their step, which was going to the beat, relaxes back into normal walking. In the DVD, the relax back into normal walking is no longer there, it's cut out. Before that happens, it fades off to the next scene.

    There are reportedly a lot more scenes that have been redone, too.

    Meanwhile, the official press release for the Special Edition DVD has been posted, thanks to Simba B; and Bryan Berlien points out the location of the official Disney site for the Speical Edition.

    7/4/2004 - Disneland Paris TLK Show

    There is a new "Legend of The Lion King" show at the Disneyland Resort Paris, which by all reports is outstanding. If you're in the neighborhood, don't miss it.

    Timduru has posted a first-hand report.

    6/21/2004 - A&E Original Movie "Pride"

    Steven recommends the movie "Pride", an original production by A&E that stars real-life lions with CG-animated mouth movements and star voices. As Steven summarizes:

    The movie is live action and the story revolves around a group of lions, and two lion cubs, whose curiousity about the world outside leads them into a journey of discovery.

    One of the lionesses, Suzuki, questions aloud about the purpose of being a lion, and her youthful mind leads her to make some unwise decisions about her life.

    The movie aired on June 21, but you can buy it on DVD at the A&E website.

    6/16/2004 - TLK II Special Edition Preordering Available

    Simba B. reports that DisneyStore.com has opened up pre-orders for the Simba's Pride Special Edition DVD set; if you put in your preorder before August 31, you'll get a free lithograph. (The current litho shown is of Simba and young Kiara, though the site says it's subject to change.)

    6/16/2004 - ASIFA "The Lion King" Tenth Anniversary Reunion Panel

    On June 14, I attended a once-in-a-lifetime event: ASIFA's "The Lion King" Tenth Anniversary Reunion panel and fundraiser. It comprised TLK's producer, directors, screenwriter, and animators, and was the most insightful two hours of in-depth discussion of the story of the production of TLK that I've ever seen, much less been a part of.

    My write-up is here. Christian Ziebarth's is here. Both of us thought of different things to cover, so be sure to read both articles!

    5/13/2004 - TLK SE Disc Art

    UltimateDisney.com has posted images of Disc 1 and Disc 2 of the Simba's Pride Special Edition box set. Via Simba B.

    5/5/2004 - TLK2 SE Release Info; TLK Trilogy Box Set

    Here are the current box-art images for the Norwegian and Spanish (June 23) versions of The Lion King 2: Special Edition, in Europe:



    I suppose I've seen worse Simbas, but that Zira is truly horrible.

    But there's also information at DVDAnswers.com to the effect that there will be a "Lion King Trilogy" boxed set available on June 28, containing all three movies:



    It's only for Region 2, though; no information yet as to a Region 1 (US) version of this boxed set. Looks interesting, though-- that's some very attractive box art.

    Thanks to Simba B. and Xarmy for the links.

    UPDATE: Xarmy sends this link too, which shows a Spanish box-art image very similar the the US design. I guess it's not officially decided yet which one they're going to use...

    5/2/2004 - Australian Release of TLK2; Cover "Art"

    Simba_thelionking notes this story that cites the Australian release date for the "Simba's Pride" Special Edition DVD as July 21, 2004-- more than a month earlier than the US release.

    Also, Simba B. has a newer and cleaner rendition of the DVD's truly foul box art:


    I'm sure they could have made Simba look worse if they'd really, really tried...

    2/25/2004 - Simba's Pride Special Edition Details Released

    Simba B. passes on the information published at DVD Empire regarding the upcoming Special Edition release of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. The release date is August 31, 2004; included on the DVD are the following features:

    All New One By One Animated Short
    From the Makers of The Lion King.

    Find Out Why Game
    Ever wonder why we sneeze? Or how an airplane flies? Timon has a few creative ideas, but Pumbaa has some more believable explanations for fascinating scientific phenomena.

    Proud Of Simba's Pride
    A Making-of featurette that highlights the seeds of the story, the development of the new characters, the African roots of the music and more!

    Rafiki's Challenge
    Rafiki's three gourd monty game, the classic shell game with a fun twist!

    Lots About Lions
    Learn more about "big cats," the animals that were the role models for Simba, Kiara and the rest of the pride.

    Pride Land Games
    Using their math skills, kids can help Timon and Pumbaa gather grubs for the feast and arrange rocks so Kiara and Kovu can get around the crocodiles!

    Disney's Song Selection
    Skip to your favorite song or play them all! Display the lyrics with the click of a button.

    Music Videos
    THX Certified
    And More!

    Video:
    Widescreen 1.66:1 Color (Anamorphic)

    Audio:
    ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
    ENGLISH: DTS 5.1 [CC]
    SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
    FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo

    Also, the DVD of The Lion King 1 1/2 contains this poster image, presumably the working design for the Simba's Pride: Special Edition DVD box art. Thanks to Shoka for the scan!

    11/12/2003 - Australian DVD Release Date Set

    The Australian (PAL, Region 4) release of the TLK DVD now has an official release date set: February 25, 2004. According to EzyDVD, the price will be $39.95 Australian.

    Thanks to Jedd for the tip!

    10/30/2003 - TLK2 Special Edition Autumn 2004

    Harley Quinn reports that UltimateDisney.com is quoting Autumn 2004 as the projected release date for the Special Edition DVD of Simba's Pride. That, however, is as specific as it gets.

    10/25/2003 - Interview with Ellen Woodbury (Zazu's animator)

    Simba B. forwards this LaughingPlace.com interview with Ellen Woodbury, the chief animator for Zazu (in the original TLK), which spends seven pages discussing her experiences on the project.

    There's also a review of the TLK DVD by Kirby C. Holt.

    10/14/2003 - Sarafina's Missing Lines

    Sarafina fans rejoice! The TLK DVD reveals all the rest of her character that has to this date only been the realm of speculation! ...Well, a little bit more of it, anyway. From ShakiraFuego:

    I was watching Disc 2 of the Lion King SE DVD, more specifically The Story.  They showed clips of the director following the drawn storyline, and got to the part where Simba comes to tell Nala about the Elephant Graveyard.  I saw "Sarafina" in a caption underneath one of the pictures, so I rewound a few clips ahead and paused it.  It seems that she actually did have more lines before the movie was completed.  The two captions that I saw vividly (one right after another) are:

    SARAFINA: Nala, you just had a bath!

    and

    SARAFINA: Try and stay clean for once!

    I think these two lines alone let us see a little bit more of her personality, and Nala's as well.



    10/9/2003 - Artistic Touch-Ups

    Tanabi has noticed a number of other interesting things that have been redrawn or updated in the Special Edition DVD:

    Apart from the alligators in the "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" sequence, there were several other changes I noticed. The waterfalls in the "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" scene are no longer blurs, they are drawn as running water. Don Hahn explained during promotional interviews for the IMAX release that they tried a special effect on the waterfall at the last minute, and it didn't turn out right, but it was so close to the release date that they didn't have time to fix it. Also, the ending credits no longer scroll by like a vertical marquee, they are shown in frames. The original end credits only showed stopped frames up until the "Busa" theme ended and "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" began.

    And here's some mistakes:

    The book sleeve opening DVD cover lists the deleted scenes as "Bug Football", "Hakuna Matata" and "Warthog Rhapsody". There is no "Warthog Rhapsody" included on the disc; it was replaced by Timon and Pumbaa's version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight".

    UPDATE: The "Warthog Rhapsody" sequence is in fact present on the disc. Go to "North America", then "Burbank", and it's on the second page. Thanks to Wishkres and Julie Schroeder for pointing this out!
    And in the "Making of the 'Circle of Life' Video" (by the Disney Channel "Circle of Stars"), Hilary Duff claims that the original song was so "perfect and wonderful" and she is glad that the new track stays true to the original but only adds "the flavor of their voices". Unless she is referring to the Elton John version of "Circle of Life", which I highly doubt, then she has never even heard the original song. The version in the new music video is the same as that in Elton John's version, with the same lyrics and beats, and it is not in any way like the original film version. And then she says that "Lion King is like her favorite movie"... sure, Hilary, whatever you say.



    10/7/2003 - Music Video News

    According to Tanabi:

    The Disney Channel "Circle of Stars" music video will appear on "Disney Mania 2", coming out this spring. The original "Disney Mania" included "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (by S-Club), "Circle of Life" (by Ronan Keating), "Hakuna Matata" (by Baha Men) and "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" (by Aaron Carter).



    10/7/2003 - Brazilian First Impressions

    From Mário in Brazil:

    I got my Lion King dvd yesterday, and i still haven't got time to watch everything (hey, there are more than 3 hours of bonus!), but I can give some opinions.

    As spotted by many others before me, I noticed the new crocodiles on the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence. I'd rather see the original ones.

    On the Morning Report sequence, it's clear the voice difference between the 'old' and the 'new' Simba. Although it's not THE voice, it's still a great sequence. But, again, I'd stay with the original one.

    Another slip I noticed, but not on the movie: on the 'international cd covers' bonus, there's no Brazilian cover. Since it's a Brazilian edition of the dvd, I think it could have been included.

    When it comes to music, I just LOVED the new version of Circle of Life, sung by Disney's Circle of Stars. It was thrilling to hear a new version of the song of my life. Also, it was great to see Elton John (my fave artist ever), Hans Zimmer (one of the most talented composers I know) and Hakuna Matata by Jimmy Cliff.

    The brazilian dvd comes with six postcards with some images from the movie. And man, they're beautiful. I think I'll put one of them on a frame and place it on my desk. If you want, I can scan them and send to you.

    To say more, only compliments. The visual, the sound, the colors... everything is so great and beautiful and brilliant. Definetly, the king has returned!



    10/6/2003 - Two More Reviews

    Kirsten Gilson has found two more reviews of the Special Edition DVD:

    http://dvdjournal.com/quickreviews/l/lionking_pe.q.shtml http://www.comingsoon.net/news/dvdreviewsnews.php?id=1774

    10/6/2003 - DVD First Impressions

    Laura (aka "Coolraptor") writes with the following:

    Well, I came home from school today and guess what arrived a day early from the Disney Store and was sitting on my doorstep to distract me from more important work this evening? Yup, the new TLK DVD and VHS. Here are just a few highlights people will soon be finding out on their own if you're interested...

    *Inside BOTH the VHS and DVD is a small mini-storybook of TLK 1.5 including new screenshots--with animation that looks VERY similar to Simba's Pride.

    *I ordered the collector's set DVD. Very nice. The "booklet" is actually 160 pages long! The first half summarizes the info you'll see on Disc 2 while the second half is the story from "The Art of The Lion King" once again, whough a few new pics in the background.

    *The character sketches are nice: big Simba on a hammock, young Simba, Scar, Rafiki, Timon, Pumbaa, Mufasa and Simba, Simba and Nala, and Zazu. All signed by the original artists and come in an equally handsome case. And all come in a paper "frame" that would serve nicely as a mat if you really wanted to frame the sketches!

    *Sneak preview of TLK 1.5 at the beginning of the DVD--it's the one with Timon and Pumbaa and the remote.

    Now some dirt on the actual movie! First, the BIG question (at least for me)...

    *As we all feared, the "Original" TLK version IS just the IMAX version with "The Morning Report" cut out. Meaning it's NOT the original version at all. There is one bright spot though--apparently someone at Disney listened to the fans and added the retreating clouds back into the scene with Mufasa's ghost in BOTH versions :)

    *The Morning Report--not as jarring to the flow of the film as I imagined. A LOT of recycled animation and the new animation with young Simba actually looks decent. As with Simba's Pride, Zazu and his movements were exaggerated a bit too much...

    *The new Home Theater Remix is AWESOME. 'Nuff said!!!

    *The computer animated opening is actually OK, EXCEPT for Zazu. His feathers look like fingers and his head is little squashed. Oy, and is he annoying!

