Well I suppose this was inevitable. Disney is now firmly moving forward with a live-action adaptation of The Lion King, and they’re turning to director Jon Favreau to spearhead the project. Walt Disney Studios announced today that it is joining forces with its The Jungle Book helmer on “a new reimagining” of The Lion King, which is on the fast track to production. The film will feature songs from the iconic 1994 film, but beyond that no other specifics are given.
The move comes as Disney has found immense success in mining its prior animated features for new films. Maleficent was the soft-opening, but things truly flourished with Kenneth Branagh’s sumptuous Cinderella and continued with Favreau’s CG/live-action hybrid The Jungle Book, which is one of the year’s biggest hits as it has amassed $965 million at the worldwide box office. Filmmaker David Lowery’s lovely, earnest Pete’s Dragon failed to reach the same box office heights in August but garnered critical praise, and Disney is poised to dive into millennial nostalgia territory for the first time with next March’s Beauty and the Beast, which sounds like it’s serving as a bit of a template for The Lion King.