WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE LION KING
The Lion King is considered Disney's fist animated feature to have an original plot not adapted from an existing story line or fairy tale. It bears similarity to, but not directly adapted from Hamlet.
In early development, Rafiki was a cheetah and Scar was the leader of baboons waging a war with the lions. Temporarily titled King of the Beasts and later King of the Jungle, the film was considered a lower-priority title than Pocahontas.
Elton John declined twice before accepting the job of writing the film's songs with lyricist Tim Rice; the gig was previously offered to Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA, as well as Paul McCartney.
Real-life friends Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella were starring together on Broadway in Guys and Dolls when they auditioned to play hyenas. They read together and were subsequently cast as Timon and Pumbaa characters they had never heard of.
After learning that the ballad Can You Feel the Love Tonight was cut from one of the final screenings of the movie, Elton John insisted that then Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg put the song back in. It won an Oscar a year later.
Upset at the film's portrayal of hyenas as villainous scavengers, a hyena biologist reportedly sued Disney for defamation of the species.
Over the course of 9,000 performances, the Pride Rock set piece in the Broadway production of The Lion King has rotated 603 miles.
The 1997 stage musical is the single highest grossing entertainment property ever created, earning over $8 billion globally more than the combined grosses of all eight main Star Wars movies or all four Avengers movies or all eight Harry Potter movies.
Director Jon Favreau's 2019 adaptation is the first feature-length movie to be photographed entirely in virtual production, a method of filmmaking in which animation is loaded into a videogame like set in virtual reality and filmed.