    *Deleted scenes include Warthog Rhapsody, Timon and Pumbaa finding Simba, Bug Football, Timon's Hakuna Matata Verse, Timon and Pumbaa singing CYFTLT and the original opening scene. Still, not all the deleted scenes as on the CAV laserdisc...no original CYFTLT version (the one I like), no fight scene and no Scar's reprise. In way though, it's kind of nice that there's still something that makes the CAV unique. For die-hard fans only I guess ;P

    *There's actually two ways to navigate Disc 2--by continent (you'll see what I mean) and by "journey"--music, stage, film, etc. The little map in the booklet inside the DVD is a BIG help in finding one's way around.

    Some good news, some bad. Ah well.

    10/6/2003 - Revamped Crocodiles

    Sichi sends word of this forum thread at Animation Nation, wherein it's observed that the crocodiles with the birds in their mouths in the "Just Can't Wait to be King" sequence have been redrawn.

    Not particularly well, either. I mean, I can see how the old ones look wonky, but the new ones are stylistically jarring, looking nothing like anything else in the movie... and they're in both the Special Edition and the so-called "original theatrical cut" of the movie.

    Grrr.

    10/6/2003 - NASCAR News

    Simba B, as always, notes:

    Bill Elliott was in the top 10 for 220 laps Sunday. He led 115 laps, more than anyone else. Elliott finished 2nd while Jeremy Mayfield finished 3rd.

    Here's ahoto of Bill Elliott's number 9 Lion King Dodge intrepi on the race track:
    http://www.nascar.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/2003/10/05/cup_kansas/elliott.jpg

    And later...

    Here are some post NASCAR race articles from offical driver sites:

    ROOOAAAARRRR!!!!! - Bill Elliott proves he’s king of the jungle with a second place finish at Kansas Speedway

    http://www.billelliott.com/viewheadline.php?id=1849

    Small photos are are at
    http://www.billelliott.com/photos/2003/100503/index.html


    ROOOAAAARRRR!!!!! - Jeremy Mayfield proves he's king of the jungle with a third place finish at Kansas Speedway
    http://www.jeremymayfield.com/viewheadline.php?id=1850

    Small photos are are
    http://www.jeremymayfield.com/photos/2003/100503/index.html



    10/5/2003 - Target Gets Into the Game

    Simba B. notes:

    Target is selling the exclusive 2 disc set that includes The Lion King Special Edition Soundtrack and The Rythem of the Pride CDs for $12.99. This CD set includes "The Circle of Life" sung by the "Circle of Stars."



    10/5/2003 - TLK 1 1/2 Mini-Storybook in DVD Set

    Some early buyers are happily reading the mini-storybook outlining the plot of The Lion King 1 1/2 that comes in the DVD pack. As expected, it covers the story of TLK, including the pre- and post- story, as seen from Timon and Pumbaa's perspective. "Ma" and "Uncle Max" appear late in the story, evidently taking part in the fight to reclaim Pride Rock by digging a tunnel under some of the hyenas.

    More info (and a transcription) is available in the TLK 1.5 page.

    10/4/2003 - DVD Glitch

    Simba B. notes the following:

    A technical glitch about the Lion King Platinum Edition has been mentioned on several DVD sites an a few forums. I am able to confirm the glitch.

    It looks like the audio drop at the end of the pouncing sequence when I'm watching the original theatrical mix. In fact, the home theater system's text display goes blank, then redisplays [Dolby Digital 3/2.1] again. Weird huh? I only miss one short phrase from Mufasa: "That's" in "That's very good."

    That's not very good.

    10/4/2003 - El Capitan DVD Premiere News

    Simba B. sends this link to publicity photos from the TLK DVD Premiere event at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.

    Apparently it was quite an event. Evan Saucedo, the voice of Young Simba for the new "Morning Report" scene, writes with the following:

    Went to the Premiere at El Capitain last nite.............
    Was incredible,The whole outside red carpet was transformed with a rock backgroud and LK feel. A real lion cub, Simba, romped around our feet. The party was in a huge tent and was incridible but the highlight was the live giraffe outside the tent entrance and sitting in front of Chich Marin in the theater where Elton John performed 2 songs from the movie LIVE!!! Very cool....star studded....shook hands and hobnobed with Dennis Quaid, Forrest Whitiker,Blair Underwood, Jeff Bridges, Dan Hahn, Hilary Duff and a bunch of other kid stars like me and went home with the Special addition mag, platinum edition DVD & stuffed animal.
    It was a memory of a lifetime I'm excited to be a part of.......
    Thanks for all the great info....(More than my Publicist...hehehe)

    And the TLK DVD season is off with a bang!

    10/3/2003 - TLK Toys At Toys R Us

    Nuka writes with the following:

    Toys R us know has all The Lion King toys,figures and The Lion King sing along songs tape&DVD..The toys are: My Singing Simba,Cradleing Cub Nala,pride pals beanies with characters:Simba,Nala,Pumbaa and Adult Simba,Ready to Roar Simba,Circle of life Figures set,Simbas andventure figure pack,(i think thats what it was called) prices:Ready to roar Simba:$19.99,Singing Simba:$29.99,Soft purring Simba and Nala:$9.99 each,Feed me Pumbaa:$15.99, cradleing Cub Nala:$15.99, pride pals beanies:$5.99 each,figure packs:$9.99 each.
    And they had a poster and a promo with DVD cover on it...and they where playing Lion King music...



    10/2/2003 - DVD Giveaway at The Man Room

    The Man Room, which had a mostly glowing audio-oriented review of the DVD earlier (though lacking a thumbs-up on the "Hot Women" score), now is holding a giveaway contest of five copies of the Special Edition DVD. You can enter the contest once a day, as many days as you wish; you need to be registered with the site in order to win, though.

    10/1/2003 - Future Shop going TLK Crazy

    Benjamin points out that Future Shop, an electronics chain in Canada, is running a major TLK-based promotion selling "King Size" home theater systems as well as the Special Edition DVD set. The site's intro is totally TLK-themed now.

    10/1/2003 - DVD Release in Spain

    The Castilian Spanish version of the Special Edition DVD will be out in Spain on October 22, according to El Sitio del Cine and reader "Seryi". All the same extras as on the English version will be included.

    10/1/2003 - SE Soundtrack News

    Simba B. notes:

    MickeyMouseboy at UltimateDisney.com's forum says: "the disney store is carrying the Limited Edition Lion King Soundtrack with lenticular cover like they did for the lilo & Stitch Limited Edition soundtrack :) $15.99"

    Christian from my.lionking.org wrote on animated-movies.net: "the new soundtrack CD also includes a special edition of 'Rhythm of the Pridelands.' I'm not sure if all copies of the soundtrack have the extra CD so if you want to make sure yours does before you buy one just check to make sure it says '2 CD' on the front left spine. The whole thing is packaged very nice, with nice liner notes and new art on each disc and apparently the first CD also acts as a CD-ROM with special features."

    Benjamin sends the URL to the Amazon.ca (Canada) page for the combined CD. (Although it appears that this is not the "Special Edition" soundtrack that was released on September 30, 2003, but rather the combined set featuring just a few RotPL songs, sold primarily overseas starting in September 2000.)

    9/30/2003 - Backside of DVD Case

    Via Simba B.-- DVD Empire has a scan of the back cover of the DVD case, which looks different from the samples we've seen so far...

    9/30/2003 - Brazilian Region 1 DVD Release Tomorrow

    Thiago Medeiros writes to note that the Brazilian Portuguese version of the Special Edition DVD will be hitting stores tomorrow, 10/01. Also...

    Ah one last thing; All disny dvd (until now) released in brazil are all encoded for the region 1 too! (i know it because i have an american playstation 2 and it runs all dvds of disney, but all another it shows a mensage of wrong region)

    This is apparently something special Disney's doing in Brazil because the VHS version of TLK was the best-selling movie ever in the country.

    9/30/2003 - Worldwide DVD Debut at El Capitan Theater

    Simba B. says:

    FYI, there will be a Worldwide DVD Debut of Walt Disney Pictures' THE LION KING Friday, October 3 at Hollywood's Historic El Capitan Theater

    Here's a copy of the offical press release http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/030929/lam092_1.html

    If we're lucky, Yahoo and some other news sites should post some pictures of the event.



    9/29/2003 - DVD Reviews A-Go-Go!

    The reviews of the TLK Special Edition DVD (and attendant materials) have been coming in hard and fast. Thanks to the many readers who have sent me the links. Also note this thread at DVD Talk that has pictures of the gift set.

    9/28/2003 - Wal-Mart Photo-Op

    On Wal-Mart's online catalog page for the DVD Gift Set, there's the following blurb:

    Visit your local Wal-Mart Photo Center on October 11th to get a complimentary photo taken with a life-size cutout of characters from The Lion King.

    Thanks to Simba B.

    9/28/2003 - NASCAR TLK Tie-in Updated

    The Action Performance site dedicated to the TLK-themed NASCAR team with Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield has been updated with a more in-depth biographical look at the team.

    Sent by Simba B.

    9/26/2003 - TLKoB Is In St. Louis

    In case anyone's worried about the TLKoB production in Toronto shutting down, never fear-- it's coming to other places. Zentina notes that it's been playing in St. Louis, Missouri since August 22 (and will continue through October 12) a the Fabulous Fox Theater.

    9/26/2003 - Special Edition Soundtrack Samples Available at Buy.com

    Simba B. spotted some audio samples of the Special Edition Soundtrack at Buy.com.

    9/25/2003 - Toronto TLKoB Run Extended

    Raymond Lee reports:

    I have just been informed that The Lion King on Broadway in Toronto, Canada has been extended one final time until Jan 04 2004 The Lion King must close to make way for new productions. This is your FINAL opportunity to see The Lion King on Broadway at the Princess of Wales Theatre. For tickets and reservations call (416)-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333 long distance toll free or order online at www.mirvish.com. THIS IS YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY!!! TIME IS RUNNING OUT!!!!!



    9/25/2003 - Official TLK Promo Materials

    Courtesy of a representative of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, we now have available several pieces of promo material for the DVD release-- photos of the DVD box and gift set, banners (in JPEG and Flash format), and an official title treatment to be used as the movie logo. There's also a PDF of Lion King activity-type games and puzzles.

    I'll be adding these materials to other parts of the site in the next few days; for now, the official promo pictures of the DVD set (and the high-res look at the CD box art) might be of interest to readers. Release day is almost upon us!

    9/24/2003 - DVDFile.com Review

    Jess Walzak and Simba B. point out this review, which is a little more distressing to hear about:

    "Disney has not restored the original theatrical version, per se; you can watch the film either with or without the new tune, but it is still the animation is still of the IMAX'd variety only."

    "...where are the real trailers?" Apparently, both the Region 1 and UK DVD set don't have trailers.



    9/23/2003 - DVD Times Review

    Via Simba B: DVD Times (UK) has posted a great, long review of the TLK DVD set. Overall verdict: superb. Looks like this is really going to be something special.

    Lots of inline screenshots, demonstrating what they mean by the transfer quality being "reference-grade".

    9/22/2003 - Enesco Christmas Ornaments Sighted in Target

    Remember back on 3/10/03 when we learned that Enesco would be making TLK-themed seasonal ornaments and giftware in time for the 2003 Christmas season? Well, Caara writes with the following:

    I thought I would let you know I was in Target tonight and there is a complete set of Lion King Christmas ornaments on the shelves by Enesco. I found four individually boxed "regular size" ornaments which include one mini ornament in the box. Price on the "regular" ornament with mini is $6.99. They also have a boxed set of all the mini ornaments and the minis can be purchased separately as well. Boxed set of minis is $5.99 and the individual minis were $1.99.

    There is also a large water globe which plays "Circle of Life" priced at $15.99.



    9/22/2003 - Hasbro Adds TLK Page

    Via Simba B: Hasbro's Disney Portal page has been updated with all the new TLK merchandise.

    9/18/2003 - TLK on Corn Flakes Boxes

    ShakiraFuego has submitted a rundown of all the new food items currently in supermarkets with TLK marketing tie-ins on them.

