Why I Won’t Be Watching the New Lion King Movie
Or any of Disney’s other attempts to overextend pre-established franchises, either.
On July 19, Disney released the long-anticipated remake of their classic 1994 animated film, The Lion King. The original film has become a fan-favorite beloved by all ages, leading to sequels, television series, and the highest-grossing musical of all-time.
The newest entry in The Lion King franchise is a retelling of the original story with a star-studded vocal cast and photorealistic animation to make the characters look like real animals in a lifelike Pride Rock.
Fans have flocked the box office, where globally in just over a week, the film has already raked in $962.7 million. By the end of today (Sunday) it will have eclipsed the $968.5 million generated at the box office by the 1994 original and will be nearing, if not already past, the $1 billion mark.
It seems like the whole world couldn’t wait to take in the film, just as a young Simba just couldn’t wait to be king.
Not me. I couldn’t care less about seeing the movie. Actually, that’s not right. I actively don’t want to see it. But before the hateful comments come rolling in, let me explain myself.
I love the original Lion King movie just like everyone else. But I also like to see new franchises and ideas, and by supporting remakes of old films, we only reward a lack of creativity and encourage companies like Disney to look to the past rather than work on novel concepts.
Remakes are a way to trick us by instilling a strong nostalgia of the past and using it to make us buy tickets to a story we’ve already seen before.
Everyone knows The Lion King. This new film just allows Disney to show off all the bells and whistles of their new animation technology in an extremely safe way, where they can capitalize on their prior success and use the voices of beloved celebrities to make their recycled material even more appealing.
But it won’t have the same charm. How could it, when you strip away the innocence that made the original film great, trading it in for all the qualities of a pre-packaged blockbuster, designed to sell as many tickets as possible?
The same goes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, also owned by Disney. Sure, there were some good movies earlier on, but I haven’t willingly seen any of these movies in years, as it has become apparent their only goal is to pump out as many films as possible.
This doesn’t go without consequences. As more characters get added, the timelines and storylines become an increasingly complex web, which almost becomes too confusing for anyone to figure out (not that the idea of all the superheroes coexisting made much sense, to begin with).
Who could blame them for keeping it up, though? People have gone nuts for the MCU. Each sequel or spin-off is generating revenue in the billions. It’s the most dominant media empire we’ve ever seen.
We can’t expect to see new, innovative cinematic masterpieces if we spend all our time obsessing over series that have had their time in the sun. Don’t fall into the trap. Disney is more than willing to milk the past for every last drop, but that is not the circle of life.
Connor Groel is a writer who studies sport management at the University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as editor of the Top Level Sports publication on Medium. During the college basketball season, his bracketology is featured at bracketmatrix.com. You can follow Connor on Medium, Facebook, and Twitter, and view his archives at toplevelsports.net.