Multiple generations have grown up watching Walt Disney Animated Classics and today hold fond memories of the movie’s everlasting characters and songs. Disney’s limited release of The Lion King 3D in theatres on Sept. 16 is testament to their timelessness. The story of Simba, the tenacious cub who “can’t wait to be king” and his uncle Scar, who also wants to be king, is back and better than ever with old friends Nala, Timon and Pumbaa. After being in theaters for two weeks, on October 4, 2011, The Lion King Diamond Edition, blu-ray, blu-ray 3D combo pack, and movie download will be available to buy.
The Lion King was first released to theatres on June 15, 1994 and according to Box Office Mojo, since then has had a lifetime gross of $328,541,776 and claimed the title of fourth highest grossing animated film since 1980. The film was re-released on November 18, 1994, and then released again in IMAX on December 25, 2002.
The September release, will be the fourth time that The Lion King has been in theatres, but unknown to some, changes have been made to the film. The Lion King Platinum Edition became available to the public in U.S. on October 7, 2003; For this release, Disney gathered the makers of the theatrical version of The Lion King to create a hybrid, hand-drawn, and computer animated DVD with improved picture, sound, and color quality. Re-animation was done to change Mufasa’s appearance in the clouds, the waterfalls during “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,” and the supporting crocodiles in the song “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”In addition, the DVD featured a new segment called Morning Report that was originally included in the stage play.
Josh Nance, a 21 year-old senior at UTSA, expresses his resentment towards Disney for making additions to the theatrical version of The Lion King and altering one of his favorite childhood memories. “I was watching the DVD with my nephew and was shocked at the addition of the new song. While I enjoyed the nicer picture and sound quality, I felt like a favorite toy of mine had been defiled.”
October 4, 2011 will be the first time in almost a decade that The Lion King has been released for home viewing. Avid fans of The Lion King have become worried that the original theatrical release will be lost forever and replaced with a film of subtle improvements– forever changing its sentimental value. Disney has not announced whether or not Morning Report or the re-animations will be included in the 3D/blu-ray release.
While some fret over the changes made to the theatrical version of The Lion King, most are excited to revisit and share its timeless story with children of their own. To further entice parents and to help the already prosperous film in the box office, Disney is offering free, special 3D glasses to children at theatres showing in RealD 3D. While the “circle of life” will be continued on as children see The Lion King for their first time ever in 3D, all ages will be able to enjoy and share memories of this classic, Oscar and Golden Globe winning film.