    Kellogg's is now selling The Lion King: Special Edition Corn Flakes boxes with both Young Simba and Big Simba in various grocery stores. Here is a scan of the Young Simba box:
    http://www.shakiraholics.com/uyycornflakes.jpg (front)
    http://www.shakiraholics.com/uyycornflakes2.jpg (back)
    http://www.shakiraholics.com/uyycornflakes3.jpg (spoon offer - side of box)

    Also, Blue Bunny now has Lion King ice cream cups called Mini-Triples. They're chocolate ice cream cups filled with fudge, marshmellow, and candy bits. They also sell the ice cream in single large tubs called Triplets. Here is a scan of the Mini-Triplets ice cream box:
    http://www.shakiraholics.com/minitriples.jpg (box)
    http://www.shakiraholics.com/minitriples2.jpg (an actual ice cream cup, yes it was a pain to scan!)

    Blue Bunny's website has more information on the ice cream. Their Disney Ice Cream page can be found here:
    http://www.bluebunny.com/products/disney_detail.cfm?cat=Disney%20Ice%20Cream

    And, I've also scanned the cover of Disney Adventure's The Lion King special issue magazine. It can be found here:
    http://www.shakiraholics.com/disadventures.jpg



    9/17/2003 - Amazon.co.uk Promotion

    Simba B. notes:

    FYI: Amazon.co.uk is running a new promotion: order the Lion King Special Edition and recieve a FREE "Simba" soft toy.*

    Fine Print:
    *Offer for a limited time only and subject to availability. Information correct at time of posting. A limit of one soft toy per customer order. This offer is only available to customers who order The Lion King Special Edition on DVD (ASIN B0000AOWLW) or video (ASIN B0000AOWLX).

    (new picture, product information page)



    9/16/2003 - New TLK DVD Gift Set Photo

    Lindsay Mayer noticed this at UltimateDisney.com:



    Looks much better than previous shots; the character sketches are indeed originals, and there seem to be at least eight of them. This is looking better and better.

    9/16/2003 - Deep Discount DVD for Netherlands

    Reinald Snel alerted me to this offer at MovieGuide, a Netherlands movie site:

    MovieGuide.nl biedt de echte DVD-liefhebber de unieke kans om de speciale uitvoering van Disney's bekroonde "The Lion King" op DVD nu al online te bestellen met een aantrekkelijke korting.

    Voor slechts € 14,- (excl. €3,95 handlingverzendkosten) wordt de DVD op uiterlijk woensdagochtend 15 oktober bij jou thuis bezorgd worden.

    In other words, you send them the e-mail addresses of your friends, and if they sign up, they get the DVD for about half-price. The downside? You're giving the site e-mail addresses for mass-marketing purposes. But it could be worth it to you if you...

    9/14/2003 - Disney Adventures Collector's Issue

    As noted by Minna, Disney Adventures magazine has put out a commemorative TLK Collector's Issue, which includes a free poster and other items and DVD info.

    9/11/2003 - Vinyl LP Soundtrack Details

    Simba B. found that both Borders and Circuit City will be stocking vinyl LP versions of the Special Edition soundtrack. Borders shows an eleven-song track listing, though, whereas Circuit City lists the same 14 tracks shown below for the CD version.

    9/10/2003 - TLK Special Edition Soundtrack Track Listing

    Barnes & Noble has the following track listing, spotted by Simba B.:
    1. Circle of Life / Carmen Twillie
    2. I Just Can't Wait to Be King / Rowan Atkinson
    3. Be Prepared / Cheech Marin
    4. Hakuna Matata / Ernie Sabella
    5. Can You Feel the Love Tonight / Ernie Sabella
    6. The Morning Report / Jeff Bennett
    7. This Land
    8. ...to Die For
    9. Under the Stars [Instrumental
    10. King of Pride Rock
    11. Circle of Life / Elton John
    12. I Just Can't Wait to Be King / Elton John
    13. Can You Feel the Love Tonight (End Title) / Elton John
    14. Can You Feel the Love Tonight / Elton John


    9/7/2003 - TLK Special Edition Soundtrack with Lenticular Sleeve

    Spotted by Simba B; in addition to the regular Special Edition soundtrack, Amazon.com is apparently selling an alternate UK version in a lenticular sleeve, with different cover art-- featuring Adolescent Simba on that log during "Hakuna Matata". Release date is given as October 27.

    9/7/2003 - Timecode Magazine Cover Story

    Timecode Magazine, which serves video rental chain stores in the UK with industry news and new-release information, has a cover story this month on the TLK DVD Special Edition. click here and then click the "features" link to read the intro to the story. (The rest is available by subscription.)

    Rob Jongmans, senior vice president with Buena Vista Home Entertainment Europe reiterates the importance of the special edition: "The Lion King created the biggest entertainment phenomenon ever in its initial release and we are confident that this success will be unsurpassed when it is released." Peet continues: "The Lion King is still the biggest animated film in terms of video sales and the intention with the Platinum titles is to make the biggest splash we can. We've genuinely tried to pull out all the stops to make this one of the best DVDs ever."

    Whilst that might be considered to be quite a claim, it doesn't appear to be an unrealistic one. Certainly the DVD is far and away above what might be expected for most aniamted films, even most live-action classics. The disc comes with the original theatrical version of the film as well as a new, re-mastered edit that features The Morning Report, an all-new song composed by Elton John and Tim Rice, that arrives with a never before seen aniamted sequence featuring Zazu, the feathered emissary to the king. And as you will see, the list of extra features doesn't stop there.

    Spotted by Elfasi.

    Video Game News
    Noticed by Simba B. and Simba's Lil' Lioness-- the Disney Store Online has been busily updating itself with "coming soon" and "new release" items for both the TLK DVD SE and the upcoming TLK3/TLK1.5. We already knew about the TLK 1 1/2 game for the Game Boy Advance; but news to me is that they're also bringing out a "The Lion King Classic Collection" CD-ROM, which (oddly) doesn't contain the old multi-platform TLK game, but instead has three learning-style games aimed at kids.

    "The Lion King 1 1/2" for GBA
    "The Lion King Classic Collection" CD-ROM

    9/6/2003 - Keebler's Exclusive Mail-In Offer

    Spotted by Cass Wagner:

    Exclusive Mail-in Offer from Keebler, Mini Talkin' Lion King Cookies Jars. Found on the packages of Keeber's Grahams ( Original ) Gramcrackers. You can buy Timon, Pumba or Simba for $4.99 plus 2 UPC symbols, or the entire set for $12.99 plus 4 UPC symbols. Each cookie jar is appoximstely 6" inches high, and designed to fit together as a set.



    9/5/2003 - Truly Original Version on DVD, says USA Today

    Simba B. forwards me this USA Today article which claims confidently that the version of the original movie that's on the DVD will be the real original theatrical mix, not just the new Special Edition with the "Morning Report" snipped out.

    The original version of The Lion King, with no remixing, no tinkering and no new song, will also be included in the DVD.

    "The purists out there can see the movie exactly as it was in 1994," Hahn says. "Those who enjoy seeing new innovations can sing a new song."

    Ho thinks he knows which you'll choose.

    "Nine out of 10 people will prefer the home theater mix," Ho predicts. "I mean, the wildebeests feel like they're stampeding over your head."

    Maybe, maybe. But those 1 out of 10 of us might like to see the clouds retreating after Mufasa's ghost's appearance, for instance...

    9/2/2003 - US/UK Soundtrack Art Revealed

    According to Amazon.com, the TLK Special Edition Soundtrack will carry the same visual design for both the UK and US releases.

    Thanks to Simba B.

    9/1/2003 - French DVD/VHS Promotion

    There's a DVD and VHS bundle/promotion being sold at the French alapage.com. It's a collectible bag with a plush Simba toy, an exclusive edition of the TLK book, and the complete original soundtrack.

    Via Simba B.

    8/30/2003 - Back-to-School Merchandise

    Wal-Mart is stocking new TLK stuff to coincide with the DVD release, which coincidentally is right in time for back-to-school merchandising:

    They're also at Wal-Mart and they're some back to school items for kids. The 3D rubber things are Backpack clips, and the big package in the middle are magnets that you punch out of a sheet. On the other image, those are (obviously) pencils with plastic, character tops. I have one of each and there's also a stationary set with a tin pencil case, a Simba note pad, pencils, erasers and sharpeners. They're products of Disney Hallmark, I've never heard of it yet but with at least the word Disney they seem like worthy-of must haves.

    Submitted by Lindsay Gagnon.

    8/30/2003 - TLK Marketing Campaign Numbers

    Yipes-- they're not kidding around about this. From animated-movies.net:

    Disney Places High Hopes on Lion King DVD

    Brandweek reports that Disney is investing a whopping $200 million in overall marketing support in October for the DVD debut of The Lion King--a budget that eclipses the outlay for most theatrical releases, with McDonald's, Kellog, Hasbro and Wal-Mart in tow. Support will cover three DVDs, including the Platinum Edition and the spring 2004 launch of Lion King 1 1/2: Hakuna Matata and Lion King 2: Simba's Pride.

    Via Simba B.

    8/27/2003 - September 30 Release for TLK SE Soundtrack

    Amazon.com and Best Buy, according to Simba B., both list a release date of September 30 for the new Special Edition soundtrack CD.

    8/23/2003 - TLK Karaoke CD at Wal-Mart

    The marketing blitz is officially in high gear: Simba B. has found a Karaoke CD full of TLK songs for sale at Wal-Mart's online store.

    8/21/2003 - Official TLK DVD Site Opens

    Things are really gearing up: Disney has officially opened its newly redesigned website for the TLK DVD, complete with Flash animation, online games, downloads, and ordering links.


    You can get to the site at either www.lionking.com or the longer redirect URL, http://disney.go.com/disneyvideos/animatedfilms/lionking/. (lionkingdvd.com goes there too.) Thanks to all who alerted me to the news!

    8/20/2003 - DVD Case Backside Revealed

    DVDoo, a Danish DVD info site, has an article on the TLK DVD set that includes the artwork for the case's back panel. Click the "Vis stor bagside" link to see it. It's in Danish, but entirely likely to resemble the English version.

    Via Simba B.

    8/20/2003 - September 23 for Special Edition Soundtrack

    Simba B. notes that Buy.com has a listing for the Special Edition Original Soundtrack CD, with a release date of September 23, 2003. You can pre-order it now.

    8/19/2003 - DVD Transfer Images Posted

    DVDAnswers.com has posted several examples of the transfer quality of the upcoming TLK DVD. Very nice-looking images indeed. This will be a treat and a half.

    8/17/2003 - TLKoB Toronto Run Extended

    Raymond Lee informs me that according to the Toronto Star, the engagement of The Lion King on Broadway in Toronto has been extended from Sept. 28 to Nov. 2, 2003 at The Princess of Wales Theatre. Tickets are available by calling (416)-872-1212, or by visiting www.mirvish.com. There's not much time left!

    8/15/2003 - In-Depth TLK Production Interview

    Spotted by UltimateDisney.com and Jake Lipson, this is a must-see interview with TLK producer Don Hahn and other Disney mucky-mucks. It covers a lot of ground that we haven't seen before outside the studio, surrounding the TLK production and what the studio originally expected of it. Definitely worth a read.

    8/14/2003 - Free Lithographs with Disney Store TLK Preorders

    Ariel at UltimateDisney.com has this piece of useful information, relayed by Simba B.:

    In a week, we can pre-order The Lion King Collector's Gift Set and recieve free lithos.

    "the change should take about a week but they will now be offereing the Lithos with a preorder of the Gift Set"

       I don't know if this move only affects DisneyStore.com or if it includes the retail Disney Stores.  Either way, this is great news for folks who want to buy the Lion King Gift Box Set and the free lithographs.



    UPDATE: The gift set can't be ordered at the brick-and-mortar Disney Stores; you can only get it by ordering online or through the catalog.

    8/14/2003 - CoL Video Premiere

    Tanabi informs me that The Disney Channel is premiering the "Circle of Life" All Star music video tomorrow eveningÂ(August 15, 2003) after "The Cheetah Girls".

