CGIDisneyFeature FilmIdeas/Commentary

Get It Right: Disney Is Doing An Animated—Not Live-Action—Remake of ‘The Lion King’

Following the successful remake of The Jungle Book, Disney announced this morning that it is putting a “new reimagining of The Lion King on the fast track to production.”

The entertainment conglomerate has enlisted Jungle Book director Jon Favreau to produce the film using a similarly-styled photoreal CGI-animation approach.

Other media who have reported on the news, including entertainment media like Variety, LA Times, Deadline, Cinema Blend, and Hollywood Reporter, have inaccurately described the film as a “live-action” film.

In fact, Disney itself made no indication that the film was live-action in its press release, only saying that it would follow Jungle Book’s “technologically groundbreaking” approach, which as we know, was animated:

As a reminder, here’s how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences defines an animated feature:

An animated feature film is defined as a motion picture with a running time of more than 40 minutes, in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique. Motion capture by itself is not an animation technique. In addition, a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time.

Based on our knowledge of how The Jungle Book was produced, it easily qualifies as an animated features under the Academy’s definition, even accounting for the fact that there’s a single live actor in a starring role. Now, take The Lion King which doesn’t even have any human actors in the original 1994 film. If it uses similar production methods to Jungle Book—and Disney has indicated it will—it is simply not possible to describe the film as a live-action project.

The animation community is already pointing out the media’s misrepresentation of the project. Let’s hope that by the time the film hits theaters, the entertainment press will have learned the difference between animation and live-action. Come on guys, it shouldn’t be this hard!


(Lion photo by wwarby, CC BY 2.0)

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