Sir Elton John is not a fan of Disney's The Lion King remake. The movie is now the highest grossing animated movie of all time. Additionally, it's the seventh highest grossing movie in global box office history. However, John doesn't feel like the remake was able to capture the same spirit as the original animated classic. The musician had a big hand in writing the music for the original with Tim Rice.
Jon Favreau took on the directorial duties for The Lion King remake after helming the reimagining of The Jungle Book. Favreau and his team pushed the envelope of what existing CGI is capable of and created something that nearly looked real. Some Disney followers were happy and others were not. Elton John was not very happy with the final product. He had this to say.
"The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up. Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn't have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost."
The 1994 Lion King soundtrack was a massive success. It was recorded in three different countries and went on to sell $4.9 million in its debut year alone. Since then, it has sold over $7 million worldwide. It is the bestselling soundtrack of all time, thus far, so Elton John knows a thing or two when it came to making the first version so special. John wishes he would have had some more input this time around. He explains.
"The soundtrack hasn't had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success. I wish I'd been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and it's music was different this time around and I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad."
Elton John ended his discussion on the remake by stating that the "right spirit" for the music "lives on with The Lion King stage musical." The stage musical has been praised for years, but it doesn't look like Disney's latest remake will be held in the same regard. There are a few reasons for this, but one of the main factors is that the studio decided to pump out three remakes from their iconic library this year alone.
Dumbo kicked off the year, while Aladdin came towards the beginning of summer, and The Lion King came out towards the end of summer. Having two of Disney's most beloved movies get the remake treatment only a few months apart may have been a bit much for fans looking to digest and reflect on the new versions, which also includes the soundtrack. You can read the rest of the interview with Elton John over at GQ U.K.