    8/12/2003 - Digital Bits coverage of DVD Preview

    Simba B. forwards this-- an article by Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits that goes into great detail about the design of the DVD presentation; it sounds like it's going to be quite a production. Don't miss this one, and jump on it early, as it might scroll off their main page before too long.

    8/11/2003 - More DVD Stuff

    Simba B. reports that there are two new DVD menu screens posted at UltimateDisney.com.

    Meanwhile, animated-movies.net has this article from the L.A. Zoo View:

    Disney supervising animator Andreas Deja recently chatted with the Los Angeles Zoo View, explaining that "I go to the Zoo every other month. We learned this from the old guys. We all worshipped the old animators who worked on the classics, whether it's Bambi or Lady and the Tramp. In talking to them, we asked how they did it, and they all said, 'We went to the Zoo.' Walt Disney always said, if you don't know the real thing, you absolutely cannot caircature and animated it. I draw at the Zoo regularly, because you never know when you're going to be assigned a penguin or a hippo, so it's good to already have basic knowledge."

    For the 1994 film The Lion King, Deja was assigned Scar, the villainous uncle to the adorable lion cub, Simba. "We start out drawing a lot of lions as we see them, and then add human elements to it. I had Jeremy Irons to work with, who did the voice of Scar. The dark eyes, dark rings on his eyes, the way his mouth is shaped, the nose, the thin upper lip--I was able to incorporate some of that into Scar." He did it well enough that when he first showed Irons video of Scar, Deja says the actor touched his own mouth and said, "My God, he looks like me!" Andreas Deja adds that it is vitally important for animators to correctly illustrate an animal's movements. "If you want to draw a deer that takes a step, you have to know what's involved, where the bones are. You have to analyze all that. When you look at a lion walk, there's all that weight. When he puts the weight onto one leg and then onto the other, that shifting of weight. That all has to be in the animation." Deja concludes that he is glad Scar was a lion, not a tiger. "We do 24 drawings a second. To get the stripes in the right place every time would be very difficult!"

    No kidding.

    8/9/2003 - Back to TLK3?

    Arild Berg provides the following interesting observation:

    I couldn't find anything about this on www.lionking.org, so I just figured I'd alert you to this just in case nobody else has bothered to do so. I was just watching the recently released Scandinavian DVD version of The Jungle Book 2, and to my great surprise, among the "previews" (you know, the ones Disney always make you watch before the menu comes up) was an actual trailer for "The Lion King 3 - Hakuna Matata" (I guess this is the official title then, not TLK 1.5). New animation and everything. It consisted of footage from TLK (the _real_ TLK that is) with the silhouettes of Timon and Pumbaa popping up in front of it, talking about the movie. Then Timon picks up a remote control and fast-forwards to the part where they come in, and they get into a discussion (Pumbaa insists they have to watch the film from the beginning). Eventually Timon rewinds it and promises that they'll go all the way back to _before_ the beginning.

    So it's TLK3 again, is it? Interesting.

    8/8/2003 - TLK DVD Insights

    Jess Walzak forwards this article from IGN:

    The Lion King looks and sounds incredible. This could very well be the animated equivalent of FotR EE. There will be multiple audio mixes, something Disney is calling the "enhanced home theater mix," which I'm betting is Dolby Digital EX. The extras will be great, particularly the new scene, called Morning Report, and a great outtake.

    Apparently Disney was going to give Elton John's Can You Feel The Love Tonight to Timon and Pumbaa, until John saw an early cut of the movie and said to the producers "I can't imagine what were you thinking having Timon and Pumbaa sing that song." They quickly agreed and shifted the song to the two lions. The outtake will show the original pencil drawings and have the audio of the two singing the song, very badly, I might add.



    8/5/2003 - Finding Nemo takes the lead

    It was bound to happen; TLK's box-office record has finally been beaten, by Finding Nemo.

    This past weekend, domestic box office receipts for Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo rose up another US$4.4 million, with totals now passing US$313 million. That makes Finding Nemo the highest-grossing animated feature film ever by about $200,000. The previous record has been held for almost a decade by another Disney feature -- The Lion King.

    It's great news for Pixar Animation Studios, which also saw Finding Nemo open with the strongest weekend receipts ever for an animated movie -- $70.6 million. The $313 mark also puts the movie in the number one spot for the year.

    Thanks to Leon Matt Thomsson for the tip.

    8/4/2003 - French DVD Packaging

    According to amazon.com, the French edition of the TLK DVD will be somewhat different from the one we get in the States:



    The package on the right, using a red version of the excellent original movie poster, is the Exclusive Edition, which contains the Special Edition 2-disc set as well as a soundtrack CD.

    Tip: Simba B.

    8/3/2003 - DVD Extra Features Preview

    Luke at UltimateDisney.com has posted another page of screenshots taken from the TLK DVD. Tip: Simba B.

    8/2/2003 - TLK on Lizzie McGuire DVD

    Sent by Simba B.: a review at UltimateDisney.com of The Lizzie McGuire Movie DVD, which reportedly includes a sneak preview of the TLK Special Edition.

    "We get a new trailer behind-the-scenes with Disney Channel's cast recording a new music video for "Circle of Life", plus some scenes of the DVD's features," says the reviewer, Gus Frank. He also includes two pages of screenshots, which are eyebrow-raising.

    8/2/2003 - Marketing Blitz

    Jess Walzak forwards this piece of info from animated-movies.net:

    Major Marketing Push Behind Lion King DVD

    A full page ad in this week's Hollywood Reporter (p. 28 of the July 29-Aug.4 issue) gives us a glimpse at the Timon & Pumbaa's Virtual Safari feature and reveals that the Mouse House is backing up the October 7 release of "Disney's most requested DVD title" with a $150 million marketing campaign. That's more than the production budget for Treasure Planet or Pirates of the Caribbean! Simba is likely to keep roaring at the top of the all-time video sales chart for a long, long time...



    7/31/2003 - Golden Books revealed

    The covers for the Golden Books "The Good Life" and "The Lion King 1 1/2" are on display at the Random House website.

    Thanks to Simba B. and animated-movies.com.

    7/30/2003 - More DVD Captures

    Simba B. and Tanabi have both notified me of this:

    Ultimate Disney has put together a 2-page set of captures previewing more Lion King DVD extra features, specifically the new "Circle of Life" music video performed by "The Disney Channel's Circle of Stars"--Hilary Duff, Christy Romano, A.J. Trauth, Orlando Brown, Tahj Mowry, Kyla Pratt, and Anneliese Van Der Pol.



    7/22/2003 - UK DVD Release Date

    Via Simba B. - Amazon.co.uk is reporting the release date for the Platinum Edition of TLK as 30 September, 2003.

    7/20/2003 - Finding Nemo Challenges the Throne

    Jake Lipson writes with the following:

    Pixar's "Finding Nemo" (distributed by Disney) surpassed the $300 million mark this weekend at the US box office. The only other animated feature in history to do that was Lion King. The total domestic gross thus far for Nemo is an estimated $303,796,000m vs. Lion King's $312,855,561m.* (The Lion King figure is the total gross from its two theatrical releases here in the U.S. in June and September of 1994 and does not include its IMAX re-release gross.) This makes Nemo the fastest animated feature to pass the $300m mark as it took Lion King the two releases combined to reach the mark whereas Nemo has accomplished this in just 52 days. It also seems increasingly likely that Nemo will surpass Lion King's total gross before the end of its run making it the #1 animated movie of all time.

    (I figure a really angry Lion King fanatic - I am one but I'm not angry because I love Nemo too - might argue tthat ajusted for ticket price inflation Lion King would still win so this means nothing; however, if inflated, the #1 animated feature of all time is not Lion King nor Finding Nemo: rather, still Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And you know as well as I do that when they look at how successful films are most Average Joe Six Packs will look at the list uninflated rather than inflated.)

    Just thought it might be worth mentioning on your site that after 9 years Simba has found a true challenger for the throne in Nemo



    7/20/2003 - Almost a Star

    Young musician Chelsey Forbess was nearly cast as the voice of Young Nala, according to this bio found by Simba B. Apparently the part was given to Niketa Calame only after Forbess had recorded her lines and the character had been designed based on her appearance, when the producers realized that her voice sounded too similar to Young Simba's (Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Bummer.

    7/18/2003 - Preorder News

    Simba B. has learned the following:

    MickeyMouseboy from UltimateDisney.com's forum told me that The local Disney Stores have started taking preorders for The Lion King since the 15.

    Luke from UltimateDisney.com says:

    "Disney will be running a Buy 3 Get 1 Free Promotion from September 9 through the end of December, similar to last year's. No word yet on what will be offered as a free selection, but shipping is $1.99 like last year."

    He also has found a large image of the collector's DVD gift box.

    7/14/2003 - TLK On Wheels

    For the 20th anniversary of the Dodge Caravan, Dodge and Disney will be doing a joint promotion centered on the TLK DVD release.

    "Dodge and Disney are all about establishing an emotional connection to families, so this partnership was a natural for us," said Julie Roehm, Director, Dodge Communications. "The Caravan and 'The Lion King' are also the originals in their respective categories and have set the benchmarks that others now follow. It's the king of the minivans celebrating the king of the DVDs."

    As with the "Monsters, Inc." advertising campaign, Dodge will integrate Lion King characters into unique broadcast, print and online creative in support of the Dodge Caravan and the release of "The Lion King: Special Edition" DVD. Advertising will break in late September. In addition, Lion King characters will also appear on the No. 9 and No. 19 Dodge Intrepid race cars of NASCAR drivers Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield at Kansas Speedway, Oct. 3-5.

    More on the TLK NASCAR designs, which feature Adult Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa on the hoods of the two cars can be found here. There are also die-cast toys of the cars, and a custom banner for the press release at action-performance.com.

    Thanks to Simba B. for the heads-up!

    7/10/2003 - Brother Bear Watch

    For anyone who's interested in keeping tabs, the Chinese site disney.jbug.net has a page full of screenshots from the upcoming Disney film Brother Bear, due for release in November.

    Thanks to Trish Heise for the link.

    7/10/2003 - DVD Menu Screenshots

    Eight new screengrabs from the DVD menus are at UltimateDisney.com.

    7/2/2003 - English "Morning Report" Lyrics

    Tanabi sends the following transcription of the English lyrics from the "Morning Report" scene:

    Zazu lyrics are in black
    Mufasa lyrics are in red Simba lyrics are in blue

    Chimps are going ape, giraffes remain above it all
    Elephants remember, though just what I can't recall
    Crocodiles are snapping up fresh offers from the banks
    Showed interest in my nest egg but I quickly said "No thanks!"
    We haven't paid the hornbills and the vultures have a hunch
    Not everyone invited will be coming back from lunch

    This is the morning report
    Gives you the long and the short
    Every grunt, roar, and snort
    Not a tale I distort
    On the morning report

    What are you doing son? Pouncing. Let an old pro show you how it's done.
    The buffalo have got a beef
    About this season's grass
         Stay low Warthogs have been thwarted
         to the ground In attempts to save their gas
         Okay, stay low to the ground, right... yeah... Flamingoes in the pink and
    Chasing secretary birds
         Shh... not a sound Saffron is this season's color
    Seen in all the herds
    Moving down the rank and file
         Take it slow... To near the bottom rung
    Far too many beetles are
         ...and pounce! Quite frankly in the dung

    This is the morning report
    Gives you the long and the short
    Every grunt, roar, and snort
    Not a tale I distort
    On the morning report



    6/28/2003 - French "Morning Report" Video

    Whoever doesn't want to spoil the surprise should skip this link [REMOVED]: a 2.7MB Windows Media video of the new "Morning Report" sequence. It's in French, but the gist of the scene is very clear; we now have an idea of its length, the staging, the style, and so on.

    The animation quality looks extremely good, as does the directing-- though the art is "played straight", the style of humor is quite close to the playful "Just Can't Wait to be King" sequence. It's unclear how this will feel once it's woven into the pacing of the overall movie. Some of the staging and even a few animation frames appear taken directly from the original movie's corresponding scene.

