The Lion King vector logo
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About The Lion King
The Lion King is a 1994 American animated epic musical drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The story takes place in a kingdom of anthropomorphic lions in Africa, and was influenced by the biblical tales of Joseph and Moses, and the William Shakespeare plays Hamlet and Macbeth. The film was produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton. The voice cast includes Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings. It tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to take his father Mufasa’s place as king. However, after Simba’s uncle Scar kills Mufasa, he must stop his uncle from conquering the Pride Lands and avenge his father.
Development of The Lion King began in 1988 during a meeting between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney and Peter Schneider while promoting Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas Disch wrote a film treatment, and Woolverton developed the first scripts while George Scribner was signed on as director, being later joined by Allers. Production began in 1991, with most of the animators inexperienced or uninterested in animals as most of the Disney team wanted to work on Pocahontas instead. Some time after the staff traveled to Hell’s Gate National Park to research on the film’s setting and animals, Scribner left production disagreeing with the decision to turn the film into a musical, and was replaced by Minkoff. When Hahn joined the project, he was dissatisfied with the script and the story was promptly rewritten. Nearly 20 minutes of animation sequences took place at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. Computer animation was also used in several scenes, most notably in the wildebeest stampede scene.
The Lion King was released on June 15, 1994 to a positive reaction from critics, who praised the film for its music and story. It also earned a rare “A+” rating from CinemaScore. With earnings of over US$951 million worldwide as of 2011, the film is the highest-grossing hand-drawn film in history, the highest-grossing 2D animated film in the United States, and the 21st-highest-grossing feature film. The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Its songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with an original score by Hans Zimmer. The film was dedicated to Frank Wells, who died in a helicopter crash early in 1994.
A Broadway adaptation of the film opened in 1997, and won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. As of April 2012 it is the highest grossing Broadway musical of all time. Disney followed the film with two direct-to-video productions, the sequel The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998) and the prequel/parallel The Lion King 1½ (2004).