    Myself, I'm still lukewarm as to the scene's appropriateness for a song; it seems a little bit out of character for Zazu-- it plays up his role as a prima donna of the royal court, but it loses the easy, offhand, backgrounded nature of the stream of puns that makes up the content of the song. Yes, now we get to hear them more clearly, and we get to see more of Zazu's character (to say nothing of Simba's and even the gopher's); but it feels as though something has been lost from Mufasa's bored reaction to the news (finding his son's pouncing more important). On the other hand, maybe it's even more effective, having the thing Mufasa's getting bored with be a song rather than just a string of tedious one-liners. It makes it all the more embarrassing for Zazu.

    Anyway-- thanks to all who sent me the link.

    6/27/2003 - TLK DVD Screen Captures

    On its page for the TLK DVD, UltimateDisney.com has posted a screenshot from the upcoming new "Morning Report" sequence, as well as an image of uncertain provenance showing "Timon & Pumbaa's All New Virtual Safaris", probably part of the DVD menu system.

    The image from the movie sequence is very similar in staging to this one, suggesting that Zazu's theatrical, "on-stage" posture in the new still is part of the lead-in to the song before the "pouncing lesson" begins.

    6/20/2003 - New Name/Studio Unit: "DisneyToon Studios"

    Walt Disney Television Animation (TVA) has split off a new animation unit, the same unit that produced Simba's Pride; the new studio will carry the name "DisneyToon Studios", reports AWN.

    Thanks to Tanabi for the tip!

    6/19/2003 - TLK DVD's German Release Date

    Simba B. reports that the release date for the TLK (Der König der Löwen) DVD in Germany will be October 23.

    6/17/2003 - TLK DVD Specs via BBFC

    Simba B. and Jess Walzak note this forum thread at ultimatedisney.com, in which the official DVD specs-- reportedly from the British Board of Film Classification-- have been posted, along with track runtimes.

    UPDATE: The direct link for the BBFC's TLK DVD information is here.

    6/5/2003 - Choice of Audio Track on DVD

    The Digital Bits reports that the print will have "more clarity and vibrancy" due to digital enhancement and restoration. Also:

    In addition, a special Enhanced Home Theater sound mix has been created for the first time on this DVD release, that is specially designed to "envelop the listener in the sound" and enhance the emotional impact of the film. You will be able to choose to view either the original theatrical version of the film or the new special edition version (with the new musical number, Morning Report, created by the original filmmakers). And, for BOTH versions of the film, you will be able to choose to listen to either the original theatrical audio, or the new Enhanced Home Theater mix.

    Via Simba B.

    6/4/2003 - Toronto TLK Musical Shutting Down

    Again from Simba B, Toronto's production of The Lion King on Broadway is going dark on September 28.

    "The Toronto production of Disney's The Lion King will end its run at the Princess of Wales Theatre Sept. 28, after more than three years and 1,300 performances."

    See it while you can.

    6/3/2003 - TLK/Brother Bear Connections

    Simba B. notes that there are a number of common names in the credits of TLK and Disney's upcoming animated feature, Brother Bear.

    What is interesting is that co-director Aaron Blaise was the supervising animator for Young Nala in The Lion King. Also, composer Mark Mancina worked on The Lion King's Music (" Just Can't Wait to Be King"), The Rythm of The Pride Lands, and The Lion King Musical. The voice of Denahi is Jason Raize from the Lion King Musical. Jason Raize played Adult Simba from the Original Broadway Cast.

    I found out that one of the writers of Brother Bear and the supervising animator Broose Johnson also animated Young Simba from the Lion King.

    Looks like another film from Disney's A-list team, though the story appears to owe a lot to Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

    UPDATE 6/5/03: Masika notes that:
    At Disney's California Adventure there's an Animation Building and you get to see a clip of Brother Bear. It shows Alex Kupershmidt as the lead animator on the bear cub Koda. Alex Kupershmidt was the lead animator for the three hyenas in The Lion King.


    6/2/2003 - Region 2 Posts TLK DVD Article

    At r2-dvd.org, there's a new article on the TLK Special Edition DVD with some good info on the movie's statistics and what we can expect from the DVD.

    Via Simba B.

    5/22/2003 - Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure

    Leon Matt Thomsson sends me the following information from the E3 convention regarding Disney's upcoming skateboarding game, "Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure".

    OVERVIEW

    Everyone's favorite movie characters are hopping on their skateboards and taking it to the streets as they do ollies through the world of Disney's "The Lion King," catch big air in the jungle of Disney's "Tarzan®" and become a rail-grinding Woody in Walt Disney Pictures' presentation of Pixar Animation Studios' "Toy Story 2." Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is the only game that allows players to test their skateboarding skills in these large and imaginative worlds while incorporating Activision's powerful Tony Hawk's Pro Skater® 4 game engine. Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure lets players perform skating tricks just like the pros – but as their own unique create-a-skater kid or favorite character. Players skate using non-traditional boards like bamboo rafts and frying pans, solving puzzles as they go.

    FEATURES



    It's been shown at this year's e3 and the game will come out this summer. The only problem is that it's already getting bad reviews, as people hate it as they said it is a ripoff to Tony Hawk Pro Skater. The thing is, this game has more of an adventure with skateboarding while THPS was mainly gather points and unlock movies, etc. So who knows how bad or good this game will be.



    5/21/2003 - TLK DVD Preorder from WH Smith (UK)

    The UK chain bookstore WH Smith has begun offering preorders of the Special Edition DVD/VHS. A £1 deposit toward the purchase gets you a free TLK mug, as the flyer for the offer (at right) says.

    (Well, it says "mug"; I guess it's a TLK mug.)

    Thanks to Reepacheep for the tip!

    UPDATE: Brittany Conley notes some other preorder offers in the works:

    I went to FYE (For Your Entertainment) at the local mall and preorder is available for The Lion King. If you preorder at any FYE, you will also receive a special collector's Simba coin when the movie is picked up. I know you can also order online at fye.com, but I'm not sure if that free gift is available online as well.

    Apparently HMV in Canada is also giving out Pumbaa bobbleheads for preorders (again, available for pickup once the video is released).



    5/17/2003 - Self-Destructing DVDs

    Not daunted by the failure of Circuit City's stupid pay-for-play DiVX disc format, Disney has been developing a kind of rental-friendly DVD that chemically self-destructs after 48 hours.

    The discs stop working after a change in color renders them unreadable. They start off red, but when they are taken out of the package, exposure to oxygen turns the coating black and makes it impenetrable by a DVD laser.

    Buena Vista hopes the technology will let it crack a wider rental market, since it can sell the DVDs in stores or almost anywhere without setting up a system to get the discs back.

    The discs work perfectly for the two-day viewing window, said Flexplay Technologies, Inc., the private company which developed the technology using material from General Electric Co.

    Thanks to animated-movies.com and Tanabi for the pointer.

    5/9/2003 - Release Dates Set, TLK1.5 Details Confirmed

    Submitted by Simba B. and Kirsten Gilson-- here's a story from The Hollywood Reporter that gives a lot of insight into the DVD release schedule and particularly into the nature of TLK 1 1/2 (which is no longer called "Hakuna Matata", but which now seems to be more of a "Behind the Roars" sort of thing):

    Disney Fills 'Lion' Gaps with '1 1/2'

    The Hollywood Reporter officially announces that the Walt Disney Co.'s pint-size Lion King will return in a home video version next spring to bridge the action from the original 1994 animated feature and the 1998 direct-to-video sequel "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride."

    "The Lion King 1 1/2", due in early spring 2004, will offer an "irreverent, edgy, humorous back story" to the original told from the perspectives of characters Timon and Pumba, who are again voiced by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, respectively.

    Matthew Broderick will reprise his role as Simba, while Elton John and Tim Rice return with the new song "Meerkat Rhapsody."

    Disney has high hopes for "Lion King 1 1/2", which will not carry a subtitle in the fashion of "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride". The original "Lion King" will be out in a first-ever Disney DVD two-disc set October 7 with a new John-Rice song, "Morning Report," and loads of special features. That will be followed by "Lion King 1 1/2" and then a special-edition DVD version of "Simba's Pride" in fall 2004.

    Slipping the video premiere of "Lion King 1 1/2" between the "Lion King" and "Simba's Pride" rerelease "reflects a philosophy that the property is bigger than any one channel" of release, said Robert Chapek, president of Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment unit.

    "Lion King 1 1/2" will be marketed to the broadest possible audience, from "anyone who bought the original 'Lion King' plus anyone who's come into the marketplace since then," Chapek said. Ad spending and marketing campaigns have not been defined, but they will reflect the importance of the franchise, he added.

    Disney also will attempt to hook new consumers on the original's two-disc DVD with surround sound that is being specifically designed and mixed for home theater systems.

    "This is going to be a whole new experience for consumers who have 'The Lion King' on VHS already," Chapek said. "The theatrical mixes are certainly optimal for theaters, but home theaters are set up differently. So our philosophy was, a movie like this deserves special customized mix for (DTS) 5.1 customized home channels, and that's exactly what we did."

    The yearlong publicity and advertising effort also will be boosted by a new wave of licensed merchandise to create in-store displays and keep the franchise visible to consumers, he said.

    "The Lion King 1 1/2" DVD will also provide music videos, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes views of how the movie was made and two featurettes: "Timon - The Early Years," a mockumentary tracing Timon's childhood through tongue-in-cheek interviews with family and friends; and "Disney's Funniest Moments," highlighting Disney animated characters from the Seven Dwarfs to Brother Bear.

    Two games also will be included: a virtual safari "backlot tour" through the Pridelands and a Lion King trivia game in the format of a "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" parody.

    So it's clearly not going to compete with TLK1 in the "epic scope" department; but we knew that already. It does, however, seem to be a great deal more silly and self-aware than TLK2; I guess as long as they're this up-front about it, it could be a lot of fun.

    5/6/2003 - "Platinum Collection" Schedule Accelerated (and enriched)

    Not specifically Lion King-related news, but Animated-Movies.com reports the following:

    - Beginning next year, Disney will release two Platinum Editions every year, in March and October. Titles will be available for two years, then put on moratorium for only five years. That way, Disney can release all its animated titles on DVD by 2007, when the company expects HD-DVD to be available. Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Peter Pan are also being added the Platinum Collection.

    Interesting. So this means there will be another re-release cycle of everything after 2007, on HD-DVD? Yikes.

    Thanks to Tanabi for the tip!

    4/27/2003 - IMAX Trailers

    Simba B. has also found these trailers for the IMAX release, from last December, at ComingSoon.net. They're in QuickTime format; also, the title links are mixed up, so beware.

    4/26/2003 - New Product Photos

    Disney has posted a couple of new images on their product pages for the various DVD gift sets; these ones show the Simba and Rafiki plushies and the collectible pin. You can also see (in the first one) that the new jacket art is present on both the DVD and VHS cases. Yes!
    Thanks to Simba B.

    4/24/2003 - Special Preorder Lithograph Offer

    Simba B. has found some interesting special offers at The Disney Store Online. The following offer is for $19:

    Pre-order by October 6, 2003, and get our exclusive set of 4 Bonus Lithographs in a collectible portfolio. Plus, add our exclusive 5 1/2'' H Simba and Rafiki Mini Plush and collectible pin! Offer expires October 6, 2003, or while supplies last. Available to own October 7, 2003.

    And $59 gets you four custom etched wood frames for the lithographs to boot. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

    Also, there's this new composition of the Gift Set, which (fortunately) clearly shows the new box art on the DVD case.



    But the promo art for the lithograph offers shows the DVD box with the old art. C'mon, guys, don't keep us in suspense...

    4/21/2003 - Things To Watch For

    "Pride One" sends me word of certain milestones to be on the lookout for in the run-up to the October release, and some probable forms that the various pieces of merchandise will take.

    DVD preorder: If you remember the Beauty and the Beast preorder promotion the Lion King release will be very similar, with a preorder special edition pin, in June.

    Special Edition soundtrack: As predicted a Special Edition soundtrack will be released. There also there will be a multi disc set which includes the new Special Edition soundtrack with the Rhythm of the Pridelands and Return to Pride Rock CD's all in one package. Release should be in September.

    DVD Read and Sing Alongs: There will be a special Lion King read along and sing along DVD released in April by Buena Vista Home Entertainment. These DVD's include lots of features including a learning function to translate key vocabulary words in 5 languages. Visit www.DVDReadAlong.com for more info.

    Games: I saw a poster with a new Lion King game to be released, the cover was the same design as the IMAX poster (ya know the red one). Also there will be a new skateboarding game in which you can ride as your favorite Disney character, very interesting how Simba looks on a skateboard. No dates included here.

    He also sends the picture at right, a promo poster for the DVD release that was at the Buena Vista Home Entertainment booth at the Disney's 2003 "Cast Blast"; it appears to be set up like a piece of DVD cover art, though it doesn't really resemble anything we've seen so far. Could be an alternate design...

    4/18/2003 - Press Release on TLK Special Edition DVD

    A very interesting press release-- seemingly official-- can be found over at UltimateDisney.com's forum.

    Also, lionking.org's TLK on Home Video page has been updated with the new info on the releases that we've heard to date.

    4/16/2003 - Official DVD Specs Released

    IGN has the scoop.

    Thanks to Simba B, Jess Walzak, et al.

    4/15/2003 - Disney Updates TLK Special Edition Detail Pages

    Disney's put up information pages for the TLK Special Edition VHS and DVD. Not much info we don't know already, plus it has a typo ("Additonal Formats:").

    The thumbnail images are a little worrisome, though:



    Looks like the VHS cover (left) has the new, redone image, but the DVD cover (right) still has the old, stupid one. I hope this is just a compositing error, and that both formats will carry the updated image.

    4/14/2003 - DVD Trivialities

    Simba B. forwards two possibly interesting pieces of information:

    "According to Disney, The Lion King will be presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, the original animation ratio, and not over-matted to 1.85:1."

    And...

    I was browsing around on www.dvdempire.com when I saw something under their " Lion King, The: Special Edition" information page:

    Collectible Packaging Opens Like A Book

    I don't know how official that information is, but I thought I'd let you know. It looks like the Lion King DVD won't be in Amary Keep cases?



    4/9/2003 - Special Edition Longer By One Minute?

    Tanabi forwards these two items from animated-movies.com:

    According to Play.com, The Lion King's Special Edition will run 89 minutes long, only one minute longer than the Original Theatrical Release--the only difference between the two being the whole new song and animation for "The Morning Report".

    And...

    Second Guess on Morning Report Scene In response to yesterday's article, 'Joel' notes that while The Lion King's Special Edition might only be one minute longer, the new song and animation are more than likely several minutes long. "Here is a copy of the current dialogue from the movie. Now, read the lyrics to Morning Report. You will notice that the two are very similar. Hence, what the difference in length means is that by the time Disney removes the dialogue, and inserts the song, the remaining time difference is only a minute. The song is one minute longer than the dialogue."

    Now, the information he cites all comes from right here at lionking.org, so who knows whether this tells us anything new or not... :)

    4/7/2003 - Release date for TLK 1.5 posted?

    At eFilmCritic.com, it says TLK 1.5 will be released on 12/31/03.

    Via Simba B.

    4/7/2003 - Details on the DVD Collector's Gift Set

    The $39.99 boxed Gift Set has a page at Costco's site that explains the contents and presentation. (Scroll down to the "The Lion King DVD Collector's Gift Set" link.)

    The Lion King Special Edition DVD Collector's Gift Set includes everything from the Special Edition, with the addition of five exclusive character portrait drawings, signed and sketched by the original animators and The Lion King Special Edition book - the ultimate companion piece to the DVD experience!

    The page has full feature lists as well. Nice-looking box, too.

    Thanks to Nathan B and Rob Tripp for the pointer!

    4/3/2003 - TLKoB National Tour in Cincinnati

    Leon Matt Thomsson informs me that the Lion King: National Tour, the traveling version of TLKoB, is currently in Cincinnati and will be there until May 18. Alton F. White, the actor playing Mufasa, is a Cincinnati native.

    3/31/2003 - DVD Extras

    Tanabi5790, Simba B. and Jess Walzak note this blurb from animated-movies.com and Video Premiere Awards:

    In the deleted scenes of the October 7 DVD, Elton John talks about how his song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" was to be originally sung by Timon and Pumbaa, but he said it was so horrible, he offered other suggestions, which led to the song being performed by Simba. the deleted scenes include original sketches of the warthog and meerkat performing it. The DVD also offers interviews with John, producer Don Hahn, Disney animation chief Roy Disney and others.

    I remember that Elton John interview being on the Deluxe Laserdisc edition; it's good to see it's made it to DVD as well.

    3/28/2003 - See It While You Can

    Britt informs me that TLK will be ending its IMAX engagement on March 31.

    UPDATE: Other reports suggest that various IMAX theaters will be showing the movie through mid- to late April; each theater apparently has its own engagement schedule. But regardless of where you live, time is running out!

    3/26/2003 - High-res DVD cover art

    There are nice high-res images of the DVD cover art and on-disc artwork at IGN. Found, of course, by Simba B.

    3/25/2003 - Mystery "2-pack" TLK DVD at Barnes & Noble

    Simba B. spotted this item at B&N's online catalog:

    Compare the above page to thier description of the Lion King DVD - Special Editon on http://video.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?userid=2WPV7LGL2P&EAN=786936217421
    The Special Edition 2 disc DVD set sells for $22.48 USD. Most online stores are selling the Lion King for about $19.95 to $22.50. Also interesting is that both products have different UPC codes. I haven't heard any official or unofficial word on this 2 pack, multi-item Lion King VHS or DVD set. Because the UPC codes are different, these two sets must be different. I haven't seen any mention of the Multi-Item set anywhere else.

    Typo or mysterious bundling deal? What would they package it with-- SP?

    UPDATE: DVD Pacific and Amazon now have pages for this "Special Edition Collector's Gift Set". Thanks to Simba B. and Lindsay Mayer.

    3/25/2003 - "The Circle Is Now Complete"

    USA Today has a blurb about the upcoming DVD release:

    The circle of life for Disney's The Lion King is now complete," writes the newspaper. "The still-reigning top animated feature of all time, with $313 million at the box office and 31 million VHS copies sold, is finally coming to DVD as a two-disc set on October 7. Another member of Disney's cartoon royalty--a two-disc set of 1959's Sleeping Beauty--will make its DVD debut on September 9.

    Thanks to Simba B. and Tanabi5790.

    3/24/2003 - DVD Games

    The "Scoops" page at Corona Productions has a little extra news about the TLK DVD, including four "set-top interactive games" and material related to the Broadway Musical.

    Word is that the four games are: Via Simba B. and ZeiLio§§.

    3/21/2003 - New and Improved DVD Cover Art

    Excellent news-- Disney has apparently taken to heart the clamor for a less awful-looking DVD cover, and done a new version of the composition that still appears in its original form at the official DVD site.

    On the left is the original DVD cover art as initially released, provided by Luke at UltimateDisney.com; and on the right is the new version, as reported by Davis DVD, with a clearly redrawn Scar (he has his scar now!) and other characters tightened up considerably.



    This is a serious improvement. Also, Davis DVD has images of the artwork on the discs themselves:



    These, I think, look great. I'm very very relieved.

    Thanks to Simba B. and Lindsay Mayer for the news!

    3/20/2003 - New Extended "Hakuna Matata" sequence

    Simba B. relays this tidbit from the "Animated Movies" forum:

    For those of you who may have been wondering why Olivier put "Hakuna Matata" as being a deleted scene, the reason is that Hakuna Matata was originally much longer than the version that appeared in the film. The Hakuna Matata Deleted Scene section on the DVD will have the parts of the Hakuna Matata sequence that were cut out of the film.

    Interesting.

    3/18/2003 - TLK DVD Available for Preorder

    Today's the day that the TLK DVD becomes available for preorder, according to Best Buy and Amazon.com and everybody else. The features have been officially announced, and include: Apparently that horrible image shown below is in fact the real DVD cover art, and not a mock-up. Ah well... at least the set is billed as having the original theatrical release version as well as the "Special Edition" with the new "Morning Report" song. So we'll have the original 1994 movie, and we can all close our eyes and pretend it's in a box with this as the cover art.

    Thanks to Simba B, Jess Walzak, Denver Doubter, and others for the pointers.

    UPDATE: More info on the DVD features from Costco, via Jess Walzak and Kirsten Gilson:


    DVD Features:

    * Languages: English
    * Subtitles: None
    * Screen Format: Widescreen (1.85:1)
    * Sound: DTS 5.1 Surround and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

    Additional Features: Disc One

    * Closed-captioned
    * THX-certified
    * Two versions of the film: The Special Edition that includes the
    all-new song The Morning Report and the original theatrical release
    * The making of The Morning Report
    * The Lion King Personality Profile game
    * Rafiki's Three Gourd Monty game
    * All-new music video
    * Sing along track
    * Timon's Grab-A-Grub game
    * Pumbaa's Sound Sensations game
    * Deleted scenes: Bug Football, Hakuna Matata and Warthog Rhapsody

    Additional Features: Disc Two

    * Virtual Safari with tour guides Timon and Pumbaa
    * Disney Animals - learn how real animals inspired these animated Lion
    King characters hosted by Roy Disney
    * Storymaking Magic - the fascinating origin and influences behind the
    story of The Lion King
    * Behind the scenes of the award-winning Broadway hit musical
    * Exclusive interview with writer/artist/director Julie Taymor
    * Explore masks, costumes, people and puppets
    * Behind-the-scenes footage
    * Character design
    * Computer design
    * African art inspiration
    * Exclusive interviews with Sir Elton John and Tim Rice
    * Lion King music videos
    * African influence
    * Much, much more!



    And from DVDtoons, via Simba B.:


    Features:

    Two versions of the film: The Special Edition that includes the all-
    new song The Morning Report and the original theatrical release
    The making of The Morning Report
    The Lion King Personality Profile game
    Rafiki's Three Gourd Monty game
    All-new music video Sing along track
    Timon's Grab-A-Grub game
    Pumbaa's Sound Sensations game
    Deleted scenes: Bug Football, Hakuna Matata and Warthog Rhapsody
    Additional Features: Disc Two
    Virtual Safari with tour guides Timon and Pumbaa
    Disney Animals - learn how real animals inspired these animated Lion
    King characters hosted by Roy Disney
    Storymaking Magic - the fascinating origin and influences behind the
    story of The Lion King
    Behind the scenes of the award-winning Broadway hit musical
    Exclusive interview with writer/artist/director Julie Taymor
    Explore masks, costumes, people and puppets
    Behind-the-scenes footage
    Character design
    Computer design
    African art inspiration
    Exclusive interviews with Sir Elton John and Tim Rice
    Lion King music videos
    African influence
    Much, much more!



    UPDATE: Simba B. notes that as of 7:50PM EST, after having been on sale for less than 24 hours, The Lion King: Special Edition has already become Amazon.com's best-selling DVD.

    1. The Lion King - Special Edition
    2. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (Widescreen Edition)
    3. 8 Mile (Widescreen Edition)
    4. Friends - The Complete Third Season
    5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
    6. Frank Herbert's Dune (TV Miniseries) (Director's Cut Special Edition)
    7. The Day the Earth Stood Still
    8. 8 Mile (Full Screen Edition)
    9. The Beatles Anthology
    10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Fourth Season

    3/16/2003 - Preordering TLK DVD

    Simba B. sends this link to the preordering page at Best Buy.

    BestBuy.com says, "Pre-order Disney's The Lion King on DVD on Monday, March 17!" I suspect that other sites like Amazon.com will allow people to pre-order the Platinum Edition tomorrow as well. I am assuming that Disney will release the official artwork and features list within a few days or weeks on Disney.com.

    Also, ultimatedisney.com and animated-movies.squareworld.com both have picked up on this image of the DVD box art, which appears to be derived from the same godawful image that's been on Disney's own TLK DVD page. As Simba B. says:

    I hate the cover. Scar doesn't have his scar. I still believe that the DVD cover will look like the VHS cover. Since adult Simba isn't on the VHS cover, we shouldn't expect him be on the DVD cover.

    The cover art on ultimatedisney.com is inconsistent with covers of Snow White and The Beauty and the Beast because:

    The background has no sparkles or no any other special effects The correct wording of the text at the bottom should read: FEATURING AN ALL-NEW MUSICAL SEQUENCE, not No silver bars at the top and bottom; instead, the bars are gold.

    We'll need to wait until Disney releases the official cover art. I believe that Disney will release the cover art and features list at the same time. Since Disney is still looking for old video footage, they can't release a list of features and the artwork.

    It could be a mock-up. It'd better be a mock-up.

    3/15/2003 - TLKoB Coming to San Francisco

    Simba B. and Kirsten Gilson both send word of this article which announces the following:

    The Bay Area will finally have a chance to see what all the fuss was about when Disney's ``The Lion King'' comes to San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre next year as part of the newly announced Best of Broadway season.

    Based on the 1994 animated Disney film, the stage version of ``The Lion King'' won Tony Awards in 1998 for best musical and for director Julie Taymor (the first woman ever to win best director), who reinvented the film as a dynamic stage extravaganza with life-size puppets. The show also won Tonys for its sets, costumes (Taymor again), lights and choreography (by Garth Fagan).

    Bay Area fans of ``The Lion King,'' both young and old, have waited patiently for nearly four years for the tour to arrive, and they'll have to wait a little longer. The show is scheduled to open in the winter of 2004.

    3/12/2003 - Another Don Hahn interview-- this one about IMAX

    From Simba B: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2002/lion_king/lion_king_imax.htm

    It's an interesting article. Kallay inteviewed producer Don Hahn, Co- directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. There are also some interesting disucions about techincal topics such as aspect ratios and test screenings about the 1994 film and the Imax versions.

    3/10/2003 - Interview with Don Hahn

    Simba B (of course) sends me this interview with Don Hahn, co-producer or TLK, on the bonus material to be included in the DVD release:

    CJ: Have you had any involvement with the upcoming Lion King DVD?

    DH: I have, actually. We're working on it very hard. At this point we're pulling together interviews and going through our closets and getting our video field trips. We found this great video of La Boheme recording music in South Africa for the movie, and interviews with Hans Zimmer and Elton.

    CJ: The Lion King laserdisc was one of the greatest ever made. I would guess that the commentary will come over from that, right?

    DH: Yes, we'll use that literally. What was great about that commentary is that it was done back in 1994 or 1995, so the movie was very fresh. I think a lot of the elements from the laserdisc were fantastic. We want to pull those over, but we also want to pull in elements like Julie Taymor's take on The Lion King and talk about it with some perspective of the years gone by now.

    3/10/2003 - Enesco to produce TLK Giftware and Collectibles

    Here's a press release which describes the company's plans for the new line of goodies:

    Enesco will develop seasonal and everyday giftware products for The Lion King property for the mass market, as well as giftware and tabletop merchandise based on the other Disney properties for the specialty retail channel and the mass market.

    The initial Lion King offering will be available to retailers in mid-summer in advance of the DVD release in October. The Disney offering will be distributed in the U.S. and Mexico.

    Sent by Simba B.

    2/28/2003 - Hasbro To Release New Lion King Toys

    This fall, to coincide with the October re-release of The Lion King, there will be a new set of plushes and other toys available from Hasbro. From their official press release:

    Walt Disney Picture's "The Lion King" is the biggest animated feature film of all time and the "circle of life" will continues with Hasbro's all new line of adorable and interactive plush toys, figures and play sets. Hasbro brings to kids the movie's most memorable lines, the wacky characters, and the touching moments of Simba's much-loved coming-of-age story. These items are recommended for ages two and up and all are available in the fall.

    There are ten items listed, with full descriptions and prices. Start making up your shopping lists...

    Thanks to Simba B for the info.

    2/18/2003 - Atlanta Civic Center photos

    Ratdog took some pictures of the TLK production at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center:



    2/15/2003 - "All-Star" Circle of Life Music Video for DVD

    According to Hillary Duff's online diary and animated- movies.squareworld.com, there's going to be a new music video on the TLK DVD to be released in October.

    "Happy Valentines Day!!! Sorry that I haven't been writing in my diary lately but I have been so busy recording my album. Today I actually recorded a Disney All-Star version of "Circle of Life" which will be part of the Special Edition DVD release of "The Lion King". I'm singing this song together with Raven, Orlando, Christy Romano, Anneliese, Kylah Pratt, AJ Trauth and Tia, Tamara and Tahj Mowry. We're also shooting a music video for that song on Tuesday which should be pretty cool. I've been rehearsing my new songs almost everyday and can't wait till my record comes out in September."

    I'm not sure if it counds as "all-star" if I've never heard of any of these people, but then I'm not much of a people-watcher, so who knows...

    Update: The names listed here are all (or most) stars in Disney Channel shows. Thanks to ZeiLio§§ for letting me know!

    Thanks to Simba B, Tanabi, and Kirsten Gilson for alerting me!

    2/15/2003 - "Special Edition" Soundtrack

    Simba B sends the following clarification regarding the soundtrack for the TLK Special Edition DVD:

    I read Jake Lipson 's response to my January 26 post of the Lion King Special Edition Soundtrack. It seems that I got the release dates of Beauty and the Beast's Special Edition Soundtrack confused. I think the Lion King Special Edition Soundtrack hasn't been released yet because the song "Morning Report" wasn't finished before December.

    I'm hoping that Disney will release The Special Edition Soundtrack sometime this year.

    2/6/2003 - TLKoB in Atlanta

    TLKoB is coming to Atlanta! It'll be a special seven-week, 28-performance engagement at the Atlanta Civic Center. For more information, see http://www.geocities.com/busa_simba/brwayupdates.html.

    The official site for the Atlanta engagement is at http://www.atlanta.net/lionking/.

    1/28/2003 - TLKoB Sweepstakes

    Interested in seeing TLK on Broadway, but can't afford tickets? Jake Lipson has some good news:

    Disney is now running a contest to win 8 (yes, 8) free tickets to The Lion King in New York City with a backstage tour following the performance. Transportation and hotels are also provided in the prize package. And if you loose the grand prize, they've also got a "Simba Prize Pack" and a "Nala Prize Pack" to give away, too. For more, go here:

    http://disney.go.com/disneytheatrical/lionking/sweeps/imax/index.html


    1/26/2003 - "Special Edition" Soundtrack?

    Simba B speculates on the release of a new version of the TLK soundtrack following the DVD release:
    I've looking at some Beauty and The Beast products on Amazon.com. Amazon.com is selling a Special Edition soundtrack that has music from the Platinum Edition of the film. This CD was released after the Platinum Edition came out. I hope that Disney will release a Special Edition soundtrack for the Lion King as well. We could see the "Morning Report" on the soundtrack and possibly an early version of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and maybe another demo song.
    Jake Lipson has more on this subject:
    Contrary to your post, the Special Edition soundtrack for Beauty and the Beast was released in December 2001, immidately prior its IMAX debut, and the original CD was pulled out of print upon its release. The reason this soundtrack was released was to allow for the new Human Again sequence to be represented on the soundtrack. I had expected a repackaging o the Lion King soundtrack in 2002, but it probably didn't happen because Morning Report was not put into the IMAX version. (This is because Morning Report wasn't finished by the date, so they just IMAXed the original version.)  But I too am expecting a Special Edition soundtrack re-release prior or coinciding with the release of the Special Edition cut on DVD. (Wishful thinking says I hope they also include Timon's Hula song, but I doubt it.) In addition to Morning Report, I would expect it to include the newly re-recorded Circle of Life ussed in the IMAX cut (as opposed to the original 1994 version of CoL) as welll as the updated versions of asny other songs they re-recorded for the IMAX release (I haven't seen the IMAX version yet so can't comment there except for CoL which has been publicly stated as re-recorded and definitly sounds different than usual in the first IMAX trailer.) Therefore I would advise anyone who wants but does not own the original soundtrack to go out and get it in order to maintain the original recordings.


    UPDATE: Tanabi has the following to say:
    In your News and Sequels section, it says in the "Special Edition Soundtrack" article that there is a re-recorded version of Circle of Life in IMAX. I thought that there would be, because I read it out of a post in a forum... but I saw the IMAX release of TLK and listened very closely and paid close attention to everything that was modified from the original 1994 release. The "Circle of Life" sequence was not re-recorded. It is the exact same thing on the soundtrack. Just wanted to let you know.


    1/23/2003 - New Official TLK DVD Site

    Thanks to Jake Lipson, Simba B, and others-- we've got an official Disney site now for the TLK DVD: http://disney.go.com/disneyvideos/animatedfilms/lionking/
    As Jake says:
    Although not much is there yet, a couple things are noteable. First, you can view the trailer for the DVD (as seen on the 101 Dalmatians II DVD), and second, there's a screensaver. Opening the screensaver once downloaded reveals the DVD release date to be as I pradicted: OCTOBER 7TH, 2003. This is official and confirmed!! No specs yet, though; let's hope for 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen versions of both the new Special Edition and original theatrical cut.

    Also, if I do say so myself, the character montage on the web site is very beautiful and I would love if it were to be translated to the DVD cover. It's certianly better than the VHS cover, but still not my dream cover.

    I'd expect a press release and cover art very, very soon. Beauty and the Beast was announced a bit later last year, but with the website launched and trailers already being slapped in front of Disney DVD releases, I'd expect it a little sooner this time around.
    I have to say I disagree about the art-- whoever they contracted to do the Web graphics needs a few more years at CalArts. Scar's missing his scar, for crying-out-loud-- and he looks more like Rafiki than Rafiki does. Yuck.


    1/21/2003 - "The Lion King DVD Read-Along"

    There's a new "read-along" book/DVD set being released along with the TLK DVD. Information on that, and more, from Simba B:
    I was looking at Amazon.com and saw that they are taking pre-orders for "The Lion King Dvd Read-Along". It will be released on January 28. It should have a storybook, songs, and games. The cover mentions "5 languages." I imagine that this product is for young children who are learning to read.

    The spect ratio will be full scree, 1:33 : 1.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000087EY0/qid=1043187451/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3/104-4076554-6658325?v=glance&s=dvd#product-details

    Amazon.com shows coverart similar to the Original Soundtrack coverart.

    Coverart featuring Simba, Timon and Pumba is at: http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=5548026&cart=135508711&style=movie

    Description from CD Universe:

    This is a read-along version of the classic Disney movie. Wild Africa is the setting for this tale of a young lion cub whose evil uncle usurps his father's crown and lets hyenas overrun the kingdom. Dodging danger and befriending some oddball characters, the cub wanders until the day he's ready to return. Songs by Elton John and featuring the voices of Whoopie Goldberg, Cheech Marin, James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane and Jeremy Irons. Academy Award Nominations: 4, including 3 for Best Original Song. Academy Awards: 2, including Best Original Score and Best Original Song (Elton John and Tim Rice: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight").

    Best Buy mentions that "Lion King: Circle Of Life Sing Along Songs" in DVD format will be out on April 1, 2003 - April Fool's day?

    Synopsis from http://www.bestbuy.com/movies/ProductInfo.asp?e=11206686&m=270&cat=&scat=:

    Each episode of Disney's Sing Along Songs collects songs and classic scenes from the archives of the Walt Disney studios, offering them in a sequence younger viewers will probably enjoy. Most of the classic Disney characters make appearances in these thematically collected videos. This particular episode collects the songs from The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Aristocats, and many others. ~ Rob Ferrier, All Movie Guide


    1/20/2003 - DVD News A-Go-Go

    This weekend saw a ton of updates regarding the content and presentation of the TLK DVD. From Simba B:
    As seen on http://animated-movies.squareworld.com/News.html
    New Lion King Scene Revealed 'Justin' [from www.justinwilliams.co.uk] writes that "the trailer, on a second viewing (it's 3:01 minutes long!) names the addition-- 'a brand new song, The Morning Report'. Trailer has just 00:06 seconds of new footage during the voice over of the above fact."
    The DVD will be called the "Special Edition", not the "Platinum Edition", he adds, quoting http://animated-movies.squareworld.com/News.html:
    The Lion King Is Special--But Not Platinum

    Buena Vista has just confirmed with the Digital Bits that The Lion King: Special Edition is on the way. "And that's exactly what they're calling it. The good news, of course, is that The Lion King is coming to DVD and it's going to be a special edition. What's the bad news? Well... we're a little surprised that they're not calling it The Lion King: Platinum Edition. Does this mean the Platinum line is a casualty of Eisnerian cutbacks after only two titles? Are we just reading too much into this? We'll see..." Screenshots from a teaser for this October release are now up at DVD Toons (http://www.dvdtoons.com/news/333).
    However, in an update, he adds:
    Disney is calling the 2-disk set: "The Lion King: Special Edition" in the advertismentss. The disc set will have the Platinum Edition on the cover; i.e. it's part of the Platinum line. Digital Bits has misinterpreted the info.

    Digital Bits is just confused. "Beauty and the Beast" was advertised the same way as a "Special Edition", but that's apparently referring to the FILM, because God forbid Disney releases the original theatrical cuts of films. (Like "Star Wars: Special Edition".)

    But no need to panic, the DVD is still going to be a "Platinum Edition."

    Digital Bits says:

    "...Based on the number of retailers who have been e-mailing us on this, we're pretty sure this will be released as the The Lion King: Platinum Edition in November or December..."

    I don't believe them. I think that Disney will release The Lion King in October. "Snow White" and "Beauty and The Beast" have been released in October.
    And from animated-movies.squareworld.com:
    Jake says: "The Lion King WILL be released as a Platinum Edition DVD. 'Special Edition' refers to the new cut of the film with the new animation and new musical sequence 'The Morning Report.' Special Edition refers to an edited cut of the film a la the Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions, and Platinum Edition refers to the DVD. Since it is being advertised as a Special Edition, it is almost certian that the SE cut will be the default cut on the DVD and that a cut claiming to be the original theatrical version will be on the disc as a seperate cut..."
    And he also notes that in researching Amazon.com, "They list Beauty and the Beast (Disney Special Platinum Edition). The word "special" indicates that there is a special edition cut containing the song "Human Again." My friend Linda helped confirmed my idea. So we can assume that there will be a special cut that includes "The Morning Report" or another scene in additon to the original cut that everyone is familiar film. This may mean that Disney plans to put two versions of the same film on one disc."

    That's fortunate. I will be furious if we don't get a widescreen, anamorphic, just-as-originally-shown-in-theaters-in-1994 version of the movie on DVD.

    Kirsten Gilson found some screenshots of the trailer as included on the new 101 Dalmatians sequel.

    1/17/2003 - More Book Info

    Simba B sends some more information on "The Lion King: A Giant Leap":
    From the description on mouseshoppe.com: http://www.mouseshoppe.com/product.cfm?ProductID=2491
    "...The Lion King: A Giant Leap offers an exciting look at the technological innovations that allowed the animators to return to their original images and then enhance them for a bigger screen, as well as showcasing the development of the unique and luxuriant artwork behind the film, inspired by the majestic landscapes of the African savannah."

    The book is a hardcover book containing 128 pages.

    Sounds good to me. Also, some more on the DVD release:
    I believe that Disney should release DVD details about the Lion King DVD in the second half of Febuary.

    Disney has released their Platinum Edition DVDs during the 2nd Tuesday in October. We could see the Lion King in stores on October 14.


    1/16/2003 - New "Making Of" Book

    Some interesting news from Jake:
    Christopher Finch recently wrote a book called "The Lion King: A Giant Leap" (with an introduction by producer Don Hahn.) It's been published by Disney's inprint Hyperion, and can be ordered here.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/078685393X/qid=1042464005/sr=2-2/ref=sr_2_2/102-9541223-1032129
    I haven't ordered it, so I don't know what it is, but I would assume it's being a making of book, most likely tied to the IMAX release, since it carries the IMAX poster as its cover.

    Also: The Beauty and the Beast DVD specs were announced in a press release in late February/early March of last year, so Lion King's info shouldn't be too far off. I'm expecting the first or second Tuesday of October as the release date; let's just hope they keep it the original, un-enhanced theatrical cut at its 1.66:1 original aspect ratio; BATB was presented at 1.85:1 when in fact its OAR is also 1.66:1, and the "original theatrical cut" on that disc is just the SE cut minus Human Again.

    And, if Disney decides to reissue Simba's Pride on DVD this fall too - which I have a feeling they will - that announcement shouldn't be too far off either.


    1/15/2003 - "The Morning Report": New Scene for DVD?

    Simba B sends in two sightings of clues that the Platinum Series DVD of TLK, due out in October, will have a newly-animated sequence added to it. From a message-board rumor mill:
    "Disney Feature Animation is finishing the "Morning Report" sequence as we speak and it WILL be included in the Lion King special edition DVD. you can find a trailer with this anouncement on the 101 Dalmatians 2 [Patch's London Adventure] DVD."

    Posted by Anonymous:
    "The Lion King platinum edition ... will feautue the new animted song sequence ... "The morning report"...

    Posted by Alameda:
    "It wasn't included for the IMAX release because the segment wasn't finished. ....Disney is hoping to boost the DVD sales with this new adition."
    As Simba B says, "We'll have to wait for the 101 Dalmation's 2 DVD to arrive to comfirm these rumors."

    Also, for a more reliable (but less detailed) source, though ultimately only a fan rumor, also via Simba B:
    'Jicin' from Simba's Kingdom (http://www.simbaskingdom.org/) corrects that "it is already officially confirmed there will indeed be new scene in TLK on DvD. I don't know if it will be the 'Morning Report' though. The only thing that was certain that it would be a 'Broadway' song." 'Tom' adds that "a representative from BVHE Netherlands told me that Lion King would [indeed] get a new sequence with Zazu that was already in the musical."
    Yikes. I wonder what this will do to continuity, and the whole "pouncing lesson" thing...

    1/3/2003 - TLK3 and TLK1.5 Rumors

    A thread at the planetlionking.com Forums contains a post from someone purporting to have connections with Disney and access to preliminary plotlines for TLK3 and TLK4.

    My own reaction to this is that it's completely bogus. But draw your own conclusions...

    Thanks to Simba B and ZeiLioSS!

    12/31/2002 - Video Release of TLK1.5 Confirmed for 2004

    From Simba B-- a snippet from Disney online Production Notes for the LF/IMAX release mentions that TLK1.5 will be released on video in 2004 (not, evidently, in theaters):
    "Currently in production for release in 2004 is the Disney video premiere of 'The Lion King 1-1/2,' in which the story of the original film is seen from a whole new perspective - through the eyes of Timon and Pumbaa."


    12/31/2002 - DVD Extras List "A Mile Long"

    Simba B and Heather Moesel both send this snippet from animated-movies.com:
    Producer Don Hahn told the OC Register that "we debated [adding new scenes]. Essentially, we decided to leave it alone. We said, let's just do the restoration." So the colors are sharper and the details more detailed, and the soundtrack has been remixed. Eager to capitalize on the film's success, Disney has also produced a wealth of tie-in products for the film, shooting documentary footage in Africa and an interview with soundtrack composer Elton John for inclusion in a DVD release next fall. "The list [of DVD extras] is a mile long," Hahn said, before confirming that the next Disney animated hit to get the Imax treatment would be Aladdin.
    That's what I like to hear.

    12/17/2002 - IMAX Theaters Ready to Go on Christmas

    Many alert viewers of The Disney Channel and other sources have noticed that the official opening date is now being advertised as Christmas Day, 12/25-- and advance screenings and premieres are already open. Nigel Hodgetts sends this poster image, which is appearing on marquee posters and billboards.

    11/20/2002 - Changes in the IMAX Release

    From animated-movies.com:

    "The latest edition of MouseHole indicates that the large screen version of the movie includes a "complete overhaul of the Ghost of Mufasa scene: many more layers were added to the animation to give it a very ghostly look." Also, the controversial scene in which the "special effects" animators jokingly spelt out S-F-X or S-E-X in the sky went through a "cosmetic change" to put an end to the rumors. Other than that, "most changes are small such as animating more detail on all the animals at the end of 'Circle of Life.' Close-ups on the lions required the redrawing of the whiskers so they weren't so thick on the big screen. They look like hairlines now and are MUCH thinner than the lines used to draw the characters."

    Thanks to Kirsten Gilson for the pointer.

    11/13/2002 - TLK IMAX is a guinea pig

    Jim Hill Media has an article explaining how the success of TLK in IMAX will determine what other films Disney re-releases in that format:

    Why abandon the IMAX re-releases for Disney's older films? Because, to be honest, it cost a lot of money to reformat these 10-years old (and older) pictures for large screen theaters. Not to mention all the time and the money that has to be poured into cleaning up these films. Redrawing and/or replacing awkward pieces of animation which - when shown on a 10 story tall screen - look just awful.

    Mind you, clean up work has already been completed on the IMAX version of "Aladdin." And I'm told that Disney's animators are still hard at work on all the repairs that need to be made to "The Little Mermaid" before that 1989 film can look beautiful on large format screens.

    But that doesn't guarantee that either of these two films will ever be shown in the IMAX format. A lot depends on how the large format version of "The Lion King" does this holiday season. So - if you want to see Ariel and/or the Genie on the really big screen - make sure you drag all of your friends and family to see "The Lion King" in IMAX.

    Thanks to Kirsten Gilsen for breaking the story!

    11/5/2002 - And back once again to Christmas

    The date at the official site once again indicates a 12/25/02 release; thanks to Greg for the pointer.

    10/28/2002 - New Year's Day Release Again

    As pointed out by Snala, the trailer at the URL below once again points to a release date of January 1, 2003 for the TLK IMAX presentation.

    5/30/2002 - New Poster for TLK IMAX Release

    "Cub Statil<" sends this image of what appears to be the new promotional poster for the Christmas release.

    4/13/2002 - IMAX release date changed to Christmas 2002

    According to the URL given just below, the release date for TLK in IMAX theaters will be December 25, 2002. This moves the date back one week, for reasons at which we can only guess.

    1/5/2002 - TLK in IMAX 1/1/2003

    With the IMAX release of Beauty and the Beast, its new IMAX-ified TLK trailer, and http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/lionking/index.html, we now know for sure that TLK will be in IMAX a year from now. No Aladdin, it would seem. And that most likely also translates to an October 2003 DVD release.

    9/25/2001 - TLK Scheduled for IMAX Release

    A press release in LF Examiner (www.cinergetics.com) reports that The Lion King will be released to IMAX and other large-format theaters on January 1, 2004. This news was announced by Disney to an invitation-only audience of exhibitors at the annual Giant Screen Theater Association conference in Chicago. This release of TLK will follow an IMAX release of Beauty and the Beast, on January 1, 2002, and an Aladdin IMAX release a year later. Confirmation of this upcoming BatB release can be found at Disney's site.

    The DVD release for BatB is scheduled for October 2002, and so we can probably assume that Aladdin will reach DVD in October 2003, and TLK in October 2004, following that same pattern.

    The IMAX release of BatB will contain a previously animated but never-released song and scene called "Human Again"; it is not known whether TLK will contain any new footage, but word from the animators is that the touch-ups for the IMAX release consist mostly of filling in details that otherwise wouldn't have been visible-- characters who were originally too small to have faces drawn in, for instance.

    See the LF Examiner Press Release

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